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Making the Most of Marketing Technology — Even If You Aren’t Tech-Savvy, with Mike Cline (Backstage Business #4)

There’s a lot of marketing technology out there. And I mean A LOT.

Just recently, I’ve stumbled on yet another article about “48 tools every marketer needs.” I clicked on it, hoping it was satire… and of course it wasn’t.

(Seriously, Internet? Forty-eight?)

But ridiculous standards aside, entrepreneurs do need technology to grow our businesses. Just maybe not, you know, 48 of them (OK, OK, I’m letting this go).

And in a world where new marketing tools emerge before we even get a chance to learn the old ones properly, I’m very grateful for people like Mike Cole.

If you take someone with a strong technology background and get them to fall in love with marketing, in the best-case scenario you get someone like Mike. He grew up in a family of mechanics, taking things apart and putting them back together ever since he was a child.

Mike built his first computer in his early teens and got his first job at a computer company. He graduated from college as a literal Rocket Scientist — but instead of becoming a junior engineer at NASA, Mike decided to start a business. He loved space (and still does), but he loved being his own boss a lot more.

Like most new entrepreneurs, Mike didn’t know what he was doing and went into debt chasing clients with little success. In 2004, he discovered digital marketing and threw himself into this new world.

Fast-forward to today (you can learn Mike’s full story in today’s episode), and Mike is helping companies to integrate technology into their marketing at the deepest level. His company, Tech Guys Who Get Marketing, works with brands at every level from overall strategy to day-to-day implementation.

If you’re trying to figure out how technology fits into your business goals, how to hire for technical roles, or how to choose and implement the right marketing tech, you’ll get a ton of value from today’s episode! Mike and I will cover all of this and more, including:

  • His biggest lesson from helping businesses overcome their technology struggles.
  • How to generate leads in a hyper-competitive world with skeptical customers and seemingly endless strategies and tactics to choose from.
  • How to build technical products the smart way, whether you’re doing it in-house or outsourcing to somebody else.
  • What to do before you hire someone for a technical role or start a technology project (this simple step can save you a lot of grief down the road, by the way)

And more. You can check out the show notes below for a full list of topics we discuss. Or just dive in right away — this entire interview is a value bomb from start to finish!

If you liked this week’s episode, consider leaving a review on Apple Podcasts. Also, to make sure you catch the next week’s Backstage Business when it comes out, please subscribe to the show on Apple Podcasts, Stitcher, or wherever you get your podcasts.

SHOW NOTES:

Why you should listen:

As a technologist and a marketer, Mike has a unique perspective on growing your business in the digital age. In this interview, he shares his hard-won lessons about generating leads in a way that guarantees long-term value, his approach to working with clients and how it has evolved, what non-tech-savvy entrepreneurs can do to make smart decisions about technology, and a lot more.

What you will hear:

[00:19] Introducing Mike

[02:44] How Mike’s childhood started his passion for taking things apart

[05:24] One valuable lesson Mike learned getting his first client (while he was still in college)

[10:58] How Mike discovered digital marketing

[16:18] Do this before you hire someone for a technical role

[18:08] Want to build an app or a tech product? Start with the sales letter

[21:50] Mike’s unique approach to lead generation and onboarding clients

[29:03] A quick but important lesson about generating referrals

[30:42] How Mike’s agency stopped being reactive and became proactive

[33:34] #1 business lesson Mike has learned

[36:21] Key business metrics you’re probably not measuring — but should

[38:00] Mike’s biggest challenge as an entrepreneur

[40:46] What Mike loves — and hates — about marketing

[43:19] Where to find Mike online

Resources:

Tech Guys Who Get Marketing