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Ryan and Robbie talk Super Bowl Ads & Rented versus Owned Channels for Ecommerce

February 07, 2020

Ryan and Robbie talk Super Bowl Ads & Rented versus Owned Channels for Ecommerce
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The Super Bowl has come and gone but the CFO's are still counting the dollars on that media bill. Ryan and Robbie break down the best and worse spots during the big game and discuss the merits of spending millions on 30 seconds.
Most of this episode focuses on the great debate of building your ecommerce through Amazon - are you renting space that may not be there in 3-4 years? Is Amazon really your friend? Doubtful.
A loaded episode. We hope you enjoy it
If you enjoy this episode please check out the rest of our episodes on our channel. Please share, review, and subscribe!
Radical Podcast is always looking forward to meeting both aspiring, and grounded professionals across the country! Slide Ryan or Radical a DM on Instagram and let's make it happen!
@radical_results on Instagram
@ryanalford on Instagram

The Super Bowl has come and gone but the CFO's are still counting the dollars on that media bill. Ryan and Robbie break down the best and worse spots during the big game and discuss the merits of spending millions on 30 seconds.

Most of this episode focuses on the great debate of building your ecommerce through Amazon - are you renting space that may not be there in 3-4 years? Is Amazon really your friend? Doubtful.

A loaded episode. We hope you enjoy it

If you enjoy this episode please check out the rest of our episodes on our channel. Please share, review, and subscribe!

Radical Podcast is always looking forward to meeting both aspiring, and grounded professionals across the country! Slide Ryan or Radical a DM on Instagram and let's make it happen!

@radical_results on Instagram

@ryanalford on Instagram



Ryan Alford [00:00:00] Hey guys on this episode of the Radical Company Podcast, Robbie and I break down the Super Bowl ads, some of our favorites, some of the fails. Was it worth five million dollars? We talk about brand and the consideration that goes into marketing at this level. And we really love some of the commercials and really pan the others. Also, the meat of this episode is on rented versus own where you sell your products. Do you sell where you're sort of renting time, i.e. Amazon or on your direct to consumer channels? It's a complicated answer, depending on where you are, but some really great insights. I hope you'll enjoy this and do us a favor. If you're enjoying the episode or any of the episodes, please leave us a review on Apple, Google, wherever you're listening. We really appreciate it. Find a more radical.company. Hope you enjoyed this episode.

Ryan Alford [00:00:51] Hey, guys, welcome to the latest episode of the radical Kabaddi podcast, joined by Robbie Fitzwater. Robbie, good to have you today. 

Robbie Fitzwater [00:01:01] It's good to be back. Been fun getting into a rhythm of these. 

Ryan Alford [00:01:03] I love it. And so we're going to break down a few different topics today. We're in a time period as far as marketers go, that you know, feels relevant to talk about a little bit. The Super Bowl was just a few days ago. I think we'd be remiss to not mention at least some of our favorites and takeaways from the event, 

Robbie Fitzwater [00:01:22] Turn our backs and ignore it. But full got to call out the best takeaway from the event, though, as a story from Kansas City. It was great. Everything about the Super Bowl was fantastic. 

Ryan Alford [00:01:35] I wouldn't call it a curse, but the wait is over. But 50 years, 50 years and lots and lots of heartbreak.

Robbie Fitzwater [00:01:39] I was wearing a jersey that I've had since I think I was like seven watching this game in a youth extra large jersey that had been covered in sad tears and suddenly it was covered. 

Ryan Alford [00:01:54] Did that make it a medium or was it as it was? 

Robbie Fitzwater [00:01:57] If I raised my hands, it went to my nipple. It was great. But it was really covered in sad tears in the playoffs. But this year I was covered in happy tears. 

Ryan Alford [00:02:05] So it was nice. It was a good graduation victory. It was a good game, though. 

Robbie Fitzwater [00:02:10] It was a great game. And in classic chief’s fashion, they made you sweat. Like every game in the playoffs, we were down ten points or more. And then suddenly this glorious comeback and 

Ryan Alford [00:02:22] twenty one points in the fourth quarter?

Robbie Fitzwater [00:02:23] It was amazing. And like the team seemed to really click, things seemed to work well together. And then suddenly I think, yeah, Kansas City blew up that night. So, uh, yeah, a lot of like pent up emotion. 

Ryan Alford [00:02:35] Is it like West Virginia does when they win? Was it catches on fire?

Robbie Fitzwater [00:02:39] I mean, it's just like people jamming to friends in low places and having a good time, like it's not quite catches on fire, but well, there may be one or two catches. I mean, it's the Midwest. You have to do it. 

Ryan Alford [00:02:52] Got to do. I love it. So we'll do a little lightning round as far as the ads go, which is a marketing event, probably the largest universal ad event as far as the mainstream public goes in evaluating our industry. 

Robbie Fitzwater [00:03:07] I mean, how many millions of dollars do you put into an ad that goes into the Super Bowl like the ad buy is just astronomical and plus the creative and the distribution around it on the front end and the back. You got to really be ready to go if you can afford that. 

Ryan Alford [00:03:24] And that's really what I look at now is the integration of the campaign. I don't think you can't convince me. Look, I know it's reach and frequency. I've been preaching brand lately and the importance of that. And that's over time. But I'm going to talk about the other side of my mouth, like those marketers like to do. And if you don't have an integrated campaign, that five point six million for 30 seconds is not wasted. Most certainly the reach and the reach alone is there's no other opportunity like it. But, the integration across elements either peppering it at the front end like what planners did with Mr. Peanut dying and then coming back to life and all the Segway ways if you leverage it, you got to have a halo. You've got to have a wall of sound, I think, beyond just the spot which becomes the crescendo of the whole event. 

Robbie Fitzwater [00:04:15] And like you're almost leading up to that big unveil at that point, too. It's like you put out as much as you can and then you want it to either continue or ideally be able to drive it to another place. And I play ping pong with your other channels and it's kind of cool to see some of the different brands do that in different ways this year too. One of the biggest things that stood out to me probably was the PNG side of things. Were they they brought all of their all of the major brands a lot, a few of the major brands under their big brand umbrella together under one one individual ad, which was kind of different and interesting, but it seemed like there's a lot of kind of coopetition within those larger brand umbrellas and. Seeing them kind of put Mr. Clean the Bounty man, whatever, it's kind of funny to see. And it seemed like there was that across a few other ads this year, too. 

Ryan Alford [00:05:12] Yeah, definitely noticed some branding across things. And, I think we talked a little bit about our favorites. I'm going to ask yours. I told you mine at the beginning and we'll break it down for the audience. But it was the most I may be a sucker for emotion. I was sitting there with my wife and I watching it. My kids were somewhat paying attention and maybe the emotional side and no matter how you feel about technology, but I feel like it covered a lot of bases for me. There's a lot of bad talk, bad thoughts, bad feelings for technology, when in fact it does solve a lot of problems and does offer a lot of good in that. And I thought Google really hit a home run with the memory spot and the Google assistant and the older man reminding, setting the reminders for his what would be soon a deceased wife and ways to remember her. I mean, my wife and I are sitting there a year at that moment. And I'm like, No. One, the production costs were next to nothing. And now I'm sure they spent something with their large charge them one hundred times too much. But, showing the Google line and then showing slide shows, there was a great voiceover. The production value was super low. Memorable though emotional. Some people argued, oh, was it the raunchy humor of everything else? But I will say the next day it was still the spot that stuck with me the most. 

Robbie Fitzwater [00:06:47] I mean, they've done a good job. Those are powerful. Like, there's not a lot of. It has to be so well done, it was so well done and so powerful that you can fit it inside this small box, it's not like a monkey jumping out of a plane, spelling out, like skywriting, something in the air. It's not like shock and awe, but it was really heart wrenching emotionally. I remember that it was one of my favorites too. 

Ryan Alford [00:07:19] And I think it ranked number three. There was a the unofficial Super Bowl rankings, but it was like number three. I did like several of the spots, sometimes have a good concept. And it's I know it's maybe they go with a 60 or something and I feel like it like kills it, it's like I'm like waiting for the punchline or like what I kind of want to get 

Robbie Fitzwater [00:07:46] A little bit too long,

Ryan Alford [00:07:48] A little bit too long, a little bit too far. But I thought Groundhog Day with Bill Murray in Geep. Yeah, that's great. Classic well produced. Well thought out and clever.

Robbie Fitzwater [00:08:02] If I feel like that speaks to so many different audiences, Groundhog Day is kind of a movie that does kind of cross a lot of different age groups. And Bill Murray, there's not a person alive, doesn't just love Bill Murray. Nobody's going to walk around if you like. I hate that bill. That Bill Murray guy. I can't stand him. It's Bill Murray. So, yeah, it was pretty good. 

Ryan Alford [00:08:21] And even if you don't have not seen the movie, something about Bill Murray's demeanor and personality, it's almost kind of like the classic Chevy Chase movie, that current forms Chevy Chase. But it just makes you smile a little bit. But seeing him like getting in and out of if you had never even seen the movie, I think there was a little bit of humor just seeing him repeat those things. You kind of get the concept either way. But obviously the tie in and and the nonconformity message that they're trying to say with the news vehicle commando's is that the truck 

Robbie Fitzwater [00:08:55] I mean, like Gen Xers were losing their minds across the country. Just how great a car is, it's not attractive, but I mean, it worked for them. And that was good on them, like taking a little bit of a rugged brand and having some fun with it, because that's I mean, get a show off with it like you. You talk about the benefits, the features and benefits in some ways while still having fun with it and kind of showing the emotional side of it. 

Ryan Alford [00:09:20] And so I always asked myself, having worked with some of the largest brands in the world, been in New York, done the big ad game, I asked myself now if a client was consulting with me, would I recommend them if they had the budget to run on the Super Bowl? And I'm evenly split down the middle. Like I, I firmly know it is still the media event and the attention that people pay to the commercials versus what my wife and I do when we're watching TV, which is on our phone and our intentions are gone. And I'm not saying TV advertising is dead. I'm not going to go that far. But attention on TV advertising is way, way less than it used to be. 

Robbie Fitzwater [00:10:09] I mean, television advertising, like how we 're trying to reach somebody through traditional means, doesn't really exist anymore, like television advertising. When do you watch live TV networks? 

Ryan Alford [00:10:21] It's sports. Sports is about the only time and news or sports. 

Robbie Fitzwater [00:10:25] And like we don't have cable in that. We've never thought twice about it. But it's like sport. Live sports are like the last bastion of a lot of that. A lot of those ad dollars that used to be spent on relevant ad buys. Yeah, but even if you do have it now, you're taking out your phone as soon as the commercials come on or you're to or you're switching to another channel if you even have cable, which more and more people don't. But the Super Bowl, like you're there, you're paying it. They're an event. Commercials like my wife. I couldn't care less about the Super Bowl, but she would sit down for the commercials. She was doing other things. She's like a watch. 

Ryan Alford [00:11:02] And it's the one time of the year that happens. So you can't ignore that and you can't ignore the forty million people that are watching or in the US or whatever it is, and hundreds worldwide. If you have a worldwide product and I don't know how the syndication goes and all that, but nonetheless, the media strategic understanding of each side of me and brand side of me goes, you have to take advantage if you have the budget. But then the other side and I and I am not the guy that's on LinkedIn going, you could have done four thousand three hundred and twenty four mobile billboards. Yeah. OK, I'm not that guy either. But there is the thing to be said for the impact that could be made for that budget. Ryan Reynolds giving away cell service, bundles for his new company, other ways to make a splash with that same amount. That's a lot of money in a. Out of a lot of goodwill could be done that could be leveraged into something else or but not three thousand four hundred twenty three urinal ads. 

Robbie Fitzwater [00:12:08] It's been a pleasure. 

Ryan Alford [00:12:09] I am not that guy. 

Robbie Fitzwater [00:12:10] Every urinal in hundreds of years, 

Ryan Alford [00:12:13] So it's I don't know. Where do you fall on that pendulum? Your Toyota comes to you and Robbie. Hey, Robbie, should we run the Super Bowl this year or not? Six million for one spot, 

Robbie Fitzwater [00:12:25] its eyeballs at scale. And it's hard. Eyeballs and attention are really tough. So can you put the brand, put themselves in a position that they're going to captivate and move an audience so you can have a completely lay audience that doesn't know your brand at all? And either you need to position yourself where you really make an impact, but you can't be bland. You can't do something for everybody. I think I saw it a little bit in some of the ads where groups were taking more of a positioning stance and really kind of focusing on what they were like, who they were like. You saw Amazon try to be a really progressive company. Ellen DeGeneres talking about all of the like in an ad that, like, joked about fake news through time in history. But you see those groups kind of taking a little bit more of a narrow focus. And, hey, this isn't for everybody, but for the people. It is for they're going to knock it out of the park. And I almost think if you could do it in a way that's not spray and pray where everyone in the country is going to get something kind of average. But if you can get something that isn't for 90 percent of the people, but is for ten of the 10 percent of the people, then I think that in some ways it does work because, I mean, 10 percent of like one hundred million is still ten million people. And it's hard. And if you have those deep pockets, you can do that kind of work, but you have to be a little bit more lean on the way you spend your other ad budget during the year and maybe not paying for TV during the rest of the year, too. 

Ryan Alford [00:14:00] I come down like when I hold the proverbial fake B.B. gun to the head of where I would go. If you're launching, if you're a new brand that has good investment and you're launching something brand new and it's a mass market product, hard to beat the attention and reach that you get with the Super Bowl, I think check the yes. If you're an existing brand, launching an all new feature benefit product, check the box. Yes. If it's just a pure wide mass play and not more targeted leverage like you just described, I think I fall in the we can probably make a bigger, better splash somehow else with by the time you add all the cost, both the media cost, the agency cost and the creative cost, you're talking ten million 

Robbie Fitzwater [00:14:49] At least 10 million. 

Ryan Alford [00:14:50] So and I think I can do a lot of damage with 10 million outside of that if it's not a product launch. New brand new like there's a couple of very specific scenarios where I think it makes a lot of sense. But the Doritos fighting. Is it so?

Robbie Fitzwater [00:15:09] Where I think it'll get interesting. And I think when when larger brands start to pull out of it, I think when they see, hey, we're not seeing the same impact when Doritos pulls from it or when Budweiser pulls from it, I think that's when we'll see some different some people really questioning is it worth it or not? Because I think the shoe has initially dropped on like, hey, we're pulling out of this completely. And if it hasn't, I missed it. But I haven't seen that kind of major exodus from the Super Bowl ads, that kind of mentality of, hey, this is this is the mass we're going to reach. And this is like the crown jewel of advertising. And everybody if you had a Super Bowl ad as an ad agency, I think that's a big win there. Yeah. Um, so I don't think we're going to see that in like five years or so. But I think it's like people are questioning it soon. I mean, and start really trying to differentiate. Is this going to be worth it? It is not going to be worth it. And I know where 

Ryan Alford [00:16:05] You know it gets interesting when it's addressable TV at scale. So every TV is addressable when basic cable basic all television is addressable. It gets pretty interesting, like that's obviously capable now. But if the Super Bowl, when the base with the cable channels get addressable, which is coming with I think it's called a T as C 3.0 or something like that, it's coming to where every box, every cable box is addressable. He gets a little whacky then with the buys potentially for how you might buy the spots to that to the more targeted, what I'm saying? 

Robbie Fitzwater [00:16:49] If you can make it a direct response, suddenly you have every television marketer's dream. I mean, that's the hardest part. It's like the John Wanamaker, like I'm wasting half my advertising, I just don't watch half and that's where you can finally start to bridge that gap. And that's why I really love digital advertising for that reason, because a lot of it's measurable in a lot of it's trackable. But, um, again, to your point, the brand side, it's hard to quantify all the time. And if you can reach a large group. Yeah, it's just there's no perfect answer and not with this one. I think it's kind of exciting to see it continue to evolve the curveball for me. Saucony, where the hell is that? I can use like a small, almost niche shoe brand and suddenly they have a Super Bowl ad. I was like, did they get acquired by somebody? Just randomly throwing cash out at me. I don't know 

Ryan Alford [00:17:42] Bowled by a media company! 

Robbie Fitzwater [00:17:44] But it was kind of funny to see a few of the curve balls in there, too. 

Ryan Alford [00:17:48] Yeah, there was. And then I think about like, back to Little Caesars announcing delivery. But it was early on. And then I just remember it as we were talking about these commercials. I'm like, did that resonate? Because it was early on, I think we had one spot, maybe two, but I think it was just one that was early on in the Super Bowl. 

Robbie Fitzwater [00:18:09] And I mean, not everybody is paid and everybody's glued to attention. I guess maybe when do you when do you put it? When do you play snottiness? Your role is you want to be early or late. 

Ryan Alford [00:18:20] That's that's what people toil over. Do you want big brands or like, all right, you've got people I can see them in the room with the whiteboard and they are toiling over what they've got data scientists in the room going, there's exactly three point four percent less pay attention at the thirty second mark versus the four hour mark. I mean, I can see that 

Robbie Fitzwater [00:18:42] Dr. Kentucky is on his fourth beer. 

Ryan Alford [00:18:45] He will not remember any of this. Yeah, exactly. But then you have the perfect memory and, buzz going at the two hour and ten minute mark and we're going to put the Bud Light commercial 

Robbie Fitzwater [00:18:54] in confidence dialogic. And yeah, it's a weird beast. Honestly, the television side of things was kind of before, before a lot of my time in marketing. So I don't know what that world was like beforehand. So it's a different beast. 

Ryan Alford [00:19:10] It was another world, another world that I have had feet on both sides of it. But, another story for another day. So let's jump into the main event today. 

Robbie Fitzwater [00:19:22] So today we wanted to dive into owned versus rented land in terms of marketing, which seems like ever evolving, relevant topic because we play with these things every day. But on any given platform of the services for your eyeballs are the your eyeballs are the product a little bit different on Amazon. But, this really rings true for social. And now it's coming into the retail space and e-commerce and with Amazon becoming the juggernaut that it really is. But I guess I wanted to kind of dove in and talk a lot of people that have been in marketing for a while now. Everybody's had the experience on social where suddenly Facebook was introduced twenty two thousand five when people could start really getting on it at scale. It was again introduced four with just a small niche group of college students. Twenty seven or so is when it really became a mass medium and the algorithm started really kind of kicking in and drink updates, really kind of through marketers for spin in two thousand two thousand eight nine when it was kind of the wild, wild West. Um, but a lot of people that have lived through that, you kind of understand where it's going and a lot of ways and you can kind of look through it, but thinking about kind of what's next for some of those platforms and then kind of what it's like on Amazon also. 

Ryan Alford [00:20:46] And I get this is probably the most common question I get asked with. E-commerce brands is how much is too much on Amazon or if it's a new brand, do we go the Amazon route? And, it's not an easy one to answer. It's the elephant in the room. Does it sound big enough? I don't know. It's the elephant in the closet. I don't know if you can imagine no one in your room and in your closet, it's suffocating you and. 

Robbie Fitzwater [00:21:24] There's because, again, there's so much ambiguity here still now, and it's the elephant is suffocating you, but is that elephant propping up your business at this point as your business is going to be reliant on Amazon? And is it going to be something where you try and ramp up quickly on Amazon and then try and transition over to a Shopify and owning as much of that as possible? Or is it going to be something where you start with your own audience and then start to gradually let that Amazon lead that Amazon drip start? And I mean, from the brand perspective, I can't think of a few like an anchor, a few brands who have really made it big on Amazon and really kind of ventured out from there and for every other brand that's done well and kind of venture out from there. I'm sorry. I'm not you're not coming to mind right now.  

Ryan Alford [00:22:22] That’s what I'm saying I have a hard time thinking of the brands had been successful getting 80 percent of their business on Amazon and then becoming this hero and to see, 

Robbie Fitzwater [00:22:34] This household name. But you see these days to see unicorns popping up and doing really well and then maybe adding part of their business to Amazon after that. Like everybody loves a way or a Kasper or any of those large businesses that are doing really well and kind of innovative things. I guess. Kasper's Caspari got some heat lately, their valuations a little bit high. But there's some really innovative things going on there. And they can really drive the lifetime value of a customer because it's so you have somebody who's purchasing, you understand what their behaviors are. And the more niche you are, the better you're going to be able to really foster a relationship with that brand. 

Ryan Alford [00:23:16] And I usually answer that question, it's complicated. If you it really is almost how you're funded as a company and how your goals are. It's very specific to that. If you have a great product and a very limited budget and you don't have funding or you're not trying to get funding it's hard not to get on the Amazon drug to get some revenue coming in the door. It is certainly the easier way to faster sales, whether it's easy to see or on your own with less budget, because Amazon's got their hand in every bucket now from the ads to the product, a percentage that they make on the revenue to storage and warehousing. We'll get into some of those things. But it's still easier to get started there, to start growing scale in volume because everyone shopping there. And so if you have to have immediate fast revenue to fill the coffers, it's hard not to tell someone not to consider that as a rule. But if you've got the backing, the funding or multiple partners to get the ad marketing content machine rolling for your D2C Brand, then I like to say do as little as possible. Amazon, 

Robbie Fitzwater [00:24:47] I mean, I think don't get the less you can get dependent on it, the better. It seems like it's almost like your margins are going to get cut. Your margins are going to get cut down gradually as time goes on. Like Amazon right now, today is probably the most profitable Amazon is ever going to be for your business. And it's just going to go down from here because, I mean, ad inventory is going to stay the same and or maybe go up with a little bit more a few more people on Amazon. But the prices are going to go up and the costs and the level of competition in the market is consistently going up. Dropship was from China jumping into the mix. You have people that want to fight you for a listing and you're always playing a pricing war. There's so many little small things that are so hard to manage at scale that it's really I mean, unless you really want to invest the time, effort and blood, sweat and tears to really focus on it, it's a lot to handle for a business like there even. Pieces of individual businesses that are kind of almost side projects that are focused just directly on Amazon, like if you have a larger brand. So people that I know out of northwest Arkansas and who work for California, offices of large companies are in there like they basically work with individual lines of products that are made specifically for Amazon that are kind of. Like child brands of a larger, larger KPG. So there everybody's kind of starting to figure out how they want to dance with the devil, but there's no real perfect answer to it yet because do you want to give them a few of your products that you may not sell anywhere else? Do you want to make a line specifically for Amazon or do you want to just toss everything else on Amazon? And I think I was telling you about this before when I need to get some new running shorts. I have a pair of running short like these, plain Jane running shorts I've used for years from Road Runner Sports again. And I don't haven't shopped local for those and I feel bad for it in some cases. But, um, they're, they're easy. They're fat, they're easier by local than they're easy. They're cheap. And I apologize in advance my friends that run in their great place, but they fit well. They're using their cheap, was ordering them off like I was at Roadrunner Roadrunner Sports and basically had them in my cart ready to go. And then in my head I'm like, oh yeah, we have an Amazon cart that we need to pull the trigger on. I like being that bean, being the great shopper I am. I looked over and kick the tires there and ended up actually buying them from Amazon. As ashamed as I am to admit it, it was easier and it's kind of crazy because it was about three dollars more. I will pay that and just ease of use because it's prime time in two days and it's already added on to my existing order. So it didn't necessarily come from the same place, but the fulfillment was just really easy and the process was smooth and simple, didn't have to mess around with a credit card or anything. So you almost have to create that irrational, irrational connection between your brand and the end user to overcome the ease of use at this point. And do you want to be there and making it easy for them to kind of take a little bit more hit from your business? Or do you want to, like, really kind of double down on that relationship? Yeah, exactly. I'm still struggling with it a little bit myself. And again, like I said, a little bit ashamed, but 

Ryan Alford [00:28:16] And that's why you have to build a brand. If you are going to fight the giant, you've got to either have a highly differentiated product that only you sell and you have no competitors or you've got to start with a brand. And you think of the stories of Toms shoes or other brands that have a story and a purpose. And, you know, you use the social channels that are out there and you start leveraging that to start to build your dissy name and know that it's going to take time, you know, and and because my problem with Amazon and look, we buy on Amazon, but my problem is consulting with a company, with a company or or brand is it's a race to the bottom. It's like if you race to the bottom, you'll win every time. 

Robbie Fitzwater [00:29:12] It's not a sustainable strategy. By its nature, it's not I mean, they're going to take a higher and higher percentage of every transaction they're consistently and then you're fighting other people who are killing you on price already there, too. So you're really shooting yourselves in the foot. And honestly, it's you're trying to take a product and make it a commodity suddenly. And when you play that game, everybody loses. So, um, but in the consumer space, you can really kind of take yourself away from that commodity space and really kind of elevate your presence and all that, your brand. And I think that's where the long term play is and owning that relationship more so. And you still do have to battle Google with different inboxes, with the inbox, your promotions folder and your newsletter folder, like you're always going to have something like that where it's trying to take a little bit of money back and it's still rented land to some extent with a Gmail. 

Ryan Alford [00:30:07] I think the biggest thing is it's no different than your investment portfolio. You need a great distribution of wealth and assets. And it's the same thing with your sales, your distribution channels, your approaches. I think getting heavy in any one area makes you vulnerable. If you've got all your stocks, if you got all your money in stock, high, aggressive stocks, stock market crashes, you're in trouble. 

Robbie Fitzwater [00:30:35] Put it in Bitcoin and ride to the moon. 

Ryan Alford [00:30:38] That wasn't a good idea. I've got a great story, a quick story on Bitcoin. I bought something somewhere not to be named. It might have been like some nootropic or something that was not illegal, by the way, but it was not whatever, but it took Bitcoin to buy it. This was like ten years ago and I had to buy like it was hard to buy bitcoin in nineteen ninety nine or two thousand nine. It wasn't as readily available as it is now. It's things people think, oh, it's been around forever. No it hasn't. And so it was like 2009, 2010. I had to buy like five bitcoins at the time. They were like two hundred dollars apiece or a hundred and fifty dollars is like six hundred dollars. And the product that I bought was only like one hundred and seventy four. I was something weird the way I had to be done. I had like four or three and a half, three point five random bitcoin sitting in. I just happened to have bought them from one of the reputable places that was still around. And, when it spiked like a couple of years ago 

Robbie Fitzwater [00:31:33] Or whatever, like twenty thousand dollars or so, 

Ryan Alford [00:31:35]  Ihad like twenty thousand dollars sitting there in Bitcoin or more like I think of what the value of it was. And I sold it as soon as it hit, like what the highest thing was. And I was like after taxes, still nice. Like fifteen thousand dollars. 

Robbie Fitzwater [00:31:50] I think I think you're one of the three people in the country that actually made that work. Yeah, I saw a lot of frenzy around that and saw a lot of people. They kind of just weren't, they weren't as excited to win it when it crashed the next month that December. Twenty eighteen I believe was just crazy. Going through some technical 

Ryan Alford [00:32:11] I don't think that's actually happening on the audio, 

Robbie Fitzwater [00:32:13] I'm just I'm just going to keep talking. 

Ryan Alford [00:32:17] Yeah, it's that was my Bitcoin. I ran a Bitcoin store. 

Robbie Fitzwater [00:32:21] diversifying your sales portfolio like you would your own investments. And it's kind of I guess it's a good point. It's like looking at your risk profile, as you would an investor and are you eighty five and want to retire soon or are you twenty three and, and ah I don't even worry about health insurance. You're just getting ready to go because you're invincible. So it's kind of looking at your individual business, assessing how you approach that risk and approach those, those issues. But yeah, I'm, I'm a, I'm a believer in building on my own land as much as possible. 

Ryan Alford [00:32:58] Yes. And some of the clients come to us and they're 70 percent of their business on Amazon. And, the first strategy, like no one in the deck, is how we start you owning this on your property as fast as 

Robbie Fitzwater [00:33:14] possible, back over and like it. Just so many products on Amazon you purchase. They have the little cards like, hey, if there's customer service, you let us know we want to be the first to know. And I swear, like, they're almost praying for it because if they can have a customer service issue, they suddenly have a touch point with their brand. And it's almost a good thing because maybe you can bring that person over and saying, like, hey, we'll give you 10 percent less next time just to come purchase from us, as opposed to Amazon at 10 percent can be five percent more than they were given to Amazon last time.

Ryan Alford [00:33:43] and if you're listening and you are, you're just getting started. Just so you understand, if you don't know Amazon owns the customer, period, you cannot contact them. You have no relationship with them. This is Amazon's customer. That just happens to be doing you a favor by allowing you to pay them from fifteen to thirty five percent of the revenue to sell your product. Now, I'm not looking, they've built the scale. They've built the monster. They've built the machine. I'm a cap. I believe in capitalism. I don't have a problem per say, but it's just reality. So just be ready for it. 

Robbie Fitzwater [00:34:14] Yeah. And again, you're dancing with the devil and it's like every marketer on Facebook in twenty nine. Like, why are they taking away all my reach. I earn that reach. Those are my followers. They're not when they're when you don't own the platform they own the platform and those are not your, your community in the same way it would would be if you had an email list that you could reach out to or if you had your own fulfillment, it's a lot hairier and a lot stickier to deal with on that end. But it's a more sustainable strategy in the long run because Amazon is going to gradually take more and more of your business. And what if Amazon wants to take away your likes if you have a replenishable product, they're snatching up those like crazy on Amazon, on Basics is coming up with new products all the time. So how do you kind of beat that? How do you kind of either outmaneuver that dragon or how do you beat the dragon? And honestly, it's really difficult because at scale you're not going to do it. Like you're going to have to find a way to get off that wagon eventually, because you're just going to be eroding your business, eroding your brand and eroding what long term possibility could be there. 

Ryan Alford [00:35:22] It's no different from the LinkedIn post yesterday about branding over time versus sales in the short term and activity. And it's proven over time. There's countless studies with billions of dollars that you can't hear everyone can. As I see my hands up, I'm holding charts that building brands over time, the activities to do, assuming you have a solid foundation of a brand and a great message. But with that assumption, over time, the speed and rate with that happened, which is slower, outpaces sales activation and lower funnel activity driving activity and I would call Amazon for an e-commerce brand would fall into that. Hey, you can get some spikes early on those first few months as the first first half a year. And you can totally get some rewards from the receptors when you're revenue and an ad. And again, depending on your situation, that can be important. But building your brand over time is going to outpace what you can do on that rented land. 

Robbie Fitzwater [00:36:26] Yes. So was just that little serotonin hit every time you get a sale on Amazon and take a little bit. 

Ryan Alford [00:36:30] Oh yeah. A little hit.

Robbie Fitzwater [00:36:31] A little hit. But you've got to eventually start to kind of do it on your own like it's your turn. It can be a little bit of training wheels in the front end where you can get a little bit of a little bit of mojo going ideally, and then transition off of that as fast as you can. Because once you're riding a bike, hopefully you don't need the training wheels and hopefully you don't need that little sidecar sidecar kind of following along next to you. But it's a fascinating space because how much of the world's transactions are going on on Amazon and how much of every ecommerce dollar they are getting a portion of? 

Ryan Alford [00:37:04] I would be willing to place a bet. I'm going to look at this data point up. I should have before the podcast. The valuation of a company or brand that has 70 percent of their sales direct to consumers versus a similar size company with 70 percent of their sales on Amazon, what is the valuation difference between those two companies? I would love to know. I bet it's 10x. 

Robbie Fitzwater [00:37:29] No, it has to be, because, like, if you're looking at it from an investor standpoint, there's so much volatility. And Amazon where you don't have any like they talk about like investors. They talk about how to build a moat. How do you build a moat around your business and where and your positioning? You have no moat. They dug up your moat and they're your businesses on top of there is on top of the back of their truck. You're driving around in the back of the Amazon truck. If you have a moat around your business, you can kind of defend your position to some extent for a hopefully ideally consistent period of time. You're not, it's never going to be perfect. But if you can really do that, that's a differentiated position for you. But it's from the investor standpoint, I imagine even more than 10x because investment valuations are astronomical right now. So it's like 50 X. Um, so, yeah, maybe it's probably a good way to look at it and it's probably a good way to position it for those groups out there thinking about, hey, do I need to be spending more time on Amazon or do I need to be spending more time building my brand? Because if you can position it in a way and kind of like everybody thinks Amazon is exciting and sexy because a lot of people are making a lot of money right now. It is kind of like that Bitcoin craze at one point where a lot of people are making a lot of cash. But if you look at it from a really shrewd lens, it may not be as exciting and sexy as it is. It really seems right now because everybody's kind of jumping on that train. 

Ryan Alford [00:38:58] And that bandwagon gets heavy, really heavy. It gets real heavy and it turns over when, 

Robbie Fitzwater [00:39:07] When billions and billions. And I yeah. I can't even imagine how many products are on Amazon right now. 

Ryan Alford [00:39:12] If you watch college football this season when the Boomer Sooner Wagon ran onto the field and turned over, luckily no one was hurt. I wouldn't bring this up, but that bandwagon flips. 

Robbie Fitzwater [00:39:22] Yeah, that's what you're like. And hopefully you're on the side where you're going to land on, on somebody next to you as opposed to a side where somebody's going to lean on you. 

Ryan Alford [00:39:33] Yeah, exactly. Can we, can we say this, we talked about the titles, ridded versus owned. I think we can chalk up Amazon as a frenemy for, it's hard to hate them completely. And I do not, by the way. But I'm also smart enough as a marketer and as a strategist for the brands that we work with to know that it is not the long term solution for your brand. 

Robbie Fitzwater [00:40:02] You have to look at it with a grain of salt. Yeah, it's just like we need to put all of our ducks in the same basket as we got to build a good TikTok audience. Yeah, put your ducks in it. I distribute, distribute your attention, distribute your focus and don't put all your eggs in that one basket because that could change. And that's the Amazon's probably that that group that again will probably this probably will not be the next the last time we talk about Amazon. 

Ryan Alford [00:40:27] No, I don't think you I think 

Robbie Fitzwater [00:40:28] I think it's kind of going to be continually the elephant in the room for a long period of time. 

Ryan Alford [00:40:32] It's going to be a pretty heavy topic. We're both involved in the FedEx e-commerce event coming up, March twenty fifth get more details. You can reach out to us on that event being put on by FedEx here in Greenville, South Carolina. So we're both part of that. I have a feeling it's going to be a pretty big topic. It's going to be one of my, uh, my line items in the speech that I'm working on. And, I'm going to get in the pulpit a little bit there and fire, brimstone and on some Amazon. 

Robbie Fitzwater [00:40:59] I'm sure you're going to be in very good company there with the FedEx Group. I know they're not as pleased with Amazon right now. Know after the holiday, after the kind of getting poo pooed on by Amazon during the holidays. But yeah, it's a different beast. And we've got to kind of understand what it's doing, how it's impacting the economy. And yeah, like we talked about Super Bowl ads earlier, like there was a reason they use us so many times in the Super Bowl. You heard eight of us a half a dozen times or a dozen times there. The US is going to be its own company and Amazon is just getting bigger and bigger. And they're either going to be shirking from antitrust legislation or trying to make eight of us it's own thing. 

Ryan Alford [00:41:45] So it's fascinating. 

Robbie Fitzwater [00:41:48] We live in very interesting times.

Ryan Alford [00:41:51] Robbie enjoyed it as always 

Robbie Fitzwater [00:41:53] Ryan it's always a pleasure to look forward to doing it. 

Ryan Alford [00:41:57] Well, I hope everyone enjoyed it. And I hope everyone has a great rest of the week depending on when you listen to this. But please follow along at Radical Company. You can link to all of our podcasts there. Please subscribe and like the podcast, Robbie and I would really appreciate it, give it your love, give us some love and till next time.