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Joshua Chin - Strength Of Brand And Email Marketing With Chronos Agency

icon-calendar 2020-12-07 | icon-microphone 54m 14s Listening Time | icon-user Joseph Ianni
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Joshua Chin of Chronos Agency brings to the table, a yearning for freedom measured in time that he saves for others. In this episode of Ecomonics, a Debutify podcast, we talk strategy about email marketing, getting the best returns out of a Q4, unlike any in history and the importance of company culture. There was plenty to look forward to. The key is that you're looking forward.

Co-founder & CEO of Chronos Agency, a data-driven eCommerce email marketing agency. Chronos Agency’s clients enjoy an average of 35x ROI on email marketing. Josh and his team have worked with 200+ eCommerce clients to generate a 20-30% boost in trackable email revenue.

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Joshua Chin: [00:00:00] Some of the things that we have made intentional, uh, was in the name Chronos Agency so Chronos is a play of words on the I would say Greek God all the time. And that kind of stems from my belief of being in control of the time. It's very limited time that we have on earth and it's being able to, to gift someone else that same ability to control their time and what they want to do. Uh, is really powerful. 

Joseph: [00:00:37] You're listening to Ecomonics, a Debutify podcast. Your resource for one of a kind of insights into the world of e-commerce and business in the modern age. This is Joseph I'll be presenting a wealth of industry knowledge from interviews with successful business people and our own state of the art research. Your time is valuable so let's go

Joshua chin of chronos.agency brings to the table, a yearning for freedom measured in time that he saves for others. In this episode of Ecomonics, a Debutify podcast, we talk strategy about email marketing, getting the best returns out of a Q4, unlike any in history and the importance of company culture. There was plenty to look forward to. The key is that you're looking forward.

Joshua Chin. Good to have you here. Thank you so much for being on Ecomonics a Debutify podcast. 

Joshua Chin: [00:01:38] Joseph. Thank you so much for having me. I'm looking forward to this. 

Joseph: [00:01:41] It's a pleasure. Yeah. I, as I mentioned right before I hit record each and every one of them has been exciting. I don't see any reason why this one would be any different.

So let's fire this up with the most important question that we have to ask to get everything going is who are you and what do you do? 

Joshua Chin: [00:01:56] Yeah, I'm Joshua Chin. My friends call me Josh. I am the co-founder and CEO of Chronos Agency. We are an email marketing agency. We help high-growth e-commerce sprints take things to the next level with email.

And that's kind of what I've been up to for the past three and a half ish years. Right now we've been loving it. And we've been, we've had the luxury and the privilege of working with some of the fastest growing brand brands in the world. We have served over 200 brands. And with that comes a lot of pretty interesting experiences that I would love to share a little bit more about, and whole team is remote. So I guess that's. Also quite a fun little, a trivia or effect. 

Joseph: [00:02:41] We're the same way at Debutify. We have people in New Zealand, Australia. I want to start pulling countries out randomly. Oh, UK, we got, we got a guy in the UK. Uh, we got guys in India, uh, the, the hard part and maybe you'll, uh, you can attest to this too, but coordinating meetings is a bit tricky because people are on varying time zones. And so somebody ends up having to draw the short straw, so to speak. 

Joshua Chin: [00:03:08] Yeah, it's always hard. I mean, we, for quite, quite a long time, we've only had kind of two major time zones to work around, which was the U S the American time zones, mostly Eastern time zones and Asia, which is my time in Singapore, which is currently kind of the flip side to Eastern time.

Although we recently added a bunch of people in the European time zone, like the UK time. So that's, that's a bit hard, you know, that's the tricky one and I, I cannot even begin to imagine Australia and New Zealand that's even further away. So how, how do you make it work? 

Joseph: [00:03:45] Well, I have the I'm blanking on the exact name for it, but it's like it's a time converting system, uh, and we use Slack as our communication method. And so what I do is when I, when I'm looking at somebody on their profile, it does say what their time zone is. And I'm a chronic finger counter. I'm 30 years old. And I still count with my fingers. It's 9:00 PM from there, and it's a 6:00 PM for me here. So six to seven, seven, eight, eight to. Okay. Oh yeah.

Okay, cool. And so we worked that out, like I said, sometimes somebody just has to draw the short straw. 

Joshua Chin: [00:04:20] Yeah. true, makes sense. Yeah. But it's, I think with, with that, that's just one of the few, I guess, downsides of being a globally distributed remote team. The upside, I think, uh, is far, far more enticing and far more exciting to businesses.

Joseph: [00:04:39] Yeah, incidentally, because I also work on a solo episodes too, so it gives me time to do my own research. And the most recent episode that I was working on was actually looking at the pros and cons of remote work. And the pros really do outweigh the cons, but there are a couple of ones and I guess you can speak to them too, cause you're, you're fully remote.

And one of the cons I guess one of the major ones that stuck out is that. If there is an issue, they characterize it as a crisis. If the person that you need to resolve it is still asleep at 3:00 AM. There's a lot of downtime between him getting on and the fire, continuing to rage. I don't know if you've encountered any issues like that, where something really could have been stood to have been repaired within six hours, but you had to wait an additional 8 for that. 

Joshua Chin: [00:05:25] Yeah, absolutely. But they're far and few between I think. Yeah. It's not super common. And I think that we kind of anticipate that and when it does happen, we kind of know what to do. And the escalation stretches does help a little bit. Like if we can't get to this person, someone else is available in this time zone.

So it does help. It's not perfect. I don't think, but it overcomes some of that limitations, ideally we just don't end up going to crisis. So 

Joseph: [00:06:00] yeah. Yeah. I mean, cause the article that I'm looking at, I mean, it's hypothetical, right. But obviously a company is considering these things in advance, so they're more prepared for it .

Joshua Chin: [00:06:11] Absolutely yeah.

Joseph: [00:06:13] Yeah. It is something to definitely look out for. So one of the things that I wanted to ask from you mentioned from your introduction is, uh, and by the way, what we'll get back to the company culture, but, uh, we're on an hour's budget. So I want to make sure we get some really important stuff here as well.

Not that the other stuff isn't important, but here is here's me on my sixth Walnut breakfast. So you mentioned it was. You're working with the high growth clients, did I get  I get that, right.?

Joshua Chin: [00:06:35] Yeah. That's right. 

Joseph: [00:06:36] So that sounds to me like there's like a threshold or there's a certain criteria that you look into for people that you're working with.

So, uh, let's just say that a potential client is listening right now. I know you also have like a four step process that you deploy from meeting them to delivering a result. So let me, let me hear more about that. What do client's need to be ready and then what are they going to expect once they start working with you?

Joshua Chin: [00:07:00] Yeah, absolutely. So we typically work with clients that are at the one mil Mark in annual revenue and above. The reason for that is at that stage, companies are typically thinking about growing and scaling versus surviving. It's kind of, um, an arbitrary measure. So we do have clients on both sides of the benchmark and actually most of our clients are above that.

And the whole idea is that when a brand is ready to kind of switch things to high gear, uh, it often means that resources and infrastructure are lagging behind their growth. In e-comm growth is kind of like fast. It's like a hockey stick type of growth. So we've bridged that gap in terms of where they want to be in their profits and your backend marketing and where they're at currently.

So that's the reason why we typically only work with 1 million plus businesses. So the, the process that we, I would go through with clients, start with discovery. Uh, so discovery kind of entails us doing the research as extracting as much information as we can from our clients. Uh, and that kind of sets the foundation for everything else that we're going to be building upon.

So. That often happens before or very early on in the relationship. And once that is out the way, we'll have a bunch of kind of documentations branding guidelines, copy guides, brand personas and stuff like that, uh, that we then use to strategize. And we then map out the strategy using one our many frameworks, uh, around email, backend marketing, the customer, customer journey, retention, marketing, and stuff like that.

So that gives us a big picture of what we are going to be building sort of like the blueprint. The third step is executing and executing on the blueprint. And that takes anywhere from 30 to 60 days, depending on the complexity of that blueprint. And then it doesn't end there. It's the last stage is optimization and optimize.

So that's what we think. What has already been built. We run data through it, right? With traffic that's flowing. We often identify additional opportunities, challenges that we can then mitigate true split tests, additional, uh, emails, uh, and plugging leaks and gaps. And that's kind of the entire relationship and that can span across a short term project.

But most of the time. The most results and outcome typically comes from a long-term engagement and the relationship that we built with clients. And that's why I like to use the term partnership more so than a client agency relationship, because that's really what it is. 

Joseph: [00:09:56] Yeah. I mean, I felt that same way, not to the same scale or anything, but prior to working with Debutify as a freelancer, I would go client by client basis and yeah you know, you get tuned into a more personal relationship with them. And even speaking from a pragmatic sense, you know, being their friend, being somebody that they can turn to being a trusted advisor, uh, helps boost their, their loyalty because they realize how much additional value they're going to get out of somebody that gives them the full package.

Joshua Chin: [00:10:25] Absolutely. 

Joseph: [00:10:26] Now, in addition to the meeting, the, uh, financial threshold, uh, you said sometimes it can be like a little bit under a million, but. You know, in one way or another, they're definitely past, like you said, they're past the survival phase. Is there any other major criteria that a potential partner should have at the ready?

Is there any other reason why you might say, uh, you guys might not be the best fit for us? 

Joshua Chin: [00:10:49] Yeah. Traffic is an issue. If generating traffic is, is a problem. That's typically not a good time to start, but there are instances where we do take on clients, despite the fact, uh, that's when we are really excited about the brand or if we really believe in the idea behind what they're trying to build.

Uh, and that's kind of instances where we are taking a bet on investing in that relationship, uh, because truth be told the first month of the engagement is typically kind of break even on, from a financial standpoint for it, for the agency, either break even, or a very thin margin and most of the value add that we bring to the table and the value add that we are able to capture in terms of retainer happens from the subsequent months on onwards.

So that's the reason why we tend to shy away from just project work. But yeah, in some cases, when we do believe in the brand so much that we want to be a part of it and we kind of want to be the supporting hero that makes the brand a success 

Joseph: [00:12:01] I observed too, just for looking at your website is you obviously understand the value of branding and because your company put the time in to make a compelling brand yourself. What I identified is the color scheme, the warm cold color scheme, the blues and the oranges. It's very popular in film. If you look at a lot of posters, many of them will use, uh, blues and oranges to convey almost like a cycle of energy. There's a warmth. And then there's a cooling off, a warmth and cooling off. But that's the only one that I can spot, uh, aside from that. What else went into  your brand to, to make it so effective? 

Joshua Chin: [00:12:34] That's actually something that I did not intentionally think about. 

Joseph: [00:12:39] It's it's subconscious. That's the point, especially in film, it's just one of those things that is so ingrained in the, in the human experience that it's effective.

Joshua Chin: [00:12:48] It's a sense of flow. And I couldn't exactly pin that thought down until you put it into it. So that's, that's pretty cool. Thanks. Thanks for that. 

Joseph: [00:12:57] Good deed done. You're welcome. 

Joshua Chin: [00:13:00] And, um, yeah, I think with, as far as our brand is built, it's it hasn't entirely been 100% intentional. And I think that's the way that a lot of businesses have been built.

It's it hasn't been 100% conscious. So some of the things that we have made intentional, uh, was in the name Chronos agency. So Chronos is a, is a play of words on the, uh, I would say Greek God of time. Yes, Greek Greek God time, Kronos with a K. And that kind of stemmed from my belief of being in control of the time.

It's very limited time that we have on earth and it's that sense of being able to gift someone else that same ability to control their time and what they want to do, uh, is really powerful. That's what we try and do with, with Kronos and. Uh, the work that we do. So when we work with a client, everything is done by us from copied content to creatives and strategy. So on average, our clients spend about maximum of two, one to two hours per week in kind of communication and collaboration with, with us and everything else is done by us. And typically we spend up to a hundred hours per client per month. And that's, that's a lot of time in the agency world. And, um, that's kind of where we add the most value and creating that freedom for, for our clients to say, I don't want to spend this much time on something that I'm not a hundred percent interested in.

That's when we step in and we say, why don't let's do that for you. We're going to create not just a lot of time for you, but a lot of profits that you can then use to further your growth or do whatever you want to do with that additional set of resources and money. 

Joseph: [00:14:59] Yeah. I mean, I can see that by conveying the passion that you have for the work that you're doing, and also the passion for the results, the passion for the freedom that you deliver with people. It puts their mind at ease. 

Joshua Chin: [00:15:11] Yeah. Yeah, absolutely. I think it w we don't say it much, but I think it shows in the work that we do. And I think that's, that's all that matters. 

Joseph: [00:15:20] So, so you were so excited to work with these brands, and I know you've mentioned, uh, off the bat, uh, you'd be excited to talk about them. And so I want to give you that chance. What are some of the standout brands that you really feel like you've made a significant difference by working with them? 

Joshua Chin: [00:15:33] So, One that comes to mind is a beauty brand a beauty slash cosmetics brand. And they have been kind of hovering in the hundred to 200 K in monthly revenue range and generating about less than 8% of that from emails and repeat purchase rates were at about 4%. That was in late 2018. When they, when we first started working with them. And obviously there was a lot, a lot of work to do. Uh, and it's with a business that has a 4% repeat prchase rate. Uh, it's not as stable as most would want it to be. Uh, so when we came in, we looked for that when we, we saw repeat purchase rates were, uh, the biggest issue. Email wasn't done in the best way possible.

So when we came in, we looked at the automations that were created. Uh, what were. Basically kind of missing in terms of the customer's journey. And we kind of mapped it out in terms of a framework that we've kind of came up with from basically different sources of ideas. And we identified a couple of gaps in between the initial subscription, right, lead capture to conversion. So that we think of the email systems and a couple of phases, the lead capture to conversion and then from conversion to retention and retention to sunset, which is kind of the end of life cycle stage. So between subscription to conversion, it starts with the conversion on the lead capture form, which is just a pop-up. We realized that there was a huge gap in terms of what conversions could be versus what it currently was. What we basically did was a bunch of split tests, realigned the whole, the whole brand with its, uh, identity, the copy graphics and everything, making sure that everything looks and feels the same, uh, no matter what stage of the customer's app with the brand. Um, when we, when we did that change, uh, what started happening was the popups started converting twice as well on desktop and 20 times as well on mobile. So that was a huge difference. And that came down to a couple of things. Number one, the way pop-ups were triggered.

Initially, it was kind of just a, an exit intent pop up. And that was the case for, for the longest time. And that's typically default for most brands, but we decided to kind of switch things up a little bit and, uh, tested that against a scroll trigger, where in, uh, when the Patriot scrolled by 60% a popups triggered.

Joseph: [00:18:23] Ah, okay. 

Joshua Chin: [00:18:24] That worked essentially 20 times better than the exit intent. Yeah. So the hypothesis work worked out. We realized that people who scroll through the content page typically indicated sufficient interest to then convert into a subscriber. So that worked out super well. The timing was right. And then we kind of continued on that same philosophy across the entire buying journey.

And we ended up in the, in the matter of, well, it took, it took us a long time, but it was meaningful. It took us about a year, uh, to get to where we want to be. And, um, today we are generating about 20 plus percent of their total revenue with emails, but more importantly, about 20%. 20 to 30% of their total revenue is coming from repeat customers today. So that's a, that adds an additional layer of stability and profits to the company that wouldn't be there in the first place. So that's really the impact of what you can do. And what that essentially means is it basically gave the founders a new source of income that they can then use to reinvest in other channels.

So today they have more than just Facebook and Instagram. You have Facebook, Instagram. Uh, I'm not sure if Snap is still a channel for them but they experimented with Snap and they measured experiments with a lot more channels that they always would not have the resources and time to, to do. And that kind of take took things to the next level.

And today they're an eight figure brand. Who's still a client. 

Joseph: [00:19:57] That's amazing. I mean, exit intent, it makes sense as a default and even, the most customers will eventually want to exit a page so I can see why it works as a, as a foundation or as kind of like, uh, the go-to, uh, but.

Joshua Chin: [00:20:13] Makes sense. Yeah. 

Joseph: [00:20:14] When you, when we, when you realize that other people are going to be scrolling down and they're having an interest for it, uh, that makes sense as well. Are there any other, I don't want to say triggers cause that word, that word has a legacy to it, but are there other methods to identify or other ways you can implement a popup. So maybe if somebody is like, let's just say, for instance, there was a massive wall of texts and someone is reading it and they're engaging it.

Like you can tell maybe if somebody is reading that thing. And so they're obviously a fixated on the content itself, or if there's a video and people are watching for a certain amount of time. 

Joshua Chin: [00:20:49] Yeah, absolutely. Uh, so time-based triggers are what pretty well as a, as a trigger. Uh, we typically look at the time spent on, so we typically just focus on the top three landing pages on the website, and we'll look at the time spent on average, uh, prior to, uh, a bounce. So that's typically reflected on Google analytics or Shopify. And we'll take that stat and we'll kind of take a 10% discount or a slight discount on the average time. For example, if it's, if a people typically spend two minutes on it, we would set the trigger to go off at about a hundred seconds instead.

And that what's really well, especially if it is a content page where it's like a blog or a video, uh, embedded in it or stuff like that. Uh, if it's a product page, the scroll works a lot better because it's a lot more imagery. People kind of engage with images in a very different way versus texts or, or video.

So what I recommend is, uh, do a split test. If the popup suffer a loss for that, do a split test between between the two and see what works. But the hypothesis would probably stand in those cases. 

Joseph: [00:22:10] Excellent. Uh, there was another case study, uh, that I wanted to ask you about. Uh, cause I went through your YouTube page and saw some of your testimonials or case studies as you, as you refer to them Treexor Hi Tech, you recall that one?

Joshua Chin: [00:22:24] Yeah. 

Joseph: [00:22:25] Yeah. So that one stood out to me because the revenue increase was 500% and I don't know how to quantify that. So I want to hear about that story. And how did you guys manage to get 500% revenue? 

Joshua Chin: [00:22:39] Absolutely. So Treexor Hi Tech, uh, they are, they're actually a company that they're quite a big company, uh, at, at their peak.

I think they had about 300 employees, I think. And they essentially built a niche brands. And the logistic system behind that was basically a drop shipping type of system. So they scaled pretty quickly and they're able to kind of move very, very quickly and all they needed was a good margin, a good profit margin to go along with that scale so that they can then reuse that money to reinvest in growth.

Before they started, started working the best they, essentially had. Kind of plug and play typical. What, what you see is what you get kind of, uh, emails and it's, it's not the most ideal because you want a system that is able to scale with traffic, right. And it's not just take this template, plug it into your email software or just. Install this app, this cart abandonment app and you're good to go kind of a thing that would bring us to maybe like one 10% of its full potential of what email can do for the business. But as you really want to take things to the next level and maximize what you can do for your business, it has to be customized. So that's what we did. So we essentially built custom strategies for each, each of their brands. And we found what was the best converting strategy across the brands. And we experimented with, uh, and kind of duplicated that across the different brands, uh, with basically custom branding and copy and stuff like that.

Um, so that turned out very, very well. It turns out that in, their industry, uh, which was fashion and apparel, uh, email works extremely well. And they had an incredibly loyal audience who are you know people who are willing to buy again and again from, from them. And they have great service as well. So the reason why we're able to kind of five X their, their business as a direct impact from email was because email contributes it to more than one third of their total revenue at that point in time, essentially. So essentially what ended up happening was it compounded month to month to a point where they went from high, seven figures as a business to be on eight figures essentially low mid eight figures. So that's, that's always fun. 

Joseph: [00:25:18] You know, you, you reminded me of, uh, back when I would have to like go with my mom somewhere or I'd be sitting in the waiting room. Um, and I would get to see like a fashion magazine, uh, hairstylist appointment or whatever. And this is me being very young and I would flip through these fashion magazines. And there wasn't any content. You would almost think that it was just like, advertisement after advertisement there's just like a book of ads. And so, and I think it's a breath of fresh air in this new era because people who are into fashion, they're obviously drawn to the visual obviously, but they're also drawn to some of the insights that I don't think I, I mean, to be fair, I don't exactly a gobble up fashion magazines or anything, but for emails to actually provide insightful content, something that they can sink their teeth into and read, I think it goes a long way for that industry.

Joshua Chin: [00:26:07] Yup. And, and here, here's the thing. It starts not from the content in and of itself. It starts with the audience and understand who your audience or audiences are. And that stems from proper segmentation and segmentation comes from understanding what comprises your demographics and your audience. Uh, if you're able to identify clear categories of people who have distinct needs, desires, wants, and fears.

You can then create a content strategy that's hyper relevant for that group of people. And the limitations are, is it's really endless in terms of what you can achieve with this. But the, the practical limitation is basically just how much time and the ROI you get on your time from doing all of that stuff.

Uh, so we typically look at basically the top segments. The top identified interest groups for example. Especially if the business has distinct products, product lines, or products and services, it helps to categorize people in a, in a unique way, uh, that we can then deliver content that's hyper targeted for that group of people.

Joseph: [00:27:18] There was a question that I had, I had, it uh, chambered because when we were talking about Chronos' own, uh, own motif and how I characterize something for you that you needed me to tell you so that you can make a new connection in your head. And I'm wondering if you have done that for somebody else, but let me explain to my philosophy on this is that you have the company and you have the people who work for the company, and then you have the entity and it almost becomes like a spiritual thing where the entity, the brand itself begins to represent something that even the company doesn't realize that it was representing or it's so powerful that it goes beyond what the people are. And like to me, the, the, the company that would stick out to me, and this is Nintendo. Like, it doesn't matter who's working for it to the RVC. There's some important people who work for the company, Shigeru Miyamoto, but the entity itself is so important.

So when you're working with these brands, have you ever spotted something or noticed something about them that maybe they didn't realize they were doing. 

Joshua Chin: [00:28:16] There, there, there has been cases, but I think that the, the thing about Chronos is that we're,  we're still relatively young as a business, and we're not at our peak yet. So. The, the identity of the brand is kind of still tied heavily to the work that we do and to me. And that's kinda hard to decouple at this point in time. 

Joseph: [00:28:41] Okay. to be fair I just wanted to make sure it is,  I'm asking more about like the people that you've worked with, but your, your story is also compelling as well.

Joshua Chin: [00:28:48] Yeah. So w what I'm trying to say is it's, um, it often comes down to the impact that we have. And what that impact means to the business and the clients that we work with. Uh, rather than, looking at Chronos Agency as, as a brand or as an entity and having an emotional thought about that. Most likely because it, we are a service provider.

Uh, and until I believe that until we reach a certain scale of influence, uh, it's very difficult for people to envision what it would be like to work with us until they actually worked with us. There are obviously aspirations of what, uh, working with us looks like. And I think that most of that comes from within the clients more so than it does on Chronos Agency as a brand if that makes sense. 

Joseph: [00:29:41] It does. And also there are more pathways to get to that point, especially because of social media. You can convey a lot about the company, through the images that you take of it. And I mean, that was, to me, that was really one of the major takeaways, uh,doing my research for this is how really, how happy people have seen to be working for the company.

So I. I almost want to put a lid on that just for a second. Cause there's a couple of other things that I wanted to make sure I got to, uh, one of them is I always want to make sure that I cover everybody who's part of The Dropshipping Council, which, uh, you mentioned in your, uh, when we, when we got your questionnaire back, you said, yes, you're a member of The Dropshipping Council.

So what's your place in that? What is it that you bring to the council? How did you get into it? 

Joshua Chin: [00:30:23] So The Dropshipping Council is actually a pretty new organization I'm not a co-founder or anything. I'm a [?] I'm a con contributor to the content. So what they're trying to achieve at The Dropshipping Council is basically creating a community of dropshippers who are taking the business seriously, because  droppshipping is such a wide term that at its base, there are lots of people trying to make it happen to make it work, but there are people who are taking it seriously as a career, that's kind of the, I guess the peer to peer type of network that they're trying to create wherein everybody's aligned with, one another, in terms of what they're trying to achieve with the business, uh, they're open to sharing what they know, and they believe in the greater power of, of a network of people who are like minded.

So it's, it's kind of unique in that sense, because dropshipping is traditionally, I guess, a relatively opaque industry where people are kind of like hiding secrets from one and then keeping things to themselves, but more and more so that's kind of fading away today where we see lots of really good content and information being shared.

The history of dropshipping, I think is a little bit darker where lots of fraud and scam has happened. And I'm not sure it probably is still happening. But I think what people are trying to do here at the council is they're trying to shed  a little bit of a light at what what's happening in the industry and the right path to follow.

So, yeah, I think that's basically all I can kind of say about that. 

Joseph: [00:32:04] Well, I, I appreciate characterizing it as light. 

Joshua Chin: [00:32:07] Yeah, because I'm not a dropshipper my, myself, I actually started out dropshipping on eBay and that's kind of how I got that's how I tasted blood on the online marketing world. And that was a very long time ago. And it was nothing substantial. 

Joseph: [00:32:25] Yeah. Well, I have this a little bit of like a recurring campaign cause I speak to so many members and contributors of the council that, uh, in my head being a massive nerd as I picture like a round table, like a Knights of the round with a King Arthur figure. And so I'm encouraging each and every one of you to figure out like, Oh, what part of the, the, the Knights of the round you fit in and what role you would play?

That's my little, little seed I planted in your mind. And I hope it goes somewhere. 

Joshua Chin: [00:32:52] That's awesome. 

Joseph: [00:32:53] Thank you. So let's get into your company culture, cause that's a big deal. The biggest deal to me that I see is, and I know you guys aren't doing it right now because of the COVID-19 situation. But you guys had workcations, uh, work vacation and especially as a remote company where we don't really get to like have those, um, those incubation periods of people getting together in a room and bouncing ideas off of each other.

I do miss that, you know, I'm spending a lot of time in my apartment. So I'd like to hear about not just why it's appealing from the vacation front, but also why it's appealing from the workfront. 

Joshua Chin: [00:33:32] Yeah, absolutely. So workcations, man. I, I, I really do miss that. Um, and traveling in general, I actually, haven't seen my family in close to 10 months now I think. 

Joseph: [00:33:45] So, sorry to hear that. 

Joshua Chin: [00:33:47] That's no, actually wait nine months. Yeah. Nine months since, since January, but yeah. So workcations they're super important. I think for any remote team to grow scale and stay aligned, I think meeting up in person and in any shape or form is I think, highly beneficial. We got the idea.

At least I got the idea from, uh, from a company called automatic. Uh, they run WordPress, [?]Commerce, and a couple of pretty cool companies. Um, they are a fully remote team as well. A team far bigger than we are, I think at least 10 times bigger than we are. So they have a quarterly get togethers. I'm not sure what you call them anymore, but essentially get gatherings of people in, in a, in a similar region, uh, that the company funds, uh, we're small enough to kind of get everybody in the same location.

So that's what we do, but it's, yeah, it's still is getting harder and harder just because we grow. Uh, it's super important because it realigns everyone on the same mission, uh, and vision and the purpose of why we do what we do. And often that's very hard to achieve solely from one hour zoom meetings every week or even every day.

Uh, it's not always the most effective meeting. There is value in kind of meeting a person and shaking hands hugging and, um, just connecting in person. And that's what we try to do. So that's kind of the foundational reason, the why we have workcations, but on top of that, obviously it's fun meeting everyone they work with for such a long time.

Finally, you get to meet them in person. That's always a fun thing. And it's, it also helps kind of create a bond that we then build upon in the, in the virtual world. The online bond is very different from what you can build in person. And that's what we found. So. We also conduct a mini strategy sessions for specific teams. So we are a team of about 70 odd people today. And it's, we're kind of teamed up in, in, in account account teams where we're in there as a manager, a couple of account executives who then report to a, an operations manager who then report to my COO and my co-founder. So we kind of create, uh, create like little activities and strategy sessions to come up with new, fresh ideas on how we can add, further that value to a client.

Then the, the, the marketing channels that we work in that's email SMS and messenger marketing. And on top of that, we also have like a broad overview of where the company's headed towards. And we often get inputs and discussions from, from people on. Often, very controversial topics and that's always very effective, uh, in creating better engagement with the people that we work with.

And it's kind of easy to lose that sense of being a part of a team and being engaged in work, especially when people are so far apart and you kind of just logging into a virtual network of a room. So having that activity, that definitely helps. I like traveling. So visiting a new location, every workcation is always fun for me personally. And I think a lot of people find it enjoyable as well. So it's kind of like a perk. 

Joseph: [00:37:25] Yeah. I mean, I haven't been much of a traveler myself and I think being a confined even more so than I usually am is starting to eat away at me to the point where as soon as I can travel, I think I'm going to want to do that. The other thing too, is that when I would first start, like, let's just say like a job at a grocery store, which I would have done. There's a lot of sensory information that conveys to myself, subconsciously that this is a place of work and that there's a level of seriousness that I have to take this. And so when I, I remember my first day as a grocery clerk, uh, and they took me into the back room where all the magic happens, you know, all, all of the products that we're holding for customers. So they can come up to us and say, do you have any more of this in the back? Yeah, we were, we were told they're holding stuff in the back, just so that we can wait for customers toask us that question. Um, anyways, and it was, it was such a raw experience. Uh, those people move around in the forklift and boxes all over the place and other people, nodding meetings, shaking hands and, and water coolers. And I mean, it's a lot to take in, but it conveys that this is a job and it conveys the reality of it. And it can be difficult to to have that same experience when I could minimize my work tab and open up Dota. Yeah. All that all in kind of like two seconds. Yeah. Not that I do. I mean, you know, I gotta get my job done, but having the ability to do yeah yeah fair enough.

So it's yeah. And so being able to, to go and meet with people in person is, uh, it, it conveys that sense of this is this is what I'm doing to contribute to the greater good. 

Joshua Chin: [00:39:08] Yeah, and this is real, uh, it gives a sense of, uh, tangibleness, tangibility to, to the whole yeah, yeah. To the, to the whole, um, experience. And, and I, I often say this, if you're going to be spending 70% of your waking adult waking life at something, and that's typically work, it has to be something that's good. And you, you have to be engaged in it. And if you're not, it's. It's such a waste of just life in general and time. We try to create options  beyond just workcations, we try to create opportunities for that, for that to happen. Uh, and it's, it's really difficult because, you know, coming into culture from a ideals point of view, it's easy to say. We want to create the most flexible work environment that they're there possibly can be. But in reality, as an agency, as a service provider, who's responsible for, for the outcome of clients that we rely on this for a big proportion of their business, it can be very daunting when your team members are saying, I'm going to take the whole week off, right. Or I'm going to, you know, I have to be offline, uh, tomorrow. Or even I have to be offline in an hours time is that, that kind of takes away, I guess, the effectiveness of a flexible work environment, because then the outcome doesn't get achieved in the first place.

So ideals and reality often doesn't match is what I, what I've come to to find an often an ideal is an ideal for a reason. And we have to kind of take steps to get there. So in our context, flexibility and the freedom to find the path that you want to take to get to the objectives that you're responsible for often means it comes with certain restrictions and parameters that we have set in place, like being accountable for where you are, you have to freedom to go offline, but you can't just say, I'm going to go offline right now and just disappear for the rest of the day. Yeah. So things like that are still on one hand people come in as the expectation off, I have full reign over my work life and I have complete work-life autonomy. And what they come to realize is that [?] Under our rules and policies, that kind of prevent me from doing what I want because our responsibilities to my team and to my client, I don't like this anymore. And that's kind of the struggle that we face. And it's not sure easy. 

Joseph: [00:41:52] Yeah. I recognize that. I mean, one of the reasons why I was really happy to sign on to Debutify is that, you know in Ricky Hayes's  job posting one of the most important values was honesty and transparency. And I try to abide by that as best I can. And I certainly haven't worked in any position of this scale, right. To, to interview people whose time is highly valuable. You know, I used to interview comedians, not just comedians, but comedians in Canada so needless to say they, their time wasn't as valuable. They're not gonna be upset with me for that, but, uh, well, you know, bring it on guys.

Yeah. So, what I realized after being with the company, at least for about five months so far, is that I do have freedom in the sense that if I wanted to finish a script on a Wednesday, instead of a Tuesday, I can, I have deadlines. The deadlines have to be met. Yeah. But coming from the, uh, from more of the employee side, as opposed to the CEO side, is that I'm still disciplining myself just as much as if I had to show up for a shift, I've been consistently getting up early in the morning or before when I was strictly just freelancing. I got up whenever I wanted to, but I've restricted my sleep schedule. So now it's always, I'm going to bed around 11. I was getting up around eight. And then obviously recordings I can't miss those. So those are something that is tangible and is real and is serious. And I have to be there for those. It is from the employee side too, is to realize that, Oh my God, I can't believe I'm saying this with the freedom comes a responsibility. 

Joshua Chin: [00:43:30] Nice. That sounds familiar. Yeah. I totally agree with that. And so my kind of ideal kind of, uh, it evolved from do whatever you want as long as you achieve your objectives, your objectives, to set clear deadlines, set, clear outcomes that you're trying to achieve and achieve them. You know, I'm not too worried about how you get there. As long as you get there to today, where in a single individual is rarely, fully responsible for a single outcome. It's often a team that's responsible for an outcome. So when, when that's the case, the collaboration that needs to occur between the different team members becomes too high paced to properly quantify in single tasks where you have clear, defined outcomes, clear, defined deadlines for each, mini taks. It's too hard to do that anymore. So it's much more efficient and effective for the entire team to be available in the same time for the same task or for the same outcome. Right. So that's kind of the place that we're at right now. 

Joseph: [00:44:43] Yeah. That makes sense. Because if the team needs to rely on each other, you wouldn't want to parse out the necessary back and forth and necessary dialogue over the course of a week. They need to all have that dialogue within the timeframe. So that makes sense. 

Joshua Chin: [00:44:56] Exactly. Yeah. 

Joseph: [00:44:57] There was one last point that I wanted to just make about, um, like the workcation, because I think it's important to point out too, just in the grander scheme of how we can best, uh, deploy or best use our time or best to enjoy our time. Is that being there I assume is great. Uh, and that feeling of elation afterwards over it's also great too, but I think the most important part. Is the anticipation and the reason why is cause having something that positive to look forward to improves a person's mood, because optimism is why I think where people's energy comes from. Like if somebody is working out right, they're optimistic towards their results and they're, and they're almost borrowing their energy from their future self. 

Joshua Chin: [00:45:41] I agree. I absolutely agree. And I think that's a. That's that's a big actually in a lot of my one-on-one, uh, well, prior to the pandemic, that's actually what people often tell me that I often asked, you know, what, what are you looking forward to in the next quarter, on a personal note, I hear workcation a lot in those conversations and that makes sense. And I think it's something that people can look forward to despite the hard times challenges or whatever that they're facing on the micro level and day-to-day level. So I agree that that adds an additional kind of layer of benefit I would say to the team. 

Joseph: [00:46:26] I'm glad we both agree on that. Not that I thought there was going to be a different outcome or anything.

Joshua Chin: [00:46:31] No, I don't either. I hate that idea. 

Joseph: [00:46:35] You're just doing it for your, for your employees. All right. Well, you know, that's, that's noble of you. Um, so we're, we're, we're closing around to, uh, wrap up time, but I did have one other particular strategy that I was personally curious about. Having read through all of the, the works you had sent us. It was there in regards to discounting. Obviously like discounting, it's supposed to be like the bread and butter tactic in order to close a sale. I know cause I've done sales and uh, and a lot of cases if I had just 5% off, but it's going to be final sale, you know, it's, it's supposed to be an arrow in our quiver, but what you guys have done is you've made the case that it doesn't always reflect well on the value of the company to give away the discount right away.

Can you go through what your thought process is, and what's an alternative to discounting that, uh, that you guys go with. 

Joshua Chin: [00:47:27] Yeah, it, it really comes down to the identity of the brand and what the, who the audience is, but it doesn't mean that discounting, is it always bad or it's always good. 

Joseph: [00:47:42] Of course.

Joshua Chin: [00:47:42] It really comes down to, uh, firstly understanding what the marketing strategy of the brand is. How do they want to initiate the relationship? How do you want to start building that relationship with the customer? Some brands are much more focused on the initial sale and they'll do whatever it takes to make that initial conversion, because they know that once someone has experienced that product, they're going to love it. And retention is going to be super high. This is very typical of subscription type products, uh, supplements, um, beauty products, alike and stuff like that. So in those cases, an initial pretty crazy discount works super well. Uh, in some other cases where you want to protect the brand value, a good example, I'm not sure if they still do this, but if you look at Movement Watches or MVMT, they. Uh, in, in their pop-up form, they do not offer anything of any significant value. It's kind of just sign up for the latest product updates, the most generic thing you have, you ever hear from a pop-up form, but in works for them, I'm presuming that it works for them because they are a wildly successful e-commerce brand. And the reason I think that that worked out really well for them, despite not having any discount code. And I think that, and not having any clear return of value for an email it's because of just how strong their brand identity is and how much often influence they are in people's lives. So I'm presuming in their case, their strategy is start things off with providing content and building a brand story of why Movement Watches should be a part of a person's life.

And by doing so they are taking discounts and the price itself out of the equation. It's price in it's relatively low, I would say, in the grand scheme of things with watches. Uh, so they kind of understand that price is often not the biggest factor in making a purchase, but that's not always the case for ecom brands.

Joseph: [00:49:50] Well, like one thing I wanted to point out about a Movement is that, I mean, I listen to a lot of podcasts and so Movement is. They're they're one of those brands that shows up in podcasts. They tend to sponsor a lot of these shows that I listen to. And one of their major selling points is comparing the quality of their brand to the overpriced products in the watch industry. So they're disruptive. They're they're saying you don't need to pay this much for an expensive watch now. There is a little bit of like half-truth to that. Like a lot of luxury brands can be overpriced, but I've been in the watch industry. I've a lot of the sales jobs I've had, I've worked in sold watches and some luxury watches. And there is a lot of additional work that goes into making these things. It's a lot of precision. Yeah. So there are markups that are higher than what I think the average markup, but. The other point too, is that if you want a nice looking watch that doesn't break the bank, then you can go with Movement watches.

So I think customers go in already thinking that they're getting better value for a product that they would have to pay more money elsewhere anyway. 

Joshua Chin: [00:50:59] Yeah. A hundred percent. And understand that, that reason why people come to you is super important. But the thing is it's not always possible, especially at the earliest stages of, of the business where you're kind of still figuring out what the exact product market fit looks like, who the audience truly is, uh, what the brand personas look like. Um, so it is a process of discovery and, uh, well, just to throw in a couple of ideas here, alternatives to discounts, what we have experimented with pretty successfully include eBooks, guides and content based give aways. These, uh, these tend to work pretty well in the utility driven products, where people are coming to the brand to solve a problem. Painkillers. Basically it works less effectively for vitamins like beauty brands. Uh, it doesn't work as well, as far as our tests are telling us. So that's kind of one, a practical tip I can giveaway.

Joseph: [00:52:08] Fair enough. So that's everything that, uh, I can make time for it today. I have to say this has been an excellent conversation as anticipated. If there's any last little bit of wisdom or any parting thoughts you want to leave the listeners with you have the floor one last chance. 

Joshua Chin: [00:52:23] Don't forget about email as you scale. I mean, a lot, lots of brands just forget about what is the oldest marketing channels there is. Uh, and then they're literally just leaving about 22% additional revenue on the table, but not doing it the right way. So yeah, especially this BFCM, it's so important. It's so important. They could easily add an additional 20% to your bottom line if done the right way.

So, yeah, definitely spend some time on it. Spend some resources on, on email. It's gonna pay off multiple times. 

Joseph: [00:52:55] And if you're convinced, uh, with what was talked about today, it's a chronos.agency. 

Joshua Chin: [00:53:01] That's right. That's C H R O N O S.agency. no.com. 

Joseph: [00:53:08] All right, Josh, thanks so much for, for all your time today and thanks to everybody for listening. I'll see you guys next time. 

Joshua Chin: [00:53:15] Thanks for having me. 

Joseph: [00:53:18] You might've found this show on any number of platforms, Apple Podcasts,  Spotify, GooglePplay Stitcher, or right here on Debutify. Whatever the case, if you enjoyed this content  and want to help us thrive, please take a few moments to leave a review on Apple Podcasts or wherever you think is best.

We also want to hear from you. So whether you think you'd be a good guest or want to weigh in on anything related to our show, you can email podcast@debutify.com or connect with us on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and Tiktok. Finally, this podcast is created by the passionate team at Debutify. If you're ready to take the plunge into e-commerce or are looking to up your game, head over to debutify.com and see how it can change your life and the lives of many through what you do next. .

Written by

Joseph Ianni

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