Podcast: Best Practices for Brand Organizations Seeking to Hire Outside Agencies with Chris Fryburger, Founder of nReach
February 13, 2020
Here’s a glimpse of what you’ll learn:
- [01:08] James introduces his guest, Chris Fryburger
- [01:54] How brands have evolved the way they work with agencies over the past two decades
- [04:24] Why Chris decided to start nReach
- [07:16] The biggest mistake companies make when it comes to selecting an agency to work with for Amazon
- [08:45] Chris talks about why brands need to get Amazon-specific agency
- [11:31] Chris shares the importance of understanding what your problem really is before searching for and hiring an agency
- [14:41] Is it possible for different agencies to work together to tackle a specific company’s ecommerce strategy
- [17:10] Chris talks about his perspective on how to build & maintain a brand that has real brand equity to it?
- [21:56] Chris shares why senior brands need to reevaluate their perspective when it comes to competing in the Amazon marketplace
- [24:56] Chris discusses the trigger point that can lead to brand leaderships to take the management of online marketplaces more seriously
- [27:58] When did Chris realize that he was good at working with helping brands
- [31:22] Chris’ professional mentors and the best advice received that helped his career trajectory
- [32:36] Chris’ advice to brands to help them develop a successful strategy for their Amazon channel
In this episode…
When you’re a brand looking to make a name on Amazon, it can get overwhelming because of how competitive the market is and how many facets there is to consider when building a strong rapport with your target clientele. Most companies rely on getting an agency to help them navigate the complex world that Jeffrey Bezos has created and this, according to Christ Fryburger, just might be the first big mistake that any brand can ever make.
Chris Fryburger is an Amazon matchmaker that helps brands partner with the right agency that will help address the right problems that need resolution in their Amazon branding and marketing scheme. He says that more important than getting an Amazon-expert agency is determining the true problem that your brand needs to tackle and the rest will eventually just fall into place.
In this episode of Buy Box Experts, James interviews Chris about his experience in helping dozens of brands get their A-game set into motion in Amazon, the importance of identifying the right problems and finding a corresponding agency that can help you solve them, and why bigger brands need to take the management of online marketplaces more seriously. Tune in on this amazing episode that tackles the power of finding your perfect match in the ever-competitive world of eCommerce business.
Resources Mentioned on this episode
Sponsor for this episode
Buy Box Experts applies decades of e-commerce experience to successfully manage clients’ marketplace accounts. The Buy Box account managers specialize in combining an understanding of clients’ business fundamentals and an in-depth expertise in the Amazon Marketplace.
The team works with marketplace technicians using a system of processes, proprietary software, and extensive channel experience to ensure your Amazon presence captures the opportunity on the marketplace, not only producing greater revenue and profits but also reducing or eliminating your business’ workload.
Buy Box Experts prides itself on being one of the few agencies with an SMB (small to medium-sized business) division and an Enterprise division. Buy Box does not commingle clients among divisions as each has unique needs and requirements for proper account management.
Welcome to the Buy Box Experts Podcast with your host, Joseph Hansen. We bring to light the unique opportunities brands face and today’s e-commerce world. And now here’s your host, Joseph Hansen.
James Thomson 0:18
I am James Thomson one of the hosts of the Buy Box Experts podcast. I’m a partner with Buy Box Experts and formerly the business head of the selling on Amazon team at Amazon, as well as the first account manager for the Fulfillment by Amazon program. I’m the co-author of the Amazon Marketplace dilemma and co-founder of Prosper Show, one of the largest continuing education conferences for Amazon sellers today. This episode is brought to you by Buy Box Experts. Buy Box Experts takes ambitious brands and makes them unbeatable. When you hire Buy Box Experts you receive the strategy optimization and marketing performance to succeed on Amazon. Buy box experts is the only agency that combines executive level advisory services Expert performance management execution Amazon channel strategy go to buy box experts. com to learn more. Today our guest is Chris Freiburger. Chris has worked with brands for two decades, both on the agency side and now as founder of n reach a firm that helps match brand organizations with agencies. Chris goes deep and understanding the needs of brands. So us to provide a consultative solution in finding the right service providers, the right services. Chris is bringing his expertise to us today sharing best practices on how brands can find suitable outside agencies and support your business needs. So welcome, Chris. And thank you for joining us today on the Buy Box Experts podcast.
Chris Fryburger 1:42
Oh, James, thanks so much for having me.
James Thomson 1:45
Chris, I’d like to start our discussion by getting your thoughts on how you’ve seen brands evolve the way that they operate with agencies over the past two decades.
Chris Fryburger 1:54
Oh boy, that’s a that’s a big question on pack there. Just a little bit more background on myself. I’m about 25 years in the ad agency business really go back to almost even before Google was adopted in the industry, and really before they were kind of digital agencies, if that makes sense, in the sense of Google, and the pre Amazon world, if that makes sense, as well. You know, brands, I think it ebbs and flows, a relationship with any agency, again, whether it be a traditional ad agency or not. I think the the issue you’re seeing in general in the industry right now is there’s a lot of shattering going on. There’s it’s very easy or easier to start an agency as a type of business model. And I think you’re, you’re seeing a lot of brands jumping into just, you know, smaller agencies are a lot of shattering going on there. So it’s a large used to be a large pie with a lot of, you know, a number of enough for all players if that made sense. But now, I think in that in that world, there’s a there’s a lot of commodity, if that will now that said now along comes Amazon and my reaction actually I’ll become ended up introduced to the Amazon world is our brands that the CEO was with at the time started to ask us questions about well, you do our, you know, you do our DTC website, you do our PPC ad campaigns, you do our SEO on online, you do our branding, both online and off influencer. And the list goes on and on. But what’s your plan for Amazon? And I think as a whole in that industry, I it moves awfully slow. And I think there is no answer there. There’s almost and there’s there’s various theories as to why this is. But the ad agency world really has got no plan for Amazon at the moment. And so you have you see the couple’s cottage industry come up, much like by box experts that are reacting to that, that gap of knowledge that Amazon resent represents. And so yep, so that that said, I think brands interact with agencies. Less than a less loyal basis, maybe I’m almost, you know, it used to be that you had an agency of record and you put all your eggs in one basket. Yes. And I think that’s also something that’s shattering as well as you might have multiple agencies, doing multiple tasks for your brand and those type of things as well.
James Thomson 4:17
So given all the kinds of experience that you had, why did you decide to start inreach versus doing some other kind of venture? Sure,
Chris Fryburger 4:24
you know, a couple years ago, again, was working with an agency looking around I at the time, I was actually tasked by that agency to go look at other agencies and really do a poll to see are they behind? Are they ahead of the curve with Amazon, you know, what’s the reaction and unfortunately came back and said, Well, the good news is that no one’s doing anything in the industry. And you know, the opportunity is yours that the problem is is that now you have all these younger, faster, Amazon specific agencies popping up and you have to compete with as well And oh, by the way, you can’t hire anybody in this industry, because they don’t exist, and so on so forth. So you know, the good The nose is not good, but when I started in reach was that there was a result of this explosion of providers and, you know, we we folk, we tend to focus on the marketing and advertising side of things, again, the front end things, brand protection, optimization, you know, listing management, account management, those separate things is very important, obviously, but there are other categories that need to be taken care of as well. And that goes into legal issues, accounting issues, that goes down to obviously fulfillment logistics, down to even some cases, programming issues, they might need to be resolved with Amazon. And the more Amazon, the more providers and all of those categories I talked to, the more I realized that because it is so new, you know, and James, you might disagree, but you know, I might put it at maybe five to eight years old, you know, which makes you agent, by the way, James in the industry. But, you know, really that’s where you start started to see that I would even contend to even the next last two to four years, you’re starting to see more and more providers in these areas exploding. And the problem is, is that those companies are not is mature, I would say that, you know, again, there may be skewed a little bit younger, they may be, they may be really good at pushing levers, they may be good at optimizing numbers and those type of things and not to dismiss that because those are the experts that everyone needs in this space. But they also don’t have say the business acumen, maybe we’re season or maybe our season is as maybe they you might interact with in other industries. And so what inreach does is we are basically a vetted network of providers. And that’s, again, James, how you and I talk is really began to talk as well is that, you know, really, what I found was that I was going to evaluate everybody equally. But what became apparent in the industry is that what the most important factor is really the maturity of the company that you’re working with whatever the space may be. And so what I do is I vet those providers, almost like an a real estate agent betting houses, and then I match the two together really into matchmaking. relationship at that point and so. So yeah, that’s what unreached does.
James Thomson 7:05
So you’re dealing with a lot of brands today. I’m curious, what are the mistakes that you’re still seeing them commonly make when it comes to selecting agencies?
Unknown Speaker 7:15
Chris Fryburger 7:16
the biggest mistake, I think I see is really for being prepared to work with a an outside provider event again, of any sort. So, you know, when I’m talking to a lot of these companies, they really can’t express or maybe maybe potentially even written down what they feel their needs are with Amazon. And again, that could vary with, we’ve been on Amazon and we kind of went stagnant and we want to take it to the next level. We tried this, this and this is our history. These are the things that we think we’re looking for, or it could be a startup product, or it could be we don’t know what to do with Amazon, and neither does our CEO. And so our requirement is we really like to talk at a business level about what Amazon means to us and plan for the future. Again, there’s a lot of great And that as well. But yeah,
James Thomson 8:03
you talked about this in your introduction. And certainly one of the biggest challenges that we have it by box experts is that when we’re looking for prospects, at many of the larger brands, they have that existing relationship with the large marketing agency. But the firm doesn’t have enough Amazon channel experience or offerings for meeting the needs of those brands. How do you see brands smartening up to the fact that they need an Amazon specific perspective? Even if that means not getting it from the incumbent agency that’s already there? What has to happen? right to say there’s a better way, there’s a different way. It doesn’t involve using big holding company or a large incumbent marketing agency that has been with them for a long time.
Chris Fryburger 8:45
Yet you you touch on a lot of things there. You know, one is, you know, sort of that the actually the industry as a whole in the ad agency world, even the large conglomerates like WP or Poulos they may have purchased an Amazon specific agency that sits off the one side, but really they do not have an Amazon focus. And so in that, at least as an agency world, holistically, and so I would just preface that quote the And my answer is that there are very, very few agencies out there that have any Amazon expertise as well at all. You know, it really becomes down to the client. Again, I think this is indicative of how clients interact with agencies and ibraham brands interact with agencies is that if your agency does not provide something as fundamental, in you know, recent and probably the most important thing, I think they’ll probably handle it. Certainly, if there were a retail brand, or even a b2b brand that sells anywhere online, probably the most important, impactful event in their entire in the entire history of e commerce really has been needing an emergence of Amazon and who knows where it’s going from here. I think I suspect it’s actually just started. And so if you don’t have a plan at this point, and your agency doesn’t have a plan for you or isn’t coming to you with solutions to say, this is this is not just the channel this is more than a channel this is this is the channel potentially For your brand, and we are here to serve you in all respects with that, I would fire that agency at this point, I would just I would really accuse them of being behind the ball by two to potentially eight years behind the ball. And I would find an agency that is that savvy in that and unfortunately, this current situation, I shouldn’t say unfortunate. It’s very fortunate for the likes of you, James. But unfortunately, right now, you you have to then be cast out into this new Bezos world, which is I think everybody would agree would be, you know, like, and really the wild wild west at this point. And so finding providers finding trusted gunman, you know, to man your stage coach can be a challenge, given that and so there’s a trade off. I think, again, if my agency wasn’t, didn’t have answers as fundamental like this, that to my brand, I would find a different agency.
James Thomson 10:55
So one of the one of the situations we run into commonly is when We go talk with brands. They don’t realize what problem they’re trying to solve. They just know that they need an Amazon perspective. And unlike hiring an agency to go in and say, Hey, run my Google advertising, that’s a that’s a fixed problem that’s well understood, at least in the sense of, hey, I need to spend money on Google. And here’s some budget, go do it. But what mistakes Do you see brands making when they’re conducting their provider search today, when in fact, they don’t even understand what the problem is? Yep. You,
Chris Fryburger 11:31
James that is, that is the largest thing. Probably the uncertain said thing in the industry right now. I think it’s the thing I run into the most. And I would really contend it’s, I likened it to C suite business planning, if that makes sense for Amazon. Because again, it’s not just a channel, it’s not like you’re opening a new store or something along those lines for you to sell your product through again, or it happens to be another retailer, you know, by box or things like again, you’re really repeating the same thing. over again, you just need more of it. Amazon is fundamentally has every issue possible. That has to be figured out and it’s changing all the time. And so, you know, you know, I guess to to answer your question, I mean, there’s, there’s a, there’s a fundamental need for business planning in this space. And what I mean by that is what the CFO needs to make such a financial decision, and expectations set with that as CFO as far as what Amazon means to the company, and where that bolts onto the financial plan, which bolt on to the business plan. I mean, that by the CO signing off on it, or another C suite owners, the VP of Sales who’s threatened by Amazon, and its distribution network or how he’s done sales in the past, all of those things need to be addressed prior to picking a PPC company to run your PPC campaign to PR your analogy. And so, and they’re probably six or seven steps before that should be decided on and so on. So the answer question, absolutely. It’s it. You know, there’s a challenge. there’s a there’s a, there’s a need, I would say sometimes this is thrown into the marketing managers lap right at a brand. Usually it’s a mid term mid person, they say get our listings up, right? I see this in fortune 100 companies, we just need to get up, we need to get them up on Amazon and they throw them up and they kind of lit learning. They’re doing some optimization. They read about SEO, so on so forth, and they’re up and running and they’re, you know, they’re technically going down the road, right. But the fundamental lack of understanding what the opportunity cost of doing it right versus doing just doing it, in this space is, you know, incalculable, incalculable And so again, you know, not to harp on the point but you know, expertise like yourself, James in the in the business world of able to say this is what Amazon means to you, as a company and a brand is what I run into the the most need of and the least amount of expertise that out there. Right now,
James Thomson 14:01
how do you see different agencies working together on the same brands overall ecommerce strategy? That is to say, you’ve got a big holding companies agent ad agency there, plus you tack on an Amazon agency? How do you see those organizations working together? Because the challenge we see repeatedly is, typically, there’s a tactical conversation that says, Well, we manage ad budget, what you’re really doing is saying, take some of that ad budget and move it over to Amazon. Obviously, there’s a lot more to Amazon than let’s just manage some ad budget. But but that’s where the first line of Hey, I’m not going to be so friendly to that other agency. That’s where it typically starts.
Chris Fryburger 14:41
Excellent point, you know, combine that that agency may be at least in part compensated based on that ad spend. And so now, it also understand that there are tools in the media and the media agency world that the fundamental there’s like five or six big tools for placing large ad campaigns across traditional and media, TV, radio. Digital so on so forth, you know, place your Facebook and, you know, it’s all these pretty buttons you place in you plan to do this very intricate plan. But one of those buttons is not Amazon right now, believe it or not and within that’s why I think, again, James is nearing 13% I think of total span right now. And in the is a complete lack of integration with again what I think is the biggest fundamental disrupter in the space in two decades. So anyway, I shake my head when every time I think of it, but you know, they have to work together. That happens all the time in the in the traditional in Eddie, Eddie ci world, you know, I’ve worked with, you know, the likes of like Procter and Gamble, and so you may be around a table, a very, very large table with five other agencies. And the lines are clearly delineate delineated. But one thing that’s probably made most apparent between all of those agencies is you will work together or you will not be around this table anymore. And, and that’s just laid down by the client. So you know, dancers Maybe just something like that. Because there’s no other solution right now, you have to have an Amazon specific age if you don’t you and you’re doing any other way, you’re again, just lessening what you know, you could be achieving. And again, there are no ad agencies that your, your your ad agency right now, I would encourage you, anybody, any brand that’s listening right now with the dad, he all them up and ask him ask your account manager say, Hey, what do you guys, you know, what do you do with respect to Amazon? And just sit back and just let him you know, answer you. And I would suspect that there is no answer to that. I could be wrong. And maybe there’s some things that they patched up with that but there’s a fundamental you know, industry as a whole there is no answer for that right now.
James Thomson 16:42
For for our audience of brand executives, please share with me your perspectives on what does it take to build and maintain a brand that has real brand equity to it, especially in today’s era where there are a lot of these private label so called brands on Amazon. They’re a little more than a trademark logo and somebody packaging. And yeah, those are the brands that are competing against these big national brands that often don’t play the game as well as some of these stocks, small upstart brands, sure.
Chris Fryburger 17:10
That we tend, you know, there’s everything in between. So, you know, some of the famous like mattress brands that have sort of grown up, and they really only did DDC for instance, and, and, and scored big that way when you know, and did some maybe, you know, one or one of the two of the few successful influencer campaigns out there, and you hear about those as well. But, you know, I think we sort of answer your question, it’s a broad question that you’ve asked, how do you build a brand? Obviously, there’s a lot of equity in that like, and I guess I would answer it by just saying, you know, branding is probably the thing that’s least it’s one of those, you know, signs that that the industry is just not very you know, this is young Amazon industry is really just not aware of the importance of branding, if that makes sense. Because they don’t it’s not in the roots right? So an agency would come we’ve learned Amazon with the fundamental thing would be the brand is everything. It’s gotta look smell sound be supported as answer as look as everything else we do on our offline. And unfortunately, that’s the one of the things that suffers with a lot of brands out there as well. And so, you know, the your strength is your brand and why would you screw it up in the biggest store with the most amount of traffic going by it, but times, you know, a million of any other experience, why would you sacrifice what you do you spend, you know, a lot of like, for instance, Procter and Gamble not to pick on them, by any means. They’re, they’re masters at what they do. But you know, they, they make sure that across every touch point for that brand and Amazon being a fundamental one that they are trying, they’re struggling to figure out as well. And optimize for as well but including Amazon, whether it be a tweet, whether it be you know, an email, everything touchpoint has the same branding experience for the user. And that’s often I see a lot of that lacking in Amazon brands right now. And, again, it’s I think it’s a maturation that you know, hopefully service providers again, such as you say, self as such as by box experts, and the like. They have an appreciation for it. And I think they’ll lead the way in that as well. But yeah, I don’t think a lot of Amazon agencies
James Thomson 19:26
have an appreciation. Now, what’s crazy is that the very same brands that are represented by agencies that make clear that the brand is everything, any of those brands are actively managing their catalog on Amazon, they’re not actively managing who’s representing their brands, and those millions of dollars and decades of years time they put into building and investing in that brand. It’s almost this, this willing blind spot, saying, let’s not worry about Amazon, it’s still not really a big issue and yet your brand is being bastardized every day that you choose to ignore On this channel,
Chris Fryburger 20:03
you’re again, dead on you I was actually sat in a meeting where we just pulled up the listings for particular product, none of which were by the manufacturer that we were meeting with. And they were and we were they were not. Well, I could tell you right now, the President was not amused, but, as you say, a willing blind spot, because how would you not know that at this point in the game, in that, that that was occurring? The destruction of a brand can be completed, in some respects, that’s what kind of Nike I think backed out of is that they didn’t have control over a lot of those aspects of their brand. I think there’s other things there as well. But I mean, I think, yeah, I mean, I think there’s just a fundamental lack of that appreciation of a brand and on Amazon, I think Amazon was lacking in some respects, as far as you know, some of the flexibility on what you can do with your brand and those type of things online as well, but then that’s come along So it’s a little detriment on their part. But again, I can’t emphasize that enough that that that’s probably again a lacking thing in the space.
James Thomson 21:08
The barriers to entry to build a brand launching on Amazon, there’s almost no barriers. And you’ve got situations where small upstart brands are eating share on Amazon against large national brands that are used to having 25% market share in brick and mortar channels. How would you go about a discussion with some of these senior brand leaders around what you need to do to address this hyper competitive space called Amazon? It’s even even if you never encounter those brands, again, the number of times that I have shown, shown brands who they’re actually competing against on Amazon and their first question is, who are these people? Right? Yes, or is it almost doesn’t matter. What’s more interesting is you don’t even realize that they’re eating your lunch.
Chris Fryburger 21:56
Yep. Nor do I think they understood And, you know, I think that people don’t understand that there’s the money’s flowing by right now, like the opportunity cost of not being there and being proper properly on Amazon is occurring right now. Every second is, you know, they’re not doing it properly is a lost sale for the most part. And again, if you were to take this offline and say, you’re selling widgets through a store, and then you know, you’d say, you know, maybe I’m gonna have, you know, maybe I’ll sell this guy, something, maybe I won’t, you’re gonna be out of business really quick. So I just didn’t have, you know, the importance of the need and the haste of solving for a lot of these things for these brands. But, but yeah, you know, Yeah, I agree with what you’re saying and said, You know, there’s, there’s just a lot of knowledge problems there. And, you know, you asked the question of like, what would you be the first step that maybe I would do as a company? And, you know, I, and I keep coming back to the, you know, probably the, you know, the same answer and not to plug you James, but there are They’re probably a handful of people that I would sit down with any company that’s think has any questions about Amazon and would say you need to secure an hour or an afternoon with this person. And that would be money well spent. And again, not to not to fluff you up too much. But when I’m to answer your question is that it’s that top level executive level questions that you would that any hundred and 50 year old manufacturing company would would plan for decades to make a note of some fundamental change like this, but yet is now you know, half a decade behind on answering some of these questions. And so there, I would get experts in there. I would listen, I would, you know, understand that I don’t know what I don’t know, ask questions. I’d make my marketing people come to speed, apply all the things that they do now, right. They run campaigns, they run ads, you know, they run PPC campaigns, they have content for digital content, they do photography, they have copy, they know all the things that you’re doing now, for a brand there’s an applicable You know, the same applicable task lies there for at for it for Amazon as well. And so, you know, I think it’s,
you know, it’s it’s important that
you know, the C suite obviously is educated on all these things and I, again, long answer to your question James, but I would hire you as a first step, pretty much anything I was doing on Amazon or someone like you or you know, a consultant that’s going to, that’s going to walk us through a process that starts at with, you know, what does Amazon mean, to me as a company? What does it mean to me, you know, to my competition, you know, everything’s going to change, but I don’t know what’s going to change and I think those are the some of the things that you need to start with. As far as Amazon is concerned.
James Thomson 24:42
What is the trigger point, you believe, would cause the leadership team in a brand to come to grips? The online marketplaces need to be managed more seriously than they are today? What’s that trigger point?
Chris Fryburger 24:56
That’s these are good questions, James. I’m seeking it
Unknown Speaker 25:01
James Thomson 25:03
Amazon for 20 years, it’s not like, snuck up on you. It’s been there. Right? Right. As a consumer, you can go on the site and say, someone’s selling my brand and I don’t like it and gosh, look at the price erosion, right? Look at the poor data or the poor content. No, it’s like, how do we get people brands to say, you know what, it’s January 1 2020. We need to get our act together this year, we need to do something this year, versus let’s just keep putting it off and hope that the problem doesn’t become bigger next year.
Unknown Speaker 25:32
Yeah, you know,
Chris Fryburger 25:34
that’s, that’s just a big it’s a big question. Because I think, you know, just in the whole marketing world, I mean, I’m not gonna pack pick on agencies I’ll I’ll pick on in house marketing, folks as well. Is that it just I don’t, it’s not like it just snuck up on us, right. It’s not like Jeff just came out of nowhere, you know, in 2019. And we’re all figuring out what the heck’s going on. I mean, he snuck up on us but he pretty did it pretty pretty slowly and So we should all be reacting to Amazon in some respects in a how you get them to pay attention to I know I was speaking with once at one point I was speaking with one of the largest Auto Parts manufacturers in the country and they had made a fundamental decision not to go on to Amazon because it was disrupt their typical well their distribution network if you will, you know regions sales regions within regions kind of thing and you know, they’re selling a lot to you know, buy box and or to you know, stores and store shelves and in big box in the like in which they which they owned all of right and the largest brand and that’s in that’s in that space. But they decided not to go on Amazon because it was a fundamental threat. They thought it would scare they were scared of it. And they held off and held off to three years went by we pay him you know, say what, you know, you know, do you want to do anything in this space or You know, like, until we actually showed them that their competitor finally went on with them as well. And so, you know, their their competitor who’s also another hundred 50 year old company has the same distribution network, the same sales guys, they’ve all competed against each other, at 1.1 of them broke down and decided let’s do something on Amazon and that then disrupted the whole, that that whole space, obviously, this, you know, this company I was working with decided to go on to Amazon and, and are exploring it now. But, um, you know, so to answer your question, you know, maybe it’s a competitive move, maybe it’s, you know, the revenue and I would think the new revenue stream would be of interest. I, you know, you would think, yeah, no, but those type of things, but,
James Thomson 27:42
so let’s shift gears a little bit here. I’d like to understand from you what was the biggest turning point for you early in the early days when you started working with brands, when did you realize that you were good at what you were doing, helping brands do what they need to do as brands?
Chris Fryburger 27:58
Well, it it was a combination of things but the my first job had had Netscape one Dotto installed. So that’ll date me right there. And it actually just come out that day I started. So I’m actually I’m an engineer by by education, but that first job, I ran smack into the internet and really kind of obviously fell in love with any anything really digital. And then really the environment that that to fruition I happened to be within an agency wasn’t in a, you know, a SaaS software environment, I wasn’t an XYZ and that that’s kind of how I molded within that environment. That whole industry just hasn’t. You know, everything is obviously flipping over time to digital, all the budgets and everything. It’s all going one way and it’s just being that whole industry is being introduced being dragged in there. And oh, by the way, there’s this new kid on the block name, you know, Jeff, and we got to figure this out, too. You know, and you’d be surprised. It’s like been It’s been 20 years since Google’s been out, right, I think was 20. And then they just celebrate their anniversary. And it took 10 years to come up with mature SEO, you know. And so, and then maybe another 10 years to find, you know, every agency doing it kind of thing. I think you’re gonna see that with it with Amazon is that kind of onboarding as well, it’s gonna be a 20 year cycle.
James Thomson 29:21
But what has there been a point where you Chris Freiburger say, you know what, I? I have something to say to brands and brands. Want to hear what I have to say. Sure, they’re turning point where you realized, you know, I’m not just an engineer, I actually can talk to people in brands. Sure. Sure.
Chris Fryburger 29:41
Well, maybe it was never an engineer. Right. But
yeah, you know, I think it’s just with experience and having been just about, you know, having experience in just about every category out there. b2c b2b, I’ve kind of seen it all if that makes sense. Some good, you know, some bad Some ugly and with that I think just comes to a, you know, an ability to, to speak to brands, and say, at least from a digital perspective, you know, you should probably, you know, probably be doing this, this and this, or at least looking into those to be planning for those, you know, let’s look at the data and those type of things. And these are sometimes were things that brands don’t do, even today. And so the power of digital, and my ability, I think, to converse it or to, you know, convey it, I should say is, you know, helps with brands as well, and those type of things. So, I love it. I love this stuff. And I love Amazon, you know, I never thought I ran the space. And it’s like, Wow, this looks familiar. It’s kind of like it’s a reboot of the 2000s. It’s the same. It’s literally the same thing over again, and there’ll be something after it, and something after it. But the nice thing is that there’s not this the space is not crowded, it’s also sexy in a way that it’s moving fast. just throws us curveballs every day, and we love it. You know and And it’s just you know, from a digital perspective, it’s it’s hip, it’s now and, quite frankly, I think it’s overdue for just for every brand on the planet. So
James Thomson 31:10
talk to me about, you know, who are your professional mentors? What kind of advice Have they given you that’s really helped you to refine the way that you do what you do professionally.
Chris Fryburger 31:22
You know, there’s that’s another good question. I really my biggest mentor, and it’s going to sound cheesy is really is Google Alert. And, and what I mean by that is I’ve got some really good Google Alerts set up your name goes by all the time, but I’ve really got some, I think I’m tracking the right people in the industry, in this industry, but I’ve done in the past as well. With just advertising and marketing, I still have a lot of connections in that industry. They bought I followed them the like, we all hate LinkedIn, but I think it’s a wonderful tool for for tracking what’s going on and educating oneself. I tend to spend at least an hour in the morning, maybe Be over a cup of coffee to you, maybe I should be running or I should be doing something else. But that that first hour, I really just look at the industry with Google Alerts I’ve got coming in. And it helps me kind of not get so myopic and look at one source of information and kind of find some sort of a pulse across everything, if that makes sense.
James Thomson 32:21
I we’re almost at the end of our discussion, I have one one final question for you. I’d love to get know what are your thoughts on most important advice that you would take from your experience to give to brands to help them develop a successful Amazon channel strategy?
Chris Fryburger 32:36
It’s a good question. The reason I asked head You know, just want to clarify that a little bit is that you know, in in the question is that they decided to do something about Amazon which is I think is a is a critical thing. And then we will again to kind of the first thing I would say is are you ready for Amazon since it Are you ready to receive the answer? It’s basically are you willing to spend the time commitment to you know if you if to speak with professionals, learned about the industry, are you willing to learn yourself? those type of things? And I think that’s the first thing to success is, yeah, we know what we want. We know we don’t want we, we don’t understand all this stuff, but we know, you know, our goal is to understand this stuff by the end of 2020. We’ll write that down. Okay. And the reason I also say that is that if it’s in a proposal format, or a summary format of some, your needs, you can then shop that around, you could say, hey, James, can you react to these needs? And what you know, how would you solve this? And, you know, person x, y, z, or agency x, y, z or firm XYZ or consultant, freelancer, whatever the case may be, they’re all reacting to some constant, you know, some set of standards so that you can least measure and say, Okay, well, this person, you know, I like this person’s response better this person results and so, the first thing to answer your question is, you know, be ready for Amazon be have those things written down, have a plan that you know, all at least all look around the room and say, this is something we went to, we agree, that we’re going to spend time on to explore and it’s sounds silly. But often, you know, there’s there’s a middle, there’s a mid marketer, that’s it’s their initiative, and there’s not sign off from above. And so you know, they do all this work and they learn all these things and they come up with this great plan, but really what they should have started with it at the top down, not some a bottom up approach. And so the other thing I would just say, as far as picking, just do your homework, as far as any provider out there in any again, it could be a legal person could be an accounting person, could be an investor could be q, you know, an acquisition person could be anything a brokerage, but do your homework, and in this space, the word of the experts like James, there are others as well, but the movers and shakers, the ones you see out there with the blogs, and the newsletters and producing content, on ink and you know, Forbes and so those are the ones that you listen to, and if they were written within also just asked them for the recommendation in some in some respects to some in some of these spaces. Not the But don’t don’t bother James exclusively. But, you know, if you’ve got a trusted tech person that understands Amazon, ask them and say, Do you know of anybody in this space? And odds are that they will know somebody that knows somebody in this space. And unfortunately, that’s the best way to make decisions right now is really by reputation and recommendation.
James Thomson 35:18
Chris, I want to thank you for joining us today. Those of you interested in learning more about Chris’s organization, visit inreach.com. Chris, thank you again.
Chris Fryburger 35:27
Thanks much shapes.
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