Why Measuring ROI on SEO is Crucial for Revenue Growth

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This is a podcast episode titled, Why Measuring ROI on SEO is Crucial for Revenue Growth. The summary for this episode is: <p>Businesses can’t afford to ignore SEO. In this episode, Marcia Barnes, CEO and Founder of Valve+Meter, shares tips for measuring organic search performance and optimizing content creation so that you can drive growth and increase revenue.</p><p>---------</p><p><strong>Quote</strong></p><p>“The problem with instant gratification is our SEO work was getting 6 to 10 times more return on marketing spend than the paid media was, and so we started to really understand the power of SEO. Since then, we’ve been equipping our clients with good organic traffic methods through content, SEO, and conversion rate optimization to drive results that are helping people 10X the valuation of their business.”</p><p> ---------</p><p><strong>Key</strong> <strong>Takeaways</strong></p><ul><li>When you can measure the return, you must.</li><li>Invest in content. You will not see results from paid ads that you will from content.</li><li>Clients who say marketing on the Internet doesn’t work for them will get left behind.</li></ul><p><strong>Time</strong> <strong>Stamps</strong>:</p><p>* (:56) How Marcia became a marketing ROI expert with proven results</p><p>* (2:15) How to demonstrate ROI on SEO spending </p><p>* (5:16) Why it’s crucial to measure the return on organic traffic converting into leads</p><p>* (13:04) What attribute to look for when hiring marketers</p><p>* (23:23) Marketing myths Marcia has busted along the way </p><p>* (29:50) The top 3 must-have marketing tools</p><p>* (30:30) Why it’s important to consistently invest in learning new skills </p><p>--------</p><p><strong>Sponsor</strong></p><p>This podcast is brought to you by <a href="https://www.demandjump.com/">DemandJump</a>. Tired of wasting time creating content that doesn’t rank? With DemandJump you know the exact content to create to increase 1st-page rankings and drive outcomes. Get started for free today at <a href="https://www.demandjump.com/">DemandJump.com</a>.</p><p>--------</p><p><strong>Links</strong></p><ul><li>Connect with Marcia on <a href="https://www.linkedin.com/in/marcia-barnes/">LinkedIn</a></li><li>Connect with Christopher on <a href="https://www.linkedin.com/in/christopherday2/">LinkedIn</a></li><li>Connect with Ryan on <a href="https://www.linkedin.com/in/ryan-m-brock/">LinkedIn</a></li><li>Learn more about <a href="https://valveandmeter.com/">Valve+Meter</a></li><li>Learn more about <a href="https://www.demandjump.com/">DemandJump</a></li></ul>
SEO efforts tend to see much higher ROI than paid marketing efforts
01:02 MIN

Speaker 1: Welcome to Page One or Bust! Your Ultimate Guide to getting on page one of search engines. In this episode, we're talking to a marketing ROI expert with a proven track record of growing annual revenues. Marcia Barnes is the CEO and founder of Valve + Meter. She dives deep into why measuring return on the SEO is crucial for success. Then later, Marcia shares advice on how to best pivot through industry changes to ensure that your company always stays profitable. But before we get into it, here's a brief word from today's sponsor. Page One or Bust! Is brought to you by DemandJump. Get insights, drive outcomes with DemandJump. Get started creating content that ranks at demandjump. com today. And now here are your co- hosts Christopher Day and Ryan Brock.

Christopher Day: Hello. Welcome to Page One or Bust! This is your co- host Christopher Day, and as always joined by my co- host Ryan Brock, the Chief Content Officer at DemandJump. How's it going today, Ryan?

Ryan Brock: Yo, it's going well. I'm actually in the middle of moving houses right now, so my mind feels like it's compartmentalized in a few places. I'm looking forward to this conversation. Get it focused again.

Christopher Day: I love it. I hope you got a 40 yard dumpster. All right. So we have a great episode lined up. Today, we are talking marketing ROI with a CEO, founder and marketing expert. We'll dive deep into strategy and how to pivot through big industry changes. As we all know out there, marketing is now expected to be a revenue function. Marcia Barnes is with us today, the CEO and founder of Valve + Meter, a performance marketing agency. Marcia, how's it going?

Marcia Barnes: Terrific, thanks.

Christopher Day: Awesome. All right, well, let's kick it right off. Talk to us, Marcia, about your career journey in marketing, and you've been the CEO of large companies as well and how that all led to Valve + Meter.

Marcia Barnes: I didn't exactly have what we would say as a textbook entry into the field of marketing. I started out as a librarian, actually. I was lined up for a new job at Xavier University to replace someone who was going to be having a child and not returning to work. There was a four or five month wait in there and I took a job as a salesperson selling advertising specialty items over the phone, and in the first week broke the company sales record, made more money than my dad was making as an engineer at Seagrams.

Christopher Day: I love it.

Marcia Barnes: And five times more than the library paid, so never looked back from there, and for many years had a call center career. As a business owner as well, I've done four startups in my career and two of those being in the call center world. In one of the call centers I owned 20 years ago, we were doing lead generation for companies through outbound telemarketing. I had this guy call me from Indianapolis just randomly. We were introduced by a person in Texas. So I've always called it a God thing where we accidentally met. He was running an ADT Security business out of the spare bedroom of his home, doing about$ 2 million in revenue. He hired us to set appointments for his outside sales reps to sell security systems. So we took that client on and within the space of the first 90 days, we took him from a$ 2 million run rate to an$ 8 million run rate.

Christopher Day: Wow.

Ryan Brock: Wow.

Marcia Barnes: So just world changing for this young entrepreneur. This is a 30 something Dave Lindsay, so a lot of your listeners will know him. So Dave wanted to buy my business from me and have us join his company. I was raising a couple kids and my youngest has cerebral palsy and I was homeschooling him from the office. And so as a lifestyle, that wasn't really a good choice for me to merge in with him. So for four years he worked with me, he was my client. He had a very interesting approach that I had never heard anybody say to me before. He said, " Marcia, I have an unlimited appetite for marketing that works, so if you can run tests and show me that you're hitting the right return on marketing spend, I'm going to buy all of that I can."

Ryan Brock: Yeah, that is the greatest thing in the world.

Marcia Barnes: Have you ever heard anybody put it so succinctly, an unlimited budget for marketing that works?

Christopher Day: Yeah, we think the same way here. Just one quick anecdote, Marcia, is Shawn Schwegman, my co- founder, he had that same attitude at overstock. com.

Marcia Barnes: Right.

Christopher Day: The message was, " We have an unlimited budget as long as you can prove it works."

Marcia Barnes: Exactly.

Ryan Brock: Yeah. I've had one or two clients through the years where unlimited maybe is a strong word, but they were like, " If we're testing it, we're seeing the results, we're going to keep going." And those are just the best clients in the world.

Marcia Barnes: If you're somebody who delivers on that, right?

Ryan Brock: Right. Right. Well, of course you have to actually find what works and then make it happen.

Marcia Barnes: Yeah. For a lot of marketers, it's like appearing naked in the boardroom, because you're showing marketing actions with financial results, and that can be a high pressure environment. So that was Dave's philosophy. We worked together as vendor and client for four years. Then the no call list comes into effect and we can see the death of outbound telemarketing going away. So this begins the first of many pivots for me in the type of marketing that I'm doing over my career. Dave and I talked and we knew that we were going to need to make the phone ring in instead of this outbound call. So we merged the two businesses together and I took the job as Director of Marketing. It was a team of one and they were about 25 million in revenue at this point. Dave runs the return on marketing spend speech by me again, and I said, " Great. So, I know I've been hitting that in the call center. What are your current inbound programs yielding?" And he goes, first time, and the only time I ever heard him say this, he said, " I don't know. Let me go check." A couple days later he comes back and he says, " I have an answer for you on that. For every dollar we're putting in, we're getting 15 cents back." So he is burning, for a business that size, he's just burning cash. That's all there is to it. It's costing him more to send a tech to install the equipment and all those things than he's going to get in gross profit even. So I should have asked that question before I took that deal, but I wasn't as savvy of a business woman as I am today, pretty much was just plucked off the farm and dropped into business. I put my head down and he gave me resources to run the tests that I needed and got out of some longstanding agreements of things that weren't working and engaged my vendor community in understanding, " Look, I can buy everything you can sell me as long as it hits this goal." And so just open transparency between client and vendors really helped that. Within the first 18 months, we got a program that was hitting the return on marketing spend and would allow us to go into any market in the country and open an office. So this capability allowed us to open 140 offices nationwide over the next 18 months. We landed on about 85 million in revenue at that point. And then in 2008 to 2010, there was another big shift where we retooled the sales team processes and got a lift in their close rate that took them from 28% to 54% close rate in six weeks time.

Christopher Day: Wow.

Marcia Barnes: If you understand contribution margin when you're outperforming your expectation on the close rate, that's a marketer's best friend. $ 15 million extra profit drops to the bottom line and Dave Lindsay comes knocking on my door again and he says, " Hey, I know that our current goal is six to one return on marketing spend, but with this new capability you've generated at sales, if we lowered that to five to one, is there incremental growth we could experience?" And I said, " Well, it actually looks a little more like a hockey stick and here's what it is at five to one, and here's what it is at four to one because these are the things I've tested and I'm not buying because they're under that six to one." And so he gave me the go ahead to drive to four to one, and we went from 85 million to 220 million during the recession from 2008 to 2010. That-

Christopher Day: I love it.

Marcia Barnes: Yeah. That capability then took me to the CEO and president's job at Defenders, and Dave handed the business into mine and the leadership team's hands and the goal was to grow 10% revenue year over year, which I knew he was not going to be satisfied with.

Ryan Brock: Right. Yeah. Sandbagging.

Marcia Barnes: Yeah. A business that's been growing 60% CAGR year over year, they're not going to be happy at 10%, but he's being realistic about at the size of the business, can we really continue to grow at that rate? So with the 10% assignment, we ended up growing 100 million in revenue in 18 months. So this starts to bump us up in that $ 400 million range and just a beautiful culture and beautiful leaders and opportunities and thousands of jobs we created. It was just such a great journey. In 2013, I started to think that it was a good time for me to exit Defenders. My goal was that this marketing model we had produced had been proven to be replicable in other businesses.

Ryan Brock: Yes.

Marcia Barnes: We had grown a zero to $ 50 million dish network business, zero to 35 million HVAC business, several zeros to 10 or 20s along the way that didn't have the scale we were looking for. So we would divest or close those down. And so that caused my journey to create Valve + Meter who today takes that same principle. There's an unlimited budget for marketing that works. Not an open checkbook. It's an unlimited budget to prove out the marketing's working and helping our clients grow. One of my goals with this business is to 10X the valuation of 100 businesses. We've been at this for five years. We've already done that a handful of times, and that's just such a big joyous thing for us to see that happen. But that's kind of in a nutshell, my career. A little bit of sweat and tears and laughter along the way, but those are the high level things that I think are useful to people to understand.

Ryan Brock: I am just in awe right now. I feel, I am not a sheepish person, but I feel very small right now. I'm going to be honest with you, Marcia. This is so, you are one of the most impressed people I've ever met in my entire life. Geez.

Christopher Day: Yeah, it's absolutely amazing. So Marcia, when did SEO first come on your radar? As you've built this playbook and these best practices, when did you first think about SEO? When did it first come on your radar and how did you think about it?

Marcia Barnes: So this has been a journey. SEO was really getting big, and about the time I was ready to leave Defenders, two or three years leading up to that, we were so dialed in on Pay- Per- Click and Google Ad Words, and we were getting a lot of pushback from our partners at ADT on it, and we really didn't pick up the SEO to the degree that we should have. And back then, Black Hat was a very common thing, right?

Christopher Day: Absolutely.

Ryan Brock: It was everywhere.

Marcia Barnes: Yeah. So I started to notice it in our HVAC business and security was working on it, and after I left, they used some outsource vendors and they got caught in that really big algorithm, that first big algorithm change on SEO on the Black Hat versus White Hat things. And that whole program got killed. So I understood the power of the medium, and then I bought part of a digital marketing agency in Arizona that I owned for a couple years and then exited there to start Valve + Meter. What I started to notice as we were measuring people's campaigns, everybody had this over rotation to Google Ad Words and that immediate gratification.

Christopher Day: Yes.

Ryan Brock: Yeah.

Marcia Barnes: inaudible everything to be instant. We're going to start it today and tomorrow the leads will be coming in. But the problem with that is, our SEO work was getting 6 to 10 times more return on marketing spend than the paid media was. And so we started to really understand the power of SEO there and we've just really been equipping our clients with good organic traffic methods through content and SEO and conversion rate optimization and all of its kinder cousins, to drive results that are helping people 10X the valuation of their business. I actually was sitting next to Christian Anderson at a dinner recently, and he asked me, where were these results coming from on all these clients we had blowing up, and I said, " Well, honestly, it's kind of embarrassing to say, but it's a good old fashioned SEO." And he said, " I keep saying the same thing, that it's just overlooked."

Christopher Day: Yeah. We used to be able to, back in the old days, we used to be able to brute force our way with paid efforts, and now that pendulum has swung the other way where you can't just brute force way with paid efforts. It's so expensive now, and search engines, and Google in particular, they want a great experience for that user, and you have to be aligned to that user paying or else they're going to charge you 3, 4X to get you your ads shown even.

Ryan Brock: Yeah. Marcia, let me ask you, I got two questions for you here. Number one, can you recall a moment in time where, especially in the environment you were coming up in with your career in marketing, where if you can prove it works and we're going to spend money on it. Was there a moment in time where you realized that SEO had reached that level of transparency? Because I think that's another part of what we're talking about here, right? With PPC, it's instant gratification, but it's also immensely measurable. Whereas, I think for a long time, SEO was not. That's the first question. Was there a point in time where you thought, you know what? We can finally understand this is the point where we can prove the ROI? Then number two, knowing kind of with a spoiler alert that you did reach that point eventually, because you said that it was bringing a better ROI than everything else. Why do you think that is?

Marcia Barnes: So we had some challenges on our sales unit at Valve + Meter of going out and getting a big agreement and being super excited about it. And then I get it on my desk and it's 90% of the spend that the client's going to make is Google. Well, as an agency, we make very little money from that, and as our client, they were not going to make much money from that either because the return on marketing spend is so much less. I remember just several months in a row, I'm just ranting about, you've got to get people into organic better because they're wasting their money, not necessarily wasting their money, but they're missing a lot of profitable, deeply profitable deals on the SEO side. A typical client for us will have a good return on marketing spend, might be five or six to one. Our average on SEO across all clients is 12 to 1, but we have a good deck of clients that perform high teens and over$ 20 return.

Ryan Brock: Wow.

Marcia Barnes: Yeah. So you've got to invest, and then when you have that client that's getting a... I've got one that's getting a 21 to 1 return on organic traffic. And I'm saying, okay, now we want to buy more of that. And so the expectation is that all programs now should perform at 21. So we should cut everything that's not performing at 21. Well, no, that's not how you do this. You buy everything that's profitable for you, but if you're getting 21, hell yes, you go buy some more of that. Right?

Ryan Brock: As much as you can get.

Marcia Barnes: Yeah. But I almost had t- shirts made for my team that said, " We are not Google flipping sales representatives" because it seems like my team was all trying to sell Google instead of the whole of what marketing needs to look like.

Christopher Day: What have you seen across these different types of clients that you have and the previous businesses you've been in, the percentage of organic traffic converting to leads, what have you seen across the board? Because different industries are different, whether it's B2C, B2B, et cetera. What have you seen in some of the different verticals?

Marcia Barnes: Well, in search, you have the marketing funnel where you have a lot of inquiries coming in and it is fishing with a net, right?

Ryan Brock: Yeah.

Marcia Barnes: So you've got a lot of things that don't fit you. You're too small a fish to eat or they're a boot or a tire or some email from Russia coming through the top of the funnel. So you have to be agnostic to that, take out the stuff that doesn't fit and now measure what's a qualified lead into a sales outcome. And typically, we're going to see something that looks like around that 23 to 25% conversion rate with most of our customers. It shifts a bit from assignment to assignment, but as a whole, I would say that's where we're at.

Ryan Brock: I'm surprised that you could give such a buttoned up number there, but I love it. That is so helpful to think about. Especially if you're doing it right, and I think that's something that we go all the way back to what you said about, at Defenders, that we're getting 15 cents back on every dollar we spent on marketing. It's like that kind of waste is not tolerable anywhere else. And so to think about SEO being an investment that should be done right and you shouldn't be comfortable with just not knowing or not having that return, putting a number like 23 to 25% on that, really puts it into perspective for me.

Marcia Barnes: Yeah. I got a copy of a book given to me from a conference that some of my people went to, and I won't mention the title or the author, but there's a chapter in there about return and he's basically saying, " Don't even try to measure it." I read the chapter and threw the book in the trash. I'm like, every book is like the Bible to me. I'm going to keep it or I'm going to hand it to somebody else. It's a lot for me to throw one in the trash because I don't want anybody else to read that, it's so damaging. There are types of marketing you can't measure. Brand impressions are difficult to measure the value for. Billboards, TV, radio, media, those things can be difficult to measure the value of. In some examples, it can be done. When you can measure the return, you must. It's kind of a deal breaker for me of even bringing a client on if there's no attachment to measuring the outcome and I get calls like this. They're typically from people who have investors that are agnostic to what that cost for acquisition of a new customer is going to be. They just need to get some customers in. And that's just not my shtick. I'm there to add value that I can verify the value's been added.

Ryan Brock: Yeah. And it's so hard though, and then I'm not here to justify that. But to me it's sounds like such a common refrain. I think I can understand the person who wrote that book and where they're coming from. Even as an agency owner myself, and I was an agency owner that focused on content. We were a content agency. So it's not like we had a ton of different things, but when we're offering content services, I had a long stretch there in between the Black Hat, White Hat split. And then we've been the last few years where there is a lot more transparency around content and SEO as tactics, where I was terrified all the time. And then I found myself saying those things out loud to clients that I'd rather not be, because I don't want to take someone's investment and say, " Well, we hope we're going to do the right thing here eventually. And with content you never know." You just never know if what you're writing is going to be the thing that your audience wants or whatever. But I don't know. I can hear so many marketers in that statement of don't even worry about measuring it because so many people are afraid, I think. But I think that's what's exciting about what's happening lately in technology and in the way that this industry is evolving, because I think we're finally at a place where we really can look someone in the eye and say, " No, if you're going to invest money in content, we know what we're going to get you for it."

Christopher Day: It seems that there's definitely been a shift at a macro level in marketing where there's two major buckets. There's the creative bucket and there's the analytical bucket. And both of them have a place, and both are important, but it's almost like if the marketer doesn't know which one they are, they might be dead. I read an article the other day I thought was extremely interesting. I wish I could remember who that article was by, but it's predicted now. And I think, Marcia, you're one of the first examples of it, but it's predicted now that more CEOs in the future will come out of marketing than any other discipline or any other department because the critical nature and the importance of breaking through the competitive noise to get to your target customer the most efficiently, that is who will win the race. And we're even seeing now with B2B that 70% of research and evaluation all happens digitally now before people talk to sales teams. And so the decision's already 80, 90% of the way there before they ever talk to a sales team. If you're not part of that conversation organically, then you're probably not going to win.

Marcia Barnes: Exactly. Yeah. And I just have so many people who come to me, especially in the B2B environment, that they're older in their career, so more close to my age, and they just are like, " The internet doesn't work. Our customers are more gray- haired people like us who don't use digital." Well, they're also retiring at a high rate, and jobs are displaced, and younger folks are brought in and people are told, " Go get three to five quotes." And so now they're on the internet searching and I'll show them the evidence of how much search is going on. We use your tool for that, that will help them quantify. And reasonable people when those lights go on, you can physically notice it, but many turn a blind ear to it and they will get left behind. In the business side, not the marketing side, but in a business, you can get left behind by methodologies of marketing. I've done three major pivots in my career and on the type of marketing you're doing. So you have to stay current on marketing, current on data, and you have to have, your team has to be equipped in current methodologies to keep up in competition, let alone grabbing extra market share. And that gets missed in many businesses that we see.

Christopher Day: I wish I had these stats handy. I was trying to look for them real quick, but the stats on generations. So millennials and the percentage of the workforce that millennials are, I think it's roughly 40%. It's a massive number to your point, And how many are managers now.

Ryan Brock: I'm smack dab in the middle of the millennial generation, born in 1988. I'm 34 years old. I'm a chief executive, and there are a bunch of millennials who are 10 years older than me and a bunch who are 10 years younger, right?

Christopher Day: Yeah, absolutely. And people are people, no matter if they're in the office, we don't automatically change, our DNA does not change when we step into the office or step into the work mode each day. We're still the same person, same DNA, same questions, same curiosities, the same pain we're trying to solve, the same desires we're trying to fulfill. And I always think it's interesting when people say, " Well, my market's not online." They're not? People have questions and we ask questions on the internet to try to explore and educate ourselves. And now it's become so much more complex. I think out of the 2 trillion searches that are happening every year now, 22% of those are unique, net new, never seen before. It's predicted that data and data complexity are going to triple again in the next three years.

Marcia Barnes: So we have a client in the heavy equipment industry here in Indianapolis that does new equipment sales, repairs, service and rental on heavy equipment. So things that are moving earth or drilling into the earth and stuff like that. And that industry, if you look at the whole of the industry, and he told me this on the first day we talked about his marketing. " Our industry doesn't grow, 0 to 5% is kind of range we move in. We don't really even keep up with inflation very well." But he thought that his current marketing was a train wreck, and we were able to go in and, in less than the budget he had been spending, get him into a good uniform group of marketing tactics that cost him less than what he had been spending prior, and after 18 months, this guy has a sales cycle that can go as long as 540 days. So it takes some time to get the whole results. The goal on his assignment was get $1. 25 gross profit return on marketing spend. We used that metric when there's wide variations of gross margin percentage by line of business, and that was the case with him. So yield a dollar and a quarter gross profit return on marketing spend. We got$ 13. $ 13 gross profit return on marketing spend. And you know what? Year over year, he was up 30%. And the whole rest of his peer group across the country was like, " What are you doing over there?"

Ryan Brock: Right. Well, if his entire industry thinks that there's no room for growth and that the internet is not where they need to be, the one person who does, is going to win.

Marcia Barnes: Right, exactly.

Christopher Day: And those are high ticket items as well, right?

Marcia Barnes: Yeah. In the land of the blind, one- eyed man is king, right?

Ryan Brock: Yeah. Exactly. Yeah. And I've been there, Marcia, I'm with you. The amount of conversations I've had with people who are like, " Well, we're old guys and we have machines in a shop and we don't do this. We've only ever had salespeople and we got to try something new." It's remarkable. Especially six, seven years ago, I felt like almost every new client I took on was someone in an industry that realized they were going to get left behind. It was always exciting to see, but I feel like now it's more important than ever.

Christopher Day: So before we get into some rapid fire questions, I don't think we've asked this question yet, Ryan, on our Page One or Bust! series. This might be a first. What do you look for in attributes of the people that you hire, Marcia? So you're bringing on-

Ryan Brock: Yeah, that's a great one.

Christopher Day: And so what are those attributes you're looking for in the people that you're bringing in to show them the process, the playbook, and the mindset of how to drive these wonderful numbers?

Marcia Barnes: So in our agency, our core values are think, love, serve, transform, and be just. We want to use smart decisions and think carefully through bringing on any type of activity with a client or whoever we're bringing on. We want them to be able to focus and find a way forward. We need people who are thinking, how can this be done, not why it can't be done, at some point. When they can see authentic love and servant- hood, they will give you permission to lead. And when you have that, you get transformational results. And you want to be fair in all your dealings, be just. So we're looking for people who fit that model. More than 10% of our employee population are data people. It's more likely that we'll hire somebody who has some sort of financial degree than marketing degree a lot of times in our business. We have to have people who are courageous and bold and are willing to be held accountable with clients to hitting the right results. So those are precious people when you find that description of a person. And we are blessed beyond measure with that type of person on our team. So it's been very exciting to work with this team.

Christopher Day: Do you give any kind of-

Ryan Brock: This is the fourth conversation I've had about this in the last three or four days. Maybe it's because we're all in the Midwest here, but the idea that, at the end of the day, if you want to win in marketing, you got to be a human being who cares about and loves other human beings. That's so important. But it's something that you don't see talked about very much.

Marcia Barnes: Yeah. We define love as acting in the long- term best interest of another.

Ryan Brock: Yeah.

Christopher Day: All right. Well, let's move into some rapid fire questions to wrap up today. How about some marketing myths busted along the way, Marcia, that maybe even people still suffer from today thinking that they're true and... What's the definition of insanity? Beat your head against the wall and expect different results?

Marcia Barnes: Yeah. I would say that we've found that in B2B marketing that so many of the clients we talk to that are trying to find solutions for B2B say, " B2B marketing just doesn't work for us." And what I've found is they don't adjust, and they're testing in their plans for the length of their sales cycle. They don't understand what their return on marketing spend should be. They jump in and try some things for three or four months and go, " It's not working," even though they might have a 540 day sales cycle. So they're not staying in it with the right amount of budgets for the right length of time is typically what I see.

Christopher Day: Yeah. Talk about your tech stack. Pick three top marketing tools you can't live without in your tech stack.

Marcia Barnes: So now we're above my pay grade, but three tools I cannot live without is a worthy goal, a calculator and a dashboard.

Christopher Day: Yeah, I love it.

Marcia Barnes: I'm all about the fundamentals. And then the team works on what's the tech stack that they need behind that. We're super excited to have DemandJump, be part of what we're doing tech wise for our clients and for us. And it's just really, we're seeing good results on reducing the amount of time that our folks are using to get their work done and more accuracy, and we'll be able to look at larger data sets with you than when we were in our previous processes. So all of that has been great.

Christopher Day: How about your best piece of advice for a marketing leader?

Marcia Barnes: Well, I got a lot of them. Marketing by nature, it requires you to continue learning throughout your career. It's not like some roles where you're an accountant and it's kind of the same for long periods of time. Marketing changes, and it's changing very rapidly today. Something that's really guided my life that I encountered a couple decades ago is a Jim Rohn quote, " Work harder on yourself than you do on your job."

Christopher Day: That's powerful.

Marcia Barnes: Do the reading, do this studying, go to the conferences, talk to smart people, practice, test, all of the things that will help you to learn a new skillset or direction or opportunity that you need to be mining. Work harder on yourself than you do on your job. If you work hard on your job, you're going to make a living. But if you work harder on yourself, you're going to make a fortune.

Ryan Brock: Think about 10 years from now, I think about where we were 10 years ago, even in the digital marketing industry, the skills I needed then and the language I used every day to talk about my job and engage with clients is totally different than what it is now. In another 10 years, another 20 years down the line, it's easy to imagine being left behind if we're not constantly investing in ourselves. So that speaks to me. Thank you for that, Marcia.

Christopher Day: That's amazing. Well, Marcia, wow. I'm moved by those last few minutes was absolutely wonderful. How can people reach out and find you or learn more about Valve + Meter?

Marcia Barnes: You can go to our website, valveandmeter. com. All the contact information will be there. Hopefully, if you're in the greater Indianapolis area, I'll have a chance to meet you as we go forward. Always good to connect with other like- minded marketers around the city too.

Ryan Brock: Amazing.

Christopher Day: Excellent.

Ryan Brock: Thank you so much, Marcia.

Christopher Day: All right. Well, to all of our listeners out there, hopefully you learned as much as I did today, Ryan and I learned today. Marcia, truly inspiring. What an incredible journey. So that's it for today, our CEO and founder of Valve + Meter, Marcia Barnes, a wonderful episode and we will see all of you next time on Page One or Bust!

Ryan Brock: Take Care.

Speaker 1: Page One or Bust! is brought to you by DemandJump. Know the exact content to create to increase first page rankings and drive outcomes with DemandJump. Get started for free today at demandjump. com.


Businesses can’t afford to ignore SEO. In this episode, Marcia Barnes, CEO and Founder of Valve+Meter, shares tips for measuring organic search performance and optimizing content creation so that you can drive growth and increase revenue.

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