A CEO’s Advice for Increasing Buyer Intent Discoverability

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This is a podcast episode titled, A CEO’s Advice for Increasing Buyer Intent Discoverability. The summary for this episode is: <p>What does it take to get your content discovered at buying intent? Garrett Mehrguth, Directive President &amp; CEO, shares how you can position your brand at the right place, right time in our fast-paced digital environment.</p><p><br></p><p>---------</p><p><strong>Quotes</strong></p><p><br></p><p>“My biggest successes come from when I make myself an apple and everyone else is an orange. I always lose when I try to convince people that my orange tastes better than everyone else's orange. Oranges are great, and I'm glad you've had oranges in the past but would you like to see what apple tastes like?”</p><p> &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; ---------</p><p><strong>Time Stamps:</strong></p><p>* (1:03) Garrett’s path to Directive CEO &amp; President</p><p>* (4:12) Being bold in your SEO strategy</p><p>* (10:36) Humanity in B2B marketing content</p><p>* (13:48) Brand positioning at purchase intent</p><p>* (22:11) Measuring ROI on SEO&nbsp;</p><p>* (26:08) Lightning Round!&nbsp;</p><p>* (31:10) Drew &amp; Ryan’s key takeaways&nbsp;</p><p>--------</p><p><strong>Sponsor</strong></p><p>This podcast is brought to you by <a href="https://www.demandjump.com/" rel="noopener noreferrer" target="_blank">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/" rel="noopener noreferrer" target="_blank">DemandJump.com</a>.</p><p><br></p><p>--------</p><p><strong>Links</strong></p><ul><li>Follow Ryan on <a href="https://www.linkedin.com/in/ryan-m-brock/" rel="noopener noreferrer" target="_blank">LinkedIn</a></li><li>Follow Drew on <a href="https://www.linkedin.com/in/drewdetzler/" rel="noopener noreferrer" target="_blank">LinkedIn</a></li><li>Follow Garrett on <a href="https://www.linkedin.com/in/garrettmehrguth/" rel="noopener noreferrer" target="_blank">LinkedIn</a></li><li>Check out <a href="https://directiveconsulting.com/" rel="noopener noreferrer" target="_blank">Directive</a></li><li>Learn more about <a href="https://www.demandjump.com/" rel="noopener noreferrer" target="_blank">DemandJump</a>’s marketing tools</li></ul>
Writing content to match the emotional journey a user takes
01:02 MIN
How do you measure success?
00:25 MIN
We need to be bold and be willing to try new things when it comes to SEO.
00:39 MIN

Speaker 1: Welcome to Page One or Bust, your ultimate guide to getting on page one of search engines. It's time to be bolder in your SEO strategy. Today's guest, Garrett Mehrguth knows how to do it. After all, he went from doing marketing work on Fiverr to growing a company with a global footprint in just nine years. As President and CEO of Directive, Garrett now works with businesses wanting to grow through digital marketing strategies. Today, we dive deep about inciting the right emotion from potential buyers at the perfect time. But first, here's a brief word from our sponsor. Page One or Bust is brought to you by DemandJump, get insights, drive outcomes with DemandJump. Get started, creating content that ranks for free at demandjump. com today. And now here are your co- host, Drew Detzler and Ryan Brock.

Drew Detzler: Welcome back to Page One or Bust. This is your co- host, Drew Detzler, VP of marketing here at DemandJump. And as always, I'm joined by my co- host, Ryan Brock, Chief Solution Officer. Today, we're talking to the CEO and President at Directive Garrett Mehrguth. Garrett, welcome to the show.

Garrett Mehrguth: Thanks for having me. Excited to be here of chatting with you all today. It's an honor.

Ryan Brock: We're excited to have you, man. Love it whenever we can get someone who knows the agency side of the world because you've probably been through some stuff. Yeah, maybe a little. Maybe a little.

Garrett Mehrguth: Hello? What's your bet before we get started?

Ryan Brock: Let's get to know you a little bit better, Garrett, from playing soccer to running Directive. Tell us a little bit about that journey.

Garrett Mehrguth: Athletics is different than business and business. There's no real litmus test as much where you get on the field, and you just tell if someone has it or not.

Drew Detzler: Fair.

Ryan Brock: Yeah.

Drew Detzler: Yeah, very fair.

Garrett Mehrguth: In soccer, you want to be the hardest working, most confident all conference and still not be remotely good enough to go pro and that was me.

Ryan Brock: Bummer.

Garrett Mehrguth: I don't know if I was uniquely self- aware enough to not be the guy that kept trying while he is living on 14 people. And so I think that probably would've been me and I tore my knee and I think it helped me see the truth just because of how ambitious I am, I guess as a person, how competitive I was. I wanted to be the best at soccer. But frankly, I did not have the God- given talents necessary to be pro in sports. You have an intangible, I think just like you have an intangible to be a great CEO, I did not have that intangible in soccer, and I think hurting my knee made that self- evident, if that makes sense.

Ryan Brock: It's wild how similar our stories are.

Drew Detzler: Exactly. That's what I was getting ready to say. That's the self- awareness that you look for in a good CEO.

Garrett Mehrguth: Yeah, maybe. I don't know if I'm good yet, but I'm working hard at it from tearing my knee. I went into Fiverr and started selling social media calendars for five books tried to do that well, I had great reviews. I bet my buddy I could do 1, 000 bucks a month working like 30 minutes a day. I was 21 doing my masters. So in might degree in three years in economics, did my masters to fourth year as captain of the soccer team wanted to play pro hurt my knee, used that other time to pick up some more gigs. I had five jobs at the time, so I was doing independent consulting for two people. The basic level of marketing, designing pamphlets, brochures, handing out flyers, setting up a Facebook, not Facebook ad account. Let's get you on Facebook. And then I was running Fiverr and then I was cleaning up events at the school, working at the Chamber of Commerce. So I was doing all that stuff and that's when I kind of started Directive was from there.

Ryan Brock: So you guys have been around for how long, Directive?

Garrett Mehrguth: Nine and a half years right now. My first client was a Shawarma Shop in East LA. I had that account, I sold the contract over there, the grease stains all over it. But I did that guy's stuff for 30 days, went to get my check. He said, come back tomorrow. Whole place was boarded up and that was the first client at Directive. I got stiff on the very person. So...

Ryan Brock: Wow. I can't tell you how many of those lessons I learned over the years. Somewhere in here I've got a check someone sent me, they've paid in advance for an article on the weirdest topic and I get the check in. The US Bank logo is stretched in a weird way. It's like so bad. I don't know how anybody's ever fallen for it, but I got far enough to get the check in the mail, which means I'm pretty dumb, I think. Yeah, I'm just dumb.

Garrett Mehrguth: I learned from that one and then kind of kept going from there. But that was about nine and a half years ago.

Ryan Brock: Wow, that's awesome. I made it 10 years before getting acquired. So there's a moment where 10 years is like, " Wow, how are we still here?" But I'm sure you're still here because you guys sounds like you're just amazingly focused on outcomes, right? I mean it sounds like you actually care about driving real results rather than vanity. What role does SEO play in that, especially considering the fact that for many, many years, SEO has been very little, butt vanity?

Garrett Mehrguth: Yeah, I mean it's hard. I think it's hard because the mentality of an in- house SEO is sometimes that of a victim and it's the biggest gap in the industry. And what I mean by that is many SEOs are unwilling to have difficult conversations with their direct reports and are comfortable allowing themselves to be put in a box and then wondered why they don't have a seat at the table or why they're devalued as professional marketers. And what I'm trying to do is help those individuals see how powerful they can be, see how impactful they can be at hitting the OKRs or the outcomes of that organization and help elevate them through just working with Directive, maturing their viewpoint of how powerful they can be, what control they should have access to. Because at the larger organizations and in these bigger companies, SEO is still the baby in the corner. Product owns the website, engineering owns the website. I just had this little microsite, but I got to get my revenue up by 30%. And then I have to be the one that says, look, I'm only going to work with you if I can win. I don't need the money. I've built a bigger agency than I've ever dreamed of. I'm the number one player in all of SaaS marketing globally. I don't need to work with you if I don't think I can win. Are you willing to have a difficult conversation with the director of growth, with the CMO so that you can have a foundational reality, a day- to- day environment that will allow you to be as impactful and as successful as you can be? Because I see how talented you are, but I don't want to join a losing ship. Are you willing to have that conversation and I'm willing to have it with you, but if not, maybe this partnership won't work. And that's more my mentality now when it comes to Directive, I care about winning and that's it. And if I can't win, I really don't need the money.

Drew Detzler: Got it. That's great. So those SEOs sign on, they say they're in, they're up for it. What does empowering them look like? What does that SEO strategy, how do you help them achieve that at Directive?

Garrett Mehrguth: It's just being another voice sometimes. I think a lot of times in their defense, when you're in house, I mean you're your jobs at risk, right? You've been told one thing and you can't be insubordinate. And so they almost accept being put in the corner. And what I want to do is hopefully get them a seat back at the table because financially businesses need SEO. They need a lower customer acquisition cost. They need things that position their brand as a thought leader with educational value. They need certain things for that are strategy to be successful. And not all organizations find themselves in that spot, but I mean, I just talked to a massive one that you all know and that's the case. And in fact, what I found the bigger the organization, the more often SEO is further in a corner. And what I'm trying to do is get them to the point where they have the ideas. By the way, they are brilliantly talented. They are exceptionally smart, that's why they got the job. But unfortunately, the people who gave them the job aren't letting go enough to allow this person to be successful. And so I'm usually trying to help them get access to the main website. Yeah, you'd be amazed at how many SEOs who pay us$ 700,000 a year don't have access to the website or are put in the product department or can't be the engineer.

Ryan Brock: All right. We run a professional podcast. We got a list of questions here that we're going to go through. I don't want to stop that for a moment and focus in on this because this is something that I think about every day. And this isn't a humblebrag, this is just explaining the context. I literally just locked the manuscript on the book on pillar- based marketing with toe for one of our original co- hosts on this podcast and the whole setup in this book, we're talking about all of the pressures, marketers, especially those dealing with organic content and SEO are under to prove themselves in an environment where proving results. The SEO in particular is something that historically has taken six months, nine months, 12 months to know for sure you're doing the right thing is generally what's expected from leadership in order to give you the keys to the kingdom that you need in order to do the right thing. And it's the most convoluted situation, I think anywhere in marketing. And I'm just very energized by hearing you talk about your goal being to give those people the tools they need to be brilliant. Because I just think that we expect too much from people inorganic content without giving them the freedom and also the tools and the same level of data analysis and data driven decision making that I think you see everywhere else in the marketing function.

Garrett Mehrguth: Yeah, well paid, right? Agencies love paid and paid does so well because it not only is a little shorter payback period, but you have no co- dependencies, and nobody understands how hard the co- dependencies of SEO are other than SEOs. You're not a developer, so you can't implement your changes on large websites, number one. And number two, whatever good content costs, you have an eighth of that in budget. And what doesn't work anymore is writing things for search engines. It just doesn't. And there's no point. The world doesn't need more SEO content and God forbid that's a real word, but it is because most of the content on the internet these days is SEO content. And as an SEO, you know how hard it is to buy a fishing rod. You can't use Google to buy a fishing rod, you got to use YouTube because every list, if you know the truth, is just an affiliate listicle of whoever has the best pay through process with Amazon, it's not the best rod, it's not the best reel, it's not the best shoe, it's not the best bag. Google is no longer a powerful discovery engine because SEOs have roomed it and Google's allowed it. And so now as a consumer, I can't even find the best of anything on SEO. I have to go to YouTube, I have to go to TikTok, I have to go to these other mediums. But the way you change it, to get back to your question, Ryan, is you have to do it in the sales process. You can't do it once the contract's been closed because now, you're subservient to the same reality of which your point of contact is existing within, and you are now a direct report of their boss as well. And so you can't change it. So when I try to change it, I try to change it in the sales process, I try to change it when I get information on what I understand this organization is like, and I get the brief and I see that, okay, the SEO person only has access to this subdomain and the main website's owned by product and engineering.

Ryan Brock: Oh God, yeah, yeah.

Garrett Mehrguth: But it's a$ 17 billion company. I'm not going to solve that after the contract's signed. So I have to ask them now before I've signed the engagement, can I meet with the director of growth and can we discuss the current infrastructure from which we're expected to get results from? Because I know in my professional experience working with the largest brands out there that I will not be successful in this environment. So can we have an honest conversation about this and equated it together? And if they say no, that's because they know that it's not worth it to their job and their career. And then usually I don't end up working with that organization off.

Ryan Brock: Man, we got some fire being spit on this show this week. This is amazing stuff. You said the million- dollar point, which is that the world doesn't need SEO content. We agree. Our whole platform, our whole methodology is focused on just understanding what search behavior is in the first place so that rather than optimizing content for keywords and things like that, we optimize it for behavior, we optimize it for the topics and then the language people use around those topics and try to provide only the value that they're looking for. And that requires a lot. We find ourselves even on in our own company being the old foggy in the room. It's like AI content we're not touching. The whole methodology we use is based on that understanding of human context, the ability to tap into human emotion, to provide relief from negative emotions, to provide a taste of positive emotions, to really understand the journey as somebody is on. And when we talk about emotion, I think more often than not, you think about content and then marketing that is emotional or creates emotionality for the purpose of selling B2C products and services. I'm going to venture to guess based on everything you've been saying right now that you would agree with the statement that the same kind of humanity belongs in B2B marketing. And I would argue that if you're making a really, really big considered purchase in a B2B world, you have to find the right information. So is there a role for that kind of same level of humanity and context in B2B writing or are we talking about two different things?

Garrett Mehrguth: There has to be human. When was the last time any of you guys thought, " Holy crap, you know what I want to do? Read this white paper." It's never ever, right? It's hard. I think the premise is B2B is dated and so risk averse that no one wants to start being human. So to Ryan's point, yes, I built what I call an emotional matrix for B2B, and it talks about all the different types of emotion that we want to associate our brand voice with. And so when you get a new customer, where you can do is you can walk through them and asks them what type of emotion do you want to create in your audience? So for Directive, I am never their first agency. You only hire me after you failed with another shop. So what I always have to do is I have to kind of be your next girlfriend. Whatever relationship that you just got out of, I got to convince you that this one won't be bad, right?

Ryan Brock: I hear that so deeply in my soul.

Garrett Mehrguth: And so my coping, my language, my viewpoint is to instill the emotion of confidence. When someone hires directed, I take it exceptionally personally because they are putting their internal reputation on the line when they vouch for my organization. And at any point, if I dishonor or under deliver for them, I'm putting their job, their family, their career at risk. And if you don't have that mentality as a consultant, you're just lying to yourself. You have a real obligation, like almost a fiduciary responsibility to these humans to deliver upon the contract and the money they have paid you. That is really serious to me. But to your point, Ryan, of the search engine where it's gone, I think we have a fundamental flaw as SEOs right now, and it go against one of my core values, which is embrace reality, don't manipulate it. In 1997 when Google search was built, we all got into this industry for one reason. People would ask marketers, how do I show up on Google? And the answer back then was, you need a website. And for some godforsaken reason, none of us have opened our eyes and said, that's no longer what we need to drive results on Google. What we need is what I call share search engine results page. We need to ask ourselves, when someone is looking for the product or service that my brand sells, how can I get my brand positioned to be discoverable when there's purchase intent? Search engine has changed. When you have purchase intent, individual websites are no longer the best answer to those queries. What does right now, if you take the word phishing rod and you modify it by best talk or reviews, which is indicative of commercial or purchase intent, individual websites no longer rank. What instead ranks is listicles and marketplaces. So what we need to do as SEOs is let go of our job description being we only control the website to be, we control brand discoverability when the website can be an answer for the question, we're going to make the website an answer for the question. When a review sites an answer for the question, we're going to make a review site an answer for the question. When a listicle an answer for the question, we're going to make a listicle to answer for the question that becomes digital PR, that becomes link building, that becomes organic ranking, that becomes positioning. And so we need to see it as how much market share can we take? Not how do we rank our website. And when you do that, you'd be amazed at how much revenue you can drive for a business.

Ryan Brock: There's a report by Gartner that we've been talking about a lot lately. It talks about the B2B buying process and how it's really at least six jobs happening sometimes simultaneously. Sometimes they happen in order, and then you get to the third step, and you got to go back to the first step. And when you think about that, it really starts to look like a spiderweb, not a funnel. And that's something that we talk about all the time, like the buying journey, especially the more complex purchase is it's all over the place. You're everywhere. You're going back and forth. And none of us can expect all of that to happen on our brand's website exclusively. And I think it's super provocative to think about SEO being not something you owned on your own website.

Garrett Mehrguth: This is a different mentality. And I got to that mentality just through my competitiveness of just wanting to win. Sometimes when you look at a SERP, you can't manipulate a SERP. You have to embrace a SERP, and that's what I'm saying, like a SERP tells you what you can and can't accomplish. You can see what articles Google thinks are going to rank, and then you can figure out how to win from there. But you should always start out of your tools and then get back into them. But so many SEOs start in their tools and then try to get to strategy and that's where they fall flat.

Ryan Brock: Yep.

Drew Detzler: Yeah. It is a different mindset and one that we embrace wholeheartedly. Now, talking about the human emotion and putting the human emotion back into B2B marketing confidence is the one emotion that I heard you mention. How do you do that in this strategy when a lot of B2B marketers just want to sit on the facts. Here's my product, here's why it's better. Here's why it's different just to dispute facts in their own nonsense.

Garrett Mehrguth: A hype video. We as marketers focus on the least leveraged thing, which is acquisition instead of the highest leverage thing, which is activation. The easiest way to make money for someone is to do a better job of monetizing what they have and trying to get them more. Because when you get them more, it still goes into the same system of why they don't have more. Does that make sense? The reason they don't have more, even because they don't have leads is because they can't monetize leads. So if you simply get someone more leads without fixing how they monetize them, you're an SEO that delivered leads without delivering. And that's why I offer RevOps and other service lines here because I know just because I get you leads doesn't mean we're going to win. So when you want to figure out how you instill emotion, the task we have as marketers is we have to get humans from apathy to action. And humans are not motivated by data and facts and motivated by feelings and emotions. If we are motivated by data and facts, all of us would've better relationships with our partners.

Ryan Brock: Yeah, that's inaudible.

Drew Detzler: Very fair.

Ryan Brock: No, no, I did tell you that I was going to, that you needed to put the garbage out this morning. That's a facts.

Garrett Mehrguth: Facts are what's going to fix my relationship. And the same thing goes the relationships you have with our clients. It's emotions and feelings. Same thing that our prospects have with our customers before they become customers. And so what I like to do tactically is a hype video. I use a lot of incentives in my marketing. So I gave away over$300, 000 in gift cards last year and I made$ 15 million off a week in ads for my own agency. So gift cards work, they're a great incentive, but how do I get someone from wanting my incentive to wanting my value prop? We all think that marketing is about value propositions. It's not value propositions are not strong enough to get a human who's not in market to hear your pitch. They're just not. Monetary incentives are. So I use monetary incentives to get people from social where they have informational or entertainment intent, and I essentially create commercial intent. The way the world works right now is search has intent, but no firmographics, socialist firmographics, but no intent. So you have to create intent to monetize social. Now, when you are doing any of this marketing or saving SEO fails, it's a top of funnel glossary or a top of funnel informational intent. Then the SDR calls that lead and they're like, " I haven't read the article and I'm not ready to work with you." That's why SEO fail is they can't get people from MQL to SQL and then they think it's an SDR problem when it's a human problem. So I use emotion with a hype video. So what I have to do is I have to get you from wanting the gift card to wanting me. And so I use a hype video to show the success I've had. Here's all the IPOs we've done, here's all the people who's raise funding, and I use emotion and sound and music and lots of quick frames that you pumped to show up to a sales call to make you want to show up to a sales call. So I essentially use a hype video for that and it's a very successful tactic.

Ryan Brock: I've never been hyped for a sales call.

Garrett Mehrguth: If you watch this video on my YouTube, I promise you you'll be pumped for a sales call. It's kind of crazy, but it will.

Drew Detzler: I cannot wait to watch it and we'll definitely link to it in the show notes here because I'm excited and I'm on board with this tag that you're creating intent with that hype video.

Garrett Mehrguth: Well, I'm creating psychological desire, right? Just because you signed up for a meeting doesn't mean you want to prioritize or show up.

Ryan Brock: Well on that same kind of intentionality, let's call it up. You can find that even in the written word, even if you are writing a pillar page of SE, look, I don't want to call it SEO content now because we've just decided that's the stupidest thing ever. But I don't know, if you're writing a pillar page of content that's designed to help educate someone on a topic, there's a difference between sharing the results of your solution in a grasp and helping somebody feel that those numbers represent in their gut.

Garrett Mehrguth: Well, isn't better emotional, Ryan, that I like to do there. That's exactly what you're saying. I want to make them feel like they're not doing their job. If they don't figure out more about my solution, that's what I needed.

Ryan Brock: Interesting.

Garrett Mehrguth: So I need to make you feel like you are not doing your job. You are letting your potential down. There is an obvious piece of value right in front of you that you are willingly saying, no, I don't want to learn more about that. I need you make you have that psychological reconciliation that in your head you are admitting that if I do not at least ask more, I am not doing my job. And if your content or your asset is that good, it will be successful.

Drew Detzler: I love that.

Ryan Brock: I've actually spent a lot of my career, especially on the agency side as a writer, as a content guy, actually teaching people that I think it's better to resonate with a positive emotion. Usually, it's relief or confidence that you haven't earned yet, but you feel a little bit of it and so you feel like it's possible to earn the rest of it. It's a really intriguing thought that you can find someone where they are and say, look, if what you were already doing was already working perfectly, you wouldn't be searching for new solutions. You wouldn't be trying to educate yourself. You wouldn't be doing different things. And so connecting that to a really brass tacks take on the fact that we do have something different and if you don't take the time to understand how it works, at the very least, understand how it can solve your problems, how it can improve your life personally, hinting at that and showing that learning about this is the responsible thing to do. That actually is a positive message in my mind. I think I would never have come to it the same way that you have. It's really interesting.

Garrett Mehrguth: Remember Ryan, it's not that one's better or the other. It's that if you have a large enough sample sized people are motivated by different things.

Ryan Brock: Yes. Yeah.

Garrett Mehrguth: And so some people are going to be motivated by the fear of failure and other people are going to be motivated by the fear of not pursuing an opportunity and other people are getting excited and they're passionate and the world doesn't need more average ass content. It just doesn't. It needs real informational, insightful things. Now, I think the problem with content and with marketing in general when we go about it is we try to do things that are better instead of things that are different. And I think that's what gets us our problems. My biggest results and my biggest successes come from when I make myself an apple and everyone else is an orange. I always lose when I try to convince people that my orange tastes better than everyone else's orange. What I have to just convince you is oranges are great. That's good. I'm glad you've had oranges in the past. Would you like to see what an apple tastes like?

Ryan Brock: This has been a mind- blowing conversation. Drew, where do you want to go next? Do you want to jump into the lightning round, or do you want to talk a little bit about metrics for success?

Drew Detzler: Yeah, it's been a great conversation. I do want to talk a little bit about metrics and success before we jump into the lightning round. Let's do it. So Garrett, what metrics are important? How are you measuring success for yourself and for your clients? Talking about organic specifically, is it revenue or other leading indicators?

Garrett Mehrguth: It's actually more than revenue. It's everything. I use what I call LTV/ CAC modeling, so it's lifetime value to customer acquisition costs. The reason that's important is it takes into account customer acquisition costs, but then also lifetime value, which is are you retaining those customers and are you profitably servicing those customers? It's a very helpful thing. So what I try to do at Directive is I always want to make sure that working with Directive levels up your viewpoint on what marketing can be. I want to make marketing romantic again. I want to make it passionate. I want to make it matter. I want to make it be as powerful as it truly is for an organization.

Ryan Brock: Man, these one- liners, geez.

Garrett Mehrguth: Like when we're doing marketing for SEO and we're trying to grow someone's content, we're trying to grow their ability to educate audience to lower their customer acquisition costs, to do all the strengths that only SEO has. You have to first understand are we in a position to monetize it? And so what we do at Directive is when we set goals financially, model out your goals. So what I mean by that is I can look at how much traffic you have and I could theoretically bucket your site as core pages and then informational pages. Does that make sense? You can theoretically bucket a website and then set over time a conversion rate. We convert informational intent at this rate, and we convert commercial intent at this rate. That's great. Too many SEOs look at the overall conversion rate of a website, and then they kind of bastardize their forecast because they're mixing informational and commercial search volume and conversion rates. So I bucket the website and then from there what I'm looking at is their lifecycle stage conversion rate. So from form fill, what's my MQL to SQL rate? What's my SQL to operate? What's my OP to SOW rate and what's my SOW to close rate? Then once I've modeled everything out across my buckets and I understand your average order of value, your gross margin, and all your other financial KPIs, I build a financial model that shows you if you're under or overinvesting into search and where I would allocate your capital if I had another dollar, and then that can derive the strategy. So it's a very mature process. It's fully based on economic modeling and financial modeling, but when you can start to show someone, and then this is what you guys will love when you put that next to paid, the LTV/ CAC ratio of SEO crushes paid, yet it's hard to get a penny of that budget to actually write a good piece of content. We don't need bunch of content. We just need one quarterly report that only we can create.

Ryan Brock: It's the difference between pumping your dollars out of a fire hose and taking a little bit of that and investing it in an asset that's going to keep growing over time. A lot of times we're thinking about authority on a topical level, not a domain level. So we're thinking about you want to be an authority on a certain topic. If we can understand what are the most important questions the customers or users of search engines are asking, but the idea that your content can represent multiple parts of the buying journey and the different phases, even if it's organic, every time you add a piece to that network, it lifts every other piece of that network. So over time, things become more valuable and more valuable and more valuable, and we've seen the same thing in our data. It's always better when it's organic versus paid. Thank you for walking us through that. It's such a mature model and such an important way to just make sure that what we're measuring as marketers is not vanity, but it's actually something that's going to move the needle up.

Garrett Mehrguth: It's a humbling moment, Ryan, when you realize that the least valuable thing you do as an SEO is SEO, and when you finally get to that moment, that's when you become great at your craft, when you realize that the actual thing you're doing is the least valuable part, and when you start to learn how to build political buy- in, how to work with others, how to actually get the resources required for success, how to understand positioning so you can monetize content after it ranks. All those things are actually exponentially more important than going down another screaming frog rabbit trail.

Drew Detzler: I love that.

Ryan Brock: Couldn't have said it better myself.

Drew Detzler: This is a great conversation, Garrett. Man, we really appreciate having you, but before we go, let's have fun with what we like to call our lightning round. Ross, ask you a couple quick questions and you can rattle off answers. The last thing that you searched, Garrett?

Garrett Mehrguth: Fishing and Cabo. I'm trying to take some of my guys down to Cabo and go fishing.

Drew Detzler: Nice. Nice.

Ryan Brock: That explains all the fishing rod stuff. All right.

Garrett Mehrguth: I like to fish. Yeah. Yeah. I like to do deep sea fishing and stuff.

Drew Detzler: Okay.

Ryan Brock: Cool.

Drew Detzler: I love it. All right, Garrett, over your career, are there any marketing myths that you've busted?

Garrett Mehrguth: MQL can turn into revenue within an allowable timeframe.

Drew Detzler: The lighting round usually goes fast, but I want you to expand on that a little bit.

Garrett Mehrguth: Yeah. I don't think there is anyone in the world who monetizes MQLs. What I mean by that is the concept that I can write, the ultimate guide to demand generation. Someone will download it, read it, go, holy crap, I need you and will result in a ton of revenue within a six- month period, 12- month period or anything like that. I have found to not exist anywhere.

Ryan Brock: Would you consider PLG companies in the product led growth?

Garrett Mehrguth: No, because you're not an MQL at that point. You're a trial, which is different, right? So I'm talking about sales SLG, so sales led companies, right?

Ryan Brock: Yep.

Garrett Mehrguth: I have not found any of them have ever been able to monetize in a financially feasible manner or in a timeline required that someone can download an asset they send it to their SDRs. SDRs, put it in outreach, your sales loft, go through a cadence, then it goes to an AE, and it closes. That doesn't work. I have over a hundred million dollars in B2B SaaS spend, and it doesn't work for anyone.

Ryan Brock: Truth hurts.

Drew Detzler: Yeah.

Garrett Mehrguth: Everyone is doing it because marketers want a number they can own, right? Look, we did. We sent all this now look. Look, look what we did. Look at all the leads we sent to sales. We're doing good. It's sales fall.

Drew Detzler: Throwing leads over the fence. I tend to agree with that.

Garrett Mehrguth: That's a plague in B2B, yeah.

Ryan Brock: It's archaic. I mean, it's what we were doing eight years ago when we didn't actually have the technology or the insights to do any better.

Garrett Mehrguth: We're better off having strong social media and good videos and less tracking marketing need less attribution and more creativity.

Ryan Brock: These one- liners, I mean, come on man. You're killing us.

Drew Detzler: I love that. All right, Garrett. Any marketing tools you can't live without?

Garrett Mehrguth: I use Semrush a lot just to do keyword research and get like a lay of the land. Tools are the biggest problem with marketing. I think people think that they can do marketing with their tools. They should probably just pick up their cell phone and call a couple of people and ask some questions and talk to customers.

Drew Detzler: Love that.

Ryan Brock: Love it.

Drew Detzler: All right. You've given some predictions and some forecasts of where you see SEO going, but what's your best prediction for SEO trends in 2023?

Garrett Mehrguth: Google, If I were to put myself in their eyes of what they're trying to do, they're trying to build the best search engine possible for answering questions and then obviously make a bunch of money on Google Ads. Those two things are true. They're trying to make more money on Google Ads. They're trying to make sure that they do provide the best answers to questions that people have online. I think if I was an engineer at Google, I would do everything in my power to make the results that show up on Google, not manipulatable by human. I would argue that in the future, title tags, keyword ratios, and all of these things will become less important and they'll start using more Google Chrome data, more behavioral data, and they'll start to better use click through data and time on site data to better understand who is properly answering this query with their article, and they're going to try to remove anything we can do to manipulate an article's positioning on you.

Ryan Brock: I just need to follow that up by saying we actually have data, Garrett to suggest that what you're saying right now is already the case.

Garrett Mehrguth: One of the things I did discover too that's really important is the amount of times your URL or website or brand is mentioned on the page one for the same query you're trying to rank your individual website for.

Ryan Brock: Oh, that's next level.

Garrett Mehrguth: So what I do when I say sheriff SERP, my tactic is I get myself a part of any conversation. So if I'm trying to rank for endpoint protection, let's say for a cybersecurity company, if there is anything mentioning endpoint protection by any third party, I will make sure my client is a part of that conversation. So really focus on making yourself a player in the industry before you're going to be a traffic driver in the industry.

Ryan Brock: I mean, that's the holy grail. That's it right there.

Drew Detzler: Amazing. Well, thank you Garrett for being an awesome guest today. Before we let you go, is there anything else you'd like to plug or tell us about what you're doing over there at Directive?

Garrett Mehrguth: Yeah. If you're a software company and you want to work with the best and not the cheapest, give us a call. So if you're looking to grow and you want a different mentality, I'd say we're pretty good at having a different mentality.

Ryan Brock: Boom. There it is. Thanks, Garrett this has been amazing, really energizing conversation, and I think our listeners are going to get the same kind of energy that I'm getting out of it too, so appreciate you coming and sharing all your thoughts.

Garrett Mehrguth: Yeah, I know, I'm glad to be here and join Society. If you want to just DM me any questions you have or ask anyone in my company any questions for free, it's called Society. It's a free Slack group. We got over 1, 000 people in it that are all the best marketers and B2B SaaS. Feel free to join too, so thanks for having me.

Drew Detzler: Very cool. I will. Ryan, that was an amazing conversation, man. Garrett's a knowledgeable guy. I learned a lot. I love the way he's thinking about it. What was your main takeaway from this conversation today?

Ryan Brock: The boldness to just throw out what we've all been telling ourselves works for organic, but we all know doesn't work. Like that's the biggest thing. If marketers in general, not just people who are specifically SEOs, but anybody who realizes that paid costs are going up, the quality of paid leads are going down, we need to do better at being there and intersecting with our customers when they're actually looking for information. If you've been doing the same thing for the last eight, nine years, which probably you have Garrett's example, and I think the example that we share all the time from our own company, DemandJump, they show that it is time. This industry is sophisticated enough, but more importantly, people are sophisticated enough when it comes to utilizing search as a tool. We need to level up, we need to step up, and we need to just try new things and be willing to fail, and when we succeed, that's going to be the kind of payoff that gets marketers to speed at the table in the boardroom.

Drew Detzler: That's exactly. Yeah, that's my exact takeaway, and I go back to his apples and oranges. It's so hard to stop trying to be just a slightly better orange, especially when that's what everyone else around you is doing. Got to go be an apple, got to do it.

Ryan Brock: Which sucks because oranges are objectively the better fruit, but...

Drew Detzler: Well, based on your...

Ryan Brock: That's just my opinion, man.

Drew Detzler: Yep, that's fair. All right, well that's it for this episode of Page One or Bust. We'll talk to you soon.

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.


What does it take to get your content discovered at buying intent? Garrett Mehrguth, Directive President & CEO, shares how you can position your brand at the right place, right time in our fast-paced digital environment.


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