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Shape the Conversation

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The Evolving PPC Landscape for Agencies and Software with Kirk Williams

Zato’s Kirk Williams joins Nicole and Jon to discuss deep thoughts about the PPC landscape and how changes have altered their business models. The group talks through Google’s strategies over the years especially given the sheer influence Google has on the direction of PPC-centric businesses. They cover recent decisions by Google that seem to work against agencies and, in turn, affect the software solutions that agencies use.


PPC Management Software For Agencies

What is PPC Management Software and what can it do to help your company stand out against your competition? On this episode of 'Shape the Conversation', Nicole and Jon dig into the world of PPC Management Software from the perspective of both builders of their own platform as well as the purchasers looking into platforms for use in a PPC agency.


Accountability & Freedom with Michael Mack

"Who wouldn’t want to experience a little more freedom in life? And what does that have to do with Accountability." Michael Mack is back on this episode of Shape the Conversation. Discussing his new post regarding accountability and freedom in and out of the professional space with our host Jon Davis. Join us for a long conversation about what a life of accountability looks like and how it applies to your own life today.


Breaking Down BuzzFeed's Report on Ad Fraud on Mobile Apps

Ad fraud is an issue that plagues digital advertisers/marketers every day. Fake ads that utilize bots to gain incredible amounts of impressions and build up gross amounts of money have caused even users, who recognize it, to start questioning advertising altogether. Nicole and Jon break down BuzzFeed's report on ad fraud in this episode of Shape the Conversation.


Creating a PPC Strategy for a Brand New Product/Service

Making something new is no easy task, but it only steps one to genuinely getting off the ground. You have to make sure people know about it. Digital advertising is a powerful way to get eyeballs on your new product/service fast. Today on 'Shape the Conversation', Nicole and Jon dive into formulating a PPC strategy for emerging products or services that may have low search volume on Google.


The Importance of Defining Your Target Market for Anything

How can you figure out if there is actually a market for your idea? In this episode, Nicole and Jon discuss ways to find, describe and communicate to the people that make up your target market.


Don't Assume a Quiet Customer is a Happy Customer

When analyzing why your customers churn, do you consider how long it’s been since you last spoke with them? Whether you offer SaaS, services, or something else, a long stretch of silence from a customer is often an indicator that your relationship is not as strong as it could be. In this episode, Nicole and Jon explore why it’s essential to constantly be talking to your customers and how to do so in a way that is feasible for both parties. They discuss what they learned from personal...


Exploring Six Emerging Digital Advertising Platforms

Google and Facebook have established themselves as the market share leaders in digital advertising world. Bing/Twitter have matured over the years and everyone is thinking about Amazon (which is growing but still only a small percentage of spend when compared to overall Google and Facebook revenue). But what other options are there out? In this episode, Nicole and Jon explore the pros and cons of six alternative advertising options to consider experimenting with.


Attracting Eyeballs in the Modern Attention Economy

If we aren't sleeping, our attention is being drawn somewhere. We are consuming more advertising and content than ever. It's also harder than ever to stand out because of all the noise. In this episode, Nicole and Jon talk through how the changes in people's attention habits have influenced marketing decisions at Shape and how that led to filming a plane doing a fly by in the Oregon desert for a recent video.


The Ideas of Andy Raskin

Andy Raskin says he "helps CEOs align their teams around a strategic story — to power sales, marketing, fundraising, product and recruiting". Nicole and Jon have been mildly obsessed with Raskin's ideas and in this episode breakdown his 5 elements for developing a powerful strategic story of your own.


A Review of Rand Fishkin's Book "Lost and Founder"

In his book "Lost and Founder", Rand Fishkin chronicles his journey leading from the early days, through raising ~$30 million from investors, to ultimately leaving the company he founded. In this episode, Nicole and Jon discuss what resonating the most for them after reading the book and their thoughts on Rand's idea of a "startup cheat code" based on our experience in the startup world.


The General Stigma Around Advertising

Nicole and Jon both have made their careers as advertising professionals and heard all the sarcastic jokes at dinner parties about it. But why does it feel like more than ever people distrust advertisers and marketing? Polls show that advertising professionals rank alongside lawyers as some of the least trusted professions by the general public. While our hosts are a little biased, they have some theories as to why the climate is so negative in advertising and what our industry can do to...


Day-to-Day Ways to "Manage Up"

You have a big idea you want to implement at your company but you don't have the autonomy to pull it off. You need buy-in from your boss and maybe even the next layer of management. In this episode, Nicole and Jon talk through day-to-day steps you can take to "manage up" the ranks of the corporate ladder and increase your chances of getting approval for a new idea from management when it counts.


Inside the Mind of a VC with Julie Harrelson, Fund Manager, Cascade Angels

If you have tried to raise money for an early stage startup in Oregon in the last 5 years you have probably been in a room pitching Julie Harrelson, Fund Manager at Cascade Angels. She is an entrepreneur turned venture capitalist with a lot of great perspective on early stage companies and the changing demographics of the startup world. In this conversation, we dive deep into why Julie and her investors are looking for much more in a pitch deck then just graphs that go up and to the right.


The Facebook Roller Coaster

The months leading up to and following Facebook's congressional hearings in April of 2018 have been a roller coaster for the company. The stock took a massive hit when they announced on the last earnings call that revenue growth would slow over the coming quarters. Have all the scandals and bad PR truly inhibited the future of Facebook? Or is this just another stumbling block along the way for a company that will be around for generations. Nicole and Jon dig into what moves the needle for...


An Inside Look at Deschutes Brewery with CEO Michael LaLonde (Part II)

In part two of the conversation, Jon interviews Micheal about how Deschutes views growth and marketing in the modern world of craft beer. Michael believes if you aren't growing your dying because of the rising costs of making beer. He talks about the biggest changes he's seen in marketing over his career, the marketing KPIs they use to measure success and the surprising way Deschutes views their 'competition'.


An Inside Look at Deschutes Brewery with CEO Michael LaLonde (Part I)

Michael LaLonde leads one of the largest micro breweries in the nation as CEO of Deschutes Brewery in Bend, Oregon. He took over the job from founder and long time CEO Gary Fish in 2017. In part one of their conversation, Jon interviews Micheal about his journey. Michael gives a fascinating look at the inner-workings of Deschutes' operations and how they manage everything from people to what beer to brew next. He believes building a company where people aren't employees but rather...


Dissecting the Business Model of Google (Alphabet)

Google (parent company Alphabet) has been one of the most valuable companies in the world for many years. Recently, they released Q2 2018 earnings. Revenues grew 26% quarter-over-quarter. That is incredible given the massive scale of their business and the fact they were fined $5B by the EU. Nicole and Jon talk about how Alphabet spends money to feed one of the most powerful business models ever created: search advertising. Can Alphabet ride the Google cash cow to sustain their position as...


The Power of Vulnerability with Michael Mack

An interview with Michael Mack. As co-founder and CEO of Garden Fresh Restaurant Corp., he led an expansion from 2 to over 125 Souplantation and Sweet Tomatoes restaurants in 15 states. But Micheal's journey would see him fired from the company he founded. How he handled being fired and the years following is a fascinating study in the power of being vulnerable.


When to Venture Outside of a Niche

Venturing outside of a niche can be the right decision to make. On this episode, Nicole and Jon talk about the power of having a successful niche but also lay out some scenarios where you may want to diversify your product, service or marketing. During the conversation they covered some of their own experiences and the founding stories of Twitter and Slack to outline how there can be benefits to looking outside your niche.