Join Up Dots Podcast

Introducing Phillip Stutts Today's guest joining us on the Join Up Dots business coaching podcast is the author of FIRE THEM NOW. He is one of the masterminds behind the curtain of political marketing. With more than 20 years of political and marketing experience, Stutts has worked with multiple Fortune 200 companies and has over two decades of experience working on campaigns with billions of dollars in political ad spend and contributed to over 1,000 election victories, including hundreds of U.S. House campaigns, dozens of U.S. Senate campaigns and even three Presidential victories. He founded Go BIG Media in 2015 and has won more than 30 prestigious awards for their work with US Senators, Governors, and Presidential Candidates, including a Pollie Award for Best Digital/Internet Independent Expenditure Presidential Campaign and the Goldie Award for Digital Video Excellence in a Presidential Campaign. Now if that doesn't sound like he has a lot on his plate, then lets tell you he is fighting a rare, incurable disease.  Diagnosed in 2012 with the esophageal disease, Achalasia, he spent five years ignoring it. Frankly, he put his head in the sand, taking medications that did more harm than good, and waiting for the inevitable. Then he woke up and said no more. His mission today is to find a cure and pursue a life of constant growth and giving. And he’s making progress. Stutts has been featured in Inc. and has made more than 200 national TV appearances including Fox News, MSNBC, and CNN. He has been lauded as a “marketing genius” by Fox Business and “the political guru” by ESPN. So what makes a man with so much going on, seemingly crank out even more work, when most people would take a breather and focus on themselves? And where does he see people go wrong in the business world, when it comes to marketing. Speaking the wrong message, or simply directing it at the wrong people. Well lets find out as we bring onto the show to start joining up dots with the one and only Phillip Stutts Show Highlights During the show we discussed such deep weighty subjects with Phillip Stutts such as: We discuss why there is a point that so many businesses go for scale for the sake of it. Is this an ego metric, or pure business requirement? Whether there is a firm reason to only choose to work with people that you personally share the same beliefs with. Phillip shares his personal belief that social media will be crashing in the next five years. and the reasons behind that belief. and lastly...... The reason that marketing should be based around one key concept, and why most businesses fail to see this themselves. How To Connect With Phillip Stutts Website Twitter LinkedIn Return To The Top Of Phillip Stutts If you enjoyed this episode with Phillip Stutts, why not check out other inspirational chat with Clayton Morris, Dorie Clark, and the amazing Niall Doherty You can also check our extensive podcast archive by clicking here – enjoy Audio Transcription Of Phillip Stutts Interview Intro 0:00 When we're young, we have an amazing positive outlook about how great life is going to be. But somewhere along the line we forget to dream and end up settling in Join Up Dots features amazing people who refuse to give up and chose to go after their dreams. This is your blueprint for greatness. So here's your host, live from the back of his garden in the UK, David Ralph. David Ralph 0:25 Yes. Good morning to you. Good morning to you and welcome to Join Up Dots. Thank you so much for being here. It's great to have you because I don't like to be on my own. I really don't. But unfortunately, we've got we've got a guy at the other end. And what we've been trying to do in Join Up Dots recently is to vary the kind of content that you really don't know what you're going to get. And so it might be a deep dive on one of the movers and shakers, the billionaires have come and gone in this world. Or it might be somebody doing things that quite frankly, just interest me. And today's guest certainly falls into the latter camp. He's joining us on and Join Up Dots is the author of fire them now. And he's one of the masterminds behind the curtain. Yes, the curtain or political marketing. With more than 20 years of political marketing experience. He's worked with multiple fortune 200 companies and has over two decades of experience working on campaigns with billions of dollars in political ad spend and contributed to over 1000 election and victories. Yes, he's to blame, including hundreds of US House campaigns, dozens of US Senate campaigns and even pre presidential victories. Now he founded go big media in 2015. And as one more than 30 prestigious awards for their work with US senators, governors and presidential candidates. Now it doesn't sound like he's got a lot on his plate. But let's tell you he's also fighting a rare NQ incurable disease diagnosed in 2012 with a software called FZ. Accolades Yeah, he spent five years ignoring it. Now for Petty's head in the sand, taking medications that did more harm than good, and waiting for the inevitable when he woke up and said no more. And his mission today is to find a cure and pursue a life of constant growth and giving and he's making progress. He's been featured on 200 national TV appearances you get the drill is good. Now what makes this man we have so much going on seemingly crank out even more work. But most people would take a breather and focus on themselves perhaps and where does he see people go wrong in the business world when it comes to marketing, speaking the wrong message, or simply directing that message at the wrong people? I think that's pretty good. But let's find out as we bring on to the show to start Join Up Dots with the one and only Phillip Stutts. Good morning. How are you sir? Phillip Stutts 2:48 I am great ever had a crushed it this morning. But studying and reading and I'm ready to go? David Ralph 2:56 Well, as soon as I connected with you, you sounded like a guy that was really ready to go I get some guests, but sort of roll up. And I imagine that they via just rolled up because they're so chilled. Or they're wearing their pyjamas or their you know, you seem like somebody that really wakes up each morning, puts these feet on the floor and goes, let's make this day a day worth living. Phillip Stutts 3:19 I'm Thank you, I appreciate that, I would tell you that I do feel that way I listen. In my business this in the last two weeks, we've had massive challenges. I get super pumped and excited. But roadblocks and challenges. And my what I get excited about is I get to deep dive and solve those problems. So this is kind of your you're catching me in one of these. I'm really excited moments because I'm getting to solve problems. So I know I'm David Ralph 3:48 writing that way. But I use somebody because what I see also on the show is when people are really, really pumped, it's because they're on that wave. And they might have been paddling in the deep for a while sort of biding their time and then suddenly that wave gets him and the momentum builds and bear they are sort of flying towards me. Are you sort of on the top at the moment surfing the cube? I think they say the kids, I think Phillip Stutts 4:13 it's a little bit more complicated. I love you know, people that are listening to this. You hear a lot of guests and they come in and they tell their their victory storeys. Right. Mine is a different storey mine is. In my business, I have pretty much eaten doo doo for the last year and a half. And in trying to build and grow a corporate marketing division, we have a political marketing company that's completely separate from my corporate marketing division. In the last six months, we've it is exploded, we've grown by about 10 times from what we did last year. The problems that I'm seeking to solve are when you scale at that number, when you know how do you scale it that number, I have a model. I've done it before with my political marketing agency where we went from one employee in 2015, we have 27. Now we burned 22,000%. And then I I left the data and running the day to day operations of the political marketing from the open a corporate marketing agency. And we're sort of in the similar path. I like solving the problems of building the team it to me, David, it's all about the team, I if I build a great team, we will serve our clients, we will grow businesses, all those types of things. And so I like I'm in this moment where we're in a transition and we went from startup to you know, we have to optimise and grow with our clients. And so that's the challenge. It took a lot of dirt in my face over the last few months of eating dirt. But it's really going well right now. And now the challenge is how do you grow it and sustain it and sure the clients have had incredible success, and that there's no drop off. David Ralph 6:05 Now I'm going to put a different opposing view towards you only because I'm it's something that I'm interested in at the moment. Vat non the scale, the scale sake, everybody's looking for bigger metrics, and more downloads and more and more fat. And I'm going through a process where I'm thinking to myself, do I need that. And that process is a book that I've been reading called a company of one by Paul Jarvis, where he says one issue, you have pressured once you need to have a lovely life, but also pay all the bills, and vain. Do you need more than that? Would that be a view that you could understand? Or is that a view that is so contrary to the way you operate? You think No, I just want more and more and more. Phillip Stutts 6:52 So I was that person for 10 years, from 2005 to 2015. I was a one man, police consultant didn't own any marketing agencies, advised political candidates, nonprofit, some corporate clients. And what I realised there was a point is great by a great question, because I've never been asked this and I think it's just outstanding. So I i've you know basic was a one man shop at one point I had seven clients, I was making close to seven figures a year, I was I was just incredibly happy and excited and loving life. And then one day for or two of my political clients decided that they didn't want to actually run anymore, or raise money to pay the bills. Two of my nonprofit clients lost their funding. And, and within like, literally one week, I'd gone from seven clients and seven figures, to basically three clients and barely making six figures. And I went that that is a scary situation when it's all on you. And I did a soul searching I mean, I went through years and years of soul searching. And ultimately I found that deep down what's in the fibre of my body is two very important things is that it actually ends up being the values of the of our company. And it is given grow, give more than you take and always be growing. I don't have long vision statements. And I need you know, something mounted on the wall that people see and forget. And three seconds Nope, it's given growth. And for me, that's not I wasn't, I would never in my life, I wasn't always that I'm striving to be that I'm trying to give more than I take, I'm striving to always be growing. But once I understood that that was what drove every fibre in my body, then I put I put all my chips in and said it growth like I've got to be growing I've got it doesn't mean like the company has to 10 x every year and all that stuff. I don't necessarily mean that. But I have to be growing, I have to get smarter, I have to be getting adapting and in taking change. You know, I know you. You love to ask like a great quote, I think Tony Robbins has this great quote, and I would tell you is the quote that sort of defines my life. And it's the quality of your life is in direct proportion to the amount of uncertainty you can comfortably tolerate. And man Does that ring for me because I when when I was a one man shop, I always put myself in comfortable situations trying to maintain my certainty. And when I put myself out there when I took chances, and when I decided I needed to be living more uncertain life and not live as comfortably. That's when massive growth happened in my life. By the way, I fail all the time. Like literally every day, there's a some kind of failure some way. It is not like failure is feedback to me. So like, I'm excited right now because I I'm learning from all of my failures all the time. And when you see yourself, take yourself from a failing position, to growth, to success to overcoming that grit side of things, is like you get so much confidence out of it, you know, you can do anything. So for me personally go back to your question is just not ultimately I was I did that it wasn't a fit. For me. It's a fit for other people. And I love that. But that for me is not not how I think about things. David Ralph 10:24 I've only spoken to you for about the last five or 10 minutes, but you seem to be a man who knows his stuff, you know who you are, and you know what you bring to the table. Now one of the things that interests me with you feel it is the fact being in the political arena, and being a political marketing genius, as they say, there must be an awful lot of business that you don't agree with you can't believe go along with all their political agendas. How do you balance that in your own mind that you're bringing messages to the world that actually go against what your personal beliefs? So Phillip Stutts 11:00 So do you let me ask you this? Do you represent clients? You do consulting things like that? Right? David Ralph 11:05 Yeah, a bit bit here very I try not to. Phillip Stutts 11:08 So with that, in particular, do you? The the companies or the business owners that you've consulted in the past? Do you believe everything they believe? David Ralph 11:18 I don't buy believe it? They're a good person or not? Phillip Stutts 11:22 Man, you just nailed it. And we go from me. So for me, it's easy to have a stereotype and stereotypes are called stereotypes, because they're mostly true. But for me, I've I've been lucky enough to work with people that I truly believe in and want to fight for. Are there people that may not meet everything that I believe in? or want? Absolutely 100%? But do they represent the kind of change that I want to be seen? I don't want to seem to be made. Absolutely. And so I have no friends problem whatsoever. And I'll never apologise for it. David Ralph 12:03 Because if you see these kind of political courtroom dramas, when somebody's standing up defending someone, and I always think to myself, I couldn't do that if I if I knew he was guilty, even if it was my job. I couldn't do that there's no Phillip Stutts 12:18 one could do that formation of America's democracy is that, you know, people have the right, both sides of every argument had the right be made. Who are those people that are going to do that? Listen, I don't think I've ever gone out and defended something I truly thought was immoral or unethical. But at the same time, look, their defence attorneys are people are accused of crimes. If they didn't have defence attorneys, then a lot of innocent people would be in jail right now. So sometimes, the way a scandal in politics is portrayed in the media is is maybe half right, maybe 25%. Right? I believe that politician has every right to defend themselves and get their side of the storey out? Well, David Ralph 13:01 well, let's take away from that into your political journey and your personal political journey. Because I'm always interested in that bit. When the intro is being read. It sounds like all the dots have joined up perfectly. And from the moment that you sort of you came out of the womb, you had a little suit on and a little briefcase, and and off you went a big part of the storey where most people are making it up as they go along. I remember reading Barack Obama's biography and he spent my whole summer getting stoned and drinking beer because he just didn't know what he wanted to be. And you think it's quite obvious, you're gonna be Barack Obama. Have you had those moments in your life when you've been going through college, whatever, and you're really doubting that you're on the right path. Phillip Stutts 13:51 Now? Well, first of all, I didn't even know what my path was until I was 23. I'm sitting here right now, in a T shirt and flip flops. You know, again, still tights, David, you're putting stereotypes on I wear a hat a hat every day, I live on the beach in Florida. And, you know, the last thing I am is probably the stereotype of what you would think of somebody that works in politics is when I was 20, sorry, when I was 22 years old, I had the opportunity to go work on a presidential campaign. And literally as a gopher, and found it to be, always say, working on political campaigns. It's like smoking crack. So stick with me, Okay, I'm ready. Okay. All right, good. Because here's the deal. You go in to a political campaign, and you work 24, seven, there was a three year window in my career where I had 22, total days off, I was, you know, you there is no balance in your life, you are going 1000 miles an hour, 16 hours a day, seven days a week. And All you think about is, I've got to, I've got to get off of this, that I cannot do this, the rest of my life is going to kill me if I continue down this path of working in politics or political campaigns. And then Election Day happens. And then the day after election day, you it's like, you go off the pipe, you fall asleep, you go, Oh, my God, it's over. I'm never doing this again. Thank God Almighty. And then about a week later, you start twitching. And you go, man, I gotta get back on a political campaign because you realise that you'll never feel as passionate about anything in your entire life, as you do in a job where you're fighting to change the way the country they out, you know, outcome or out the direction of the country that you live in. And so for me, you know, it is, you know, every time I always say every time I try to try to get out, they pulled me back in. Because ultimately, I think you need to be in the fight. I think there are a lot of people out there in the world today, that all they do is bitch and moan. And all they do is say how horrible this person is, and that person does. And then you ask, Well, what are you doing to change the system? And you know, the answer is I'm tweeting. Yeah, that is total BS to me. So if you're going to complain to do something about it, well, I'm going to do something about it. I've been doing something about it for 23 plus years now. And I believe that you got to be in the fight if you're going to have if you're gonna have strong opinions. Otherwise, you're a poser. David Ralph 16:27 Yeah, but what you're battling with all the time, and I will reference I don't really use Facebook at all, but I put a post on it the other day, just because something was niggling away. And this is exactly why. Why is it on social media that someone says something offensive, political, racial, and the world sits up and takes notice and thousands of comments and likes come forth. But when someone is doing something great for someone, the community charity the world and need help by gaining shares, likes, it's barely a whisper by get, I hope that we aren't creating a world where the sensational outscores the positive every single time. But I bet we are. Now with you being so passionate, you're obviously thinking that you are doing great stuff. But we all know in the political arena, a lot of that great stuff never comes to fruition. It just kind of gets caught up in red tape. How do you balance Vatican right, your efforts are going into a black hole, but actually are going to get suppressed further down the line. Phillip Stutts 17:27 But let me answer the the Facebook post that you had. I just wrote a piece. I have a subscriber list. And I wrote a piece two weeks ago about the looming social media market crash, I believe that the exact post that you had is the reason social media is going to have a market crash sometime in the next five years. I believe that when everybody is trying to beat their chests and show how important they are, you know, people will say like, literally I know people that live early post I'm against rate, because they want people to clap and bet pat him on the back. And like, Who's for rate? David? Like, I don't understand these things like, yeah, no one's for that. The only reason people posted something like that is that they want people to like them more. And I think it's a, it's the Doom of society, one of the reasons I admire you is that you've kind of sworn off some of that stuff. I'm the same way I post on social, but by the way, I never get on it. I mean, I rarely get on it, because it's so toxic. And when it's so toxic, and I know this these companies, because they've tried to bow to all the censorship calls, that ultimately there is going to be a massive market correction for social and it's coming. The second part is how do you tap into that emotion in a positive way? You know, so one of the ways that we've done it, one of the ways I do it in marketing, and look at me, I'm transitioning. I, one of the ways we've done this is you've seen maybe it's on the American side, maybe it's over on your side of the pond, but you've seen political ads that are negative ads, correct? Yeah, absolutely. Great. Here's what we've done to sort of reverse engineer those. So I've done negative political ads, I've made them I've won awards for them. I've personally, I kind of like them. But when we're working with corporate clients, if you take that principle, and apply it to a company that runs and add a comparison ad, right, we can call it going negative, but it's a comparison at but the comparison at a thins no one and builds stronger and deeper Connexions to the company that is producing the ad by the customer, that is a win all the way around. So it's taking a negative and turning it positive. I'll give you an example. We work for a dietary country dietary food company, they are an eight figure company, this is on the corporate side. Ever, we are I fancy our corporate marketing agency is actually a marketing intelligence and data company because we use data to make all the decisions. And so we went into this, this dietary food company, and we we overlaid their customer base on with, you know, to overlaid all their decisions. And we follow those people for a month. And you can say you did and I'm like, Yeah, everybody does in the data world. But we followed everything I did. And we came back after 30 days, and we had a complete and psychological understanding of their entire customer base. their customer base was 50% vegetarian or vegan, the customer base hated and we found this in the data, they did not like they hated soda. seems obvious. But until you look at the data, and you follow them around, you'd never know. And so we ended up creating ads. And the ads said, you know, don't you know what it was like a crush soda can and it said something to the effect of, you know, don't succumb to the soda industry by these clean unhealthy foods, right? That's a comparison ad. What did that ad do? Well, we also tested it against some positive ads against the top rank positive ad that we tested against it had it at a two x click through rate, and it 20% conversion rate where the customer bought a product based on the comparative ad. Now, no one in that customer base is offended that we went after soda, because everybody in this company's customer base hates soda. So what we did was we use the negative turned it into a positive built a deeper connexion. And we see this over and over and over again, comparative ads on the corporate side, or if done effectively, are the most successful ads, you can absolutely run in this day and age. And that's because you were tapping into the very thing you wrote about in that Facebook ad, but in a different way. And you reorganise it in a different way, and you use it for a positive effect. David Ralph 22:12 Well, okay, we're gonna play some words now, then we're gonna come back to back because I think this is a nice segue into the business element of Join Up Dots is Oprah. Oprah Winfrey 22:22 The way through the challenge is to get still and ask yourself, what is the next right move? not think about, Oh, I got all of this. What is the next right move? And then from that space, make the next right move, and the next right move, and not to be overwhelmed by it. Because you know, your life is bigger than that one moment, you know, you're not defined by what somebody says, is a failure for you. Because failure is just there to point you in a different direction. David Ralph 22:53 Why? So taking those words and what you said about the data and the marketing, somebody listening service, they run a small pet shop in Nebraska, we say, and we're thinking I need to know more about my customers, I need to appeal to the right customers. I've tried Facebook ads never got anywhere, is this is something that you know, vape can jump on and take your learnings and transition into their own business, or is this something that literally, you've got to have not the one person shop, but a whole business to have? Phillip Stutts 23:30 So, listen, I think, pursuant to what Oprah was just saying, it is one step at a time, and 90% of times that business owners that comes in, and then talk to me and say we need you to do your marketing, they try to go for the get rich, quick pill. It never works. David, I've heard you say this before you hate marketers, or you hate marketing 95% of business owners hate marketers, or marketing. They look at it as a cost. They look at it as an expense, not an investment. Done, right 90% of your business should be marketing. But because there are so many nefarious characters out there. And there's so many people that see, oh, my God, this guy ran a Facebook page ad I should run a Facebook ad. And I wrote my book called fire them now because I wanted to point out the unethical behaviour of marketers in the industry. What the step by step approach that Oprah talks about in there. For me, it's very simple. Anybody that works with us, any company, they have to undertake this, this, this, we call it the undefeated marketing system, we're going to trade marketing it right now. And it will probably be my next book. But the reason it is because it works, every client that has come in and done this particular step by step process has grown their bottom line, every single one. Now I've had plenty of clients that start the process, and then go, I don't want this, I just want to get rich quick pill, I don't have that they fall off. But the way you do it is you and you must have deep understanding of customer data or your ideal target market, you must get that you must understand what the data says about the way they think they feel, what the top values in life are, how they're motivated, what platforms are on the chronological order of the platforms they visit. And from that, and so you know, whether it be politics with voters, or whether it be you know, corporate marketing with customers, or clients, I've done over 3000 campaigns. And all I've ever done is looked at data and been able to read between the lines to say this is what this means. This is what that means in your data. From that you've got to build a strategic plan, not on a bunch of guesses, but on what the data tells you. So that's step two, then you have to rebrand your company in the way that the customer wants to listen and hear from you. Not in what you just want to say. But what the customer wants to hear. Does that make sense? Not? Yeah, yes. And we know that from the data. Then step four is you go out and you test all the data, all the messages that the data gave us, like the the case study I just told you about, about going negative with the supplement and dietary company. Once we figure out the after we test all these concepts and these messages that the data tell us will work. We've always found what works, what we find in the testing processes, the 10 concepts we test, they all work, but two or three, go crush, I mean, they go through the roof, then you go to the business owner and you go, let's make a real investment in your marketing. Now. The point is, is that marketers have should absolutely should take the risk off the table for the business owner, the business owner should win before the marketer wins. And unfortunately, the way the rule the unwritten rule is now as the marketer gets paid, whether the business owner grows their business or not. And what I'm trying to tell you is the process I just laid out is to how you win back, that game of marketing. In addition, one of the lies I taught so the I talked about the seven lies Digital Marketer selling my book, I'll give you one. And it's counter counterintuitive to what you're probably thinking. But it is this if you are a business owner, and you hire a marketing agency, and that marketing agency says you have to sign a six month, three month 12 month contract. That is unethical behaviour, in my opinion. And 23 plus years of marketing, every contract I've ever signed in the history of my career has been month to month. Why? Because that mark that business, that politician can fire me anytime, if I'm not producing for them. Now, the reason that's important is every month My ass is on the line. And either I'm producing results, or I'm gone. How much faster do I move? And how quickly do I innovate every single day for my clients that that's my mindset. And unfortunately, that is not the mindset of the majority of marketers out there in the world today. David Ralph 28:22 What you're saying makes so much sense to me. But there's also a fear, there's a fear that most peo

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