John Randak is Lead Marketing Strategist at Peaceful Media in Portland. John is the person you call when you need more traffic to your website or you need help converting traffic into leads or sales. In fact, he has been called by folks such as Brendon Burchard, Sonia Choquette, Jeff Walker, Mary Morrissey, Dr. Mark Hyman and many, many others.



In This Episode

John Randak has been the lead marketing strategist on many high profile marketing launches and has, consequently, learned many lessons. In this episode, John sits down with Ontraport CEO Landon Ray to discuss his insights into failure, managing client expectations, and why he is learning everything there is to know about YouTube.

Topic Timeline:

0:37 Full Service Marketing Agency

John is the Lead Marketing Strategist at Peaceful Media, a full service marketing agency.

1:21 Manage Expectations

When you have high profile clients, learning to managing expectations is key.

4:42 Enjoy the Failure As Much As the Success

You can have everything ready and in place for a launch but still have something go wrong. John has learned there is always something to learn from it.

6:12 Quantitative and Qualitative

There are quantitative and qualitative benefits to every launch. Both are valuable.

7:57 A Designer and Marketer

John uses his design background in his current role of marketing strategist at Peaceful Media.

8:58 YouTube is Everything

With costs of ads going up, John has turned to YouTube and is learning everything he can to leverage the digital real estate.

12:32 Ethical Marketing

Ethical marketing is incredibly important to John; he strives to bring integrity and honesty to the marketing industry.

13:50 Anyone Can Be Famous Today

We live in an era where if you’re unique and have the right message, and it’s the right time, you can reach your audience and find success.

15:07 Be Yourself

To cut through all the noise in the age of video, be authentic and be yourself.

Something can look like failure and still be a success, and I didn’t know that when I was really early on in my career.

– John Randak

Show Transcript:

LR: Welcome to Modern Ontrapreneur, I’m Landon and today I have John Randak, who is Lead Marketing Strategist at Peaceful Media in Portland. John is, apparently, the person you call when you need more traffic to your website or you need help converting traffic into leads or sales. And in fact, he has been called by folks such as Brendon Burchard, Sonia Choquette, Jeff Walker, Mary Morrissey, Dr. Mark Hyman and many, many others, so apparently he knows what he’s talking about. Thank you so much for being here.

JR: Of course, thank you.

LR: Awesome. So, tell me what it is that you guys do at Peaceful Media. It sounds like an agency, but just give us the high level situation.

JR: So Peaceful Media is a full service marketing agency. We can redo your website, web development, front end, back end, and all that kind of stuff. But we also are a full service marketing agency, so if you need more traffic to your site, if you’re looking to convert that traffic into leads or sales, or you’re doing events or launches or that kind of stuff, we can help you with that, and we do copywriting and project management. I mean, really, what I like to tell people when they meet us is, “Anything you don’t want to do for your business that happens online in the digital space, we can do that for you.”

LR: Very interesting, cool. You’ve been doing this for?

JR: We’ve been around since 2008.

LR: 2008. Very interesting.

JR: Ten years ago.

LR: Ten years? Cool, and so tell me about the challenge of dealing with the sort of high profile clients. We have a lot of folks on here who run agencies …

JR: Sure.

LR: Which is effectively consulting. These are people that are … Whenever you hire a consultant, you’re expecting results, right? And I know, because years ago I did a similar kind of work, that often when people write you a check expecting you to make sales for them, effectively, that there are often, let’s say, differing opinions about what success looks like; and that can be challenging, right? Expectations, management and meeting what may seem super high expectations or just managing clients like this. And especially it’s almost risky, in a certain way, to take on clients with the sort of profile that you guys do, because if you blow up with a Mark Hyman or somebody that everybody knows. So, how do you handle that?

JR: Well, I guess I’ll start by saying that managing expectations, at the front, is really important, you know what I mean? If someone comes to us who is on a smaller scale right now than someone like Sonia or a Brendon and they say, “We want to be like them in one year.” We have to manage that. And then we will, basically, talk them through the process through which they get to that place. You know what I mean?

I mean, you don’t go from having 1,000 people on your email list to 100,000 in six months or something that. And a lot of people believe that’s possible and they come in believing that that’s possible, so we do need to manage those expectations. You know what I mean? For people who are already at that level and come in and want something with similar level, yeah it’s … I mean, we haven’t had, I would say, a lot of stuff can go wrong, fortunately, you know what I mean, for us. And there are things that have gone a different way than we thought they were going to in product launches or something like that, and it is our job to sort of say, “Okay, this is what we thought was going to happen, this is what happened.” And we try and be as honest as we can. I mean, we try and just brace people at the beginning for what could and could not happen in a launch.

LR: Look, we do more launches than you guys, by far, right?

JR: Yeah.

LR: Because we run thousands of customers launches and stuff, and so we see it all the time. Sometimes launches go exactly the way people want them to do, and most of the time, they don’t, right?

JR: Right.

LR: Right, and that’s the reality. So you guys are pretty successful preparing people for that.

JR: Well, I mean, here’s an example. Actually I had a call with a client this morning, and we basically, essentially broke even on the launch. You know what I mean?

LR: Yeah.

JR: And this was a pretty big client. They had come in with some pretty lofty expectations, but what we did is we grew their list by 5,000 people. You know what I mean?

LR: Okay.

JR: So we, just from a revenue perspective, we broke even. We basically met … We made what we spent in management of all of the ads and the spend that we did on those, but we grew their list by 5,000 people. And so when I was on the phone with them this morning, I was just saying you … I mean, there is like, you can put a price on that. You know what I mean? So, while we would have liked to have made five figures, six figures on this launch, the fact that we can walk away from that saying that we grew your list by 5,000 people is a really big deal.

LR: And you didn’t cost you anything, yeah.

JR: Yeah, exactly. I mean, it’s not a fruitless launch, is what I would say.

LR: Right.

JR: You know what I mean?

LR: Yeah.

JR: And if you’re looking to get yourself to one of those higher levels, that’s a really important part of that.

LR: Yeah, it is, growing your list. So if you could kind of look back at the beginning of your career in digital marketing and give your younger self a piece of advice that would have smoothed your ride, what do you think that would be?

JR: I think that I would try to remind myself not to take things personally when it doesn’t all go perfectly, that there are launches, you can work for clients and do everything right and just really strange things can go wrong. You know what I mean? And I think that early on in my career, and early on at Peaceful Media, I think that we would almost take it personally when we wouldn’t get the results that we wanted. And I think that what I’ve learned over the years is that, certain times, there are things that … And this is gonna sound like “marketing,” but something can look like failure and still be a success; and I didn’t know that when I was really early on in my career. And there can be times where you have to go through the necessary failures to get to that point at the end. I mean, I remember being at one of Jeff Walker’s events like LaunchCon and him talking about how his favorite launches were launch one, two, and three where he was making four figures or five figures; because that’s when he was really …

LR: Super excited …

JR: Super excited. And he gets really passionate when he talks about those, because he had to be really inventive, he had to be creative, and he had to do a lot of thinking about them after the fact. If you do a launch and you do six figures and everything’s easy, it’s almost not as fun. You know what I mean? Those ones where you’re really inching for every little piece of it. So I guess that’s what I would say is try to enjoy those ones, you know what I mean? Where you don’t get exactly the result as much as you enjoy the ones where it’s just like no friction, everything goes exactly as planned.

LR: Yeah, it’s funny, I was just thinking, obviously we, in entrepreneurship, there in the space, there’s a lot of platitudes and Instagram posts about perseverance and stuff like that. And there’s more recognition about failure, I think, than there has been in the past because people fail in public more than they used to and stuff like that.

JR: Exactly.

LR: But for some reason, as you’re speaking about it, I was just thinking about … I don’t really watch baseball, but I think that even the very best hitters in baseball hit a few home runs in a season, right?

JR: Right.

LR: And that’s after years and years and years of practice. And yet, people figure somehow that they’re going to come out and crack a six figure launch early on in their career; it does seem there’s a disconnect there sometimes.

JR: Yeah, I think that it’s interesting how people define failure. You know what I mean? Because there’s the quantitative expectations that you put at the beginning of a launch, but then there are going to be both quantitative and qualitative benefits from any launch; and the qualitative benefits are the things you’ve learned from it. You know what I mean? Like, okay we tried this copywriting, or we tried this message, or we tried this pricing point, and that was a really big thing we learned in this launch that we just did, that it’s not quantitative; is the information we gleaned from the launch itself about what customers respond to in terms of pricing. So if I say it will … If we had only used quantitative metrics for success and failure, you know what I mean, we’re totally missing the point. And I don’t do that to sweet talk the client; I really do believe that. I mean, I really do believe that you learn so much from each of these launches that you do, and you just have to know where to look, and you have to be smart about it.

LR: Yeah, so awesome. So what do you feel like your unique skill set is?

JR: I was a designer before I was ever in marketing, and so I think one of my unique skill sets is that I take that kind of … I know it’s a kind of the left brain, right brain thing’s a little antiquated, but we’ll use that as a shorthand … I think I take that right brain kind of approach into marketing. I did design. I was that guy when I was in high school. I was designing album covers and bandy shirts, and that kind of stuff. I went to university for design, and I was working on design doing a little bit UX/UI before I kind of fell into marketing. And so I think as a marketing strategist, I have that background and so I really enjoy both sides of that. I mean working with creative directors and the design people and copywriters and all the ways that if you’re doing a launch, those things come together. So I don’t know if I’ll say I’m a jack of all trades, master of none kind of thing, but I definitely, with that background design, am now doing more left brain kind of marketing work.

LR: Yeah, I know how that works.

JR: They dovetail, you know what I mean, a lot so, if that’s a strength then, yeah.

LR: Yeah, that’s cool. I think that, if I’m not mistaken, that Peaceful Media, you guys get most of your business from word of mouth, basically, right?

JR: Yeah.

LR: You guys aren’t advertising?

JR: And from referral, yeah.

LR: Yeah. So then I’m curious, just since you guys are running a bunch of campaigns for your clients, what do you feel like is kind of working? What’s next in marketing, what is the stupid human trick in how to get customers right now?

JR: It’s YouTube, everything’s …

LR: It’s YouTube.

JR: Everything’s going …

LR: YouTube.

JR: YouTube.

LR: Listen to the confidence.

JR: That’s our 2019 …

LR: Listen to the confidence on that. It’s YouTube.

JR: It’s YouTube. I mean, we’ve been using Facebook for years and years, Instagram.

LR: Same here.

JR: And cost per impressions, as you know, are just skyrocketing.

LR: I do.

JR: What cost you $10 per impression five years ago, cost you $20 now. And we can’t get the cost per lead we used to get; we can’t get the cost per sale. We’re trying to be smarter about our audiences we go after. We’re trying to fine tune what we can control; we’re trying to fine tune that.

But with cost per impressions, Mark Zuckerberg had his mid-life crisis or whatever he had, you know what I mean, and I just feel everything has changed in the Facebook front since then. So where is there real estate; where is there inexpensive real estate for online marketing? It’s all on YouTube right now, so we are spending so much time and energy right now trying to find a way to get inexpensive leads on YouTube. And so we’re hiring video people. Qe are just taking it really seriously because there’s so much real estate that’s going left unsold on YouTube. Last I heard, 30 percent of the YouTube real estate for online ads doesn’t even get sold. Which is, for me, I didn’t know this, but I think that’s why it continues to be so inexpensive to do in stream videos, display videos that kind of stuff.

LR: And it’s working?

JR: It’s working, yeah.

LR: So, it’s not just impressions, it’s actually sales?

JR: It’s actually sales. I mean, you start with impressions, and then leads, and then sales, right?

LR: Right.

JR: But I mean, I just can’t get the same cost per lead that I used to get with Facebook. And so even though Facebook is still highly commoditized and people are ready to buy on Facebook, with all of our clients when they ask us what’s new for 2019, we tell them “YouTube.” That’s where we’re going with it. And 10 years from now, if we’re here at the same place, YouTube is going to be too expensive, and we’re going to be talking about the next thing.

LR: Whatever the next thing is, yeah.

JR: Whatever the next thing is, yeah.

LR: That’s interesting. Okay guys, well, so guy on the camera, you guys know what to do, right? Videos.

JR: You got the team right here. I mean this is it. YouTube is the way to go, yeah. You get some video developers, a good editor, some music and that is where it’s all going.

LR: That’s where it’s all going. Cool, so apart from trying to figure out YouTube, what do you feel is the sort of most important thing you need to learn right now? What is your cutting edge?

JR: Beyond YouTube?

LR: It’s just all YouTube all day?

JR: That is what I am really focused on now when I’m not reading books on marketing, I am studying best practice for YouTube right now. I’m trying to find ways, the little ways in which you can get those little links over there, or there’s some really cool stuff is happening with YouTube right now where you can kind of choose your own adventures with three little blocks at the bottom, and you can skip to different places in the videos; it’s really cool stuff. And so I want to be an expert on YouTube, because I feel like it’s going to serve me really well in the coming years.

But beyond that, for me personally, I try to learn two or three new big platforms a year. You know what I mean? And so last year it was Kajabi; I learned Kajabi inside and out. The year before that it was Ontraport, Infusionsoft. And I don’t really have a big one that I’m working on right now, I guess, but I probably should be; don’t tell my boss. No, no, it’s all, I mean, it’s all YouTube for me right now; I’m studying that in my free time.

LR: Yeah. Cool. Well, you’re early in your career still, but when you think about what it’s all about, what would you want your legacy to be?

JR: I would like to look back and say that … I’m a big believer in ethical marketing and when I write copy for ads or I’m strategizing with our copywriters, we place a really big emphasis on not trying to use sort of manipulative emotional triggers to sell things. And I would want to be able to look back, if I stay in marketing for the entirety of my career, and be able to say that I was able to sell people’s products, people’s events, people’s launches without …

LR: Tricking them.

JR: Without tricking them. Whenever we bring on new clients I say, “If your product is good enough, we don’t need to trick people into buying it.” That if we can just be honest about it, and so I hope that’s what I can look back and say. And I’ll been talking to people, someone jokes with me like, “What would you want to speak about if you ever spoke at one of these events?” And I would say, “All hands down of ethical marketing.” Because we’ve all seen black hat marketing. We’ve all seen white hat marketing, and I don’t know how to say that without kind of sounding a little bit self righteous. You know what I mean? Because we know we’ve seen the bad stuff out there but I just, we … And we’re called Peaceful Media. You know what I mean? So you can imagine that’s something that we strive for. But, I hope I can look back and say that I was able to have a successful career in marketing without being manipulative, or sneaky, or kind of Machiavellian, or one of those kinds of things. So, I hope so.

LR: Yeah, good. So we call this thing Modern Ontrapreneur, and we’re trying to figure out what it is that’s unique about this moment in history for entrepreneurs. What do you think is different today than how it was a few years ago, five years ago, 10 years ago?

JR: Ten years ago it was easy. You can really go from making five figures to six figures like that. I mean if you have the right

LR: Today you can?

JR: Today you can.

JR:: Yeah.

JR: Oh my God, I mean, if you have the right product, the right message, and you know who your audience is, I mean, it’s like the way you can be a rapper, or a band, and if you have the right music at the right time and you find the right people you can become famous. You know what I mean? I mean it’s not everyone, because there’s so much noise out there, it’s harder because the density is greater, but that doesn’t mean that you can’t go from sitting on your couch … I mean Jeff Walker was working in Colorado in his basement and he’s probably an eight figure business now. You know what I mean? That is possible, and I would say

LR: That was 10 years ago, though?

JR: Yeah, but that’s what I’m saying. Ten years ago, oh yeah Jeff but I don’t think he, I don’t … I guess what I’m saying is that was incremental. You know what I mean?

LR: Yeah, it’s been a long haul.

JR: Yeah, it’s been a long haul for him. I think that we’re living in a time now where that process, that incremental process he went through I think could probably be sped up.

LR: You mean it’s faster?

JR: I think it’s faster than it was then.

LR: How do you break through, though? Because it is denser, as you say? What is the thing that separates the masses that aren’t going to break through to the few that become rocket ships?

JR: I would say, one you have to be providing some … Okay there’s two things, one, I think you have to be unique, and you have to be able to articulate the ways in which you’re unique. You know what I mean? There’s a little bit of being at the right place at the right time too. But I think that if you were to ask me what separates your clients that just really rise quickly from those who kind of stay stagnant, it’s that there’s just something … You know, when you’re watching a movie and you just can’t take your eyes off someone. You know what I mean? I mean they have that ‘It factor.’ You know what I mean. And I don’t know how to coach somebody to do that but, and I think what I would advise to someone is just to really, really be yourself and don’t try to be someone else. If you have a product, you have a service, just really put it all out there, and then sink or swim based on that. You know what I mean? Because I do think that authenticity plays through, and we’re living in the age of video. People are going to see you on screen; you’re not going to do one of those things without that. And just hope that will resonate with people. Your question was “How do you cut through that high density?” You know what I mean? I think you really try hard to be yourself and hope that you can find those people because I think everyone has something to teach someone. I don’t know if that’s what you’re going for?

LR: Yeah, that’s great. Awesome John, appreciate your time so much.

JR: Of course, thank you so much.

LR: Would you do us the honor of signing our wall?

JR: I would love to.

LR: Awesome.

JR: Thank you.

Want more Modern Ontrapreneur Podcast?

Check out the previous episode featuring Mindie Kniss of Lucra.

About Elisha Lamar

Elisha Lamar is a Content Engagement Coordinator at Ontraport who loves to learn about all things marketing. Having lived in many beautiful places such as Montana, Colorado, and Oregon, she now calls Santa Barbara, California her home. When she isn’t writing for Ontraport, Elisha is exploring, hiking, and reading.