Episode 185 – Unstoppable Marketing Consultant with Chris Burns
I have been a sales professional for most all of my adult life. I love having the opportunity to discuss both sales and even more marketing. Chris Burns is an unstoppable marketing consultant by any standard. During our time he discusses marketing trends and talks with us about what works in marketing today and what does not work. As he points out, marketing is ever-changing and to be the most successful in marketing whatever you need to market you need to change as well.
Chris offers many insights into marketing not only through social media, a popular method while not always as beneficial as one might think, but he also helps us understand that our own mindsets offer one of the most important things to align with moving forward to be successful. My last question to Chris addressed the issue of what business owners should start doing now. His answer, “Just do it”. Don’t think and analyze everything or you will probably never move forward.
Our conversation was fun, but Chris offered many ideas and thoughts we all can use to make our businesses and even our personal lives better. I hope you enjoy Chris and will reach out to him.
About the Guest:
My name is Chris and I’m a marketing consultant. I help businesses differentiate themselves and stand out in a crowded field. My approach…….. make things simple and easy. I’ll make it so easy, you’ll be excited to manage your own social media. And, because you’ll be generating results, it’s going to be fun.
I’m a serial entrepreneur, author, adjunct professor, digital marketing coach, podcaster, consultant, husband, and father of 3. I know, it’s a lot but it’s helped me develop a strong yet diverse skill set.
I’ve worked in marketing for over 20 years. I’ve also been fortunate to help hundreds of businesses including my own scale by doubling down on digital. That success all starts by helping businesses differentiate and stand out rather than blend in. I also believe strategy and execution are the elements missing for small to medium-sized businesses.
Ways to connect with Chris:
About the Host:
Michael Hingson is a New York Times best-selling author, international lecturer, and Chief Vision Officer for accessiBe. Michael, blind since birth, survived the 9/11 attacks with the help of his guide dog Roselle. This story is the subject of his best-selling book, Thunder Dog.
Michael gives over 100 presentations around the world each year speaking to influential groups such as Exxon Mobile, AT&T, Federal Express, Scripps College, Rutgers University, Children’s Hospital, and the American Red Cross just to name a few. He is Ambassador for the National Braille Literacy Campaign for the National Federation of the Blind and also serves as Ambassador for the American Humane Association’s 2012 Hero Dog Awards.
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Michael Hingson ** 00:00
Access Cast and accessiBe Initiative presents Unstoppable Mindset. The podcast where inclusion, diversity and the unexpected meet. Hi, I’m Michael Hingson, Chief Vision Officer for accessiBe and the author of the number one New York Times bestselling book, Thunder dog, the story of a blind man, his guide dog and the triumph of trust. Thanks for joining me on my podcast as we explore our own blinding fears of inclusion unacceptance and our resistance to change. We will discover the idea that no matter the situation, or the people we encounter, our own fears, and prejudices often are our strongest barriers to moving forward. The unstoppable mindset podcast is sponsored by accessiBe, that’s a c c e s s i capital B e. Visit www.accessibe.com to learn how you can make your website accessible for persons with disabilities. And to help make the internet fully inclusive by the year 2025. Glad you dropped by we’re happy to meet you and to have you here with us.
Michael Hingson ** 01:21
Hi, there once again, and welcome to unstoppable mindset today, we get to chat with Chris Burns. Chris is a marketing expert in a lot of ways says he will be glad to tell you he’s a consultant that helps people do what they do by making life easier. And I’m really interested to hear a lot about that because there’s nothing that I like better than easy. And I don’t mean that just to be funny. I think it’s true. We oftentimes make life way too much more complicated than we need to. And I bet Chris is going to agree with that. We’ll get to it. But Chris, welcome to unstoppable mindset. And we’re really glad you’re here with us.
Chris Burns ** 01:58
Well, thank you for having me, Michael. It’s a pleasure to be back and speaking with you. I’m excited to jump in and talk today.
Michael Hingson ** 02:05
And how’s the weather in Appleton these days? Chris is in Appleton, Wisconsin. I’ve been there. It’s been a while but I was there in the snow.
Chris Burns ** 02:13
Oh, yeah. Yeah. So that were pretty interesting in that we can go from, you know, really hot days not uncommon to be in the in the 90s for us mid 90s. And then, three months later, we could be 15 degrees. So it is pretty interesting. But it’s a it’s a beautiful state a beautiful area, whether it’s nice or just enjoying some. I mean, it couldn’t be any better. Michael, it’s like 82 degrees, no humidity, slight wind mean, what more could you ask for?
Michael Hingson ** 02:42
Well, it’s 98 here in Victorville California. And we do have a little bit of a breeze. And so we may get up to 100. By the time the day is done. So no humidity, though. And we live in a valley. So even in the winter, although we get very cold weather, we don’t really get a lot of snow. But all the ski resorts around us got built where they did, because they do get lots of snow, because they’re much higher than we are. Well, nevertheless, it’s fun. The the weather is an interesting thing to talk about and getting more so because no matter what we really do have some sort of climate change going on? We sure do. So what do you do? Well, tell us a little bit about you maybe the early Chris, and all that sort of stuff. And then we can get to other things, but love to hear about how you, you know you grew up what you did, how you got started and what you do and all that stuff. Are you from Appleton originally?
Chris Burns ** 03:35
Yeah, I am mostly born and raised and pretty fortunate that, you know, it was kind of immersed into business at a young age being around a family business. And where my real interest came was probably my senior year of high school when I was asked if I needed to I was told I needed to take an elective. And one of the topics that came up was marketing. And I knew I kind of wanted to be in business when I was in college but didn’t know what I wanted to study just knew I wanted to go that path and said, Well, that would be perfect for you. And I remember saying something like what the hell is marketing? And I was explained what it was. And then they said, Well, there’s a class trip to New York City, you get to work in the school store. And then there are some other fun things like DECA competition. So I did it. And I’ll tell you what, Michael, it was probably one of the first times where I really enjoyed school as a young adult as a teenager. And so I took that and then I went on study marketing in college. And I knew that was really what I wanted to do. And so I had a couple different jobs from marketing manager, marketing director. I did everything from website design to social media, but the interesting part of it all was if I zoom back to 2005 In 2005, when I graduated, there was no digital marketing as a degree, there was no digital marketing certificate, the only digital marketing things you could do were email marketing, Google ads, and having a website. That was it. There was no influencer marketing, a lot of these things that we’re doing today did not exist. And so much of the skills that I’ve garnered I’ve been self taught. And so life’s changed a lot since then. But as we kind of get closer to the end of the story, everything changed when I started working for an agency about probably eight or nine years ago now. And I thought I knew a lot about marketing. And that’s when I realized I didn’t, and I got to know the ins and outs of the agency world, the strategy world, the ads world. And it really was an interesting time because I was able to take the business that I was starting at the time, and I was able to grow and scale that based on what I was doing with social media and what I was doing online. And so I’ve been able to use my businesses and my clients, businesses and double down by using digital marketing and something I just absolutely love.
Michael Hingson ** 06:12
So you have a lot of fun with it. I gather. I do. Yes. Which is as good as it gets. Well, you describe yourself as a serial entrepreneur, what do you mean by that?
Chris Burns ** 06:25
I don’t love that. Yeah, I don’t really love that term. But people tend to call me that, because I have multiple businesses, which you know, it’s a blessing and a curse. Sometimes, as a serial entrepreneur, I say it’s a blessing and a curse. Because anybody who’s a true entrepreneur, and I don’t mean this as a slight, if you’re not, but the entrepreneurial brain are like gears that are always turning. And it is something where, you know, I’m laying in bed at night, and I’ve got an idea. I’m in the car driving from point A to point B, and I have to stop and write something down. Like that was amazing, right? Or, you know, I’m fast tracking on my business. And I’ve got, I’m like, I gotta pivot. I’ve got to go and do this. And so it’s interesting in that I’ve had a lot of opportunities come my way. Some I’ve, I’ve had to say no to and probably too many have said yes to. But it’s just this continuous thought that I can do it. Right. It’s a confidence that you feel like, I know, I can do this. And that’s why I say it’s a blessing and a curse. Because confidence doesn’t always mean it’s going to work. It’s good to have confidence. But confidence doesn’t necessarily pay the bills. And confidence doesn’t necessarily mean sales. So being a serial entrepreneur is, you know, I’m always looking at opportunities. I’m always interested, I’m always entertained by those things. And it’s, that’s what I love. Well,
Michael Hingson ** 07:56
I hear you, I hear what you’re saying. But you sound like you have a lot of fun at it.
Chris Burns ** 08:02
Yeah, it is fun, because it’s, I don’t have a lot of passions and a lot of hobbies. I like to think that being an entrepreneur is a hobby, and also happens to be my profession. So yeah, it’s fun. And I think the better you get at it, the more fun it becomes. And then when it’s fun, it doesn’t feel like work.
Michael Hingson ** 08:21
So given the role in Appleton and so on, are you a Packers fan? Absolutely. It’s just checking.
Chris Burns ** 08:31
Yeah, always, always team first team over player,
Michael Hingson ** 08:34
team over player as it as it should be in I love the organization of the way the Packers are set up. And it’s such a widely owned, and as a result, very much a team oriented kind of a place, which is an organization which is so great. There, it’s interesting
Chris Burns ** 08:50
that you say that is if you look back at some of the real Hall of Fame players that have come through the organization, and we’re very fortunate, Brett Farve Aaron Rodgers, there’s been a time where you know, many great careers have come to an end or come to a turning point. And at no point has one player ever been bigger than the organization. And there they were never afraid to move on when you know, there were challenging times. And so that’s kind of what I respect and love about the organization is, you know, they’re going to put the team first before any one player regardless of their their resume. And we’ve had, you know, one of the greatest quarterbacks of all time, just walk off and go to another team. And so you obviously have to respect what they’ve done for this community and this team, but at the same time, it’s you have to know when to move on.
Michael Hingson ** 09:45
Yeah. Which is fair. And you learned that in part by being part of a team and recognizing that you’re part of a team. Yep, absolutely. So what’s the difference between marketing and sales?
Chris Burns ** 10:00
Interesting question. So, marketing and sales often get put together, where I think a lot of people see it as being the same. And then on the flip side, I’ve also seen it very siloed meaning, marketing and sales just like marketing and HR live in different worlds. There’s no crossover, there’s no cross pollination. When there when there should be marketing to me, and I’m going to throw branding into this is how you position or package your company to the market. So whether you’re b2b or b2c, it is the logo, the branding, the messaging in how people understand who you are, what you do, and how you’re different. So what is that first impression? Do people understand what you do? Do they understand maybe if you’re better the same or different, whereas sales is, typically, or historically, it would be more of a face to face thing where sales is built on relationship. And two people typically buy based on a couple things they buy based on relationship with a salesperson, they buy based on the first impression they get, which could be based on their marketing. So that could be things like social media, marketing, collateral, website, etc. And so I think if we’re talking about how do we get to more sales, a lot of that, to me comes from two things, it comes from having great branding, with good marketing, which is marketing could be all those things that I mentioned. And then really good relationships and really good sales processes. And so, to me, they very much overlap, they very much go hand in hand. They’re very similar, but they’re also very different. They
Michael Hingson ** 11:48
are, but I do think they do go hand in hand. I’ve been in sales most of my adult life. But I would also say by sort of definition, I’ve also been somewhat involved in marketing. And I think it’s important to understand both if you’re going to do either really well. And I’ve seen so many times when people from one of one side of that equation, don’t really understand the other side very well. They try to make it like they’re the only ones that really count. And it’s totally different. My my belief for sales is that the best salespeople are really teachers. And oh, yes. And in a positive sense, they’re storytellers, because you said it’s all about relationships. And you’re right, I think that the best salespeople are going to do more at being successful to sell a product by teaching customers, what works, what doesn’t work, why their product works, and sometimes why it may not be the right thing and the right fit for a particular situation. But having the courage to do it, and really putting all of it together to to teach somebody something. And marketing can clearly help with that. But I think all too often, even a lot of salespeople misunderstand what sales is all about, or
Chris Burns ** 13:10
gern, when the one thing that you didn’t mention is that the best teachers tends to tend to be the ones that have a lot of experience. So if you look back, if you’ve gone to college, if you look back at some of the professors that you’ve worked with, the ones that I enjoyed the most in, in the School of Business were the ones who were maybe were in the workforce for a long period of time. And they were really only in academia for a couple of years. I go as far as to say this too, is that marketing can be your greatest ally. So he used to look at it as an I sell it this way too, when I’m working with, you know from the agency side working with my businesses is that we can put more tools in your toolbox, we can put more bullets in the chamber if we work together, not siloed. So if we work with HR, we can help them and I say cast a wider net like instead of fishing in a river, we can fish in the ocean, right instead of using a one lower on one Baba, we can cast a net and pull in a couple of 100 fish rather than one at a time. And we can there we can therefore help with talent acquisition, talent retention, we can build awareness. We can also provide more tools such as videos, flyers, messaging, storytelling, white papers, podcast, podcasts, etc, etc. That is so much more ammunition that a sales team can have in their toolbox to be able to sell and convert. And so to me, I think if leveraged properly, a marketing team or an agency can give you so much more ammunition to build awareness to sell and continue that process.
Michael Hingson ** 14:55
Now, you said that you were four agencies and so on for a while, but now you’re in your own business, and you’re out on your own consulting and so on. And so as a as a business owner, and someone who’s been involved in this business, and I love your perspective about talking about the whole issue of what life was like from a marketing standpoint in 2005, and, and so on, what do you feel the value is? Or how do you feel social media plays into all of it today?
Chris Burns ** 15:30
Yeah, so interesting. You know, I could take this a couple different ways. But I actually think right now, right now, social media is not very valuable to a lot of small businesses. And the reason being is that they’re not doing it right. So I talked to, and I’ll tell you a quick story. So I’ve been speaking a lot about strategy over the last couple of years. And I host a local marketing Summit, where 220 plus people attend. And I asked the question last year, and I asked him again this year, because it was it’s just so mind blowing to me. How many people in the room have a marketing strategy? And yeah, there’s maybe 15 people that raise their hand, and I said, Okay, I stopped for a couple minutes just to count everybody. And then I said, Okay, keep your hand up, if you have it in a document format. And I mean, like something you could print right now, and look around, a few hands go down, some people are like waving their hand like, oh, kind of, well, that’s not true. You don’t have one if you don’t know. And so we’re left with like five or six people out of 200 that have a document form strategy. So if you don’t have a strategy, how can you expect anything you do in digital, let alone social media to be successful? The answer is you can’t, nor should you accept expect anything to be wildly successful. But how do you know if it works? How do you know what you’re supposed to post tomorrow? How do you know what to track or what your goals are? And the answer is, you don’t know. So you’re just hoping and praying. And so that’s number one. Number two, people don’t like to change and adapt, they don’t like to evolve. And even, you know, I’m 41 years old, and I would put myself, I don’t put myself in that category. But I put a lot of people in my age in that category. As we age, we do not like change. I’m the exact opposite. I love change, because for me, it’s a major advantage. Every time the algorithm changes every time there’s a new platform or a new trend. If I’m an early adapter, I’m so far ahead of the curve, that by the time other people get there, it’s too late. And so that’s one of the problems with marketing is that when we started with social media, I don’t know 1015 years ago, depends on when you got on there. I’ve been on since 2004, when I had a personal account. And I think business accounts came out in about 2009 or so. I’ve been doing it ever since the beginning. And you could post back in 2010. And everybody who followed you would see the post, it was very advantageous. Fast forward five years, only 50% reach meaning 50% of your followers would see your content. Now you’re lucky if 7% of your followers even see your content based on the algorithms. Now, that’s not an opinion. That’s a fact. It’s pay to play, meaning you could post right now and you’re lucky if 1015 20 People even see the post. But yet people keep doing that hoping and praying that, Oh, well. Maybe this will go viral, maybe this will work. And they end up getting two or three likes, which happened to be from their friends or their family. And what I’m getting with all of that is things have changed. And what’s changing is that, you know, stories are very popular videos are very popular. Vertical video is the most popular and people are just now getting on Tik Tok. When everybody’s on Tik Tok. Now, people are just now leveraging YouTube shorts, when you know, that’s been very popular now for a couple of years. And so they’re just they’re slowly adapting things that are working really well when they should have been evolving with the times two or three years ago. And so when people are like, Oh, it’s not working, it does work. And it’s actually very easy. But you’re just not willing to adapt it not only that you don’t have a strategy. So people will say, Well, I tried it. And again, this is the third thing is you can’t just dip your toe in the pool and expect something to work. You have to can continue to give it time and try different things to know whether or not this platform or this tactic or this tool is going to work for you. And so I think that we just need to evolve the way we do marketing and we can’t be doing the same thing over and over and expecting different results.
Michael Hingson ** 19:44
Yeah, yeah. And what a definition of insanity. I missed a doctor Einstein but yeah, exactly right. Well, Einstein’s definition of insanity is somebody who does the same thing every single time and expects different results.
Chris Burns ** 19:58
Yep, We see a lot of that in business. Yeah, fortunately, we do.
Michael Hingson ** 20:02
I, I know that I tend not to be an overly socially, social media oriented kind of person, especially looking at things because from a standpoint of being blind and dealing with Facebook and other things takes a long time. And I’m just not going to take the patience to do that. It doesn’t mean that I don’t post on Facebook or put some things out from time to time and like with their, with our podcasts, and so on, those things go up. And I do see that there’s visibility because I usually get things like Google alerts when a podcast goes up. But by the same token, I hear exactly what you’re saying. And I look at social media for me for for information. And I use it where I can, but I don’t sit and spend a lot of time looking at it, which is I think one of the things that you’re probably saying, because there are things to do in the world. Right? Yeah, correct. Yeah. And so there’s only so many hours in the day. And there are other things that nobody can do. But everybody talks about social media. Well, it’s not the great panacea, but it is a great potential information source of handled right. So how do you go ahead?
Chris Burns ** 21:19
No, I was I was just sharing with you. So
Michael Hingson ** 21:22
how do you make life easier? How do you make things easier, show people how to make things easier? Yeah.
Chris Burns ** 21:27
So if you take the kind of the sum of the three things I said before, not being strategic, not being an early adapter, or be willing to adapt to new things, and then changing your thought on like, Oh, I’m going to try this once and it didn’t work? Well. You can’t just try Facebook ads and spend $5 one time and expect it’s going to work, it takes a lot more than that sample size to know if something’s going to work. And so the way I start with people to make things easy is I kind of get to the core of what they’re what they’re doing now and why it’s not working. So specifically, we start with an audit. So most people think, well, you build a strategy. Building a strategy is probably more like step five, or six. And the whole process, step one is, let’s go through and that’s audit the current results your digital marketing is producing. Because I want to know what’s working, what’s not where you’re spending your time. And then I can quantify, Hey, your competitors are doing this and it’s working, you’re doing that and it’s not working. You have, maybe you only have a couple hours a week. And that’s what you’re going to have. So maybe you have to lower your expectations for what you’re going to produce. And so we kind of align all these things, we get the information. And then we start to build a crystal clear vision, because I want to know what it is that you want to achieve this year. And a lot of times, Michael, when I’m asking my clients, this or when I’m speaking in a public setting, I’ll just pull someone randomly out of the audience. And I’m not kidding you almost 100% of the time, the person will look up at the ceiling, and they’ll kind of look left and look right. And they’re they’re waiting to think about what the answer is because they don’t even know what they want. And if you don’t have a strategy, I wouldn’t expect you to have an answer for me. So you need to formalize a very crystal clear vision. So for example, I could tell you, this is what I want to achieve in my personal life this year. And then this is what I want to achieve in my business this year. So I could talk about revenue, profitability, different projects, I want to start and then I could say, Well, based on that, I want to I want to bring in this much personal income, I want to take my family on a vacation, I want to get a rental home here, whatever it might be. And those are kind of some things in line. And if you asked me, Hey, Chris, what would a great 2023 look like? That is my crystal clear vision, and I can give it to you very simply in 30 seconds or less. And so then what I started to do is I start to build out some goals, based on the metrics that we looked at. We saw what was working, what’s not how much web traffic we have, how much engagement we have on social, because Michael, most of the goals that people use, they’re all made up. They’re all arbitrary. And I’ll ask well, how did you get to 20%? More growth? Well, I Googled it, and it’ll sounded realistic. Well, you can’t make up a goal pull out of thin air and think you’re going to achieve it based on nothing. And so if if we’re very, very thoughtful, and careful about how we put all this together, what you’re going to have is a very intelligent, robust strategy, which is the next step. And oh, by the way, with strategy, Michael, most people, even if they have one, they don’t use it. And I’ll tell you a quick story is that for a long time, I’ve been building strategies, and I used to be Fill these 20 page documents that would do nothing but overwhelm people. And they’d be so stressful, this is just the thought of it would kind of give someone blood pressure. So they put it in their file cabinet, and they wouldn’t look at it again. And so what I realized is that we have to make it so simple and so easy. There’s no excuses. But most of the time, as entrepreneurs, as business owners, just as people, adults, in general, we make things more difficult than they actually are. So where I’m getting with all of this is that if we can make it so simple, and I mean, like a one page strategy, maybe it’s a two page strategy for a more advanced a larger business. So simple and so easy, then it becomes fun. Because when it becomes fun, because we’re generating results. And when we’re generating results, there’s no excuses, right, because we’re doing the thing we want to do. And so that’s it, but we have to take the time. And when I say time, it could be a couple of days, it could be a week, to put into creating the strategy and the audit and getting the information to say, these are the three things three goals, we’re aiming to, to get to by the end of the first quarter, third quarter, here’s the actions we need to get to them. So simple, so easy. And then the final part of this is we need an implementation plan. If you have notes on your calendar, if you have time blocked and protected on your calendar, to be able to do the social media stuff that I’m telling you to do everything that’s in your strategy, there’s no excuses. And if you protect the time, and you keep it there, and you use that time to create the content and respond to reviews and ask questions and engage with your followers, you will generate results. It is really that simple. And that easy. But you have to put in the time. For the strategy part, a lot of people skip that. And they’re just aimlessly posting stuff and trying things and nothing works. They don’t ever stick to a theme. And so they’re kind of all over the board. And they’re inconsistent. Well, that wouldn’t work for Nike, that wouldn’t work for Taco Bell or Frito. Lay it. So it’s definitely not going to work for your business. So whether you have a million followers or 10 followers, you got to build a consistency and you got to make it simple and easy. And there’s, there’s probably a lot more to it. But we have to make things easy, or we won’t do him.
Michael Hingson ** 27:26
You said something, I think that’s extremely important, which is you got to have fun, it has to be fun, or we’re not going to be interested in it. Correct. And, and fun is a big part of it. And you know, when we talked before about what an entrepreneur is, and so on, clearly, part of being an entrepreneur is recognizing your need to have fun as well. And you have fun doing the things you do as an entrepreneur, otherwise you wouldn’t do it. Correct. So, so I think it is it is so much fun to or it’s so important to talk about fun as part of it. I talked to so many people about coming on unstoppable mindset. And they’re worried about telling stories, or they’re worried about how they’re going to do. And is I describe it to people. One of my job’s is not only to have fun for me, but to help make it fun for you. And we have to have fun, otherwise, we’re not going to do it. And fun is making it enjoyable. And I would hope and to believe that most every one who comes and finds what we do enjoyable and has fun doing at least they say they do. So you know, that’s pretty cool. So that works well. And, and so as a result, we do what we need to do. But But clearly, as you point out having a strategy alone doesn’t guarantee results. What’s the next step?
Chris Burns ** 28:58
Well, I think I want to hit on this, again, is really the implementation. So if if you’ve gone through and you are implementing, but I want to take a moment to talk about what that looks like a little bit more. So a strategy is all worth nothing. It’s in fact, it’s 100% Useless, unless you do the things in the strategy. And to me, the things are the actions. So for us in marketing, it’s oftentimes we need to spend an hour or two, once a week to batch contests, we go into Canva or Photoshop, whatever you use, we have to make the content and then we have to schedule it out using a tool. And then we need to go in again and we need to respond to comments and DMS and such we have to invest time regularly and consistently. But what happens is we specifically entrepreneurs as we get busy with a million things we have the shiny object syndrome or the squirrel syndrome where I got a phone call. I got busy I got distracted. If you don’t protect that time, that means you don’t value it. And if it if you don’t value this, then you don’t value your strategy. You shouldn’t expect results. But if this is important to you, protecting the time should be important to you. And so rather than saying, Oh, well, yeah, I’ve got that hour free, you say, No, I’m busy at that time, I cannot do it. And so you again, protect that time. And then quarterly, you have to go back and review the results. So you have to report so record, and then report rather, you’re reporting yourself reporting to someone else, you have to say, what’s working and what’s not. And that means it could just mean auditing. What are you doing? What is your time tracker? What does your calendar look like? Where are you spending time that maybe you shouldn’t be? And for example, I oftentimes will wake up at six o’clock on a Saturday morning, I’ll come down into my office, I’ll have a half a pot of coffee gone before my kids even get up. And I’ll have a whole bunch of stuff done that most people would wait until the next week, but I can start my Monday thing a little stress free, because I got a bunch of stuff done. Yeah. But work is fun for me. And it’s fun for a lot of reasons. But it’s because I’m I’m making things a priority. Therefore, I’m getting stuff done. And coming to work on a Monday morning feels better. So I’m looking at quarterly annually, how can I improve my processes? How can I protect my time? How can I make my calendar a little more stress free? And that to me is important? Because when I look at the metrics, I know what’s working and what’s not. And I’m okay with changing things. And by the way, that’s another thing, Michael is that, and this is a bit of a mindset is it’s okay to pivot, it’s okay to change. You may say, look, I I’ve built what I felt was a great strategy. And it didn’t work, doesn’t mean it didn’t work, maybe some things worked. And some things didn’t. So you have to adapt. And it could be that maybe the platform’s have changed, or trends are changing, or maybe it’s just the wrong timing. So as long as we continue to evolve, we’re going to be successful. And so that, again, I want to say that it’s another way of saying that you need to be willing to and wanting to adapt, because your audience is going to change and that those things are important.
Michael Hingson ** 32:20
Yeah. Well, the other part about it, I think you said it very well, when you’re talking about time and protecting time. There’s the time that you deal with work. And then there are other things that are priorities in your time, environment, like your family, and knowing how to deal with all of that. And being willing to create priorities, depending on the time is also a very important thing to do.
Chris Burns ** 32:47
Right? It is, and you have to know what your priorities are. And I say that it sounds very elementary, and there’s probably people listening saying, I know my priorities Well, in in your strategy and your plan, what are the most important things to you, because if if I say that, I want to take my family on a cruise in March, and then I want to pay for it not have to put it on a credit card. Well, I’ve got to achieve X amount this year. And that means that spending time with my family is a priority, my kids are a priority. And so that to me is up there. So I have to carve out time to be a present dad and a present husband and I want to do all those things. It’s not always easy. And I’m not always the best at any of those things. But I’m making an effort. And I’m protecting some of that time, because it’s what’s important to me. And what’s important to you, that could be slightly different. But you have to identify because if you’ve identified what’s important, and you’ve crystallized what you want to achieve this year, your actions will change. And if your actions change, there’s there’s almost nothing that’s going to get in the way of you achieving those goals.
Michael Hingson ** 34:00
You just need to be on top of it and recognize what what is occurring and what you need to do.
Chris Burns ** 34:06
And by the way, you’re gonna have days like I’ve had recently where some things just unfold, and they crumble like a cookie, and you just gotta kind of deal with it. And plenty of distractions are gonna happen when you least expect it. But that is life. And that’s,
Michael Hingson ** 34:24
that’s what makes things interesting is it is definitely true, it does make things interesting. The trick is to make sure that so many things don’t come along or you don’t allow so many things to come along that you totally deviate from the priorities that you know you need to have. You have to get that in, in view at all times to correct and I think a lot of us tend not to do that. Well, I’ve got to do this today. Well, then tomorrow. Well, I got to do this today. What about your priorities, how does that really fit into your priorities? I you know, I think it’s a very important it The end of the day to go back and look at what happened and how did this work? How did that work? What could this what? What could I have done better to make this happen? We don’t tend to analyze very well as a society or individually.
Chris Burns ** 35:16
That’s pretty fair. We don’t. And sometimes when we do we just we just see the good or the bad, we don’t necessarily look at, especially in business, the metrics of it is, why wasn’t it, what it should have been? Or it was what it was because we did a, b, and c. And so we need to be focused on the metrics and how we got to where we what we achieved.
Michael Hingson ** 35:42
It’s a learning experience, and we have to teach ourselves. And if we don’t do that, then we’re not going to grow and things aren’t going to get better, which is what it’s really all about. And those of us who do it, and really look at what worked, what didn’t work. And even the bad things. I kind of tried to not use the negative terminology of bad but things that didn’t work really well. What did we do to improve those? But even the things that worked great, how do we make them better? Because they’re just as important to talk about what lessons can I learn from this, as opposed to just the things that were a little bit less positive? Yeah,
Chris Burns ** 36:19
and you should be taking lessons from everything that you do, I actually find that my failures, and even if they’re not totally failures, but if things just didn’t work out as you wanted, that’s where I learned the most. And I love my victories, even the small ones don’t get me wrong, but I tend to learn more when things don’t go right. Or as planned. Yeah. And that’s how I get better. You don’t tend to learn as much from your victories, you tend to learn the most from the things that don’t go well. And so I, I keep those near and dear to my heart for a long time. Because I, I tried to be a perfectionist, I’m far from it, I’ve actually come to the realization that I don’t want to be perfect, and I don’t believe that perfect exists. And so I think once you get past that, you realize that your best is good enough and good is good enough. You open up a whole new world of efficiency, productivity and happiness to that most people would never realize.
Michael Hingson ** 37:21
Yeah. And it’s so wonderful when you recognize that for yourself and make it work and like work for your family, and so on. And that’s all you can do. You can’t control everyone, all you can do is advise and teach and consult. And hopefully people listen to what you say whoever you are. And if you provide good sound advice, and they take it and it works. What more can you ask for?
Chris Burns ** 37:47
Michael Hingson ** 37:50
So in our world today, in the world of marketing, what’s working, what’s not working? How has it changed over the years?
Chris Burns ** 38:00
Interesting questions. So marketing has changed, and it will change a lot just like anything else. business sales, HR, and all that good stuff. I would say what start with what’s not working? And I would say a lot of the things we were doing 10 years ago, don’t work that well. Now. Now, if I say something doesn’t work, it doesn’t mean you shouldn’t do it. It just what I’m getting at is it doesn’t work maybe like it used to. And I say that with a caveat in that there’s no one thing that’s going to get you from A to B and b2c? The answer is, there are many things that will get you from A to B, B to C, C to D etc. And so my approach is really a recipe. And so we have to look at what’s not working right now. So what’s not working well, is posting organically to your social media. So traditionally posting to your, your LinkedIn page or your Facebook page. It just does not work that well. And so people say Well, Chris, what do you mean? Like, are you telling me not to do that? No, I’m saying do less of it post twice a week, rather than five times a week post maybe even once a week, and put that time into something that’s more effective. Now, some businesses might say, Well, Chris does work for us. Okay, well try to adapt something new because if you continually do the same thing you’re gonna get stale. And status quo is not great. So that’s what what doesn’t work right. What does work right is vertical video. Video of any kind. That’s important right now. Also, just running ads. So I know a lot of people will probably not like this but running ads is is good. But if you’re running ads at five or $10 a day it’s it’s not working. You actually will have to double your ads. Ajit, now it compared to what you were spending probably two years ago to get the same result, not just inflation, but ad prices have gone up significantly. And they tend to go up every political cycle every time there’s an election, any significant election because they become dominated by politicians and political groups. And so they don’t tend to come down very much after. And so we have this inflation with AD prices. And therefore people will say, Well, I spent spending $100 A month last year, and it was working great, and this year, not getting the same results while costs have gone up. So if you’re gonna, again, continue to do that, you have to ratchet up your budget, that’s what I mean is you have to evolve with the things that change. So I like ads, I like vertical video, but I’m gonna give you an answer of what’s working the best is the businesses that are doing a lot of things and doing a lot of things consistently. When I say different things. I mean, it could be adapting something new every year, could be a podcast, could be a blog, could be email marketing, could be vertical video, you need to continue to do that. Because if you want to pick up new eyeballs and new people into your audience, again, I’m gonna go back to this, you can’t do the same thing over and over and expect different results. So I love vertical video. And what I mean by that is tick tock YouTube shorts, Snapchat, Facebook, and Instagram reels. And just to give you an example, I posted I did, I did this, it was probably about nine months ago, I had a client that was asking me for metrics. And I said, well, I need to run this for a presentation I’ve got coming up. And I compared vertical videos on one of my pages to organic posts, just photo posts, and it was 3,000% more reach, and 2,000% more engagement. And it was just It’s unbelievable, because that’s how many more people are consuming vertical video with the obviously the popularity of reels and tiktoks right now. So you just got to continue to adapt and and keep yourself apprised of what’s what’s happening in the digital landscape. An
Michael Hingson ** 42:17
interesting sort of offshoot of some of that, that that I would offer is in the world that I generally live in being blind and so on are dealing with persons with disabilities, we find that about 2% of the websites are accessible in the country in and around the world. Which means with 98%, not necessarily being totally accessible. We or some of us in one way or another get left out, which is why accessibility was formed in the first place, because it tends to be as a company that makes products that are inexpensive and help make websites a lot more usable by persons with disabilities. And then in addition to the the easier parts of that there are other aspects of it. But the point is that websites traditionally aren’t. The Nielsen group did a study in 2016, about brands, we won’t get to talk about brands. But one of the things that they learned is that if a brand addressed the issue of dealing with persons with disabilities, and according to the CDC, up to 25% of all people in the US have some sort of disability, if they dealt with disabilities at the CEA, the Nielsen report said that people are at least 35% more likely to continue to use a particular website because it makes itself accessible and usable, simply because it was so hard to use it before. And they want to be brand loyal to websites and website owners that make products and make websites that are totally usable. It’s something that we just still don’t tend to see a lot of people addressing, but the bottom line is that we we do tend to be very much more loyal to brands that make the websites usable.
Chris Burns ** 44:12
You bring up a good point. And I think that at a certain point in the future, there will be a mandate from the government that all websites will need to be more accessible. And I know there’s certainly a movement for that now. But just with the need for it, and how easy it is to make your website more accessible. There’s almost no reason not to have that. And I’d love to see Google make a change in their algorithm to favor websites that are accessible. Because, I mean, why wouldn’t you want more people to be able to access watch, see read, listen to things on your site. So to me, I feel like that is important and I’d love to see more accessibility Online.
Michael Hingson ** 45:00
In reality, if you want to be technical, it is against the law today not to have a website accessible in the US because the Department of Justice has decreed, under Title two of the Americans with Disabilities Act that the internet is a place of business and is thus subject to the concept of reasonable accommodation. Unfortunately, it’s still not really enforced as it should be. And hopefully, over time, attitudes will change. I remember my wife, who was in a wheelchair her whole life, talking about other kinds of access, like she would go to a Macy’s department store in Southern California, and there was so much stuff in the aisle, she couldn’t even go up and down the aisles. And finally, they had to sue, she wasn’t part of it, I don’t believe but someone sued Macy’s to get them to put enough space in their aisles, so that people in wheelchairs could go up and down the aisles. For me. There are other issues as far as accessing information about Macy’s and, and dealing with other places like having information. Some of that is being addressed. And technology is helping some of that, but still, it’s a it’s a big issue, because from an attitudinal standpoint, people say, well, it’s way too expensive. To make our website accessible. The answer is no, it’s not. Which is why excessively is around in part, but even more important that it isn’t an issue of cost. It should be part of the cost of doing business.
Chris Burns ** 46:33
It should be and again, why wouldn’t you want more people to access your website and your information? Which is, there’s no reason you wouldn’t want to and you’re right, there are accessories, probably one of the biggest in the industry, but it’s really not that expensive. But just like running a Google ad, I mean, what is the cost of more people buying your product? What is the cost of more people being aware of your business? Well, investing in a tool like accessibly would be no different than investing in Google ads or Facebook ads. It depends on your demographic, but I still think it’s important.
Michael Hingson ** 47:10
Well, and it isn’t necessarily as difficult as one might think, to make things accessible. But even the government hasn’t been a great role model for doing that, even though it has been against the law for any government agency or government contractor to not make their websites accessible since section 508 was passed in 2010. And yet, they still don’t do it. And it is a hard and fast law. So it’s unfortunate that we tend to still be lazy. But it just goes back to what you said before, that’s just one thing. There’s so many areas where we just resist change, even though we don’t. Because we don’t recognize what the value of really dealing with change can bring to us whether it’s accessibility or finding more creative ways to market.
Chris Burns ** 47:57
And I’ll go back to this a little bit different example of accessibility. But I work with plenty of nonprofits. And a lot of times they serve the underserved communities. And a lot of times they need their website, to have the ability to be translated into different languages. And technically, they could do it for free. You could install if you have WordPress, Google Translate, and you could then allow your website to be translated into multiple languages, so that people who maybe cannot read English could be able to access and understand the contents of your website. So there’s lots of ways to do it. But again, why wouldn’t you want to do that the benefits are so much greater than looking at business. And people do this with marketing and sales and advertising is they look at it as a cost center rather than an investment. And marketing, if done right is an investment. And it’s not a cost center. If you see it that way. And if you do good marketing, it’s an investment. If you do marketing, like I told you not to, it will be a headache, it’ll be a pain in the ass. And it will be a cost center, and you’ll continue to pull the reins back, you’ll be inconsistent, you won’t respect it. You will not protect your time. And you won’t be like a lot of us who are building our businesses off the back of platforms like Google and Facebook. Yeah.
Michael Hingson ** 49:29
And the reality is none of it is really magic. It’s just that, as you said people just don’t like to change or they get their hackles up and refuse to change. Yeah. So why is it that personal brands are important? You talk a lot about personal brands and so on. Why is that such a significant thing? Yeah,
Chris Burns ** 49:51
I actually have a slide deck and a presentation I talk a lot about it’s called your business starts with your personal brand. And we talked about something really important early neon in that sales is very much relationship based. And as somebody who leads a company or companies, a lot of times when people buy my service, they want to talk to the owner of a company, or just like sometimes when I work with local business, I want to work with the owner I want to make with the work with and talk to the decision maker. And you oftentimes have a relationship with somebody, you’re far more inclined to lead that deal or to seal that deal. And so because it’s relationship based, people want to know you, they want to see you, they want to hear from you. And I would argue this, and this is where I really start. My argument is that when I speak to a big audience, my question is, you know, does anybody in the room have a business offhand, that they feel intimately connected with? And I’ll get a couple of answers occasionally, one of them is typically apple, and I’ll ask some questions like, Why do you feel that way? What do you like about Apple, it’s like, I like it’s simple. I like it’s easy. I like the user interface. I like that they’re consistent. I don’t get anything about why they’re connected to the brand, I just get what they like about their products, right. So my whole point is, they’re not they have an affinity for the products, therefore, they like the brand. But we are inherently connected to people, we have relationships with people, whether it be a marriage, a boyfriend, a girlfriend, whatever. And we tend to even buy software from people we like, we tend to buy cars from people we like. And if so often, we’re looking to build a business, we should look to build our personal brand. Because those people who say, Well, I don’t want to be on video, Chris, or No, I don’t, I did. So I don’t want to put that out there. You can’t run a business scared, and you can’t be afraid of what people may or may not say, regardless of how you think you look, or how people might be discriminatory or what they might say about you. It’s if you’re invisible, the chances of you growing online are slim. If you are visible, you are giving yourself and your business a chance to grow. And oh, by the way, organic reach on personal pages is something like three times higher than what it is on business pages. It’s because Facebook and Instagram and LinkedIn. And these platforms do not suppress personal pages, they suppress business pages, because they know they have an ad budget to spend. So if I’m posting about my business, from my personal page, and from my business page, I can multiply the reach and the engagement. Now if I have 10 employees at my company, and they’re all I’m going to use air quotes, occasionally posting about my brand and my company and products that we sell. Well, I can 10x every single post. So why wouldn’t you want that? Because we all have a personal brand. And oh, by the way, personal brands are how we get promotions. They’re how we deepen our relationship. It’s how we communicate. It’s how people have an impression about us. It’s like, well, he’s funny. Well, it’s because he posts funny stuff on social media, or Chris is always very serious. And he’s very guarded, because he doesn’t post anything on Facebook. And so everything we do online contributes to our first impression or someone’s opinion of us. So we can build that audience, we can build those impressions, we can change the way people think about us. And it’s amazing what we can do online, if we’re doing it in conjunction with a personal brand and a business brand. So it’s it’s a conversation that I could talk about for hours. But for sake of time, I just think that we need to most of us need to take a step back and say, I don’t care what people think I’m going to leverage my personal brand and my business brand. And whether you like it or not, you already have a personal brand. Yeah. So it doesn’t mean I’m gonna have 10,000 followers or a million followers, you could have 500 followers and all be friends and family. And that is your personal brand. And that’s how big do you want it to get? And what do you want to do with it because some people just use their personal brand. And maybe they’re a board member for a local nonprofit. And they leverage that to get more donations and get more people to play on their golf outing, and more volunteers and people to come to their events. That’s great, too. You can use your personal brand for a lot of things.
Michael Hingson ** 54:30
You talked about Apple and I would submit that when Steve Jobs was alive, his personal brand, certainly enhanced apple and I would think that probably a lot of people also in part liked Apple just because in one way or another that like Steve Jobs, for sure. Now Yeah,
Chris Burns ** 54:52
no doubt we saw that with Elon Musk before things got a little political. And all of a sudden, once he revealed his cards everybody through I’m under the bus. But that’s a that’s a different story. But yeah, you see those? Like Mark Cuban Daymond. John, people from the Shark Tank, Bill
Michael Hingson ** 55:09
Chris Burns ** 55:10
Yeah, these people are building a personal brand. Now nobody’s perfect. You know, there are rumors floating around about Bill Gates and Elon Musk and other people. But these are all professionals who have leveraged a personal brand and a business brand. You could argue they’re celebrities, but they they weren’t from the beginning. They have become bigger celebrities because of their personal brand. And because they’re very visible online. Because they, they take interviews, they go on podcasts, those are all things that amplify what they do. So why wouldn’t they want to do that? Yeah,
Michael Hingson ** 55:45
well, and then, of course, if we’re going to deal with Shark Tank, we always have Mr. Wonderful. But that’s another story.
Chris Burns ** 55:51
I actually liked him because well, yeah, he’s,
Michael Hingson ** 55:55
he is also entertaining. And I think that a lot of what he does is very deliberate. And it works.
Chris Burns ** 56:01
I think he has a big heart. But he’s just not afraid to say things how they are, and he’s not afraid of offending somebody. And I think you have to respect that. Because yeah, I don’t want someone sugarcoating things for me either. No,
Michael Hingson ** 56:13
I, I find all the personalities that are on Shark Tank to be pretty interesting. I think that. And I don’t know that he’s changed a lot over the years. But the way Mark Cuban works on on Shark Tank, that he oftentimes sits back and waits and analyzes and lets everybody else go off and do whatever they’re going to do. And then he comes in and pounces or, or decides this deal isn’t for me. But they’re all very interesting people. And there’s a lot to be learned just by watching them in action. What
Chris Burns ** 56:43
I like about him is he’ll often say if he really wants something, he’s like, I want an answer. And I want to know, and he doesn’t want you to take offers from the other sharks, because he knows or you’re right, he will snipe he’ll jump in last second, he’ll be the last one to go. And he’s like, No, it’s a yes or no. Or I’m out. Yeah, yeah, he’s very sneaky. But he’s, he’s he’s got an angle, and it works well for him. And it works well for him. There’s no doubt about that. Yeah, everybody’s different. And that that’s what’s so great about business and life is that all the approach that all those sharks take are a little bit different. And you can tell, and yeah, there are a lot of ways to be successful, there’s no one universal way, you have to figure out what works for you, and stick to it.
Michael Hingson ** 57:26
So what would you recommend that business people start doing right now that maybe that in your experience, they’re traditionally not doing,
Chris Burns ** 57:34
I’m gonna make this quick and easy. And I’m gonna say just do it. A lot of people stop. And they they think about things for too long. And they let fear set in, they don’t know what but they let it set in. And they don’t do anything. It gets them locked up. And they start thinking about what people are going to think and say. So what I tell people is take action, there’s a book called ready fire aim, and the title of the book says it all, just fire, start shooting arrows, and you can refine the process later on. But if you stop and think about it, you’re gonna have 150 variations of the book before it’s even published. Yeah. And so publish the book, and then have a revision of it later. So you just you just got to start doing things, you just got to do it.
Michael Hingson ** 58:17
When you see that it brings up something that I constantly think about, which is trivial pursuit, how often do you get asked a question in Trivial Pursuit? You think of an answer immediately, but then you think about it for a second? No, that’s not the right answer. So you get something else. But in reality, the first answer you thought it was the right answer.
Chris Burns ** 58:33
How all the time all the time, all the time,
Michael Hingson ** 58:36
I mentioned that I’ve mentioned that a lot of times on this podcast, and everyone has always agreed that exactly what happens. We don’t we don’t just go with our first instinct. And our first instinct might not end up being the right thing. I’ve had to learn to do some of that simply because I don’t necessarily have a lot of information, oftentimes, because it’s not available in a usable form. Although that’s getting better, but don’t have information other people do. So. got to start somewhere. So you start by trying. Exactly. Although I’m much more of a fan of Yoda Do or do not there is no trial. So yes. Yeah. So your uncle Uncle, yeah, yeah,
Chris Burns ** 59:14
I apologize. But I do have to wrap things up so quick. I got some of them are a little late for real
Michael Hingson ** 59:18
quick author you you’ve written.
Chris Burns ** 59:22
I did. I published a book few years ago, I was something I started over a decade ago. And it’s called Kinga mental swing, how to win at golf in life by thinking differently. And it’s not an instructional book. It is primarily a mindset and attitude book, and it in a synopsis, it’s it helps people create a recipe for how they can become successful at the one thing they love doing and the one thing I love doing it for many years is golfing, and how your body language, your attitude, your thought process, your self talk, all these things really contribute To the output and the end of performance. And so, it Yes, in the game of golf or soccer, basketball, there is the physical component, and there’s a technical component. But it’s everything outside of that, that also contributes to making that buzzer beater shot, or sinking that 20 foot pot. And so I wanted to take something that golf had taught me and put it into a book, and but also make sure that a third of it applies to life, to work to coaching to relationships. And that’s what I did. It’s available on Amazon, if you’re interested.
Michael Hingson ** 1:00:36
Well, I don’t know whether you send it to me. But if you send me a picture of the cover, we’ll make sure that we put it in the cover notes. I will. I want to thank you for being here. Chris. This has been fun. I hope you all have enjoyed it. If people want to reach out to you, how do they do it?
Yeah, so find me on LinkedIn. I’m very active. It’s Chris B Burns, there’s two B’s in the middle. And you go to my personal website, I am Chris Burns.com. I’ve got some products, services, downloads, I’ve got an opportunity to book time with me if you’re interested in learning more. And I’ve got my podcasts, hustle nation podcast, we’ve got content on a bunch of different platforms. Feel free to consume that and send me some messages. I’d love to connect with you. Cool. Well,
Michael Hingson ** 1:01:15
I also like to ask all of you out there to send us your comments, please give us a five star review wherever you’ve seen or heard us today. And you can reach me at Michaelhi at accessibe.com or go to our podcast page www dot Michael Hingson H i n g s o n.com/podcast. And definitely though the five star ratings and reviews, we would appreciate it. Love to hear from you and Chris, for you and anyone else who’s listening. If you know anyone else who want to be a guest on our podcast, unstoppable mindset, please let us know. We’re always looking for guest So Chris, one last time. Thank you for being here. Really appreciate your time.
Chris Burns ** 1:01:52
Thank you for having me. It was a pleasure.
**Michael Hingson ** 1:01:59
You have been listening to the Unstoppable Mindset podcast. Thanks for dropping by. I hope that you’ll join us again next week, and in future weeks for upcoming episodes. To subscribe to our podcast and to learn about upcoming episodes, please visit www dot Michael hingson.com slash podcast. Michael Hingson is spelled m i c h a e l h i n g s o n. While you’re on the site., please use the form there to recommend people who we ought to interview in upcoming editions of the show. And also, we ask you and urge you to invite your friends to join us in the future. If you know of any one or any organization needing a speaker for an event, please email me at speaker at Michael hingson.com. I appreciate it very much. To learn more about the concept of blinded by fear, please visit www dot Michael hingson.com forward slash blinded by fear and while you’re there, feel free to pick up a copy of my free eBook entitled blinded by fear. The unstoppable mindset podcast is provided by access cast an initiative of accessiBe and is sponsored by accessiBe. Please visit www.accessibe.com. accessiBe is spelled a c c e s s i b e. There you can learn all about how you can make your website inclusive for all persons with disabilities and how you can help make the internet fully inclusive by 2025. Thanks again for listening. Please come back and visit us again next week.