Matt Epstein was three years removed from his days at UCF when he decided he’d finally had enough of the job-hunting process. Endlessly sending out resumes without as much as a response had worn him down and he had to take a hard look at why, as a marketer, he couldn’t make himself stand out. marketer, So he changed his strategy and instead of doing what everyone wanted him to do, he pivoted and took a risk.
“If whatever you’re doing, you’re not feeling a little uncomfortable, then that means you’re not taking risks. And the worst thing you could do as a marketer is not take risks. If you’re not zigging while everyone else is zagging, well then guess what? You’re not going to stand out. And the worst thing you could do as a marketer is not stand out.”
The risk Matt was about to take meant he’d use his entire life savings on one specific campaign: to market himself to tech giants such as Google by using a clever website, GooglePleaseHire.me, which was complete with a video resume designed to make him stand out. Believe it or not, Matt didn’t actually get that job at Google, but the risk still paid off and on this episode of Marketing Trends, Matt explains how. Plus, Matt details how the early marketing strategies he used helped lay the groundwork for his future campaigns, and how marketers should be taking risks these days.
- Be the Bigger Company: When it comes to competitive advertising, the only instance in which you can go directly at a competitor is if they have significantly more market share. You need to think about the optics of the situation. Companies that are perceived as leaders within their market could be perceived as petty or bullying if they go at a competitor. So a good rule of thumb when it comes to competitive advertising is to punch up, not down.
- Messaging That Works: One of the first things marketers should be doing when they join a new company is to identify a message that not only sticks out, but also cuts through all the noise. If your message is getting lost in the crowd, whatever you do beyond that point will not be successful, regardless of the ad spend you put behind it.
- Are you a Risk-Taker?: Whatever strategy you are pursuing, should make you feel uncomfortable. If you are comfortable as a marketer and as a department, it means you are not taking a risk, which means you are not going to stand out from the crowd. Constantly be challenging yourself and your team to be thinking of new ways that deviate from what everyone else is doing.
“One day I woke up and said, ‘You know, I’m a marketer. I should be able to get a recruiter’s attention.’ So I ended up spending my life savings to get a job.”
“When I eventually did make it out to San Francisco, I was standing in line at this noodle bar and the guy in front of me goes, ‘Hey, aren’t you that Google guy?’ And that was oddly enough the proudest moment for me. It was not getting interviews with all these big tech companies, but just some random guy in the street knew me for a YouTube video. And so that’s when I felt like from a marketing perspective, I at least have some talent.”
“[The First thing you should be doing] is trying to figure out what is the messaging that works? What is the message that cuts through the noise to the clutter? Because it doesn’t matter what you do — Facebook ads, Instagram, whatever — if you don’t have the winning message, nothing is ever going to work.”
“I focus on three things,: what is the thing that I think is going to have the most outsized impact on revenue? The second is a speed and how fast do I think I’m going to be able to do it? And then the last one is money, and what it will drive revenue wise for the company.”
“One of the biggest problems I see other teams make is they don’t fail fast enough. And the thing I always tell my team is if you’re happy with what you’re putting out, you probably spent too long on it.”
“If with whatever you’re doing you’re not feeling a little uncomfortable, then that means you’re not taking risk. And the worst thing you could do as a marketer is not take risk. If you’re not zigging while everyone else is zagging, well then guess what? You’re not going to stand out. And like the worst thing you could do as a marketer is not stand out.”
“You need to punch up, not down. So if you’re going to go after a competitor, you can’t be the big guy, because then you’re just a picking on the small guy. The only time you can do competitive advertising is when you’re the underdog.”
Matt Epstein is the CMO at Rippling where he is responsible for the company’s brand, growth and marketing strategy. Prior to Rippling, Epstein held the role of VP of Marketing with Zenefits, where he was also employee No. 1.
Epstein, though, is best known for the GooglePleaseHire.Me campaign, where he garnered more than 80 job interviews and millions of YouTube views in an effort to land a job with Google. Epstein is a graduate of Central Florida University and now resides in New York City.
Marketing Trends podcast is brought to you by Salesforce. Discover marketing built on the world’s number one CRM: Salesforce. Put your customer at the center of every interaction. Automate engagement with each customer. And build your marketing strategy around the entire customer journey. Salesforce. We bring marketing and engagement together. Learn more at salesforce.com/marketing.
To read an unedited, automatically-generated transcript of this interview, click here.