THE THOUGHTFUL ENTREPRENEUR PODCAST

1663 – Patience With Organic Orders with Antonella Pisani

In this episode of the Thoughtful Entrepreneur, your host Josh Elledge speaks to the CEO & Founder of Eyeful Media, Antonella Pisani.

One of the key insights Antonella shared was the importance of balancing instant gratification with long-term strategies like SEO. She emphasized the need to focus on reducing the cost of acquisition and understanding the lifetime value of a customer.

She also highlighted the significance of customer satisfaction and the use of net promoter score to gauge client happiness. Antonella advises business owners to invest in these fundamental aspects of their business to maintain a solid foundation.

Regarding B2B growth, Antonella underscored the importance of content creation, thought leadership, and effective messaging. She stressed the need to stand out in saturated channels like email and to focus on empathizing with customers' problems and providing solutions.

Antonella also shared her thoughts on leadership and management. She believes in adapting one's management style to different types of employees, rather than imposing a one-size-fits-all approach.

She also addressed the challenge of delivering negative feedback and the tendency for some managers to be too soft in their approach. Antonella believes constructive criticism is essential for personal and professional growth, and encourages employees to seek feedback from mentors or executive coaches.

Key Points from the Episode:

  • Assisting companies in scaling their presence and selling through marketplaces
  • Working with private equity firms during due diligence process
  • Importance of reducing cost of acquisition and balancing instant gratification with long-term strategies like SEO
  • Understanding lifetime value and customer satisfaction, utilizing net promoter score
  • Importance of content creation, thought leadership, and effective messaging in B2B growth
  • Adapting management style to different types of employees
  • Importance of constructive criticism and seeking feedback from mentors or executive coaches
  • Maintaining professional boundaries and finding alternative outlets for venting within the workplace

About Antonella Pisani:

Antonella Pisani is the visionary founder and CEO of Eyeful Media, a cutting-edge digital marketing and consulting firm in Dallas. Launched in 2017, Eyeful Media has garnered remarkable success through organic referrals, securing a spot among the top 11% on the Inc. 5000 list for two consecutive years. With a staggering 1178% growth rate, the company stands out as one of America's fastest-growing private enterprises.

Committed to both business excellence and community impact, Antonella leads by example. She directs 5% of Eyeful Media's profits to charitable causes, supporting organizations like Community Partners of Dallas, Dwell with Dignity, and The North Texas Food Bank. Antonella's involvement extends to advisory roles, including The North Texas Food Bank Advisory Council and the Dwell with Dignity Board of Directors.

Emphasizing a progressive and balanced work culture, Eyeful Media's remote team spans 16 states and 23 cities, contributing expertise from diverse backgrounds. Antonella's 25-year experience in marketing and digital realms, including roles at Proflowers, Guitar Center, JCPenney, and Fossil, showcases her profound industry knowledge. An accomplished polyglot, Antonella's multilingualism and passion for travel enrich her leadership and personal pursuits, while her rescue pup, Riley, adds a touch of canine charm as the company's “Chief Security Officer.”

About Eyeful Media:

Eyeful Media is a dynamic digital marketing and consulting firm specializing in enhancing the online revenue and digital presence of mid-sized companies. Garnering consecutive Inc. 5000 placements, the firm consistently ranks within the top 11% (2021, 2022) and secures recognition as Adweek's Fastest-Growing Agency (#13 overall, #5 West/Southwest, #6 digital, #5 woman-led, #5 minority-led).

Distinguished by its client-centered approach, Eyeful Media exclusively recruits seasoned marketers, streamlining interactions by eliminating account managers. Services encompass SEM, Shopping, SEO, Paid Social, and Marketplace management, bolstered by Shopify Plus partnership.

The firm's ethos revolves around practical growth strategies aligned with contemporary trends, championing data-driven decisions and media buying over fleeting trends. Comprising former in-house and agency experts, the team empowers clients seeking impactful marketing without building an extensive in-house team.

Eyeful Media's work is dedicated to client growth, eschewing self-promotion for tangible results. Embracing diverse industries, approximately 60% of clients are B2C, and 40% are B2B, underscoring their adaptability and broad expertise.

Tweetable Moments:

10:13 – “Go hire people smarter than you, as many as you can possibly find that join your team.”

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Links Mentioned in this Episode:

Want to learn more? Check out Eyeful Media website at

https://www.eyefulmedia.com/

Check out Eyeful Media on LinkedIn at

https://www.linkedin.com/company/eyefulmedia/

Check out Antonella Pisani on LinkedIn at

https://www.linkedin.com/in/antonellapisani/

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Transcript

Josh (00:00:05) - Hey there, thoughtful listener. Would you like consistent and predictable sales activity with no spam and no ads? I'll teach you step by step how to do this, particularly if you're an agency owner, consultant, coach or B2B service provider. What I teach has worked for me for more than 15 years and has helped me create more than $10 million in revenue. Just head to up my influence and watch my free class on how to create endless high ticket sales appointments. You can even chat with me live and I'll see and reply to your messages. Also, don't forget the thoughtful entrepreneur is always looking for guests. Go to up my influence and click on podcast. We'd love to have you. With us right now, Antonella Pisani. Antonella, you are the CEO and founder at IE Full Media. That's e y e full media.com. We've got the link in our show notes. But Antonella, it's great to have you here.

Antonella (00:01:14) - Thank you so much for having me this morning. Josh, good to meet you as well.

Josh (00:01:17) - Yes. Congratulations on your success. Some nice rankings and the Inc 5000 list. So congrats on that. And I'm excited to kind of pick your brain and hear, you know, some of your observations in marketing, because I know marketing is one of those fields that's constantly there's principles that are tried and true, but then there's the tactics I think that sometimes can evolve quite a bit based on, you know, how the market is responding, what's been maybe overplayed in the past, you know, and obviously for this show too, and very keenly interested to to hear some of, you know, your impact in the world as well. So give us maybe an overview of the work that I feel media does.

Antonella (00:02:02) - Sure. So we primarily focus on digital marketing and digital strategy for mid-market companies. I would say between that ten and $200 million ranges or sweet spot, but we've worked with multibillion dollar firms and we've worked with companies that are a bit smaller. Um, a lot of the foundational channels, paid search, SEO paid social copywriting and then helping companies and manufacturers who really want to scale their presence and sell more directly, as well as selling more through marketplaces and different channels like that, about half B2C, half B2B.

Antonella (00:02:36) - Um, and then we work with a number of private equity folks as well, helping them through due diligence process.

Josh (00:02:43) - You have been in this space for a while. I'm sure you've observed some trends. What are some of the trends that you're interested in or you would recommend to other business leaders to keep an eye on over the next year or two?

Antonella (00:02:57) - Yeah, for sure. I mean, I think for me, I've never been a big fan of shiny objects. I've always played and just keeping it very pragmatic. And you know, it's interesting, through the last few years, a lot of companies grew through brute force during Covid and really didn't keep an eye on as many fundamentals. And then now as things slow down a little bit, they're really having to understand their businesses. And so, you know, some of the things we're always still talking to companies about, just keeping that focus on reducing that cost of acquisition. You know, I think a lot of companies really like the instant gratification of the paid channels, right? So paid search, paid social, you can drive a lot of traffic really quickly, but, you know, they fail to invest as much in things like SEO that, you know, you have to be patient.

Antonella (00:03:45) - It takes a little bit longer to get those organic orders in, but those are the types of things that really reduce your cost of acquisition over time. And so having to balance out kind of that instant gratification with some of the delayed gratification, knowing that it's the right thing for the health of the business, you know, some of the things we're talking to companies about still is just a lot of the basics, really understanding lifetime value, getting into that. We're big fans of talking to folks about Net Promoter Score, making sure that they're really understanding how happy their clients are and if they're not happy, what's going on that's driving that and trying to get in front of it. So for me, you know, there's a lot of people, a lot of things people are talking about, right, whether it's the social media platform or whatever. But I think for business owners, it's really maintaining and on all those fundamental things that that indicate whether your business is healthy and and, you know, trying to balance out where you're investing, marketing money to make sure that you're you're building a solid foundation for the future.

Josh (00:04:50) - Yeah. Do you find so if you have a client I'm particularly interested in the kind of the B2B world, certainly agency growth is there. I mean, any surprises or any observations around maybe strategy that that you would say? No, I'm not sure I would do that a whole lot. Instead, I'd say if you're in B2B or or let's say you're an agency or service provider, you're probably going to want to do more of X like any general prescriptions.

Antonella (00:05:25) - Yeah. I mean, on on the agency side, we tend to just do some white label type work. So it's a little bit different than helping them grow. On the B2B side, I think there's still a really big focus on content creation and thought leadership just being out there. I think that, you know, it's something we've been talking about a lot. There's so much just email and some of those channels that I think have gotten really, really saturated and so to stand out. But, you know, it's the same types of things of really thinking about lifetime value and customer satisfaction.

Antonella (00:05:56) - I think we work with a lot of B2B, especially like SaaS businesses, and they've gone from that brute force or that inside selling and now figuring out, okay, how do they invest in marketing and scale, really thinking about their messaging, You know, think there's so many there's some unique companies out there, but there's also a lot of competition among software and, you know, really nailing that messaging. We talked a lot about like empathy and messaging, big fans of like story brand and things like that, and putting the customer kind of let them be the hero. So, I mean, those are the things we really are leaning into today and trying to stay away from some of the the generic, you know, just being out there and facts and figures.

Josh (00:06:41) - Here's what makes us awesome instead. So so what you're talking about in messaging, can can you maybe kind of dive a little bit more into that what you're talking about story brand and making your client or customer the center of the story?

Antonella (00:06:57) - Yeah.

Antonella (00:06:57) - So sorry. Brand is a framework. We ran across it for the first time I think several years ago, and it's really about that customer journey and helping them really feel empowered and that you're there to kind of lift them up and help solve their problems and you're empathizing with the problems that they have. And you know, one early example, we had worked with a a company that sold software for like Chromebooks for students, and they're it's like trying to empathize with the teacher and the principal. And your job is really hard and you, you know, you're really focused on teaching. And so we're here to help you focus on those things that really matter to you by alleviating and solving that problem. Right versus like, Hey, here's our feature and benefits list. And so it's it's kind of guiding them down a path of here's what can happen and success and here's what failure looks like is that distinction make sense of.

Josh (00:07:57) - Yeah Oh yeah for.

Antonella (00:07:57) - Sure. And it's really it's the customer journey. I mean that's, that's the stuff that we're, whether it's B2B or B2C.

Antonella (00:08:04) - Um, but a lot of times just really stepping back, thinking about like, what are those problems that person's trying to solve, but also like, what are they feeling, right? And how do you tap into that versus just saying, hey, we offer these features and benefits because so many companies lean into that, that it's it's tough to discern which solution is going to be better if that's all you're selling on. Yeah, that's kind of what we're seeing on that B2B side.

Josh (00:08:32) - Yeah. Antonella is kind of just looking at your content on social. And one article that you wrote recently for Harvard Business Review, it's actually quite good. It's what new leaders shouldn't do. I don't know if you recall maybe some of the tips you shared there, but you know, there's five here. And what I'd like to do is maybe just kind of list these five really quick and then just have you dive into whatever you're most passionate about on this topic. So number one is don't let your ego win. Number two, don't do everything yourself.

Josh (00:09:05) - Three, don't impose your management style for don't avoid giving negative feedback. Curious about that one. And number five, don't vent to your direct reports. By the way, some really great tips in this article. We'll have that linked up as well. But maybe share maybe your personal insights on any of those things that that I just brought up.

Antonella (00:09:31) - Yeah, sure. Thanks for for surfacing that. It's funny because I'm a super positive individual and the original title was like Things You Should Do. And you know, I think that things you shouldn't do like gets more clicks. And so they flip the title around a little bit on me But yeah mean I think. You know, my career was really on the client side. And so I had an opportunity to manage some pretty large teams. And a lot of times it was more junior leaders or first time leaders, and you just see these things over and over again. You know, I think the one that I've run across a lot and one that I learned early on not to do is like, go hire people smarter than you, right? As many as you can possibly find that.

Antonella (00:10:13) - Join your team. You know, I think that a lot of times, you know, sometimes leaders will feel threatened by having people that they perceive to be smarter than them and they'll feel like, oh, this person wants to take my job. And for me, I always saw it as like, I want them to take my job so I can go do the next bigger job.

Josh (00:10:33) - Yeah, exactly. Yeah. Take all my jobs, please.

Antonella (00:10:36) - Yes. Take it off of my plate and let me, you know, let me continue to to grow in the company and grow in responsibility by showing that I can build these teams. And, you know, a lot of times the mentality was like, how do I make myself obsolete? Right? But by hiring people that can run circles around me and their distinctive areas. And, you know, I think that sometimes with younger, less experienced leaders, it's just it's this like threatening feeling or a feeling of inadequacy. Mean think there's so many people that feel or struggle with like imposter syndrome and you know, think that that can make it worse sometimes for folks.

Antonella (00:11:13) - But to me it's like go arm yourself with the smartest freaking people you can possibly find. Oh, gosh. So, you know, think that's a big one? I think the management style is a really interesting one. I went through like a year long leadership course recently, and this was something we focused on a lot and it's something I've thought about within my own company. You know, as I look at myself, there's certain types of leaders I like to manage. Um, and I know how I like to be managed, but it's really interesting when you have a mix of styles where you've got a, a leader who maybe has a very direct style and then they've got direct reports that really need a lot of that kind of personal connection and, you know, figuring out how to adapt to different types of people think a lot of times less experienced leaders are like, No, this is my way and this is how I lead. But but really, the best service you can offer to your people is to understand how they want to be led and guide them so that you're getting the results that you want.

Antonella (00:12:17) - I think that's an interesting one. You mentioned the negative feedback. You know, we have a lot of. Yeah.

Josh (00:12:23) - That I'm curious about.

Antonella (00:12:25) - Yeah. Mean think um, we have a lot of really, really nice people on our team right and and I think that sometimes it's they're sensitive to sharing negative feedback and you know, that's really how, how we develop and especially as adults, right? Like we don't have a parent telling us what to go do theoretically, right? And so how you evolve as a person and as a leader is coming from a lot of times like that person that's that's responsible for mentoring you and growing you in your career. And a lot of times, like people will kind of be a little bit too soft in terms of delivering feedback and then the person doesn't really know what the expectations are and then you just kind of end up in this little bit of like this vicious cycle, right? Where the manager is like, Well, I'm not getting what I need, but they don't want to give that direct feedback.

Antonella (00:13:17) - Um, I feel like maybe the need to coddle or something like that because they've got, you know, nice people around them or they don't want to hurt some feelings. Um, but I think for me, like from a personal interest side, I think it's been a lot of the ego, that piece of it. And I'm trying to remember what was the second one and then the last one, the venting, the direct reports. I mean, think that.

Josh (00:13:41) - Yeah.

Antonella (00:13:42) - People just people become very friendly with each other and like I'm close to a lot of people on the team and, um. I think that, you know, I've certainly seen it where someone will vent to their direct reports or the direct report to one of their peers and. That's not what leadership is, right? I think leadership is pushed through. And, you know, in any company, in any situation, like I worked in a lot of turnarounds, you're my dog.

Josh (00:14:12) - What's your doggy's name?

Antonella (00:14:14) - My dog is Riley and he's Riley.

Josh (00:14:17) - I think Riley's on your on your website, too.

Antonella (00:14:20) - He is just through it on noise cancellation. I'm sorry about that.

Josh (00:14:24) - Not a word. Hey, listen, Riley's welcome to Chime in.

Antonella (00:14:28) - And he has very, very strong feelings. Yeah, he's got very strong feelings about not venting the direct reports. Um.

Josh (00:14:36) - I believe Riley's title, according to your website, is Chief Security officer. So, hey, you know, when Riley needs to snap into action, I think we need to just respect the space there.

Antonella (00:14:48) - He's protecting me from squirrels right now, I think. But so, yes, Riley, I think it's just. I think it's, um, you know, you can be you can have great relationships with folks. And I think the path I was going down is, you know, I've worked in a lot of turnaround situations, whether it was J.C. Penney Fossil Guitar Center, and those can be tough environments to work in. And people feel the need to maybe like share how they're feeling, but do it with do it with your boss if you have to, but preferably take it outside of the company.

Antonella (00:15:21) - Right? Talk to your friends. Talk to talk to an executive coach. Find find a good outlet for it. But doing that with direct reports is just not a good place.

Josh (00:15:32) - Or as I think about like and I'm sure that we as leaders have also all kind of been the recipients of a gripe session or one of our managers that need to vent about something. And I always respect, you know, I want to validate their emotion and but I just really respect when they say, now, thank you for letting me vent. Here are my ideas, you know, some possible ideas to solve this. You know, I've been thinking about this. I want to be solution focused. You know, I have great respect for people that are able to process that maybe a little bit before, um, like, for example, I think for me, I feel like I, if I didn't do at least a little bit of my own internal work around that issue before presenting that conversation, I feel like that would be lazy of me to just say, well, I haven't even bothered, thought about it.

Josh (00:16:27) - I'm not going to think about it. You tell me what to do here. I don't know that that like I wouldn't do that. And that's, I think, part of maybe what you're talking about here.

Antonella (00:16:37) - Yeah, for sure. I think it's the, you know, one of the things I've read up on a fair amount this last year was just the empowerment dynamic, the drama triangle, and that's kind of the victim mode. And hey, boss, come rescue me. And that's, you know, that's not what we want from leaders. You want what you said, right? It's okay. Like people are going to have emotions and be upset about something, but hey, here's how I think we should solve it. Obviously, if it's something really big and material and you know, let's say there is we've we've been really, really fortunate with the quality of our clients and the quality of people on the other side that we partner with. But let's say someone's being like abusive or malicious. Like that's not venting.

Antonella (00:17:18) - That's that's highlighting a real problem. Maybe that's happening. Um, that's different. But I think, you know, being that solution oriented, not looking for someone to just come in and swoop in and rescue you and, um. For sure. I mean, this is some of the stuff that we're doing that that think is really interesting is bringing a lot of these leadership topics to everyone at the agency, regardless of whether they're, you know, a manager level person or a VP is trying to expose our team to a lot of these types of topics. And a lot of these discussions that, you know, so many companies reserve like executive coaching and leadership for VP and SPS. We're trying to really develop everyone at the company.

Josh (00:18:03) - Yeah your website I full media who should be reaching out and what would you recommend that they do.

Antonella (00:18:10) - Yeah I mean I'd love to hear from any of your listeners. We primarily work with, I would say, directors of marketing, VP of marketing, CMOs. We work with a lot of private equity folks and then some CEOs as well, obviously, depending on the size of the company.

Antonella (00:18:24) - Um, you know, we much like we talked about in the beginning, like definitely a pragmatic approach. Like we're not here to build a portfolio for ourselves. We like to help businesses grow and push through some of the challenges that they have. We have a contact form or email on there, or folks are free to reach out to me on LinkedIn as well.

Josh (00:18:43) - Yeah, again I full media that's full media.com. And again Anthony it's been great having you here Antonella Pisani CEO and founder at Ifeel media Anthony it's been great having you. Thank you so much for joining us.

Antonella (00:19:02) - Thanks so much, Josh, Appreciate it.

Josh (00:19:10) - Thanks for listening to the Thoughtful Entrepreneur Show. If you are a thoughtful business owner or professional who would like to be on this daily program, please visit up My Influence slash guest. If you're a listener, I'd love to shout out your business to our whole audience for free. You can do that by leaving a review on Apple Podcasts or join our listener Facebook group. Just search for the thoughtful entrepreneur and Facebook.

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