Chief Partnership Officer and affiliate marketing

Chief Partnership Officers, AI, and affiliate marketing

Declan Dunn on affiliate marketing, content, AI, and why brands need _Chief Partnership Officers_.mp4

NOTE: This is a lightly edited transcript of my interview with Kevin Lee of Emarketing Association.


Declan Dunn [00:00:00] If we go back to, like basic transactional analysis, you’re familiar with transactional analysis.


For people who aren’t listening, it’s a really old kind of way for relationships and it sort of parent adult child.


I’ll simplify it, but most of the time we’re either parent talking to a child or a child talking to a parent in the ways that we react to stuff, especially in business.


And so a brand trying to be all controlling scripting is like, I’m the parent.


Kevin Lee [00:00:21] I’ll tell you children what to do.


Declan Dunn [00:00:23] And it’s like, Yeah, Grandpa, go back to the time tunnel.


Declan Dunn [00:00:27] Where the ones that are adult to adult Etsy’s totally like this. You bring up a weird suggestion.


They’ll consider it. And I don’t mean this like, it’s so nice. I don’t have to get a yes, but I want to challenge them.


I want to move them. And they’re so open. And you can tell that just starts.


Kevin Lee [00:00:41] Yeah, from the whole culture.


Declan Dunn [00:00:42] No top down.


Speaker 3 [00:00:45] You are listening to Power Marketing with Kevin Lee, Kevin and his agency. Did it have helped thousands of businesses win through superior marketing, as have his books, articles, speaking engagements and the E Marketing Association, Power marketing podcasts. Here’s Kevin.


Kevin Lee [00:01:06] I’m super excited to be catching up the Declan on today, who I haven’t seen in person in probably six or seven years.


Pre-pandemic, definitely. We used to go to a lot of the same events, particularly performance marketing and affiliate marketing events


I think we’ve probably been on stage as co panelists a few times as well. So back then. Great to catch up.


Why don’t you give us the elevator pitch of what keeps you busy these days? What are you working on?


Declan Dunn [00:01:32] Oh, a couple of things, but just keeps me busy as this. I love the digital spaces, you know? I mean, I just call it that because it’s always shifting.


So between running Dunn Simply, which is really where I do a little bit of consulting, but I actually work more in building businesses for either growth or acquisition and really enjoy just working with from start ups to things like that.


And also have my own nonprofit that actually is 27, 28 years old next year that has been teaching since 1995 reaching about 75 million students


And so it’s a real blast. It’s weird, like I wanted to go and like run itself, but every time I come back, I make these connections.


So for me, that’s like, like you with giving back, but also like just really engaging and working with a whole new generation.


That’s I mean, there’s so many fascinating things just about pop and right now that I’m, you know, I won’t use the cliche I but really.


Declan Dunn [00:02:33] AI, the overarching term for everything, you know, God help us, I won’t talk about it. But, you know.


The whole.  Beyond the. Meme, the really amazing things, machine learning and stuff is doing.


So I work a little bit of that, work with a lot of engineers and and do a lot of partnerships.


Kevin Lee [00:02:51] Yeah. I mean, it’s, it’s, it’s really the rate of change is accelerating so people sort of wonder like why are we still excited to get up in the morning?


I’m like, how could it not be exciting? I have no idea what’s going to happen every day in our in our ecosystem. And that’s not even counting Twitter.


Declan Dunn [00:03:12] It’s like one of my friends who. ran a startup and he’s he’s really more of a technical end. And I thought he was really brilliant. He says, You know, if I create a company, I have about five years because then the technology’s going to change.


And he goes, I’m probably being a little optimistic there, but after five years, either my technology’s going to grow or it’s just going to get left behind.


And it’s interesting when he looks to sell or to, you know, leverage it, do whatever, let it run.


For a long time. I was really intrigued by that because it’s so true that how these things shift and now what we’re really going to see with machine learning and stuff is some things are not just progressing faster, but I love software that’s created now because software that was created even five years ago, it’s not dated. You’re still, you know.


Kevin Lee [00:03:57] Legacy still exists.


Declan Dunn [00:03:59] It’s not like it gets wiped out, but there’s things that are so much more efficient.


Kevin Lee [00:04:04] Yeah, it is crazy. And that’s going to keep us on our toes. One thing that I highlighted in my to do list to talk to you about is is content partnerships, right?


You know, performance marketing, affiliate marketing, whatever you want to call it. It’s existed in a lot of a lot of different shapes and forms over the years. And it went through its way where it was being called just influencer marketing.


But sometimes it was performance based, sometimes it was a hybrid. And so I love to really think of, you know, chat with you about, you know, that evolution.


You’ve been there for the whole thing. Right. Where it just sometimes it’d be the same thing with a new name.


Sometimes it would be something. And I’d love to hear what you’re up to with regards to content partnerships these days.


Declan Dunn [00:04:45] Oh, and it’s funny because my actual beginning roots in the space in 95 from educational site was I built a partnership with ABC and PBS with some guy with a website on.


But they had content, but I had audience and I also was a little bit different than an ABC. And a PBS can be not in a bad way, but you know, I had a lot more freedom than they do, so but they were really cool.


And I said, Let me put the stuff on my site, which was really radical because I said, You’re not going this show is not going to be around in three or four years on your website and nobody will find it.


And they just did not ask, creating sort of a and really listening to lawyers in a really good way. I always speak to legal.


Kevin Lee [00:05:26] Guess I know.


Declan Dunn [00:05:26] The big company they don’t just want to give me the content but that actually started the roots of what I did an affiliate marketing and today everything is shifting to content.


Like I know it’s sort of obvious, but with the amount of social media, I mean, to call social media just the endless need for new, new new content partnerships,


I mean, we’re seeing people like like 40% now of the affiliate space is quote unquote content. You could put influencers probably in there. And I think those are two separate categories. We’ll go into that later, but I don’t consider them the same because we’re seeing people like Wirecutter, like I saw this great webinar on MarTech record that had Sports Illustrated, Forbes and Forbes.


It’s just insanely good at what it does. Sports Illustrated not being a bit more traditional. Wirecutter CNN has its own thing, and all of these are driven by a partnership that’s really interesting because when you pitch them and you want to make a content partnership, even for a bloggers, got a good audience doesn’t have to be all these fancy name drops you’ve really got to think about from a content partner.


They got to create content, they develop trust. We can’t just go slogging our stuff like the old, like the Affiliate space, which is so coupon rewards. Driven.


And it’s weird because the space that’s actually why I’ve left the space in about 2006 seven because I’m not a big fan of coupon rewards of much more content start ups and things like that.


But all of a sudden these bigger companies started seeing that actually affiliates insanely smart for a content company because it is the most perfect form of marketing when it works.


Kevin Lee [00:07:03] Is affiliate.


Declan Dunn [00:07:04] Because it’s transaction based and it’s based on paper sales. So everything is very effective now.


Kevin Lee [00:07:11] It’s messy all over the place.


Declan Dunn [00:07:13] But when I talk to like when I’m hearing people talk from these major publishers, they’re like, Listen, I’ve got to take my content.


I got to pitch it to editorial. I’m not just dealing with a marketing team and these interdependencies is dead sales.


I mean, it’s all one. And so a content person, if they’re going to put, you know, content on their site and just do it and hey, I’ll pay you great commission, it cracks me up because the old affiliate space is such a hustle, weird space that they’re shifting.


And they’re like, Well, here’s our lowest. Commission. I’m like, Are you serious? This is wire cutters, New York Times.


Kevin Lee [00:07:48] One of your commission.


Declan Dunn [00:07:49] And even there you got to pay till I get them to do something because they got to go pitch it. Editorial


So what’s interesting is the whole content space is not just the person you’re going to, but like, it’s funny.


Anything in B2B, there’s always 3 to 4 people making a decision if the company has.


Kevin Lee [00:08:05] Brains, right? I mean.


Declan Dunn [00:08:07] That old idea of a decision maker go to the top. That’s so gone. I mean, I need to speak to editorial, I need to speak to the content creator, have them create.


Why are they going to create the content not just to be all, you know, just creating advertorials, which a lot of it essentially is, But is it entertaining? Is it help envelop the trust I have? Is that going to hurt my reputation as a publisher? You can’t just go on commission.


So having a little blend hyper deals are all over the place, pay a little bit.


Todd Crawford of Impact who just goes way back. And now he founded Impact what I think is by far the best in the space,


He was actually saying that CPC is actually coming back because what’s interesting about that with content people is the content people are like, if I do CPA, I put it this way, the risk is all on me.


If I’m a publisher, you’re not risking anything if it doesn’t happen. And I send you traffic. You may not like it, but you’re really not risking anything. Maybe you’re risking your job.


Kevin Lee [00:09:10] Because performance people.


Declan Dunn [00:09:12] Do get fired for not creating performance, which is the brutal part of it.


But with a CPC deal, which is weird because again, all the fraud and the crap and the kind of coupons, awards statement, talk about Honey and Capital One and RetailMeNot popping up and stealing last click. Well, I shouldn’t say stealing, sorry.


Kevin Lee [00:09:29] But adding value at the end though.


Declan Dunn [00:09:31] Content People really don’t like that coupon thing because they’re top of the funnel, not just bottom of the funnel, they’re top of the funnel driving this traffic.


So Crawford was bringing up about CPC. I think Todd was like spot on because it’s like this old technique, but then it’s sort of mutually shared. If I drive traffic and it doesn’t convert, we part friends and you at least got traffic and I get paid.


And if it I would rather it have CPA costs per action, you know per sale.


But if it doesn’t sell and I tell you I’ve been into so many content things you might have two sites we did this with Rolling Stone once made this whole deal with on pay per performance. We were just psyched. We got Rolling Stone. It was terrible because. People were into Rolling Stone to read, not to buy. Meanwhile, somebody with this.


Like little classified ad site was just pop and salesy intent. People were there to buy.


So it’s not just a simple having a name brand or anything like that. It’s just really weird how this audience converts. This audience doesn’t.


And honestly, they’re really you can over and analyze it, but it just is what it is. Or they create bad customers, meaning, you know, one time purchase rather than repeat purchase, which is especially I take credit cards, we used to have affiliates who would generate a credit card and we’re just blowing it up.


But it’s like, well, there’s about a third of them that never use the credit card, which is sort of.


A waste of our time. And we actually had to identify the affiliates that way, which was very common and then had to eliminate them because while they were doing it, for whatever reason, incentivizing, adding, you know, I can make up a bunch of different reasons, but at the end of the day, and none of them was doing anything scummy or, you know, affiliate bad stuff, but at the end of the day, this person generated a real customer.


This other didn’t and that LTV value means so much so to a content person, a publisher their long term value is that person coming back and reading it.


So we put a bad garbage ad and get hustled by a bad affiliate and treat you like coupon rewards. It’s just a different space.


Kevin Lee [00:11:32] Yeah, yeah. You make a great point about the hybrid deals and the way you can sort of share risk in different ways, right? A little bit upfront, maybe some CPC and some back in that way, you know, the risk is shared and the the affiliate of performance based marketing channel doesn’t have to worry that like 20% of the people have honey installed and actually ended up borrowing the credit at the last minute you know, from from that second to last touch point or what was really the last touchpoint for them didn’t look like it was.


But I’d love to delve into another thing that I noticed happening. You know, within the last five years in particular, which was, you know, we sort of you mentioned a lot of publisher names, right? So you obviously there’s the publisher and then there’s the editorial teams at publishers. And the same thing is true at broadcasters.


You’ve got broadcasters like CNN and Fox and such, but then you’ve got the anchors or the personalities right at these organizations that often have their own significant social media presences and act like influencers themselves. And sometimes they’re available for sale separately, right from the from the places that that that they’re associated with.


So it it provides even more choice to the marketer who can say, well, do I want that I going to do the deal with with the publishing brand or the broadcasting brand, or maybe I should actually cherry pick a couple of their personalities who have essentially the same audience and maybe I can do a better deal there.


Or maybe that’s my entree into understanding if the audience works right is one of their significant personalities. But I plus, there’s probably less of a legal hurdle, right, with branded content being with one of their contributors versus going direct to corporate.


And it’s just the level of flexibility that that gives to the to the marketer, right. The performance marketer or the brand marketer or the holistic marketer, however you want to position yourself. It’s just been simultaneously complicating things and freeing because you have a lot of choice. S


o I love that love to have you talk about like how you think about that, all those choices that you have as you start to think about putting together deals that are sort of have a good performance element to it.


Declan Dunn [00:13:56] But boy, it makes so much sense because for one, if you’re pitching any large company, I mean, one brand told me that if you if you get one spam campaign. We were doing email. That’s 10 million to our brand.


This program was not generated 10 Million in those days. It was just that it was a real wake up call like, Oh my God, you know, one person complains and and still that sort of negative, whatever you want to call it, it consumes legal.


And what you’re saying about personal brand, the sort of what I would call them, I would almost prefer to go to that brand because, one, they do have a more freedom to be speaking and sorry political perspective.


There’s pretty much any news is propaganda these days so it’s really hard


And there’s a lot of what ifs, which in the thing they hate, it’s almost like selling software into a major corporation. And you’ve got I mean, you’ve got to be patient and it’s 3 to 6 months and they might.


Kevin Lee [00:14:58] They’re the first ones to drop you quickly. Right.


Declan Dunn [00:15:01] There’s no patience on their end, though. You’ve got to give thousands of hours of patience, joking, but a lot of patience to being able to go versus like this thing where you’re just saying, let’s say with CNN and Anderson Cooper.


I was just listening to an interview he was doing about his podcast. And that was so interesting because it’s personal, because we get to see and I don’t care if you like Anderson Cooper or not, but you get to see this person and everybody following them likes them and they all like CNN.


You know, same thing for Fox, you could say for anyone, any of these writers. I especially love people who podcasts. Podcasts are actually really big in the space, too, because you tend to have more of that mobile, like moving around. I listen to a ton of podcasts as so much auditory content that you were able to get their audience and also the people that love them.


Kevin Lee [00:15:50] And you can see, like I could.


Declan Dunn [00:15:51] See like picking out almost every one of them has to have it as a side gig, if not an official gig.


Kevin Lee [00:15:57] Yeah.


Declan Dunn [00:15:58] And I think it just like it would. And then there’s a specific person, because if you’re going for CNN, you have to know. I mean, one of our funny things, if you go to anybody, a blogger, I don’t care. Check out their editorial calendar. Take a look at what they’ve done.


Take a look at what they published. And it gets sort of weird. I saw the New York Post, who does a ton of work as well, and it has this sort of listicle, almost formulaic thing which works, right?


But if I’m want you to pitch my brand, I’d rather have a like a BuzzFeed advertorial where it’s all about me and then, I mean a subtlety. And then.


Kevin Lee [00:16:31] At the end it’s like, Wow, I just got.


Declan Dunn [00:16:33] Sold. But it was content doing the selling. That’s so brilliant. That level of creativity. There’s some companies have it, others are just it’s a process because it’s all clickbait and things like that. That’s what works.


So from a diet and fashion, if I’m an entertainment, all of those like health, fashion and entertainment are almost guaranteed to be not easy placements, but they’re all, you know, I’m an old journalist. It’s like, What? What’s that? Where’s the story versus an Anderson Cooper?


I’m just name dropping, just this one I heard. But as somebody like that, I could listen to their show and now I know what’s important to them. And their viewership or listening ship.


Kevin Lee [00:17:17] As it were, is good.


Declan Dunn [00:17:19] I’m going to get on YouTube. I’m going to get on maybe TikTok. You know, we take our long form and then send Instagram, those kind of presences. I’m probably not going to get with a major brand. I mean, I can, but they don’t tend to do it as much.


Kevin Lee [00:17:36] Harder negotiation, right? Every time you layer on another venue or another outlet for their footprint, it gets more complicated. And I think that that’s that’s been empowering,


I think, to our teams when we when we want to sort of find those people and sometimes they’re more affordable. Right. Same thing’s true with with sports personalities, right?


You’ve got ESPN, you’ve got the sports teams, you’ve got the superstars, all the sports teams, and then you’ve got the people whose names are recognizable but not that recognizable. Well, guess who’s most affordable, right?


The people whose names like, Oh, yeah, that that’s the shortstop. Like, I you know, I think I know who that is.


Kevin Lee [00:18:15] Right. And everyone who does knows that.


Declan Dunn [00:18:17] Like, for real.


Kevin Lee [00:18:18] Yeah, totally.


Kevin Lee [00:18:20] So so, you know, the other thing I love to talk about is, you know, contents have been at the core of what we’ve been doing for many, many years. Or I mean, I started in SEO in 94, but before before Google, all.


Kevin Lee [00:18:33] Things started in search before the research.


Kevin Lee [00:18:35] Okay. And then it started in 96 before there was was yeah, before there was Google. So I mean, you know, we were doing SEO previous to then it that it’s first first platform wasn’t SEO tool called the IT detective but but what’s really interesting is I was getting at this idea of sort of a back to the future in a in a sense that you know, the infomercials from when I was a kid then the vessel ads on YouTube now. It’s a lot of that same storytelling based content.


And so it’s sort of been really fascinating for me to watch that. But there’s also a place for short form content, right?


So if you think that the intent level or the or the targeting level is high enough in a particular placement or in a podcast with a live read or whatever, you don’t need to go to a lot of effort, right? You don’t need to tell a half hour story that you might on a vessel.


So I’d love you to walk me through how you think about like matching the content type to the placement, right, and how you think that through because you don’t want to put long form content in a place where everyone’s A.D.D. and you don’t want to use short form content that the people actually would have the patience to go through like a Hollywood saga type story with, with the call to action, you know, closer to the end.


Declan Dunn [00:20:00] Ideally, I would like both.


Kevin Lee [00:20:02] Right.


Declan Dunn [00:20:03] But it’s also weird because it’s actually a little easier to do long form content. Not easier, but it has more time and more filler. I mean, if I tell you to do a two minute spot, that’s hard.


Kevin Lee [00:20:15] You know, a lot of work to nail.


Declan Dunn [00:20:17] All the the fluff down. I mean, so usually what I prefer if I’m and again, depending on the partner in their comfort because some people are just doing this like a machine so they’re going to end up telling me what to do. I would prefer like especially, you know, if I’m targeting Gen Z or something like that, I’m going to be kicked talking the heck out of this stuff.


But it is to my my idea is basically, you know, the other piece I’m working on 3 seconds to 3 hours. Once we get past that 3 seconds, there’s a heavy duty binge.


And I mean, even on a B2B level, I’m like, Hey, if I get you to even, like, pay attention and talk about me, that’s two or 3 hours in the day is done. That’s asking a lot of people. So I want to have both. And I try to think again as a journalist.


I try to think, Hey, could we have this longer piece? I mean, if I can help define it for them, looking at their editorial and just looking at their feed, just like you can really in 2 minutes, last thing you want to do is analyze them. It’s like, here’s what I do, you know?


So if you’re doing that, you know, Joe Rogan talks for 3 hours, okay, That in a good way. Like you don’t have to think about short form.


But most of these people are doing in 5 to 10 minutes, maybe a TED talk a 20. So I want to keep it under a half hour.


I like 20 minutes a lot because attention spans really I don’t care what age you are or how much social media use distractions tend to happen unless you’re really into the topic after 20 or so minutes.


I used to actually in webinars do like little closes little micro closers to just sort of invite you to get the heck out because people just get bored.


Kevin Lee [00:21:50] Right? If you’re ready, if you’re ready, you’re ready right now.


Kevin Lee [00:21:53] And don’t forget. But like and it can be really subtle.


Declan Dunn [00:21:56] Like, you know, just a little URL, just a not even a pitch. It’s just like it 5 minutes, 10 minutes. And at the end, it just allows the people.


Kevin Lee [00:22:04] Like short attention span theater.


Declan Dunn [00:22:06] To go and to still know what you’re talking about because so many people make the mistake of waiting till the end. Like and it’s like a great tricked out video can actually run in a circle. It actually begins and ends and it just the story actually plays out the same.


I’m not great at TikTok videos, but just studying the science of and the really great ones can really and when it ends, it begins again.


And it’s it actually makes structural storytelling sense. So being able like if I got a great video person, I love that because for example, if we’re doing a pitch to somebody who does a YouTube channel and that’s their gig, that’s the big thing,


They’re going to have to create a video for us that could cost and I’m just using sort of general prices here, but the sort of pretty consistent we’ll see 2 to 3 grant for a placement just right.


But still a lot of work for them to be able to do a video, especially a longer piece. Right. There’s a lot of more production versus me and you just in a good way sitting here on a Zoom call.


Kevin Lee [00:23:03] And doing stuff. It’s not it’s.


Declan Dunn [00:23:05] Not like having to hack it and edit and, you know, do a real like storytelling versus if I go for an influencer and I love it because this sort of ties into content to an influencers we call, I call them nano micro and major nano being 10,000 or less, and that’s a beautiful space.


You can turn 150 bucks to somebody and they’ll show you and it’s and it could pop. It doesn’t mean it has to, but it’s really reasonable.


It’s great for them, great for you once they get to like 10,000 to really get to 800. 500,000 depends. Some people put it up. I probably limit it to about 100,000.


Now we’re talking a little bit more, but still we can pay a little bit. We’re not going to go even to a thousand bucks. Once you get to a major influencer, forget it. I mean, yeah, good. Good luck. In fact, I don’t even.


Kevin Lee [00:23:50] Go so.


Declan Dunn [00:23:51] Brand ads. I mean, for real, like, why would you do a performance ad at that level?


It’s such a risk and the person’s following is nowhere near as engaged. I hate that word now too, because it’s sort of a fake word.


Kevin Lee [00:24:02] But it was really paying attention.


Declan Dunn [00:24:05] And and the 10,000 less really earn that attention. You get these little really like those people, really like this person. So if I ask that person to do a TikTok video for them, a minute or two is nothing. They do it all day long. YouTube they do, but it tends to be a little bit more my Hollywood.


But I always joke are we do in a Hollywood video we’re going to have to be Mr. Beast.


Kevin Lee [00:24:28] You know and then what’s funny is I love Mr. B’s.


Declan Dunn [00:24:31] Not personally watching him are just studying him.


Kevin Lee [00:24:34] One of his big things I was.


Declan Dunn [00:24:35] Reading is it’s all the lead and the hook. He will not do a big thing if there’s not a perfect hook. And it’s weird. I applied the same thing to email because when people see a preview in an email, it’s a lead in a hook.


And you know what? Almost everyone in the affiliate space, I’m teaching this at affiliate summit in January, everyone who writes.


Me because I help a publisher be able to get out there, their first words are Hope you’re well.


Well, Hey, hope you’re having a great week. Hey. Hello there. How are things going? So that’s all I see in my preview pane. It’s like delete and it’s fake.


It’s virtue signaling, and it’s weird. It’s not polite. It’s not even email. It’s a text message. And that first lead has to be there if that lead in that hook is not there. Mr. BEAST.


Threw away a $500,000 campaign because the hook wasn’t there. I’m not trying to be all Mr. Beast, but with respect, how can I apply that idea?


Kevin Lee [00:25:33] The genius is the genius. He’s clearly a genius.


Declan Dunn [00:25:36] You got to open the door and stop thinking that’s a 3 seconds thing if I glance at you.


So I did this with them. We’re actually contacting a company called Pura Vida because we have a strong gen-z audience and they didn’t know US is a little company I help called Elster.


I known the CEO. I love working with CEOs and startups and smaller, agile companies, but we’re trying to get on the radar and we love Gen-z and we have a big audience. So I actually started working on it and it was really funny because.


A Person was communicating with me and he goes, You signed your name to that email. He goes, Why did you do that?


I’m going, Well. Maybe it’s because, Well, you know, people sign their name to an email, right? The signal he goes.


I looked at the From line. I know who he sent it. I don’t need you to tell me who you are.


I mean, it was cool. It wasn’t like, put me down. He’s like, I don’t you know, it’s sort of evident. This is a text message.


It’s not an email, as I would think. So I dropped my sig files. I threw it all out. And this is where he evoking curiosity, being a little not vague, but you’re either providing something new or given a partial. Mr. Beast. Partial look. Well, now I’m interested.


So I said, you know, to provide a just a sentence was, hey, we’ve been asking our we have a great Gen Z audience. We asked them who they wanted and they said Pura Vida.


Kevin Lee [00:26:58] This is a lot of unlearning. I don’t do this to be cool.


Declan Dunn [00:27:01] I’m like, I only do what the audience was. I don’t care what I think LMK let me know what you think. Immediate response engagement every end.


I actually this is so bad. I really have this like bad attitude towards emojis because I’m so not an emoji person, right? And then I’m looking at the rest of the world going, Well, you know, that really doesn’t matter what you are. It matters what they are, right?


So my subject line was Pura Vida and Gen Z with the heart. And everything else that I put text based.


Remember, there’s the reptile scanning attention span. It could be video. This is why it doesn’t matter what medium and that by putting that hard in there. Plus it was color, right? Color makes us pop. Everything in email is dull. Go in the affiliate space.


It’s so boring. Everyone’s pitching me like a coupon reward company and there’s like at least 40 to 50% who aren’t. And we’re not. We’re so not into that. But using that simple technique and working it a little bit, not going crazy, but using the right one.


It started like, Oh my God, I opened deals in these major companies who wouldn’t even respond to me just by not just the emoji, because it’s not just the emoji hope that’s not, you know, whatever. Anyone can do that. But working my lead, my hook, just like Mr. Beast does in social.


So bring it back to what you’re saying. If I’m short form or long form, I’m both. It has to work short. It has to work long.


And the thing I love is we can take like when I do my podcast, I ran a network for about 12 years and my wife still does.


When we were in it, everything we could always get like cool, 1 to 2 minute little snippets all day long at great outtakes and stuff. That’s what we throw in there.


Then if you want the big thing, cool, because there are people and I want that attention, but I have to earn that attention, so I earn. It was short, but they really want to binge and go longer. If it’s I do, I will. Listen to Lex Fridman is like one of my favorite podcasts. Yeah, no. And when he goes into some of the some of the people, like I heard him interview a guy, I had no clue it was before I saw the interview.


Destiny It’s totally out of my like, not even in my world. And it was really funny because this guy was really attitudinal. They were conflicting a bit, but Lex does it so well that I’m sure those little short takes work and reals working to Talk.


Yeah, so it’s an end question. It’s always an end question to me, but I don’t like to eliminate long because I think that misses the point that if you can do it long and it’s quality, you’re going to get in their DNA in a good way, like you’ll get in my memory once that’s there, that’s that’s traditional branding this way.


I always say it’s like I’m trying to say this. It’s like 2013, nobody got it back. Somebody stole the domain name revenue when I introduced this branding that creates revenue. Unfortunately, it was a lousy.


Kevin Lee [00:29:50] Lead for like an idea.


Declan Dunn [00:29:54] And it wasn’t just ahead of time. But branding people have to create revenue performance.


People have to create revenue. We’re all in the same company. And when you get companies who meet and then collaborate not like eliminating of the brand people what they do, not making it all bottom of the funnel, but realizing holistically we need stuff at the top.


That’s the short stuff. Get them down now. We’ve developed trust, we get them following us.


And I find that like as a content creator, that’s why I think is just massive now and I’m seeing some of the people doing it and it’s just it’s I won’t say stunning, but it’s like it makes so much sense.


Kevin Lee [00:30:30] Yeah. One thing that’s that’s changed a lot since we were first doing this right, is back then the command and control guidelines that a brand would give you if you ever wanted to touch any piece of content or mention their name was like, Forget it.


Like, you know, we’ll send you our brand guidelines book. And it was that thick in a binder, right, Or PDF that burned through your entire toner. And now, right. Some of the brands have really said like, Oh my God, we really have to empower our influencers.


You know, the people who are going to do live reads on their podcasts or live reads on their tiktoks or YouTubes, right? They’re no longer really using the command and control. They’re like, All right, you know, I’ll give you some talking points, like, you know who our brand is, you know who we represent.


And I want in order to be authentic, I’m going to empower you to, like, pretty much run with it. Right.


And so, you know, what used to be sort of a live read on the radio, right, by the the DJ, Right. Is sort of taking hold in the ecosystem again. But it’s required that the brands sort of step back and really empower the you know, everybody consumer is included in the case of the micro influencer, right?


So it sort of personify the brand in their own way. Right? But I think for a lot of folks, that’s that’s really been quite a psychological shift as a brand owner like a brand manager it back in the day would freak out and there’s still some of those folks out there.


So if you’re chatting with somebody and they’re still in that old school mindset like, Oh, I want to give them a script, you know, what do you say back? Like, Oh, no, no, let me explain to you why that’s a bad idea.


Declan Dunn [00:32:08] Oh, it just I get less of that, too, because it’s funny, I once got one of those brand manuals and I emailed the person back. I said, Do you have a movie yet?


Kevin Lee [00:32:17] Because this is like. And nobody could go through it like it made.


Declan Dunn [00:32:22] And what’s weird is it’s also that self-defeating principle if you’re inside the company.


And that’s where these, like little all these companies become echo chambers. So if I’m in an echo chamber and you can pretty much pick it up like no, and I freak people out when I’m meeting them at first. So usually my test is really.


Because it’s like, here’s the first, here’s what you want to do, here’s what I sort of want to do, but here’s what I really want to do that scares you to death.


And then that number three becomes number two. And I add a new number three. If they’re not into that and if they’re not listening to what they’re, they’re going to be fake.


And it’s so hard, especially pandemic, where people are isolated. I really don’t think we all understand. I know shifted all my language. No more sales speak. Get that stuff out of here. Oh, my God. We’re so savvy at picking up like, Oh, I’m being.


Kevin Lee [00:33:14] Pitched and it’s and it’s weird how many of these, you know, all these.


Declan Dunn [00:33:18] Insecure, passive aggressive, like, somebody’s sending me an email saying, listen, I’ve on an automation, I’ve sent you three emails. Listen, hey, there’s no problem with that. I’m like, Oh, gee, thanks.


Kevin Lee [00:33:27] So, so appreciate that.


Declan Dunn [00:33:29] You’re telling me it’s fake automation and then you’re like passive aggressively.


Kevin Lee [00:33:32] Go back to the time tunnel. It’s wrong and it’s weird.


Declan Dunn [00:33:36] It’s not just age or anything like that. It’s the old method, the control method. And if a brand wants to know surrendering the brand control because what’s funny is, yeah, I even think this is a little bit of Musk’s genius possibly.


At what? All the nuttiness of Twitter. He’s getting more publicity every day for thing that’s dead. That’s so Twitter’s dead.


It’s not dead like dead, but it’s from a scale level. It’s got a couple hundred million people. It needs a billion. It ain’t going to get there. Maybe.


Kevin Lee [00:34:04] But what, by being nutty.


Declan Dunn [00:34:06] And, like, ripping it up and not caring, he’s getting more free publicity than anybody could pay for.


And it’s not that you necessarily have to do that as a brand, but those little things, even what’s really cool is even if something goes against your brand and you’re like, then it becomes an event.


Kevin Lee [00:34:23] And as they always say, Right, fake news.


Declan Dunn [00:34:25] Is good. And I think brands are getting the ones that are better to know how to navigate it and understand that that’s a challenge to their brand.


They’ll have to go forward doing this. You know, as written just about Fortnite just got a big FCC fine for targeting kids under 13.


And if they’re smart brand people will turn that around and now make it a redemption story. And they did bad stuff, but a lot of them do in a control mentality, do stuff that if we all knew isn’t that good,


But they know how to twist that around. And to your point, I think if you give somebody the chance to be able to be more not just freeform, but this is a conversation we’re having, we’re not scripted and you can read and feel scripts all day long.


I’m much more an improv person, so it doesn’t bug me as much because I know there’s people I know who like I remember the old speakers like way back when I was starting, they would say the same speech verbatim.


Kevin Lee [00:35:18] Every single 20 years.


Kevin Lee [00:35:21] Yeah, I think we could drop names, but we’re not going to.


Kevin Lee [00:35:25] You know, I just looked through their credit. I was like, What? Like how?


Declan Dunn [00:35:31] And I just think that’s gone. I think it’s like I think there’s a place where people can do scripts, but I think if you’re working with a brand, the kind of input and the commentary, I mean, what a great way to get data about what your brand really means, the stuff you’re missing that none of us could pick up.


I mean, I don’t care how good you are. Those weird, like little tweaks to the brand helped lead to product development. So I see that as R&D now. And if you’re in control, I just haven’t really. I’ve seen the ones that are more flexible, like Etsy’s a company I’ve been able to work with for the last few years.


I love the I’m a big fan of them from beginning, just the whole start up and how he was dumpster diving and created this. I love people like that,


But you know, and I saw some of the investors in in New York who are talking about them in the early days, but just that whole vibe that they have. And there’s an openness where if if we go back to like basic transactional analysis, you’re familiar with transactional analysis.


Yeah. For people who aren’t listening, it’s a really old kind of way for relationships and it sort of parent adult child.


I’ll simplify it, but most of the time we’re either parent talking to a child or a child talking to a parent. And the ways that we react to stuff, especially in business. And so a brand trying to be all controlling scripting is like, I’m the parent.


Kevin Lee [00:36:47] I’ll tell you children.


Declan Dunn [00:36:48] What to do. And it’s like, Yeah, Grandpa, go back to the time tunnel.


Kevin Lee [00:36:51] Where the ones that.


Declan Dunn [00:36:53] Are adult to handle this totally like this. You bring up a weird suggestion. They’ll consider it. And I don’t mean this like, it’s so nice. I don’t have to get a yes, but I want to challenge them. I want to move them. And they’re so open. And you can tell that just starts. Yeah.


Kevin Lee [00:37:07] From the whole culture.


Kevin Lee [00:37:08] No top down. Yeah, absolutely.


Declan Dunn [00:37:10] If it’s flat, keep it adult to adult. And I think the parent child thing is to.


Kevin Lee [00:37:15] Not to make it that.


Declan Dunn [00:37:16] Simple. But I see so many people are pitching and their bosses like I think there’s one person.


Kevin Lee [00:37:21] Who hadn’t even made any sales.


Declan Dunn [00:37:22] With us, okay, at Elfster, they hadn’t done anything. They are all organic driven. Some products were, some it just is just the way it works. They don’t do all the manipulation. So for users like it, the activity gets it, exposure and nobody liked it.


And that’s okay. So out of the blue they pop me that excuse me, and they start sending me these orders. I’m like, This poor person’s boss is like, Here’s what I need. 6 to 7 return on ad spend. So you.


Kevin Lee [00:37:47] Want me to.


Declan Dunn [00:37:48] Promise you 6 to 7 return and that then when you don’t do anything.


Kevin Lee [00:37:52] When you can look at your own numbers and the clicks and conversion wouldn’t even justify that.


Declan Dunn [00:37:56] And you want me to take the gun to my head and provide you a plan because your boss is screaming at you to get six or seven process versus, let’s say, approach to content affiliate that way, right?


They’re going to have to go like, Oh, wait, I got to I don’t know if it’ll work from a performance level to to say it will work or to help us guarantee it.


Oh those people like wow you are just haven’t been around. There are no guarantees. We don’t know. But if you could actually have reverse and say, hey, I could have a significant ad spend and I’d like to increase organic exposure with you, can we start talking about that? Don’t reveal you need six or seven, but say, hey, I need this to be really, really good. I mean, what’s your general return on ad spend when it works. That’s I think.


Kevin Lee [00:38:40] That that ties into Yeah you drop that in in our prep right you drop the concept of the chief partnership officer. Right. Because that does require a dialog. Right. That’s not the command and control. That’s not. But this is what I must have. It’s, is this possible Like this is my end goal. Like this is what I’d like to be able to do to make my numbers work.


What’s it going to take on your end? Right. And I don’t think CMO’s are necessarily trained that way, which is why it was interesting that, you know, you sort of said maybe we need to introduce this idea of a chief partnership officer, right? Because they’re the kind of people who would have a dialog with their partners and legitimately treat them like partners, not like vendors.


Declan Dunn [00:39:26] Right, Right. And you know, it’s funny because, like, if you had a coupon reward company pitching you those forks.


Kevin Lee [00:39:35] Every third search of.


Declan Dunn [00:39:37] The some of the strongest SEO geeks I know were in the performance space and it’s all coupon towards like another reason I just it’s just ninjas at this thing. But if I go to somebody major and I’m pitching this coupon thing and I’m really going to get SEO exposure, do you have somebody who has at higher level going, wait a minute, do we want to have could this backfire on us getting a coupon which hasn’t? I’m trying to be nice, varying reputation.


Kevin Lee [00:40:06] Most most people don’t like them.


Declan Dunn [00:40:08] They’re so aggressive. They’re like and it’s about half the affiliate business now were before it was everything.


Like everything was coupon rewards. But if I’m if I’m the publisher and do I have somebody at the marketing officer probably would see it but wouldn’t see the possibly negative impact. I


don’t want to put it as it would be negative. There’s great coupon companies, but just knowing that space has this nefarious intent that you just really have to be sort of savvy.


That’s where I see like and a chief partnerships officer would also have to work with different like best and sales.


What if we’re doing something in sales and I’ve got to like, I did this with companies in the affiliate space, I would they would be running bad ads, okay. And I’m looking at their ads that they buy ads where they say, Could I have a few of those?


Kevin Lee [00:40:54] And they’re like, Well, that’s really out of the box. I’m like.


Declan Dunn [00:40:57] Do you have numbers on those?


Kevin Lee [00:40:59] If I give those, you.


Declan Dunn [00:41:01] Are trying to make up these ads and it’s not in your wheelhouse and you’ve got this whole other division. Heck, I’ve taken print ads and magazines and scanned them and turned them into ads just because it was way better than the stuff I was getting at with the with approval, of course.


Yeah, but they didn’t know like, once I didn’t know that was buying ads. And, you know, if you buy ads.


Kevin Lee [00:41:19] You better be like, great, it’s just Google.


Declan Dunn [00:41:22] And now you’re at the affiliate space where all they want are ads that perform and you’re like, Oh, here’s the affiliate world. It’s the same business.


Kevin Lee [00:41:30] So we did that.


Declan Dunn [00:41:31] I’ve done that so many times. And there’s things like, I’m great one with machine learning.


There’s certain companies that are doing machine learning and if you know machine learning, right, it needs way more data than any of us can give it. I mean, don’t get me wrong, it needs data to be smart and we just tens of millions of billions of impressions.


So we’ve only had like three programs who’ve actually used their machine learning to give us products in a data feed that are the top sellers. And it’s so intuitive. And I tell this to affiliate people, they’re like.


Kevin Lee [00:42:03] Oh, I can’t out. No, no.


Declan Dunn [00:42:05] You know, it’s crazy having people pick out products on their own taste and hope that they’ll throw it up against a wall.


When you have this like wicked good machine learning, which would also give you impressions and data and knowledge and it’s being done.


But again, the everybody so like I it’s the geeks and it’s just like it’s machine learning, right? It’s most of it is tell we tell it what to do. There is some unsupervised learning. There’s supervised learning and unsupervised.


Kevin Lee [00:42:34] You know, nobody makes unsupervised, Right.


Declan Dunn [00:42:37] But there is this and it’s within almost every major company. And there’s only been three of them who run successful programs. Well, we did this for one hour. Sales doubled because now the products we were pulling in were always hot, not even like bestsellers.


It wasn’t like that. There’s whole, like, filters and layers that came through and now we’re adding a lot of impressions.


And you have this whole channel, even if it doesn’t sell, you’re teaching your now what’s going on. And I think this kind this is again, is the partnerships kind of thing is you got to know tech, you got to be able to talk with engineers and really respect them, not through your God. I learned this story or weird ideas against the wall.


Like, that’s nice. You know, as biz dev sales guys, we like it.


Kevin Lee [00:43:22] Here’s what you need to do. And it’s like, okay, you know.


Declan Dunn [00:43:25] And it’s funny because they get sort of like many of the engineers I work with really have almost a bias against salespeople. So there’s that whole negative energy where it’s, okay, wait a minute, and not being all salesman.


Because what’s interesting is it is about the UI, it is about the customer experience. I don’t consider those either or worlds, and I think that’s the importance of a chief partnerships offer, even as this idea, whether it’s in there having a CMO take some partner training, actually do some professional training.


Kevin Lee [00:44:27] Is a skill and it’s art and science, right? So you have to be trained in it, but you also have to have a little bit of a gut for it. I guess it’s trainable even from that perspective, but certainly it’s better to go and train than untrained.


Declan Dunn [00:44:41] But just to at least have an awareness. I mean, some of us will have skills, but all of a sudden you just sort of take your blinders off. And even if you just learned a little bit, it’s interesting to me because I’ve one of the things I’ve done in selling software to major companies is that you really have to think like the assets that I’m delivering to deliver.


My message is usually delivered by a messenger, has no clue what I’m talking about and also has all levels of challenges presenting it to their boss. I mean, it’s a really hard thing.


And so we’re like, how do we get the right creative asset? I’ve done this with just little short two minute videos where I’ll send them a document that I know they’re not going to read, right, because they’re so busy and they’re just going to power scan it.


And so like, Hey, how are you doing? Here’s page one. By the way, in the middle of page one is a really important bullet here. I wanted you to pay attention to that.


And by the way, on page two, this other one is really important to me. But hey, you go and take a look. Thanks very much. What I’ve just done is sort of Jedi.


Kevin Lee [00:45:36] In a good way, Like read the document, look for what’s.


Declan Dunn [00:45:40] What I’m doing is getting their attention to actually focus on it.


And I have a huge success ratio with it. Not that it always sells, but and I am pointing out things that I think are important that they’ll skip over.


So it’s not just like a technique. It’s more like realizing that any form of content you read prompt people to take a look at it because they will delete it and skip it and get distracted.


Kevin Lee [00:46:03] Yeah, I think I think you’re you’re highlighting the fact that for the people who are living the lifestyle, not on purpose necessarily, they may actually be a bit like just the workload is up to here. Right. So they don’t have any choice.


And you know, by sort of holding their hand and drawing their attention to what really matters. You’ve done them a favor. Right. Right.


Kevin Lee [00:46:24] Because they’ve some time.


Kevin Lee [00:46:26] Yeah. If you really think you can solve a problem that they have, you owe it to them to do them that favor. Right. It’s. You’re not actually trying to grab something down their throat. You just want to find out if they need what you have.


Kevin Lee [00:46:38] And don’t need them.


Declan Dunn [00:46:40] I mean that in a really good cause. If you’re needing that, it really comes through this like.


Kevin Lee [00:46:44] Hey.


Declan Dunn [00:46:45] Just in case you have the time, you’re like.


Kevin Lee [00:46:47] Oh, my God.


Kevin Lee [00:46:48] Apologize.


Kevin Lee [00:46:49] Exactly. No, you don’t even know them. And just sort of like, be positive. It’s not that fake, but it’s.


Declan Dunn [00:46:56] Really weird. Like, I love this because I’ve had people come to me go, Oh my God, you just got to the point.


And it only might not be a fit. Right. I would rather. But I’ve saved that person time. Like, I love to have meetings that are 30 minutes long in the end, after 15. In a good way.


Kevin Lee [00:47:11] Like. Yeah, like absolutely.


Kevin Lee [00:47:13] Cutting edge cabinet. Either the agenda before you talk to him, talk about their dog and cat only give them a mini like.


Declan Dunn [00:47:22] Guide them because then they’re like, Oh, you’re so organized.


Kevin Lee [00:47:26] And it’s this illusion.


Declan Dunn [00:47:27] None of us are organized. We’re all unlike.


Kevin Lee [00:47:29] And I agree with you, not the real A.D.D., but I’m like this fake, like all. I’m just too.


Declan Dunn [00:47:35] Like, and it what’s funny is that’s actually comes from the I love studying things like the vagus nerve, which is like where we get our fear response and, you know, freeze and stuff. And it really is comes down to one core thing.


You want control. They want safety. Safety, meaning they feel open.


Kevin Lee [00:47:53] You’re not going to take it to the cleaners.


Declan Dunn [00:47:55] You sort of broken through that, Oh, man, here it is. And I can get you real, which is hard. And I’m not putting this on people, but it’s not like fake safety.


It’s really like especially with salespeople being in a space where, you know, you’re going to get sketch something, but I really don’t care. I’ll walk away and in a good way.


Kevin Lee [00:48:14] Because if it’s a fit.


Declan Dunn [00:48:15] Yeah, I don’t have to sell you.


Kevin Lee [00:48:17] Right?


Kevin Lee [00:48:18] So stop it. Stop. So this is machine learning, by the way. I’m doing the act like, Oh, this was just me.


Declan Dunn [00:48:25] I really had to detox. I do what I call reverse mentoring, learning from a lot younger people than me to teach me how they see things and shut up and listen. And not to not to be like all Oh, they’re better. It’s it’s not about that. But they’re things that they see and do that I don’t absolutely.


Kevin Lee [00:48:43] I mean it’s been really fun having my, my kids. My kids love to make fun of bad advertising and they see it all the time. Right.


So when they’re in somewhere that doesn’t have an ad blocker on or when they when they see bad advertising because they know I’m in the business, they’re like, oh.


Kevin Lee [00:48:58] You should see the like this.


Kevin Lee [00:49:00] It’s almost like sometimes it’s like jumps the shark where it’s like, so bad. It’s good, right? But usually it just ends it bad. Right?


And it’s just highlighted the need for for good creative like right message, right time, right audience Like that’s it right And don’t be respectful of the person’s time and attention because you’re asking for it like yes, they’re getting to see the content for free or read the content for free.


But still you’re presuming on them that you know, make it worth their while.


Kevin Lee [00:49:28] And, you know.


Declan Dunn [00:49:29] Understand the way they’re biased. I just I want to study like I love the word steel manning, which is a term that’s come out. I forget the book now, but I’ve heard other people using it, which is just basically take the other person’s perspective.


Kevin Lee [00:49:41] Yeah, exactly.


Declan Dunn [00:49:42] And it’s so much more. We all got our own echo chambers and want to actually look for what the opposite of an echo chamber was, because I’m a big word guy. So I’m like, okay, what is that? And it’s like listening.


Kevin Lee [00:49:53] You know, it’s not A.D.D. and you create that again, not the.


Declan Dunn [00:50:00] Real A.D.D., but you create that. Yeah, yeah. By going in. And it’s weird. I mean,


I used to there’s this one company we work with, and it was funny because my friend used to say,


Don’t get them talking when they say, I do this with investors too. The more that they talk, sometimes it’s bad because I mean, talk like I don’t get it. I then I don’t get it either. I don’t get.


Kevin Lee [00:50:20] All of a sudden the meeting is like running away because you said something that hello me was so obtuse or over their head or.


Declan Dunn [00:50:28] So not in the right wheelhouse. I say this with investors and with real respect, it’s got to be so clear and evident. I want them to speak more.


But the minute I put something that opens distraction, which is usually me being in my own echo chamber and then not understanding what I’m talking about, why that’s important to me, but it’s not important to them, then that distraction happens and it’s I mean, it spreads. I’ve lost whole meetings doing these to call it Declan speak. I had to train to not do Declan speak because I love philosophy and stuff and I get way too deep.


Kevin Lee [00:51:01] To be it. I’m really into what I’m doing. But it’s like, Get out of there, man.


Kevin Lee [00:51:05] Yeah, I still fall prey to that. Absolutely. My my team has, you know, has either kicked me under the table or, like, you know, texted me during meetings. If I start to go down one of those.


Kevin Lee [00:51:15] Very direct route to please me. And it’s only.


Declan Dunn [00:51:20] Just breathe and be quiet. Right. That’s that’s really I mean, all of us, because I’m like you. I love what I do. So part of it’s coming from a really good space. But you have an audience and I even said part of my training IT affiliates.


Um, it it’s really funny. I have these scenarios put up and they said a good meeting is where you talk more or they talk more. And I can guarantee.


Kevin Lee [00:51:42] You if it’s silly, it’s going to be like old me.


Declan Dunn [00:51:44] Talking more. And it’s not because the more that I’ve yielded to that, the more successful I am with what I’m doing. Just and it’s so obvious, right?


Because I’m asking the right questions. And when they talk, then they’re what’s funny is then they discover inside themselves the answer why they should buy you.


You’re not coming from the outside, which is a control thing. I’m going to come and manipulate you and convention and manipulate hardcore, but you know, I’m going to convince you rather than help you find the answer yourself, which will keep us working together forever.


Yeah, and that’s was a been ongoing. I continue to do that because I like to talk. But I also realized the more they talk and they’re all like, You’re so cool.


Kevin Lee [00:52:23] Nobody listens to me. Like I learned to shut up and lose. But it’s, you know what I’m saying? It’s nerves.


Declan Dunn [00:52:32] It’s also like it’s hard to to do that, but to witness that because one of the most powerful things you can do for any other human being is witness them. Like so rare in our life that somebody.


Kevin Lee [00:52:42] Acts really like we’re not just.


Declan Dunn [00:52:46] Especially in the business that they are.


Kevin Lee [00:52:48] In, Right, Because they’re already thinking about what they’re going to say back to you instead of actually digesting what it is you’re actually saying. Right. So that they should allow themselves to take that deep breath and actually ingest what you’re saying.


Right. And think about it and, you know, give it credence.


Declan Dunn [00:53:05] And it it’s so simple, but it’s really, I can say, just growing. That’s really was one of the biggest learnings I have, because you think you’re going to really and you really love and you’re I love and they say be passionate.


Kevin Lee [00:53:16] People tell me, go, don’t be that passionate. But I know.


Kevin Lee [00:53:22] It’s sort of like this is the curriculum that’s like missing from high school, right?


Like, they never teach you any of this in high school. Right. They just sort of, you know, think it’s all about algebra and knowing where the semicolon goes and, you know, and off you are, you know, get ready for your life.


Kevin Lee [00:53:38] I would I thought I would say that to.


Declan Dunn [00:53:40] Somebody to imagine In high school, they taught me what language, why a bully speaks like a bully, not having treated me after I’m bullied and which is brutal space to be.


But understanding these weird manipulations and not even the nasty crazy people I’m just talking about, like especially helpless adolescents. I mean, that’s just brutal.


Kevin Lee [00:53:59] You’re right.


Declan Dunn [00:53:59] Like, but knowing that they’re probably not talking about you.


Kevin Lee [00:54:03] And they’re always, like.


Declan Dunn [00:54:05] Projecting. And I think that would be like that kind of inner communication or understanding. If nothing else, it would just make you feel better. Not nothing is going to save you from high school. It’s brutal.


Kevin Lee [00:54:18] You know, everyone’s equal. But it’s really funny. I was studying this thing and they said, you know, it’s funny with high school, though.


Declan Dunn [00:54:24] We we always talk about you got the gigs and you got the theater people and you got those jocks. They choose that. Mm hmm.


You know, and it’s weird, like having been one who didn’t choose any of those. And then I became a jock. It was weird to penetrate into that social circle.


Kevin Lee [00:54:40] Oh, but I didn’t.


Declan Dunn [00:54:41] Really, like. I didn’t act like a jock. I mean, I love sports, but it was just really intimidating to me. But I didn’t really find any of those.


And I’m just an introvert, so it’s just my nature. I didn’t really feel like I just do my own thing and these groupings that people do and to understand that those not just happen on purpose, but how cool to understand that it’s going to keep going on.


Yes. As one comedian used to say about business, it’s like high school with more money. I mean, it’s.


Kevin Lee [00:55:07] But then.


Declan Dunn [00:55:08] It’s sort of like you don’t take it personally. But, you know, it’s so many people are just talking about themselves. And to your point, I think that would be great. And even in business training, because I think people sometimes a lot of people know this. I don’t mean this is like something hidden, but it’s amazing how few people don’t.


Kevin Lee [00:55:23] Yeah, exactly, I think. But but enough of people. Enough people don’t know it that it’d be great if it was more common knowledge and more more taught as opposed to having people stumble across it and an epiphany right in their thirties or 40 or 50 or later.


Kevin Lee [00:55:40] No, totally. Especially after like, you know, you say something.


Declan Dunn [00:55:44] And you don’t even know. I was actually joking. I wrote a post about how like I used to do the chip on the shoulder. That was my jock face coming out of high school. And I weighed like two or £60. I gained a ton of weight, played football, great program.


But I just always had this like Tom Brady. I love Tom Brady, but it’s just like, Oh, I’m not good enough and drive in this negative thought. And it was really funny how just getting off my own back, which is like you can read this on any social media, but just being kind to yourself, showing a little compassion, how much that how powerful that is and how I don’t need a chip.


I have other forms of motivation. For me, that’s like anger and stuff and it just like and then you win and you don’t celebrate. I don’t mean you have to go crazy, but like, no, I was just totally.


Kevin Lee [00:56:25] One of, Well, that’s good. That was in time to move. I would even give myself a minute, you know, like, and then, well, it’s funny when I learned this because a friend sat me down, he goes, You know.


Declan Dunn [00:56:35] If you don’t, because I lost everything. My first start up, like way back when I started, just clueless about business, not try and act like I’m Mr. Biz.


But man, was I clueless and I lost it all. And I’m like, freaking out and angry. And he goes, You know, this is the best thing that ever happened to you.


And I’m like, you know, thrown F-bombs at him because I’m from Jersey, so I’m just like, just F-bomb and I’m all over the place. And he’s like, okay, because I’m not saying it’s good, but if you don’t learn from this, this will define you become your identity.


He goes, And if you actually teach everything that happens to you, then lousy.


What can it what can you learn from it? He goes, It’s just he goes, Trust me. And I of course, I was like that. And it was funny, though. It penetrated me. And after a while I came out. And so when I put my own play on.


Kevin Lee [00:57:19] The script, I was just ripped.


Declan Dunn [00:57:21] By the person in the local newspaper who wasn’t supposed to rip a student’s play. But he was pissed I missed something. He really saw Promise.


Kevin Lee [00:57:29] And boy, if.


Declan Dunn [00:57:30] You don’t fulfill someone’s promise, they rip you.


Kevin Lee [00:57:33] Missing. And I’m like.


Declan Dunn [00:57:35] That’s okay. But I put on my play what’s important, and his opinion is valid. And by the way, the night he was there, it did suck.


So it wasn’t like I could really argue with him that it wasn’t good. But having that space to be like, it’s okay to get ripped, especially in social now, man, that hurts.


Like step back, be kind and allow yourself to celebrate, even if it doesn’t work out what you learned from it. And that my play is still doing by far when the best experiences of my life, even though.


Kevin Lee [00:58:04] It’s not go into Broadway.


Declan Dunn [00:58:05] Anytime soon. That wasn’t the point.


Kevin Lee [00:58:09] Yeah.


Declan Dunn [00:58:09] The effort, the doing of it. And how often does it work, right, man.


Kevin Lee [00:58:14] That’s that’s great. That’s great advice for marketers and it’s I really appreciate you taking the time to catch up quickly.


We think we get this for a lot philosophical, but we did. And that’s actually great because, you know, marketing has got to be fun and it’s got to be a little philosophical. So I look forward to seeing what you have planned for 2023 and and staying in touch.


Kevin Lee [00:58:36] Yeah, me too. I mean, this has been fun and great to reconnect again. Likewise.


Speaker 3 [00:58:42] Kevin Lee’s power marketing is available on all your favorite podcast networks. Kevin loves helping businesses excel at marketing, having marketing challenges just like Santa in the Miracle on 34th Street. If Kevin can’t help you, he’ll know someone who can find him on LinkedIn. Subscribe or follow him.




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