In this episode Josh talks with Jillian Marina, CEO of Quantus Creative Marketing. They discuss social marketing and the desirability of having a professional handle it for you.
Jillian Marina is CEO of Quantus Creative, an internet based marketing company located in Tulsa, Oklahoma with clients spanning nationwide.
She has worked with over 100 companies, providing outstanding online marketing services that range from search engine marketing, and social media to website design and development. Jillian doesn’t believe in a “one size fits all” approach and tailor-fit each client’s campaigns to their specific needs to give them the best possible chance for success.
In today’s episode you will learn:
- Why is thinking and working outside of the box an important thing?
- Who should do your social marketing?
- When do you know it’s time to bring somebody in-house?
- What can you expect if you hire a professional to handle marketing for you.?
- How Quantus Creative Marketing works?
Narrator: Welcome to The Sustainable Business Radio Show podcast where you’ll learn not only how to create a sustainable business but you’ll also learn the secrets of creating extraordinary value within your business and your life. In The Sustainable Business, we focus on what it’s going to take for you to take your successful business and make it economically and personally successful. Your host, Josh Patrick, is going to help us through finding great thought leaders as well as providing insights he’s learned through his 40 years of owning, running, planning and thinking about what it takes to make a successful business sustainable.
Josh: Hey, how are you today? This is Josh Patrick. You’re at The Sustainable Business.
My guest today is Jillian Marina. Jillian is the owner of Quantus Creative. They just won a very nice award in Tulsa, Oklahoma where she lives, as being, I guess, as one of the top companies in Tulsa.
Today, we’re going to be talking about marketing, assets in your business, why human assets are really important, and all that sorts of fun. So, instead of me just yammering on like I have a habit of doing, let’s bring Jillian on.
Hey, Jillian. How are you today?
Jillian: Hey. Good. How are you?
Josh: I am well. Thank you. So, tell me. What was the award that your business won?
Jillian: I won Tulsa’s Small Business Person of the Year.
Josh: Oh, that’s kind of cool.
Josh: So, how did that happen?
Jillian: It was through a social network called Alignable. Honestly, I didn’t know that I was nominated. Apparently, there were nominations. And then, there was voting. And then, there was finalists. I found out sometime about a week before the final final votes went through so. I was excited to do it. It’s fun.
So, Jillian, do you think that thinking and working outside of the box is an important thing. Why is that?
Jillian: I think it’s important to me because of how I obtained the company in the first place. I actually had been hired to do social media for Quantus based on a following that I had in the area because I used to do brand ambassador work. Companies would hire me to basically come out there and pretend I worked for them – trade shows and things like that and because of that I had a large social following in Tulsa itself. I ended up getting hired to work at Quantus. I’ll be honest, I did not have the qualifications to work at Quantus but I had the following. And so, I guess, he saw something in me and he decided to take me on.
A few months after I got hired, he actually came in. He sat us down and he said, “You know what, guys, I’m ready to retire.” The company had been open for about six years at the time and he said, “I’m ready to retire.” To be honest, I watched all 17 employees at the time drop everything and run to the bank, and try to mortgage their houses, and try to get the money for this company because they knew that it would be successful if it was run differently. I was the only one not interested in it because I was just waiting for somebody to save my job. As they were trying to get all these things together, they kept coming and saying all the different things they would do if they owned it and things like that. One by one I watched all of their stuff fall through.
So, the final day came and the old owner just basically said, “I’m not paying another payroll, so this is it. Nobody bought.” I pulled them in and I said, “Look, I know you don’t know me but I can get the money for this. If I buy this company, will you guys stay and do all the things that you were talking about doing if you bought the company because, at the end of the day, I’m still winging my way through social media?” They said, “Yes.” So, it’s literally the first decision and probably one of the only decisions in my life that I didn’t overthink. I signed it. And then I thought, “Oh, my God, what did I just do?” That was five years ago, now. Because of that, my staff takes just as much care and pride in my clients as I do. It’s very much a company that’s run by its employees and stuff like that.
To go back to your question, if I have somebody come in to me and say, “Hey, I’m looking for a job in social media. I just graduated this school. I did a social media marketing class. da da da da. I’m the best thing that ever happened.” The only thing they really just told me is that they’re going to do everything the exact same way as everybody else who just graduated from marketing.
I find that my clients get a lot further if you’re going outside the box. I used to call it old school marketing meets new school algorithms. I don’t ever schedule my posting. I do everything by hand but I do it in [inaudible 00:04:12] with the way that Facebook does their algorithms. I do three hours of webinars a week to make sure that I stay up to date with all of them because – yes, five years later, I’m still the one doing the social since I don’t trust anybody else. I think that’s why. I think if you stay inside the box and you do the same thing as everybody else, how do you ever win?
Josh: That makes sense.
So, how did you end up buying the company? Did you come up with the cash or did you—
Jillian: I had family backing if I wanted to do something like that. So, it was one of those kinds of situations where it was very– it was like, I have one time to ever call on the family and say, “Hey, I want to do this”, like one time. So, it was risky. I kind of learned not to buy somebody else’s business unless you run a bunch of numbers. I did run the numbers but, frankly, the best decision I ever made my life was to not make the decision based on the numbers that I got back because if I had, I would not own Quantus.
Josh: Did you borrow the money from your family or do you have family as shareholders?
Jillian: I borrowed the money. And then, I had them paid back within the first year.
Josh: Oh, that’s pretty impressive.
Jillian: They didn’t see that coming so [laughs] I was glad to pleasantly surprise them.
Josh: Well, that’s a nice thing. That’s a cool thing.
Josh: So, I’m assuming that you think that people should hire professionals versus having services done in-house. Am I correct in that?
Jillian: If they’re going to hire a professional to come in-house and do just them then, of course, that’s fine.
I have an example, I used to tell people, “Don’t have your receptionist build your website. Don’t have your receptionist do your social media.” Things like that. And I would say, “You’re saving money on the front end but you’re losing money in the business that you didn’t get.”
I had an example come up recently that I realized I was kind of a hypocrite because my CPA, she ran my numbers from the last few years and my tax person had said I was going to be paying out 10-grand that year. I took it to her, she got me back 2500. I was like, “Okay.” And so, then she re-amended one of the previous years and got me back another 8400. I realized that it’s the exact situation that I tell people, “Leave it to the professionals because you’re saving money on the front end but you’re losing money in the business that you did not get.” It’s the same way as a CPA. I was saving money because my receptionist was doing my books but I didn’t have a professional doing it so I wasn’t getting back the return that I would have in the first place. It’s literally the same thing.
So, I tell people all the time. For instance, about social media, they’ll go, “Well, why do I need you to do my social media? I have a Facebook.” “Okay. Well, if you want to do three hours of webinars a week to make sure that you stay up to date with Facebook’s algorithms, if you want to do the research on this, that, and other, if you want to actually take the time to build a relationship with the community based on the brand and not just be trying to sell them something because so many people forget the word social in social media. Do you want to take that time? Absolutely. But it would probably be a lot more cost effective for you to pay me to do that since I know how to do it and I know the exact ways to do it. I don’t waste time. Let you go and run your business which is what your forte is. In that aspect, then you have both things covered for a low cost and you have a higher return on investment.
By the same token, yeah, they could get their receptionist to do it or something like that, or they can even hire somebody in‑house but, if they hire somebody in house, they’re going to be paying a full salary. They’re going to be– if they have to pay unemployment. If it’s a woman and she goes on maternity or whatever. Or, you can hire someone who, their job is literally to make you money. Their job is literally what you’re hiring them for and you only have to pay them a way lower monthly amount when you compare it to what somebody would have in office.
Josh: So, when do you know it’s time to bring somebody in-house?
Jillian: I would say when you meet somebody to be doing it 40 hours a week. In general, a lot of my clients are like mid-level marketing clients. They have Facebook. They have Instagram. They have paid ads. They have something like that. It could be that if they were having someone who wasn’t a professional at doing that, that they would have somebody in-house. They’d be paying somebody for 40 hours and it could take them that 40 hours to do that entire thing but when you have somebody that actually knows what they’re doing, it’s a much lower amount of time.
I’d say, a lot of times car dealerships and things like that should have someone in-house basically because they’re there. Somebody buys a car, take a picture of the person with the car. Get it up. They’re there to take in the intakes and things like that. If they have messages coming in through Facebook on someone who’s interested, they can hand that right over to a salesperson. That’s really the only kind of times something with that high level of volume that the customers are coming to you that I can see that making sense.
Josh: So, what type of businesses do you work with?
Jillian: I have things all across the board. When it comes to like websites, we will build websites for anybody. Really, everybody from– we have– Billy Sims BBQ is really big around the Midwest. We just did theirs. Arrow Exterminators is a big local one here.
Literally, across the board. I had somebody contact me that they wanted a blog. They just wanted a personal thing and whatever. We said, “Are you sure you want to pay money for that?” And they said, “Yes”, so we did it, whatever.
But when it comes to something like, say, SEO. SEO is search engine optimization. It’s basically getting companies to the top of Google organically without doing the paid ads to the top. So, when you Google something, you have the paid ads, you have the mapping, and then you have the organics. An SEO is getting you up in the organics and on the mapping. A lot of times people do a Google search and they skip over the ad because they think, “Okay. Well, these people paid to be there. And these people are there because they deserve to be.” They don’t realize these people are paying as well. They’re just going a different way about it.
But, for instance, if a half-a-million-dollar pipe valve company, true story, calls me and says, “Hey, we need social media.” I’m not going to sell that to them because it doesn’t matter how much I post. They’re not going to get a sale out of it. I don’t take on things that I don’t see a return on investment. Now, I might tell them that that money would be better spent doing SEO since that’s more the realm of what’s going to get them business in.
In general, we can take on any clients. We have services for any clients. It’s just a matter of what services actually makes sense for what client
Josh: Okay. So, I’m assuming that you’re not a niche specialist then?
Jillian: No. As a matter of fact, we only take on up to two of the same type of company in any given territory because I don’t like the idea of people paying me to compete against each other. So, definitely not one of those ones that does all lawyers, or all doctors, or whatever like that.
Josh: So, what has been the biggest challenge for you since you bought the business?
Jillian: The roller coaster. The same roller coaster that everybody knows. For instance, the financial roller coaster, the sales roller coaster. It could be that you have two weeks that go by that you’ve had meeting after meeting and they just haven’t closed. And then, all of a sudden, Monday morning rolls around and everybody’s ready and you get five deals closed in one day.
And then, maybe there are website deals and now we have to collect content from all five of those while we’re still trying to sell. And then, they don’t get the content in. And then, we have to wait until we get another. A week goes by and there’s still no sale. There’s no sales again. And then, four more in one day. So, it’s been a lot of situation and a lot of people in my field I’ve talked to about this, especially in the beginning, that it’s like, “Okay. We have a whole bunch. We can hire people. We can take care of this.” And then, slow period. And then, up and down.
Josh: You have a sales team?
Jillian: I do. I do.
Josh: So, there’s literally no reason for you not to have consistent sales if you have a sales team.
Jillian: I mean, we have a sales team and we have consistent sales. When I say a slow period, I mean like a week or two max like, say, around Christmas that nobody’s really thinking about building a website. When we have a situation like that – and it doesn’t happen anymore. But in the beginning, when I bought, again, because I was not someone who actually knew what they were doing on the business side. I had to learn all that. Especially in the beginning, it was just a matter of feast or famine. So, getting things in place so that the workflow was going like the clock. I mean, we’ve come past that but, in the beginning, that was my biggest thing. That and overcoming issues that were in place in the business that I didn’t know about prior to buying.
Josh: So that was a beginning problem you had. So, what’s your biggest challenge today?
Jillian: Too many social media? No [laughs].
No. I have had to hire assistants as quickly as I can because with my social media, I like to train people to do it the way that I like having it done, the same reason that I didn’t hire anybody else to do social after I bought. So, I’ve trained assistants that helped me with the posts and things like that but I specifically do the paid ads because I don’t trust anybody else to do it like that. It seems that most of the calls that we’re getting are about social media because of some of the bigger name clients that we have and things like that. So, I’m minor— literally, just my biggest problem right now is hiring. I need to hire faster. That and collecting content.
Josh: You need to hire faster or you need to hire better?
Jillian: Faster. I have great people. I have great people but it takes me a little bit to give the okay because I’m very picky about who I bring into my company. And so, I might interview 10 people before I finally say, “Okay. Let’s do this one.” So, I mean it when I say faster but I don’t want to ever stop being as picky as I am so that’s not going to be a thing that changes.
Josh: So, when you hire, what do you consider the most important thing that you’re looking for when you hire somebody?
Jillian: I want somebody who’s looking for a career. I want somebody who’s looking for long term. I want somebody who wants to learn and isn’t stuck in their ways that they just, “This is how I do things and this is how it is”, because you have a web developer that comes in here and says that. He’s going to be on the oldest WordPress platform possible for as long as it comes, as long as it exists. Or, if somebody comes in and they’re not willing to do webinars or to further their learning.
My SEO guy is the coolest. The funny thing is, is that he was in a situation where his hobby became his job. So, he leaves work and, instead of going home watching Grey’s Anatomy, he goes home and he watches webinars because that’s funded. I want people who want to keep growing, I want people who want to proceed. On top of that, I want people who will treat my clients the same way that I do.
We’re one of those companies, we don’t have a ticketing system. It’s not a situation of, if you ever have issues, submit a ticket and somebody will get back to you within 24 hours. We legitimately have our cell phone number our business cards. I really think that the communication standard that we have with our clients is what differentiates us from other companies and I wouldn’t want an employee that wasn’t okay with that.
Josh: How many hours do you expect your employees to work a week?
Jillian: Frankly, as long as they get the work done. If they need to leave at 3:00, but they have their work done and we have our deadlines met, that’s fine with me.
If we did have a situation where we got a website built that had ecommerce and the client had told us that it had 4000 items. And so, it was it was a pretty hefty one and they needed a hard deadline by January 1. They said the items would have a few different revisions and things like that. It wasn’t going to be a problem. It turned out– and this is one thing that’s really big about my company is that if we quote something and we didn’t quote it correctly– like, for instance, if you send me hourly work, and I say two hours, you approve it, and it takes me six, that’s my bad for not quoting high enough. My clients never get a bill that they were not expecting.
Josh: So what you’re doing is you’re basically doing the worst of both worlds. You’re giving your clients saying, “We’re not going to bill you more than six hours but if it takes us less, that’s what we’re going to bill you”?
Jillian: No, no, no. I say two hours. But, if it takes me six hours, i.e. that time because—
Josh: Yeah, but how often does that happen?
Jillian: A lot, actually.
Josh: Then, you might want to think about how you’re quoting.
Jillian: I quote based on what my developer says, “It will take this amount of time.”
Josh: Your developer needs to be more accurate at estimating. You should have no more – no more than 5% of your jobs ever go over what you estimate.
Jillian: I agree with that. What I’m saying is that, if it’s our fault for not asking the right questions– my example, like I was saying, is that we had that client that was 4000 items. A hard deadline of January 1. Okay, we can get that done. They said that there was going to be some revisions. Now, that was our fault for not asking for exact details on those revisions because we were under the impression that different options were going to be blanketed across the board. They weren’t. So, this 4000-item shopping cart ended up being a 40,000-item shopping cart with a hard deadline of January 1.
Josh: And you held your price of 4000 items?
Jillian: Yes, we did. We never made that mistake again. We asked all of the possible questions that we have to before we quote.
Josh: I don’t get this. I mean, you quoted 4000. They gave you 40,000 and you just accepted that and ate it?
Jillian: They quoted 4000 but they told us– if they had not told us that there was going to be different options on these things, if they had not told us that and then they just gave us, “Okay. Here’s an item and it has 10 different things”, then that would have been different and I would have come back and go, “No, no, no. This isn’t in the scope of the contract.” But, because they told us that, but we did not understand that it wasn’t blanketed and these had 10, and these had 10, and these had 10, then I took that as “that’s our fault for not asking the right questions.” I wasn’t going to quote them something and have them sign a contract. We get started. They did tell us this. It was in the contract but we didn’t ask the right questions. And then, they have to suffer for it. I wasn’t going to do that.
Josh: Well, I’m not sure how they’d be suffering for it if you had to do 40,000 items and they said 4000.
Jillian: Because the 4000– it was a $40,000-website. You can imagine what a 40,000-item shopping cart would be.
Josh: Right. Well, they have a 40,000-item shopping cart and you did it for them for 4000. It makes no sense. I mean, I don’t want people listening to this to think this is a good idea, by the way.
Jillian: If somebody else wants to do that. Absolutely, I don’t do stress. I took that as, “this is my fault because we did not ask these questions.” Now, do I go over and above during my sales meetings now? So, I sit down with people and I make sure I know every single detail? Absolutely, 100%. But that one, I saw that as my fault because I didn’t ask the right questions, because I just wasn’t knowledgeable enough about it to do that. At the end of the day, we got it done because my company’s got to stand by their word.
Josh: Okay. So how much money did you end up losing on that deal [laughs]?
Jillian: None because we still got it done. We could have made a lot more but we weren’t under. My guys still got it done by January 1 so—
Josh: Yeah, but I assume that to do 40,000 items is a whole lot tougher to do than 4000 items.
Jillian: It wasn’t a situation where it’s 40,000 different items. It was a furniture store. So, there was 20 items that there are 10 different finishes. And then, we thought those finishes were going to go across all of the items but these 10 are for these 20 items, whatever. So, it wasn’t like doing a full 40,000 separate specific items but it was significantly more than it was supposed to be.
No. We didn’t lose any money because my guys busted their butts and they got it done in the time that it was supposed to. They didn’t go over. They got a bonus from me. I guess, I lost a bonus. But, at the end of the day, I’m going to make them happy because they took care of my client, like I said, as much as I would.
Josh: Well, Julian, we are unfortunately out of time. So, if somebody wanted to find you, how would they go about doing so?
Jillian: You can go on quantuscreative.com or you can look for us on Instagram or on Facebook under Quantus Creative Marketing. We do something called Free Tips Tuesday, lots of times, that we help small business owners who may not be able to afford a company like mine right now. They’re just starting up and they need to do it themselves. We do free tips. We help mostly with social media, somewhat with web, but mostly with social media so that they can start getting the ball rolling by themselves. And then, they can always send us any questions they might have.
Josh: Okay, cool.
I also have an offer for you, too. You may have thought that I was being a little bit rude. I often am a little bit rude but that’s because I have a passion in life which I call creating positive cash flow in business. I have a program called Cracking the Cash Flow Code. What Cracking the Cash Flow Code is about is helping you get over your cash flow worries that keep you up at night. I know all of you listening have them. I put together an infographic which is the five stages to cash flow freedom for your business. It’s really easy to get, just click on the link below this podcast and we’ll have it coming to you right away.
This is Josh Patrick. You’re with Jillian Marina. You’re at the Sustainable Business. Thanks so much for stopping by today. I hope to see you back here really soon.
Narrator: You’ve been listening to The Sustainable Business podcast where we ask the question, “What would it take for your business to still be around a hundred years from now?” If you like what you’ve heard and want more information, please contact Josh Patrick at 802-846-1264 ext 2, or visit us on our website at www.askjoshpatrick.com, or you can send Josh an email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Thanks for listening. We hope to see you at The Sustainable Business in the near future.