Digital Marketer Interview Series #135 Robb Fahrion

Robb Fahrion is a Co-Founder and Partner of Flying V Group. He is passionate about helping businesses grow using the power of the internet. Robb graduated from Chapman University in Orange, CA and currently resides in Costa Mesa, CA. Robb enjoys writing about digital marketing, helping his clients turn their dreams into reality, and he is a HUGE Mike Trout fan.

How did you start out as a marketer?

My career as a marketer began very early on throughout all of my job roles, but my passion for marketing was really accelerated at a company called Security First Corp where I was the Director of Marketing. Security First Corp was a small tech startup that was focused on data security applications and high-level bit splitting, cryptographic technology. In that role I was able to really fine tune all of my marketing skills because I wore so many hats. One day I would be working on the website, the next writing blog and social media posts, and the next day great graphics for conferences. This role really allowed me to identify what I loved about marketing, which was the digital space. I always found myself gravitating towards working on digital ad campaigns or the search engine optimization efforts for the business, which is why I started Flying V Group as a digital marketing and advertising agency.

Looking back what is your hardest struggle when it came to delivering results?

Proving them! This is a constant struggle for any marketer, whether digital or not. The all important ROI of marketing and advertising. In B2C, this is less difficult because it is much easier to track an actual sale/transaction to a source, but in B2B marketing, the customer journey is much more difficult to track. Clients want to understand where the money they are spending is going and how effective those channels are in growing their business. Early on, we did not have the proper tracking in place to be able to give them sufficient answers to these questions, but we have made it a focus to provide much more robust tracking and analysis of the ROI our marketing and advertising generates.

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How did you get your first client back then, and what kind of service did you do for them?

Flying V Group’s first client was a single-seat hair stylist that paid us $500 for a website. Wow, we’ve come a long way from that moment. Looking back though, not a lot has changed. The same attention to detail and desire to generate the best results for the client remain embedded in our company culture, which makes me very happy. I believe it was a word-of-mouth client from a friend of my mom’s or something like that. Bombshells Temecula. I will always remember that one!

What do you find most rewarding about what you do?

Growing businesses is obviously very rewarding, but it is what comes with growing businesses that make my job rewarding. What I mean by that is as we grow these businesses we are also supporting many other individuals whether it be our own employees or employees of that particular company. Being able to help others achieve their goals and grow their business into more than they ever thought it could become is also an extremely satisfying experience.

We have a lot of readers who are bent on becoming freelancers, aside from freelancing how else can someone earn online, and what is your advise?

Freelancing is great. My concern for freelancers is always the unpredictability of the work. I would push freelancers to be sure to build their own online presence to try and generate some consistent income. Also, investing plenty of time into content and creating a very valuable presence online would be beneficial and they can start to monetize their online platform.

If you were given the chance to build your career all over again what would you do differently so that you will achieve your dreams faster?

I would start five years sooner! I always go back to the Chinese proverb, “The best day to plant a tree was 20 years ago, the second best day is today.” It’s the same thing in business. Get started now. If you are passionate and feel that there is a need in the marketplace for whatever service or product you are going to provide, go for it! The longer you wait the longer you will have to wait for the returns.

How is your typical work day structured?

I work pretty general hours during the week and I do get work done in the mornings on weekends. We are in a hyper-growth phase/sprint, so there are a million different things going on at once for us. I try to stick to an 8–5 during the week to avoid burnout though, but when duty calls, I am always ready to answer. It is important for me to prioritize the most important tasks and get those done and just keep pecking away. I don’t think the job will ever be finished though!

Can you tell us about a time where you had to put in significant effort up front and then wait a long time for success?

Our own search engine optimization efforts are a perfect example of this. Being a digital marketing and advertising agency, we are competing in a very competitive space with competitors that actually know what they are doing in the online space. It took us literally 2-3 years before we started to see a dramatic increase in site traffic from our SEO efforts. It is kind of one of those blind faith type approaches. We know it works, but there are so many variables in terms of when it will become extremely effective. But, like anything, the more time, energy, resources that you put into something the sooner those results will start to be generated. My advice is to keep on keeping on. Do what you can do and be happy with the small wins.

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You’ve been tasked with redesigning the company’s brand strategy from the ground up. Walk us through your process.

Who are my customers? Where do they hang out? What do they talk like? What do they look like? These are the first questions I would answer. I also wrote a blog post about the 41 marketing discovery questions to ask potential clients. I would probably answer each and every one of these. The brand is there to serve the clients, but it should also be fun and something that you can get behind as a company. For example, with Flying V Group, my brother and I are huge hockey fans, which is why we took Flying V from the Mighty Ducks movies, but the name also represents our business philosophy. Work with the Flying V Group because we will increase your efficiency and effectiveness in the same way that birds flying in a V formation increase their efficiency and their ability to fly longer distances. Always remember though, what do I want to stand for at the end of the day? These questions should be big drivers of brand strategy.

Can you tell us about a past situation where you had to juggle multiple projects with competing deadlines?

I feel like this is every day! Over the past few months, we have put a lot of processes and dependencies in place in order to prevent this scenario, but it just comes with the territory. As an agency, you are constantly juggling client deadlines and they are never consistent. Every client has different deadlines and different timelines for when they expect certain items. It is important to be honest and set realistic expectations in order to hit these goals. If you are not going to hit these deadlines, just be honest and make sure that it does not happen too frequently. Most clients will be understanding or it can lead to a conversation in which adjustments can be made.

What recently-developed marketing strategy, technique or tool interests you the most right now?

LinkedIn for sure and social content advertising. Social content advertising is not really new or recently developed, but it is a new initiative we are focusing on at Flying V Group. Instead of trying to drive traffic to service based pages, we are trying to drive target demographic traffic to valuable content and information to educate the demographic. We believe that this will create a higher quality of client once they actually do reach out to us for service. In regards to LinkedIn, we love the ad platform for the targeting purposes first off and, secondly, we are doing really cool things with automated LinkedIn outreach coupled with social advertising on top of it. We are able to create many valuable conversations with our clients with their exact target demographic. The LinkedIn efforts have me very bullish on the platform.

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What do you do to stay up to date with new marketing techniques?

I read a lot of articles and get a ton of information from Twitter. I am always taking calls with individuals that are doing new things in the space or offering new technology to see if it might fit into our models. Doing so allows me to learn what is out there and available. LinkedIn, again, is a great platform to build a network and gain valuable insights from the posts of those that you follow. There are so many great options so I think it is just a matter of finding a few that you like and staying engaged with them.

Can you tell us about a project you’re most proud of from your past work history?

I always go back to this project, but it is the work that we did with Camelback Auto Glass. We were able to take a company that generated 0 online leads and now they are a lead generation company that sells leads to service providers. Not only do we drive enough traffic and leads, but we also did it completely organically without a $1 of ad spend. Most people don’t believe me, but I will open up the books for anyone to show them how effective SEO can be.

Which one book/blog post would you recommend every Marketer should read?

Reality in Advertising by Rosser Reeves. It was published in 1961, but it is a timeless classic into marketing and advertising strategy that every marketing and advertising professional should read. It was recommended to me by one of our clients, Christian Richter, and it has been one of the best book recommendations that I have ever received. I highly recommend it.

What advice would you share with other Marketer’s who want to become more productive?

Utilize technology. There is no way for you to do it all on your own. Start identifying what technology is available to make you more productive. Our tech stack at Flying V Group includes some of the following: Slack, Monday.com, G Suite, Text Blaze, Loom, Keywords Everywhere, LastPass, Zapier, and HubSpot. If you are serious about being more productive, be serious about setting up processes and systems. There are only 24 hours in every day.

If there’s one Marketing Guru you’d recommend who and why.

He will be shy, but it is one of my business partners, Fernando Corona. The guy does not give himself enough credit, but he is one of the most effective “marketing gurus” that I have ever seen. He is an incredible resource that provides enormous value to our organization.

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