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FEATURED PRESENTATION: More ≠ Better: How to Market Like A Human
Agency Unfiltered: Market Like A Human (And a Focus on Quality vs. Quantity)

Agency Unfiltered: Market Like A Human (And a Focus on Quality vs. Quantity)

Dustin Brackett
March 21, 2023

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Listen in as HIVE Strategy's CEO and Founder, Dustin Brackett, talks with Kevin Dunn of HubSpot on this episode of Agency Unfiltered. Throughout this episode, Dustin and Kevin talk through what it means to Market Like A Human, pitfalls to avoid, and how the Market Like A Human methodology can support growth through transparency, personality, authenticity, consistency, being helpful, and building a community.


Market Like A Human (And a Focus on Quality vs. Quantity)

Agency Unfiltered

[00:00:00.640] - Kevin Dunn

Hi folks. Welcome to Agency Unfiltered, the HubSpot Solutions partner podcast. I'm your host, Kevin Dunn, and Agency Unfiltered is a weekly web series and podcast that interviews the owners, founders, and executives of agencies and services providers from around the world about whatever it takes to grow and scale. This week, we have on Dustin Brackett, CEO and founder of HIVE Strategy, and author of the brand new, just released book Market Like A Human. In our conversation, Dustin explains what it means to market like a human, and how a focus on quality over quantity can solve the problems prevalent today in marketing and sales strategies. We also talk about the crisis of disconnection and how Dustin's methodology helps reestablish connection with your audience. He also shares how he thinks about the underlying pillars and values of this framework, like authenticity and transparency, and how they should manifest in your go to market strategies. And as Dustin will share, he thinks there's an overabundance and too much reliance on automation, which actually can be a detriment to your business. We wrap with his read on the current servicing landscape and how other partners can leverage human centricity to cut through the noise of a saturated market for inbound services.


[00:01:11.090] - Kevin Dunn

Welcome to another edition of Agency Unfiltered.


[00:01:20.930] - Kevin Dunn

Hey, Dustin, welcome to Agency Unfiltered. How are you doing?


[00:01:39.770] - Dustin Brackett

Doing well. How are you, Kevin?


[00:01:41.900] - Kevin Dunn

Not too bad as we were just riffing for a few moments there. Obviously, I think both of us are still reeling from the NBA trade deadline. So obviously, it'll be weeks since. And so it'll be interesting to reflect back, but we're living it in real time here.


[00:01:57.810] - Dustin Brackett

Yeah, it's coming fast.


[00:02:00.260] - Kevin Dunn

It's one of the bigger trade deadlines I think I've seen in quite a while. Big names flipping around, which sounds like Kevin Durant to Phoenix. You're not super psyched about it.


[00:02:08.950] - Dustin Brackett

Not my favorite trade of the day. I'm a Laker fan and always want to see the Suns fail. Not my favorite one.


[00:02:17.870] - Kevin Dunn

Well, you got the all time leading score in LeBron, so you can ride that wave for a little while. Then all the avid listeners at home know and probably agree, this is a Boston Sports podcast, big, big Boston sports fans. So hopefully fingers crossed one day, someday soon, Laker Celtics NBA Finals and we'll bring back that rivalry. It'll be great.


[00:02:40.870] - Dustin Brackett

That needs to happen. As much as anyone that's listening to this, that's not a Lakers fan or a Celtics fan, probably just rolled their eyes and said, please, please no.


[00:02:51.200] - Kevin Dunn

Yeah, right. Any other market, anywhere else, they're like that's the last thing actually we want. So thanks for that. But a little selfish, hopefully we get some of that. Now, Dustin, I'd love to talk NBA and obviously superiority over Los Angeles sports teams, but we're here instead to talk about actually a book that's coming out that you've authored and some of the concepts within.


[00:03:15.870] - Kevin Dunn

Let me start here. Why don't you share the name of the book and then that'll indicate, I think, the strategy that you're advocating for. What does it mean? Give us the title and give us the underlying methodology. We'll go from there.


[00:03:30.060] - Dustin Brackett

Yeah. So the book is called Market Like A Human. And really, the idea behind it is that with the transition, even all the way back from the mad men advertising days through all the change that's happened since then and really since 2020 and everyone going remote and all of the craziness that happened with the pandemic, there's been a huge shift to a numbers game where more always equals better. All of the clients that we're working with or even our organizations potentially are looking at like, how do we get more leads in the funnel? We need more website visits, we need more followers on social, we need more, more, more. We're starting to focus so much on more that we're losing sight of the quality and the fact that there are actual human beings on the other side of our marketing. Whether we're advertising and marketing business to business or business to consumer or even nonprofit, we're marketing to humans. I think we're really starting as a society to lose sight of that fact.


[00:04:44.800] - Kevin Dunn

I love that. I think there's a balance between... I don't think more is inherently bad, but I think there has to be a fair balance between a prioritization of quantity and a prioritization of quality. It sounds like Market Like A Human is bringing some of that human centricity back to these go to market strategies. Dustin, let me ask you this. It's been a common theme. It's come up quite a bit since INBOUND back in the fall. Yamini had mentioned it. A number of HubSpotters are talking about it as our partners in other places. But we're faced currently with a crisis of disconnection. Do you feel that marketing like a human or the concepts within Market Like A Human, is that in service of reestablishing the connection that businesses should be seeking?


[00:05:34.540] - Dustin Brackett

Yeah, absolutely. I think the crisis of disconnection that Yamini and really all of INIBOUND was centered around, I think it spans into every crack of what our businesses are doing and what our agencies are doing. We are more disconnected than we probably have been in a really long time. That's with our team members. We're all remote, we're all working from home. Our interactions with our team are through Slack and through email. But it also extends to our audience. So prospects, leads, customers, even people that we don't know about that are doing their research and are coming to our website but haven't actually converted, they're all more disconnected than they've ever been. And I think that a lot of that has to do with the way that we're connecting or not connecting with those people and putting out content and supporting them with where they're at in their process. I think that we all, as agency owners, get those clients that come to us and they're like, Yeah, we want to pump out all this sales material. We need to tell people and how great we are and shout that from the rooftops. And there's not really a lot of community building or thought behind, How do we engage with these people before they're ready to buy from us?


[00:06:58.350] - Kevin Dunn

Well, let me ask you this, what is the antithesis of Market Like A Human? What are some of the tactics that are void of the human centricity that you find businesses, maybe other partners or managed services providers, marketers, whatever, what are they guilty of? What's the antithesis you see most commonly?


[00:07:20.100] - Dustin Brackett

I think there's a lot of it actually. Thinking about buying lead lists and spamming out all these people in our database with messages that don't really relate to them. In my book, I have an example that I just suffered through. But Best Buy is like, I buy a lot of technology. I have an Apple problem, it's fine, don't judge me.


[00:07:50.730] - Kevin Dunn

I feel like a lot of people relate to that.


[00:07:55.370] - Dustin Brackett

Yeah, I feel like I personally keep Apple in business and that's fine. But I buy a lot of equipment and things like that from Best Buy. It's very easy, it's very close to my house. I also don't like to wait. So trying to order things online and waiting for it to show up isn't really my style. So Best Buy, in general, has a ton of info on me, or at least they should. They understand what products I've purchased, what products I'm looking at on their website, all of those things. But during that holiday, Black Friday time frame, I went back and counted. Over 50 days, I got 59 emails. More than one a day.


[00:08:42.800] - Kevin Dunn

Too many. I'll say it, too many emails.


[00:08:46.070] - Dustin Brackett

Yeah! It's spammy.


[00:08:49.490] - Dustin Brackett

I went back and looked through all of them again and it was no personalization. It was obviously sent in an entire database. They're promoting things to me like Samsung watches and Windows PCs and things that I obviously have no interest in, all for the sake of, We need to sell you something during this time. We don't really care what it is. We don't care what you're into. Just buy something. Let us put everything in front of you. I unsubscribed. I buy so much stuff from Best Buy that it didn't really matter to me anymore. It was just like, you are annoying me. You obviously don't care about who I am as a human. All you're focused on is getting a few dollars in the door by spamming your entire database.


[00:09:40.660] - Kevin Dunn

And you seem like the right candidate for, if the right message reached your inbox with, if they were able to collect and use the data that they have on you to recommend something that was super relevant and personalized with whatever holiday deal there was, you were probably a likely conversion. A purchase. There would have been a return on that email if it was sent accurately.


[00:10:04.310] - Dustin Brackett

Yeah, absolutely. Like I said, they have so much information on me that if they had just used that and segmented and treated me like a human, like, Hey, we know Dustin has this iPhone. I have a Mac Studio that I bought from them. I've purchased different accessories. It's very obvious that I have an affinity for Apple, but also that I probably do a lot of my work from my desktop. Even things that are adjacent to that or support that, that all would have resonated with me and I would have felt like they actually understood who I was and I would have cared a whole lot more about that messaging. But when I'm getting gaming systems and all these different random things that, yeah, I know Best Buy sells, but I'm not ever looking at them. It lost the human touch for sure.


[00:11:05.920] - Kevin Dunn

No, it's a really great example. It just goes to show that the foundation of this is, again, as we pulled the thread on connection, but it's like connected data and having pertinent data stored in a place for usage through the channels that needs to be used. Teams and companies and people should be prepared to leverage that data. Okay, we know what Dustin purchases. We have an idea of maybe his purchasing cycle or the things that he's interested in. Based on that, we should have some tangential opportunities for expansion. It's leveraging the data that you collect. That sounds like an important lever to pull here.


[00:11:42.270] - Dustin Brackett

Yeah, absolutely. We're obviously a HubSpot Partner. We love HubSpot, but I think we also get into this habit, or we've transitioned into this habit of we're going to let the technology do the work for us. And really, we set up all these workflows and we set up sequences and we pump out all these messages and emails and automation for our audience without really considering who's receiving this, what do they care about? Is this message going to resonate with them? And I think it's just become this almost like a trap for agencies, for organizations to rely too much on the technology and not really think through, what is the experience when Kevin opens this email?


[00:12:31.850] - Kevin Dunn

So it sounds like don't let a reliance on technology pull you away from the human centricity of understanding who's on the receiving end of whatever marketing collateral you're putting together, what they care about, what's going to resonate with them. I think, sure, folks should lean on technology, but again, don't have it be a blocker to human led marketing efforts.


[00:12:53.150] - Dustin Brackett

100%. Like I said, we use HubSpot all the time. We've been in the HubSpot ecosystem for coming up on nine years. We live in HubSpot, but we also have to think through, and it's something that even getting into AI and things like that, those things aren't going to be able to think through, Okay, who is Kevin? What does Kevin actually care about? And how can we connect with Kevin on a human level outside of like, Hey, buy my widget.


[00:13:25.550] - Kevin Dunn

Yeah, right. I mean, the AI is an interesting point. I know we had just Paul Roetzer around a couple of weeks ago, and he mentioned it's not going to replace your content, your marketing. It's just going to enrich. And so it's like, sure, maybe chat GPT can write you the outline of what that email should be, but you still have to understand, all right, well, what does it mean to be human centric or market like a human if Dustin's on the receiving end and what he cares about, what data we have on him. So that sounds like, again, don't lose track of the person, not the persona or the quantity of leads you're hoping to send a message out to.


[00:14:00.660] - Dustin Brackett

Yeah, exactly. And honestly, after that episode with Paul, I reached out to him and was like, Hey, this is actually super interesting for the book because so much has evolved even just in the last few months. Probably today with as fast as things move.


[00:14:17.090] - Kevin Dunn

Daily. Yeah, for sure.


[00:14:19.680] - Dustin Brackett

As fast as things are moving with AI, I think that there is a lot there that we have to start to take advantage of as agencies. But also there's a lot of risk that comes with that in connecting with that human component.


[00:14:38.640] - Kevin Dunn

Yeah, I couldn't agree more. Now, you mentioned Best Buy as the example there. What is the antithesis of marketing like a human? I can imagine that these, the concepts in your book, the underlying methodology, it also applies to B2B as well. If I'm an agency, what would the appropriate email strategy or marketing strategy look like for an agency or some B2B relationship contrasted against what that Best Buy email strategy, where it went wrong? What would that depth of personalization look like if I'm a HubSpot Solutions Partner reaching out to my prospect list or my existing customers, etc. Any recommendations there?


[00:15:21.060] - Dustin Brackett

Honestly, I don't know how much different it really is. The idea is whether you're a B2B SaaS company or you're an agency or a Best Buy or somebody that sells tennis shoes. I don't think it really is that different. You're still connecting with humans on the other side. I think it's understanding who those people are, what pain points they have, how you can help, and how you can even just educate them in that process. I think even as agencies, we fall into the trap of just putting out all of our sales content. We're a Diamond Agency and you should work with us. And all of these things about us when we're not really considering, hey that CMO for this SaaS company that we really want to work with, she's trying to figure out solutions to her pain points. They don't really care who we are. At very few steps along the way do they actually care who HIVE is or how great we are. They're trying to figure out solutions to their problems. I think that we also fall, as agencies, as marketers, we fall into that trap of not really using the data that we have or the insight that we have to speak to people in a way that resonates with them in their current situation.


[00:16:49.990] - Dustin Brackett

I think, regardless of whether it's B2B, B2C, whatever, you have to really understand who your audience is, what they care about, when they care about it, and how they want to consume that information.


[00:17:05.620] - Kevin Dunn

It's not about us. Our messaging shouldn't be about us. It should be about them and whatever they're experiencing, the problems that they want to solve, the challenges that they want to overcome. I love that framing. What are the components when we say "Market Like A Human", is there a framework or method or tenets? How do you capture its ethos? Any recommendations there?


[00:17:27.880] - Dustin Brackett

I think a lot of it comes back to what you just said about it's not about us, which is really hard, by the way, with as noisy as the market is, as many competitors as we all have. It's very hard not to be like, "No, but I'm better." Hey, let me tell you about how great I am. That's a difficult thing to do. The book does have six pillars that we walk through. So transparency, giving insight into who we are, what we do, how much we charge, who we work with, who we don't work with, things like that. Personality, I think that's something that a lot of organizations really think that they have to fit a mold. We're a law firm, we have to be buttoned up and stuffy, or we're an agency and we work with these kind of companies, so we have to mimic that. I think that we lose sight of who we are as an organization, but also who our people are. That's one of the things with our team, we really try to focus on what are the passions our team has and the personality that they have, and how can we have that shine through?


[00:18:46.410] - Dustin Brackett

Because our clients are going to be working with those people. And if they don't resonate with that messaging and that kind of marketing from our team, when they start to work with us, they're not going to resonate with it either.


[00:19:00.080] - Kevin Dunn

That's a really interesting point. Just first off, it sounds like, don't fall into the trap of trying to mimic the voice of whatever industry or whatever it might be. Oh, this is how we're supposed to look and sound. First off, it sounds like letting your own personality shine through that of the team. First off, it probably cuts through the noise really well, but also it prevents any push, pull, or any friction if tone-wise, working with your team changes based on sales oriented perception and framing versus what it actually means to work with our team. I love that distinction.


[00:19:39.110] - Dustin Brackett

Yeah, absolutely. For me, I'm a new dad. I have a 14 month old daughter, and so I'm very pro dad joke. I am counting the minutes till she can understand how corny my jokes are so that I can embarrass her. That's something that we've adopted as an organization, even in Slack channels. We're sharing dad jokes. We have a chat bot on our website that one of the options is dad jokes. In our newsletter, we send some bee-themed dad joke every month. It's part of who we are. We're a little goofy and we're a little corny and we have fun with what we're doing. Again, we work with some very stuffy client industries and businesses, but the people on the other side of that aren't necessarily that way. They've seen our marketing and they've seen our process and they understand that when they come to work with us, we're not that. We're not showing up to our meetings in suit and tie and we're not a buttoned up agency in that way. We have fun. I think that that's important for people to understand before they ever sign on with us.


[00:20:56.480] - Kevin Dunn

It probably attracts the right type of clients too. It's like, Oh, that's the type of organization I want to work with. And so it's finding the right folks to join with or to formulate a partnership with. Also, dad jokes. 18 month old daughter myself. So girl dad gang rise up. And also HubSpot has a dad jokes Slack channel as well. Do you have a favorite dad joke? We're not going to go down the rabbit hole too deep. Do you have a favorite dad joke?


[00:21:25.650] - Dustin Brackett

You put me on the spot there. Most of the dad jokes that we're putting out right now are bee-themed for the whole HIVE thing.


[00:21:34.330] - Kevin Dunn

Yep, doubling down on that. Love that.


[00:21:39.450] - Dustin Brackett

That's just where we've been playing. In the book, I do have a couple in there that we like. You'll have to check it out.


[00:21:46.390] - Kevin Dunn

You'll have to check it out. Why did the Scarecrow win an award? Because he was outstanding in his field. There you go.


[00:21:55.360] - Dustin Brackett



[00:21:55.850] - Kevin Dunn

There you go.


[00:21:58.710] - Kevin Dunn

Also, really appreciate the point on transparency. Hey, we're just upfront with pricing, how it works, what it looks like to work with us. I think that, to me, it feels like it connects back to your point. It's like, Hey, for the last couple of years, expectations have changed. Buyers' expectations have changed. They want more information. It sounds like that's a really great example of meeting prospects where they're at and what they expect from managed services providers, agencies, whatever it might be. Is that a fair assessment?


[00:22:29.780] - Dustin Brackett

Absolutely. I think that agencies are very guilty of this, of not really telling people how much they charge or who they work with. We see it a lot in technology as well. SaaS companies not putting pricing on their website or talk to sales. Even the worst is they have pricing in their navigation and then you click on it and it gives you no pricing information, just tries to get you to convert.


[00:22:59.690] - Kevin Dunn

It's a contact form or something.


[00:23:01.850] - Dustin Brackett

Yeah, it's sleazy and it's a terrible user experience. It's something that if anyone, the people listening have probably all seen Marcus Sheridan talk and he talks so much about this of answering those questions, putting your pricing out there, giving people the information that they need. I think that that has to exponentially grow from our agencies and from technology. A lot of these B2B companies haven't adopted that. We're still very much in the old school sales mentality of, you've got to talk to sales. We're going to hide our information because we want to start that conversation, or we want you to convert, or hey, you want this valuable information? Great. Here's a ten property form that you have to fill out. I think that we've got to eliminate that, or our consumers, whether they're B2B, B2C, whatever, they're just not going to put up with it anymore. I think we're all seeing that with the decline in people willing to give you information on forms or willing to pick up the phone. These things are falling off a cliff. And it's because they're not seeing the value in giving you all of this information or talking to your sales guy that's just going to put a hard press on you.


[00:24:32.930] - Kevin Dunn

And they know that they can find somebody who won't put them through those loops. So why waste time with somebody who's about to if there's going to be other options that won't? So you want to be on the right side of that decision.


[00:24:44.170] - Dustin Brackett



[00:24:45.390] - Kevin Dunn

I definitely pulled you away. You were listing some pillars. I know we got through transparency. You had mentioned personality, but I definitely pulled you away. Sounds like there's more, though. So what are the other pillars of the Market Like A Human strategy?


[00:24:59.410] - Dustin Brackett

The other ones are authenticity, being who you say you are and being true to who your business is as well. Consistency. And I think that consistency is in branding, in content, in who you portray yourself to be, the questions that you answer, the tone, voice, all of those things. Being helpful. I think being helpful transcends all of these, that in order to be helpful, you have to do these other things. And then community. That was a really big talking point from INBOUND 22 of how do we build the community and reconnect these disjointed and displaced audiences. I think that from an organization's perspective around our products, our services, our organization, our industry, we have to start to enable people to connect with others that are in their same position.


[00:26:06.820] - Kevin Dunn

Connect the nodes where appropriate.


[00:26:09.610] - Dustin Brackett



[00:26:10.670] - Kevin Dunn

I love the consistency piece. At first, I was like, well, is consistency defined as 59 emails over 54 days from Best Buy? Maybe that's the wrong type of consistency. You're saying, Hey, whatever our personality is, whatever the authentic means of communication is for our business, that has to manifest in all of the different channels and modalities of our touch points, content, etc. Is that the fair read on consistency?


[00:26:35.630] - Dustin Brackett

I think so. But I think, I mean, also consistency in showing up when you're expected. I think that to the Best Buy point of 59 emails in 50 days, sure, that is consistent, but it's consistent spam as opposed to somebody... I was not expecting an email every day, nor did I want an email every day. I think it's showing up when your audience, search engines, all of those different audiences are expecting you to be there.


[00:27:16.160] - Kevin Dunn

Being present in all the places folks would expect you to be present.


[00:27:21.170] - Dustin Brackett



[00:27:24.440] - Kevin Dunn

That's super helpful. We've talked a little bit about it, obviously with expectations changing from a buyer/consumer perspective. I know a lot of these traditional services, email, our inboxes, these things are saturated. They're overcrowded. A lot of these, I think, traditional inbound services that partners have historically built businesses on are becoming commoditized. Is marketing like a human an appropriate way to cut through that noise? To go against the grain in the current servicing landscape? Is this a solution for the saturation of some of these channels and strategies? You know what I mean?


[00:28:13.510] - Dustin Brackett

Yeah, I think there's a couple of angles to this. I think you're absolutely right with we're all oversaturated. I had a conversation with somebody on my team the other day that I shared my screen and my inbox was open and they're like, "How many emails do you have?"


[00:28:29.430] - Kevin Dunn



[00:28:30.790] - Dustin Brackett

It's absurd. I clean my inbox and I was telling them. I was like, Yeah, anytime I get under 100 emails in my inbox, I'm pumped. Then I blink and it's back up to 300. I think that there is so much noise out there and finding a way to connect on a human level to those people. I don't care if you're targeting Apple and their Chief Marketing Officer, the biggest organization in the world, they're still a human. I think finding a way to connect through these pillars or through just being who you are and having fun with it and engaging from a human direction rather than like, hey, I'm another organization trying to sell you something. But also, I think from the agency side, we're all going to have to transition. What we offer today and what we offer in three years cannot be the same thing. Even talking with Paul about the advancements in AI, our clients are going to figure these things out, if they haven't already. They're going to figure out that, hey, I'm no longer going to spend $500 on a blog post or whatever the case may be, and wait two weeks for it or a month for it.


[00:29:58.540] - Dustin Brackett

They can get things done quickly and less expensively using different tools. I think we're all going to have to transition into leaning into strategy and being marketers, not just deliverable experts because we're just not going to get away with... And this goes for my agency, too. We deliver and charge for content and blog posts and all these things and always have. But we're going to have to really lean into the strategy and how do we support that content from a strategic perspective of we're going to get this information in front of the right people at the right time through the right medium to reach our goals.


[00:30:47.390] - Kevin Dunn

I like that point. It's, hey, we're not just deliverable experts, but we actually have to be strategic thinkers. Partners, the landscape is evolving. Our menu of services, the things that we should be doing for our clients, continually changes, as does likely the time it takes to deliver those, which means the price might be changing. But it sounds like if this is what we offer and what we do for our clients, always trying to determine the most value you can provide through that, knowing that the value it brings today is going to look vastly different than the value it can bring tomorrow based on whatever updates and evolutions have happened in the landscape. Is that a fair reflection?


[00:31:26.330] - Dustin Brackett

Absolutely. These are new tools and new ways to do things. But we're still, as agency owners, we're marketing experts. At least we should be strategic partners for our clients. It can't just be, yeah, we're going to deliver you these blog posts and this email copy and these things that can be done in new and efficient ways. Everyone's going to adopt AI in some form. I think there's probably situations coming that we're not even going to realize that we're using AI. If we're not adopting those things and starting to shift who we are as agencies to be strategic partners, we're going to hit a really big wall very soon.


[00:32:20.580] - Kevin Dunn

Now, Dustin, clearly this methodology, this approach to marketing, marketing like human, it's safe to say it's validated, it's proven. There's a book being written about it. What has the results of approaching a marketing or go to market strategy through this lens? What results has it yielded for yourself and for HIVE? What has it done if you've executed for clients? What does success, what does performance look like channeling this framework?


[00:32:51.350] - Dustin Brackett

I think it's the traditional metrics. We're looking at how are we closing business? How are we scheduling meetings? Are we are these the right people? But it's also taking away some of that really quantity focused ideals. We're no longer... For our clients and for ourselves, we're not focused on like, hey, we want to just increase website traffic for the sake of increasing website traffic. We want the right people coming. We're measuring those things through a quality lens. Are we scheduling and holding meetings? What does our deal pipeline look like? We're looking at those things as opposed to some of the more vanity metrics that we as agencies and organizations around the world have leaned on in the past. I think that it pays dividends in building trust and becoming that trusted resource. As far as being transparent with your pricing and things like that, we get the question from our clients all the time of like, do we really need that? Even like other agencies talk about like, well, we don't have packages. We don't say, here, pick one of these three packages and let's roll because we work in a lot of different industries or our clients have a lot of different needs.


[00:34:14.430] - Kevin Dunn

There's a lot of variables.


[00:34:16.300] - Dustin Brackett

But you can still answer the question. You can still say, Hey, our retainers are in a range typically of this to this, or our projects, or our hourly rate is this, and this is how long something typically takes. There's a lot of ways that you can still be effective and give the messaging and the answers that people actually are looking for. I think that all of that comes back to we're generating the right leads, more of the right leads, more of the right conversations, more of the right website traffic in order to actually have good conversations and support these people. Not just, hey, we want to have 10,000 visits to our website, but nobody's actually converting or wants to talk to us.


[00:35:07.980] - Kevin Dunn

I don't know what the actual tipping point is, but do you want 1,000 website visitors, none of which are within the ideal mix or the ideal client makeup or client profile? Or do you want 200 visitors, all of which are the highly relevant audience? I think you mentioned vanity metrics. Great pointer. Hey, do we want our sales reps ripping how many dials a day versus, no, actually having this many conversations. Maybe it's fewer, but it's with, again, the right type of companies that we're prospecting into. I don't know. It sounds like if those things are true, then the sales opportunities that arise, hopefully, move with more velocity. They move faster because you're engaging and attracting the right types of businesses.


[00:35:53.030] - Dustin Brackett

Yeah, absolutely. You're also discouraging the wrong types. If we're putting out information on our pricing and somebody comes to HIVE's website and is like, yeah, I have a $500 a month budget, they're very quickly going to understand, Oh, HIVE doesn't work with that budget. This isn't the right fit for me. Since we adopted this, we're getting way fewer of those conversations that actually happen of like, oh, yeah, I don't have any budget, or I need something that HIVE doesn't offer.


[00:36:26.510] - Kevin Dunn

The self qualification is happening before the point of contact.


[00:36:31.770] - Dustin Brackett

Through research, yeah. Through the content that we're putting out and because we're enabling our audience to actually do their own research instead of gating everything or holding things back because we want them to talk to sales because maybe our sales guy will talk them into a retainer that they can't afford. That can't be the methodology moving forward.


[00:36:56.720] - Kevin Dunn

Well, we push on time. First, congrats and best of luck with the book launch. We'll obviously make sure we link folks to it so they can check it out and find it. But one last question for you. We wrap every episode with the same question. What is the strangest part of agency life?


[00:37:19.530] - Dustin Brackett

I don't know if it's the strangest, but I started HIVE. We just celebrated our nine year anniversary. I was a mid 20's kid that thought he knew everything. I think that the thing that I've learned is that you never end up with fewer problems. It's just changing problems. Starting back then, even though I thought I knew what I was doing and where I was going, I had no clue. The problems that I had at that time and the problems that I have now are just vastly different. I think that as an agency owner, things also just changed so quickly with the landscape, with our clients, with what we do, with our teams. Things change so fast that we have to just constantly adapt.


[00:38:19.140] - Kevin Dunn

The rate of change, the constant need to adapt. I like that. Hey, listen, you don't get to eliminate problems. It's just you get to try and solve a new set of problems, right?


[00:38:28.590] - Dustin Brackett

It's like when one door opens, another closes, but it's like when one problem solved, you get a new one.


[00:38:37.640] - Kevin Dunn

Maybe it's a whack-a-mole. I don't know. You know what I mean?


[00:38:43.260] - Dustin Brackett



[00:38:43.820] - Kevin Dunn

Well, great answer. Thanks for that, Dustin. Thanks for coming on the show. It's been great talking to you. I love the methodology, super relevant. Again, as we talk about trying to solve this crisis of disconnection and what partners can do to reach and engage with these buyers that want to be engaged with in a very particular way. Things have changed and so partners need to adapt. Anywho, appreciate you sharing. It's been great talking to you. Again, best luck with the book and marketing like a human.


[00:39:14.480] - Dustin Brackett

Yeah, thanks. thanks so much. I appreciate it. It was a lot of fun. Thanks for the time.


[00:39:18.780] - Kevin Dunn

Yeah, you bet. And for everyone that has tuned in. This has been another episode of Agency Unfiltered.

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