Why artificial intelligence is the foundation of creative growth in marketing

16th July 2021

How is artificial intelligence shaping the way we work? Metigy’s CEO and co-founder, David Fairfull, discusses the benefits.

This is a cross release episode with our awesome friends Jordan Michaelides, Neuralle and the Uncommon Podcast down in Melbourne, Australia. 

Since Metigy is a marketing platform and tool for SMEs we really get under the hood of all things business, tech and marketing. 

What you will learn from this episode; 

  • Artificial Intelligence – not being a fad
  • Social Media Marketing Predictions
  • Surprises from getting Customer Insights
  • The positioning of Metigy as a platform in an established industry
  • Metigy’s purpose, road map and timeline
  • Lessons from David’s past career experience as the managing partner at We Are Social
  • His morning routine, best purchase under $200 and so much more


  • “How do you solve the problem you’re on now, but how do you get to really where you want to be? I think the nature of an entrepreneur is you need to be able to get in and do the details as well.”
  • “Most entrepreneurs are inquisitive. They want to solve a problem that nobody else has really solved and they’re absolutely determined to make that happen. That’s the driving force.”
  • “AI is the perfect application for marketing, right? Because it is about the ability to be able to process large volumes of data and make decisions on that data faster than a human.”
  • “With AI knowledge, the human can be so much more creative to deliver a fantastic outcome.”

Resources mentioned in this episode

Book Recommendations

Reach David Fairfull Here

David Fairfull on Linkedin 

Transcript below (or download the pdf here)


Daren: [00:00:00] Ever wondered what goes through the minds of CEOs that just raise investment capital and are growing a small business to a medium business. Then you should listen to this episode, we’ll be talking all things, social media, marketing, brand positioning, and artificial intelligence. Listen on to find out.

Hey everyone. I’m Daren Lake, the audio content manager here at Metigy. Welcome to Forward Thinking, a podcast by Metigy. In this series, we speak with inspirational business owners, brands, and marketing experts to learn from their experiences on the front line and uncover what it takes to build a world-class business.

This is a cross release episode with our awesome friends Neuralle and the Uncommon Podcast down in Melbourne, Australia. Metigy, CEO, and co-founder David Fairfull was interviewed by host, Jordan Michaelides. Since Metigy is a marketing platform and tool for SMEs. We really get under the hood of all things business, tech and marketing. David goes deep in a few areas, including artificial intelligence, not being a fad, social media marketing predictions, surprises from getting customer insights, the positioning of Metigy as a platform and an already established industry, Metigy’s purpose, roadmap, and timeline, lessons from David’s past career experience as the managing partner at We Are Social, his morning routine, best purchase under $200, and so much more. This was originally produced and aired in March, 2021 by the Uncommon Podcast, so we’ll start with their introduction.

David: [00:01:37] Hi, my name is David Fairfull, and this is Uncommon.

Jordan: [00:01:41] Uncommon is a production by Neuralle, an agency that helps both brands and talent tell their story. To learn more, just visit Neuralle.com.

My guests this week, David Fairfull, CEO and co-founder of Metigy and former managing partner of We Are Social. Probably the trickiest part about your research was finding some inside jokes or something to run with. Bonnie was quite handy. I heard you may be a Tough Mudder guy.

David: [00:02:17] I was a long time ago, that’s right [chuckles]. Do you grow out of that? I think at the end of the day, you do it for a while. I really enjoyed it, but it fades. I think I love the challenge of it.

Jordan: [00:02:30] Either you become obsessed with it. It’s that, and I would say CrossFit became the trend. God, how long ago was that? It must have been at least six, seven years ago or something like that.

David: [00:02:42] Seven sounds right.

I have a lot of friends doing the Spartan races and most dropped off. Look, with COVID, I can’t even remember a time where people were doing them and I do wonder …I wonder whether they’ll come back.

Yeah, I dunno. Maybe. I think maybe it was a phase two, so everybody goes out of their system. At the end of the day, they’re quite grueling. So they’re not for the faint-hearted and they don’t really work with an entrepreneur’s lifestyle.

Jordan: [00:03:10] Not really well, the thing now is that if I think about the people I know in this industry and the new sort of aerobic obsession they have, it would probably be like your David Goggins of the world and doing these crazy running challenges and then not ultra marathons, but there’s these marathons that are really popular in the US now that are just insane where they do 250 miles or something like that in a day. And you’ re running for 24 plus hours. So you’re not really sleeping or anything like that. I had a mate recently, who did, I believe it was 4 x 4 x 2? That’s a David Goggins thing and you run four miles, which is six and a half kilometers, every four hours for two days straight. No, 4 x 4 x 48 is what it is. And he’s doing this in preparation for running the entirety of Wilsons Prom, which is some ungodly amount of kilometers, like 60 or 75 kilometers or something like that.

David: [00:04:08] Tired just thinking about it.

Jordan: [00:04:09] Yeah, but I am not an aerobic, like my family, we are, stocky, great wrestler types. Like we just don’t know. Us and running is not a thing that marries well together.

David: [00:04:21] Yeah. I heard about a Spartan race in Greece where they do the whole marathon thing and it stoops to like 48 hours and you don’t stop. Yeah. It’s ridiculous.

Jordan: [00:04:30] Absolutely ridiculous. All right. Tell me about your earliest memory as a kid. What’d you think you were gonna be?

David: [00:04:35] I think a fighter pilot. So it was probably typical sort of kid dreams. And then I went away from that, some thinking about being in business and I don’t know why, cause it’s not in my family at all. It was just what I imagined I was going to do when I grew up. So maybe it was seventies going into the eighties. It was aspirational to be successful in business. So again, a trend of it.

Jordan: [00:04:56] Who was the aspirational? This is, we’re talking about the Alan Bond/Skase era.

David: [00:05:01] Regrettably, you are, and it’s not the Skase. There’s probably someone like Alan Bond before the gloss came off right, so the Ozzie came from nowhere. He could do whatever they wanted and take on the world and suddenly make it work. Yeah, I think so. And then the gloss came off the whole thing and my view of it today is you want to be great at what you do, but you want to do it for the right reasons.

Jordan: [00:05:22] Okay so is, it was probably an idea that permeated in the Zeit guys for you at that point in time, I wonder, do you think there’s like certain personality traits that you have that aligned with that? Do you find that you’re a particularly open and creative person, but you’re very structured?

David: [00:05:40] Yeah, I’m definitely creative and strategic, or I like to think that I am, because I’m always thinking, how do you solve the problem you’re on now, but how do you get to really where you want to be? And I’m trying to always plan a few steps ahead, but. In balance to that. I think, the nature of an entrepreneur is you need to be able to get in and do the detail as well. So roll up the sleeves and do the hard work. I don’t enjoy that. I’m a more of a creative thinker than a data person, but you just have to be disciplined about that. And really get into solve this stuff. And we’re building a deep tech product now, so there’s a lot of detail in it. So you just have to be disciplined at doing the hard work to do that.

Jordan: [00:06:15] I think that’s what differentiates. An artist versus an entrepreneur. You’ve got to have this weird balance of being somewhat conscientious, but also not too structured that you can’t think openly. I think I was quite lucky in that regard, in that I have another who’s ultra open and creative and a father who’s very conscientious. I picked up traits from both of them. So it was, it’s worked out well for myself. And I guess it’s something that I’ve noticed when I interview a lot of people that when you get to more of that entrepreneurial side of things, you just have to have some sort of structure in your life.

David: [00:06:50] And most that I’ve come to know that have been really successful, are disciplined about that. Like it’s you many have got a force themself but they’ve got that real determination to be disciplined. Yeah. And just off the back of an inquisitive mind, right? Again, most entrepreneurs are inquisitive. They want to solve a problem that nobody else has really solved and they’re absolutely determined to make that happen and that’s the driving force.

Jordan: [00:07:13] Yeah, and some people are more structured than others. My dad is one of those types that he can be up. 5:00 AM even to exercise. He doesn’t miss exercise at all in the morning at all.

Whereas I, that is one of those components of entrepreneurship. I really struggled with. It’s you know, a necessity because oftentimes when you’re running a business, anything past 9:00 AM, you’ve really got a lot of people asking things for you, from you. So to have that time to yourself, to think about things and do deeper work is really powerful. I know you studied, you did the bay comet I and you a diploma, financial planning. I think you had actually really similar background to myself and a similar pivot. So you worked in finance as your first job out of uni and then three by three years later, you’re a brave group, which was not completely different, but at the end of the day, it was high-end digital e-commerce sort of products. I was curious, what was the thing that drew you away from finance and more towards …

David: [00:08:18] Look, I suppose I did start with Pricewaterhouse, many years ago off the back of the B calm and it was a CFO was small public company and I found that fascinating and I’ll always. That was meant to be like a starting point and a great set of skills, but not really where I would go.

And I had this opportunity to get involved with that with Brian, which is really a comms business and been going for a little while, but got involved in fact I ended up marrying my PI. So my wife and I built it over 10 years and eventually sold it to a public company called Powell. And but really fascination for me was in growing the business.

And it was really early into, tech in a context of marketing because it was the web was just really getting started and we were building, digital media solutions, both multimedia and early web services. So it was just fascinating and nobody was doing it. It was the challenge of doing something a bit different and out of the ordinary and solving a new frontier, maybe.

Jordan: [00:09:10] So were you one of those types that sort of, for me, I did that background in finance because it was things that I was good at. I was good as that conscientious stuff. I liked accounting at high school, and then you do it and because, great parents, they encourage you to do a profession, counting bank and finance, lawyer, something and then I get into the walk workforce and I start to realize actually it’s stifling that creative component that I’ve got. Mindless. Like I remember doing my grad not grad role. I did an internship at a mid-tier accounting firm. And just thinking like, oh no, this is not what have I done? Type of thing. And, I still had a year plus working in the finance space, but it gradually pivoted away from it in, being in finance, to selling, to finance, to selling marketing sort of sales products, to finance, to work, getting a ma working in marketing and sales. So it was a gradual progression, for yourself. Do you think that was the driving force behind it? Is this sort of potential sense of boredom.

David: [00:10:10] Yeah, absolutely. I think there’s two things, right? If you’re in a, an accounting firm, you might go make a decision. Am I going to do the hard yards and going to be a partner? And that is a hard slog for a long period of time? Ultimately, yeah, a lot of success if you get to that elite level and, quality of lifestyle, but you’re still doing the same thing, you’re doing it for a very long time. And I think I’ve pretty quickly decided I want more out of working and challenges in life and what I’d want to do in a business than just to do that, because you’re pretty much following somebody else’s formula right? And I think if you’re naturally an entrepreneur, you go, you know what? I don’t need somebody else’s formula. I’m happy to, take my own path and do something a bit different. It’ll be more risky, but ultimately it will be a lot more fulfilling. And I think that’s been true. I think it would have been mindless and no disrespect to accounting firms because they’re amazing at what they do, but it’s for a certain type of person that wants to follow that process and do the hard yards and get there.

And if not, you get out of there early and get on with doing something else. And that was really the path. That’s scary, that goes back to you and your personality. I guess if you’re an open creative person, that’s just something that you would have always struggled with, early on.

Jordan: [00:11:16] I, again, that’s something that I had And, it was interesting looking at your, obviously pretty impressive they, that sort of stuff doesn’t matter when you’re an entrepreneur, but the experience you had, you hope you held numerous growth positions in the digital comms space I’ve got here, obviously brave acquired by Power Learn.

And that took up a decent chunk of time. McCann Erickson. So you were AIPAC regional director for e-business CRM, web based marketing projects. This was the very early days of the internet. This is two thousands, I think, exam various consulting projects. I was. Curious, what to you, when you went to, We Are Social and then it developing Metigy today. What seems like the biggest principle you’ve pulled from that time of your life?

David: [00:12:03] Look, I think if you chose to be in digital probably. Yeah. Except that’s just going to keep changing all the time. So as an entrepreneur, perhaps you think I’ve got to keep moving to the next frontier. That’s where the real opportunity is both the challenge and the money. We Are Social is a great example. Like I got involved in there in 2011 as a partner. The businesses started in the UK in 2008, but really running a social agency at that point of growing a global social agency was still a novelty, but by 2014, we’re in the process where it is started to mature. We’d built good businesses around the world.

And I was a partner in Australia and won and we got to a fairly mature point, like a 55 person team. And everybody clicked. He was going like. Social agency was the frontier in 2009 through to now, but that’s becoming the norm. There’s a proliferation of social. So how does the agency evolve going forward?

And we got an opportunity to sell it, and it was a process, but we sold it to blue focus. Joanna, which is the largest media group in China. And so you have to do an earn-out as part of that, but I came to a juncture where it was either keep doing that or really go off and do something else. And we already had the idea for doing Metigy, which is really from my perspective, the next frontier in taking, we had a massive proprietary data set because we’d been doing social.

500 people around the world doing social for brands. And so we had this fantastic report data set. Could we leverage that and really use the advent of machine learning to turn, what we were doing as a creative process, strategically into a machine driven strategy for SMEs that would deliver that solution for a group of customers that just couldn’t afford to buy strategy.

So again, and testing technical challenge, but also changing the way. That whole business function and the marketing industry works. Yeah, social, when I think about it, there’s really only two agencies that became global that developed in a similar way. And I would probably put it as a Vayner media, although they went more down the route of full service as opposed to a social first structure.

Jordan: [00:14:13] And I think. Because of that, we are social really became known as the global social agency. I guess I was intrigued, we’ll get to the, these component of law, but I get a sense. The social CRM idea in your head is been a big thing since being at We Are Social, I’m intrigued, working in agency land and going through that earn-out process, what to you seems for someone who is an agency owner like myself today… What was the best and worst thing in hindsight from that time of your career?

David: [00:14:49] I think, whenever you sell, you’re letting go of your baby. And ultimately it’s usually before you finished everything you wanted to do, because you want to do it at the right stage of its growth.

So I think letting go is part of it, but it’s also scary, right? I think I’ve become comfortable in this environment. I’ve been in McCann’s and bending we’re social. It was a pretty, you could do a lot and it was pretty comfortable and we were forging on to do something completely unknown and completely unproven. So there’s a huge degree of discomfort and, rising above those, personal feelings around, do I jump out and do something completely different.

Jordan: [00:15:24] Yeah. That was an interesting thing. I may not know that one of the notes I had, he was leaving we’re social. And when you left, like I said, biggest global footprint.

You’ve got a family with kids. They’re not as young now, obviously, but then they would have been younger. There’s always this quote that Elon Musk says that entrepreneurship is like chewing on broken glass and looking into the, staring into the abyss. I had this realization a while ago. That would have been the time where people would have still seen AI as a fad and not a trend. I had this recently with Tiktok because we manage Tiktok talent, and an Instagram manager said to me that they don’t take it seriously. And so I was curious for you at that point in time, when was that realization that this is not a fad, it is a and it’s such a trend that I need to take this risk to go choose some broken glass?

David: [00:16:19] Yeah, I think it was circuit 2000 sort of 15, maybe 14. I’d already realized that because we were doing some experimentation with it at that point and we can reel out. We’re realizing that the other day we’re doing stuff. And I think AI is the perfect application for marketing, right? Because it is about the ability to be able to process large volumes of data and make decisions on that data faster than a human. If it could, you can adjust more data and analyze that at a rate that no human can. And that gives you the ability then to be truly creative off the back of that.

Because you’ve got the insight long before someone fiddling around with reporting and thinking about it. What’s going to do it. And I look back, we used to charge customers $20,000 to do this massive report. And it would be historical data for sort of six months ago. And, there was a fantastic opportunity on this particular topic back then, and just too late to act on it, right? Because it’s past, we’re analyzing that data. Like we now have a piece of content has worked. If it’s going to work works in the first two hours, we know about it as it’s working and we can tell our customers. With very simple logic. This is what you do. It is trending.

You can leverage that. Now, if you wait for, if it’s not Facebook, for example, get the insights. Three days later, that opportunity is gone because the organic driver, whatever was making work has disappeared, right? So historically there’s no point going back to try and solve it. That’s an application where just the human can’t do it, but with that knowledge, the human can be so much more creative to deliver a fantastic outcome. Just driving a naturally occurring event.

Jordan: [00:17:56] Yeah cause I was wondering why go the route of not just creating an AI driven agency versus a SAS product. And I get a sense that the sort of, in one of your buyers, there was this discussion around the idea of a social CRM. It seemed to me, I don’t know if you’d agree, but it seemed to me like a really important idea to you.

In that era, because if you think about it, you built this agency and the agency was social focused and you could see that the world was going social focus, but there still isn’t really, there still really isn’t CRMs that intertwined well with social and that are social first. So I guess I’m curious why go down the platform route versus yeah.

Selling insights or agency route, is it that it’s more scalable and more scalable? You understand, as an agency, it’s about, you’ve got to win the work. You’ve got to execute the work. You’ve got to build a team to do it. It’s very time consuming. And the amount of leverage you get off the back of that is only ever going to be so much right.

David: [00:18:57] And there’s elements of stress and risk to the execution, quality and continuity and all the rest of it, as opposed to building a product, which from our perspective, it’s still, there’s still risking and, pressure and hassle in doing that. But the leverage off the back of that service, X amount, more customers and solve a global problem is a lot more upside in that. And yes, it’s a big challenge, but the upside ultimately is significantly greater.

Jordan: [00:19:23] Let’s just jump back quickly to the social focus. I know that actually, your first gig in this space was at an oil and gas, vertical focused platform. They’re all community. And this is before we are social and the managing partner. What did you see that others didn’t at that time? Cause this was. This is really early. This is when Facebook would have only just been kicking off in my space.

David: [00:19:46] Absolutely. And again, we were trying to build a community. So the idea was right, the industry vertical wasn’t right. It was an interesting experiment because we’re trying to basically do that early logic around building a community where individuals would talk and congregate and share knowledge, et cetera. The challenge was. In that particular industry vertical, and it’s probably true of many others. They didn’t actually want to talk. It was quite, it was all those trade secrets around the way they do things and not talking to each other and sharing knowledge because the organizations I worked for were fiercely competitive. So we’re actually paranoid to talk to them, to peers in other organizations. Fundamental problem with users, logic very solid. So just couldn’t execute.

Jordan: [00:20:29] Did that teach you a lot about positioning or understanding go-to market strategy for the potential clients a bit better than you think.

David: [00:20:39] Yeah, I think definitely understanding your customer’s crew purpose and what they’re prepared to do. So I learned a lot about, doing more research on a wider scale with a little bit of, industry research, but now we never enough to really understand, where individuals go to execute in the way that we thought.

So I learned a lot about that and that I think is held me in good state with what we’re doing in this business now, because we probed and Dell far further into the logic before we got to. Yeah. That was one of the interesting things when I look at positioning and we’ll get to that in a moment because I think that you guys have done that really well in knowing how to get to your end user.

Jordan: [00:21:15] So let’s talk about Metigy, obviously founded 2015. You got, you had two co-founders, one who’s no longer involved in the business, but your CTO still is. It’s so funny with marketing tech because it’s one of those SaaS products. It’s often sprinkled with the beauty, beautiful layers of marketing that you never really get a sense of what is actually being offered.

And I find that only there’s only really a few products in the industry. I’d say war chest for mutiny group is one and probably yours, where you get a real sense as to what you’re actually getting. You can say what the label says and what the product does. And from the limited time I was able to demo the products.

It seems that essentially you’re building, like you said, a, an AI or a piece of machine learning that congratulate learn and provide insights, recommendations, strategy, speed up that human process on accounts, essentially, usually accounts that don’t, that needed the most. And it’s a particular need because they don’t currently get access to it. I was curious what are the primary zones and data points that cause, there’s this reference to 25 million different data points a day or something to that Oak. What are the fundamental points that you’ve, that you see Metigy looking at on a daily basis for each account?

David: [00:22:33] Yeah, look, that’s a, quite a broad sweeping statement in terms of amount of data source to profit. But if you look at the logic, like this is 1.6 million media sites, right? So they will drive organizational conversation, training conversation. What topics are people talking about? So they’re all indicators and there’s a lot of logic around if it in the media now it’ll be happening in social media, three four or five hours, depending on the nature of it. So they’re indicative drivers, there’s the general behavior and social behavior of consumers and brands. And so we’re ingesting all of that and doing analysis around that. There’s a whole range of, if you look at search trends and all of the things that come out of say an environment like Google, what are people looking for? How are they looking for it? Where are they looking for it? So we’re really considering an analyzing all of those and trying to get it to a logical point where. If someone wants to talk about something, what’s the predictive logic for how well that is going to work in the coming few hours or days or weeks.

And helping them understand how to really plan and execute something that’s going to, we’re not looking for everything to be a blockbuster. It’s just incremental improvement all the time. So little micro moments that improve. And we’re looking for two X to three X performance improvement every quarter, right?

So that’s just through consistent behavior and those little moments where you do things better because you’re riding a general conversation with cranes or something that’s occurring outside of your brand that you’re not aware of, that our data system can analyze and then turn into an insight or a recommendation.

Jordan: [00:24:02] Yeah, that was one of the things that I was intrigued by from a tech point of view. It’s one of those hard topics, AI machine learning to chat about those various things from a vision-based AI to logic based AI, which is looking at data points. I was more curious how much of this system is a black box versus a curated piece of machine learning.

Do you guys find that you are focusing on certain zones, let’s say for the AI to learn on, or is most things outcome focused and it’s just a black box and you have no idea what’s going on under the hood?

David: [00:24:41] I suppose there’s two ways to answer that. Do we know ? I think so. Does a customer know generally in many cases not but we try and combine the insight and the recommendation with an extending learning solution, right? Because we’re trying to build their confidence as a market, not just execute, but understand why, because that also aids their creativity. If they understand why something is going to work. Then they’re going to execute the creative or the detailed side of running an ad or creating a piece of content or running a campaign in a more effective way.

So we’re trying a couple, here’s the idea. Here’s the how and the why, and this is not a call or a video to watch that will help you understand how to do that better. So we’re trying to fuse those two together in terms of the AI. I It’s really, it’s a set of micro components. So we’re bringing, we’re building an end to end solution.

Try and be really smart and use other providers. AI. There’s a lot of stuff in the AWS stack. We don’t reinvent the wheel. We partner with other companies that have got great AI. And I’ll give you a good example. We’ve got a partnership with with a group in the U S called , which is a video and image analysis solution.

And I, our solution for analyzing metadata. So we can give a customer a recommendation on an image or a video that will work better based upon the topic they’re talking about. And then we have a partnership off the back of that with Getty images, which has largest media group in the world. I think it’s stronger main pieces of media so we can pull.

An image through that’s appropriate or five images and make a recommendation based on creating this ad. These five pieces of content will work better as part of your creative. And you can buy that through our product online, faster, and quicker than you, or cheaper than you can buy directly from Getty.

So it’s like a win-win and it’s using AI to aid that creative process, because you don’t have to go off to the media library and search for it and look at it. Right? Images, the slide. Yeah, exactly. His five. Yeah. That are right for your gym, because there are people doing things in Minnesota, in the USA, not on the beach in California, or it’s very tonal it’s relevant and here it is, and easy and quick.

So saving time and use a recommendation logic to give them that’s a micro thing, as opposed to look. Here’s a good example. We’ve done proprietary project with Google. And I have my problems with big tech, but occasionally they’re fantastic. And we work well with Google and we looked at the logic of it.

If a small business wants to run an ad with Google, they’ve got a major generally is quite hard knowing how to make it work. And even if you do variant testing on a Google ad, it takes Google five to 10 days to do that and come to the point where it’s optimized and performing well. So we built a project list and take your best piece of content from all of your social.

And turn it into a high-performing Google ad. We’d deliver the audience settings, the general piece of content, the overview, and all the micro components for geo-targeting and help Google fast track that we’re cutting away. Some of the very interesting and get the high-performance faster. Better performing ad because we know it worked with your audience and we knew how it was going to work and drove through in terms of delivering a better outcome for Google as well.

And end up with a customer that’s happy with their Google ad because it performed better than it would if you try to do it all.

Jordan: [00:27:54] Yeah. And I spend more as part of the process

David: [00:27:57] I do, and hopefully drive sales though, right?

Jordan: [00:28:01] You? Yes, you. Are you intrigued by this episode? If so, go to our foot up on the website, Neuralle.com. We’re going to give you an insight each week. It’s going to be on business marketing or a topic that we covered in the episode at all. We’d love your support and it would help us in developing the intellect around this series, but without going on too much. Let’s get back into this episode,

I guess I’m intrigued what insights have shocked you, that the tool has identified both for individual customers, but for also the customer cohort at large.

David: [00:28:43] Shocked me. Huh? That’s interesting. Because we’ve spent a lot of time looking at the data. And I don’t have many preconceived ideas because what I’ve learned from social as the odd things often work, not the predictable things. Maybe I should rephrase it as the most interesting thing that it’s picked up that maybe you wouldn’t have expected. Okay. Look, I think But at the end of the day. So many things occur in a short timeframe and, I expected that our customers would be seeing those things and acting on them more than they did but they were never coming through in terms of behavior.

And as we started to roll out recommendations that focused on that, that there was a big win generally. Whereas you just assume, because you come from a social environment doing social work all the time that our typical customer is going to be. Behaving that way, but the general level of knowledge and their time to execute and their available capacity in any one day is never been enough to be able to do that.

So that’s a huge win in terms of outperforming anything that we’re doing. Yeah. So the recommendation component is the thing that’s. Blowing you away the most, I guess that would make sense. If you come from agency land where you’re right. Things can take a while to come to fruition to have this thing, provide you with something that gives great results is pretty interesting.

Yeah. And you just expect that level of knowledge is the norm and it’s. The average small business marketer, even if they think they’re socially capable because they use social media is not thinking that way.

Jordan: [00:30:13] So the idea of the social CRM, how much of that has permeated into the product development?

David: [00:30:22] Yeah, we haven’t nailed the CRM side of it. I still crave to do that at some point, but we are down a different path because what we found is that all our customers wanted to know about, individual customers. They’re more consumed with the idea of being able to really calculate a return on investment. And that’s really the holy grail. It’s rather than spend my budget. Could I really understand it right. A hundred dollars on this today, what would it drive in terms of sales revenue? And we’ve been, we’ve achieved what I call predictive ROI on a conversion metric. So we can say, if you spend $50 today, you’ll get an 80% conversion improvement based upon this, in this particular time frame.

And we’ve been working through partnerships to help us extend that. And we’ve got a range of co-selling partnerships and product integrations through partnerships, but we’ve. Literally agreed terms on one, which is a global solution, which is going to give us a commerce data. So will winning them next three to four months, maybe five to six to turn into recommendations.

We’d be delivering recommendations that are for X dollars. You’ll deliver, 10 X in sales. And that’s really the holy grail, right? It shifts the mindset from this is my spend or my budget to this is my. Yeah, and it becomes a cash flow question, not a budget allocation question.

Jordan: [00:31:42] You’ve got to clear a clear ROAS or near clear ROAS, which is very cheap.

Huge right.

David: [00:31:49] It’s been forever elusive front. And if you’re a sophisticated as a marketer, you can probably connect some of the marketing stack and get a reasonable calculation. But most states have may just have no idea. They spend money and it’s, some things work and somethings don’t, it’s never with that real row as thinking.

Jordan: [00:32:06] So I guess one of the things that I found interesting as someone who comes from an agency background is, and you would have gotten this as well as the positioning. I think. You’ve obviously done it well enough to raise a $20 million bay round. You’ve clearly identified that a lot of these scheduling tools as we have.

Terrible, but they don’t really do much for me per se. This is just my opinion, but I find that scheduling wise, yes, there’s some efficiencies, but there’s a lot of there’s a lot of stuff that, that you can get bogged down in. So it almost in a way for some people creates more work, from your perspective, positioning wise, obviously SMA focus. Who are you trying to substitute? Do you think it’s agency. The current suite of apps or something else entirely.

David: [00:32:54] Yeah, it’s not it’s not agencies at all because most of our customers are. Buying services from an agency, right? Because they think of it as prohibitive. And they’re not that programmed and planned generally in many cases where their first investment in marketing technology, because they’re avoided it.

Cause I think it’s that conundrum. You just mentioned. There’s some fantastic scheduling tools, but if you don’t know what you’re doing, they don’t help you do it better. They just help you do it more efficiently and you still get shitty results. Right? Shitty ideas, shitty results is just done more efficiently.

So our customers are going well, we’re seeing those products and we’ve had a bit of a go. It didn’t make us great market. As we’re looking for a solution that is I from a product perspective centric on delivering results and measuring those for us and helping us do it and congruently try and help us.

I want to understand why it works. Yeah. Learning function is a really big part of it. I think they enjoy that sort of connection between an action and a learning off the back of that, because I think we realized pretty early, but still with that customer, the confidence in executing is still a limiting factor.

Here’s a great idea. I understand. You don’t know how to it, you never done it before. So why don’t you watch this, read this and at least have a go at it and start to build your confidence and therefore your capability to execute better. And so it’s that combination of things, right? And I think again, as a ship, right?

One of those scheduling tools started back in 2012, when it was people were craving efficiency and we’ve just moved bomb and our expectations are greater. Yeah, I think there’s a big trend around that. What is the trend in marketing, in the space that we’re in? It’s like the customer wants an answer. Not a process.

Jordan: [00:34:34] Yeah. I think you’re a hundred percent correct on that higher quality is everything at the moment, because we’ve gone, like you said, we’re going to this ear of like you just open up the fire hydrant to get as much stuff out there as possible. And now everyone, it’s funny. I was reading. Actually it’s here on my it’s here on my desk. I was reading this, I just finished it this week. “Oligvy on Advertising”, just fine. I just found it. I found it really interesting just to look at some of the old advertising books and to see the different decades and how media changed throughout them. And I find that it’s very similar to the seventies, the late sixties, early seventies now where all of a sudden there was this TV and then cable was coming along.

I’m actually reading John Malone’s book or biography at the moment about cable Cowboys, which is really interesting. And you’re right. There’s just, we found that as an agency, the best focus can be on that strategy, insight component simply because there’s just so much stuff on that on every.

Now, so how do you get come through? And you need platforms like yours to understand that as a small business owner. So I think you’re absolutely right. I think we’re heading into a decade of smarter decisions rather than more decisions.

David: [00:35:46] Yeah, that makes sense. I think it’s time for that great old analogy. Like quality, not quantity. You can be lazy and do quantity and it would get you traffic, but people aren’t buying that anymore as a general rumor. Yeah, that’s right. So they want to connect with brands that truly understand who they are and what they mean and why they’re different and what they stand for.

And the can communicate that. The evolution of our product is to help a brand understand the things that make a difference, cutaway the rest of the noise and do, and repeat the things that their customers really connect with. And that data is the answer and, but data is not fun. So how do we make that fun? Cut through the crap of looking at data and help them really understand the opportunities that present them.

Jordan: [00:36:30] Part of your go-to market has been, I think one thing we identified was the distribution partners. So Optus, Google there’s obviously a rev share component to that as well.

You’ve had the right. You’ve passed COVID with flying colors in a way, because you were growing. I think the last time I read you had something like 26,000 customers I don’t know what percentage is pay, but I’m. I’m assuming based on the growth during COVID that those numbers have changed as well.

How does this go from a call tool used by those small businesses in the note versus the generic brand name for SME market. How does this get to Salesforce? If that makes sense, in terms of an office type.

David: [00:37:20] Yeah, it’s an interesting conundrum. I think that my success found a sort of, work on, I suppose we’re using our director market and we’re growing that and yes, we’ve got resources to grow that and we’re growing at our marketing function and our content team and starting to scale that overseas and do all the things that you should, but partners is really the leverage opportunity for us.

At the end of the day we focused on partners where they have. They’re looking for a value proposition. They have large SME customer base, and they’re looking for a reason to firstly, help them be more successful. And secondly, increase the frequency or the cadence of the conversation they have with themselves.

This was a good one, 425,000 estimated customers in Australia where we’re leveraging that into our relationship with Singtel to work on Southeast Asia. We’ve got a partnership with Intuit in Australia and we’re currently working on launching with them in the UK. So it’s 250,000 SMEs in Australia, 3.2 million SMEs in the U S we’ve just just reached a partnership with Fiverr, which hasn’t been formally announced.

So there’s a bit of a scoop, but again, 2.3 million SMEs globally, and 50,000 freelancers globally. We have narrow access to and there’s three or four others. Very big one that we’ve reached terms on, but we haven’t signed a contract with yet, which is literally without going over the top, 20 million plus estimate customers.

And we’re also making great progress in the U S in the MLM market as well, which is a direct to market for us. We’ve got a an MLM called party light, which basically is they’re traditionally a party business. They sell candles through parties and dealers, 8,000 dealers across America. Guess what you can’t do parties in America anymore.

So they’re all going to transition to digital. So working with them to help all of their dealers become digital marketers. So there’s 8,000 new customers and there’s several of those lining up off the back of those sorts of conversations to also transition their traditional sales funnel dealership networks into the digital environment become good digital marketers.

Jordan: [00:39:21] How much of the team is in Australia versus overseas? Is a majority Australian?

David: [00:39:26] Majority Australia. We’ve only got a little bit overseas. We’ve got CLO based in the US in Atlanta, but we’re seeing a team in Denver. We’re also setting up a team in Singapore just to support the partnerships and nurture it and grow localized content creation, et cetera.

Jordan: [00:39:42] So you see I guess COVID would have hindered a lot of that, but do you see the team specifically in Denver growing more? Then say here in Singapore, where does that sort of next stage of growth in the team come from in particular?

David: [00:39:58] It’s still very Australian centric because all of our product and technology is built in Australia.

We have a small data team in DECA, but generally we’re going to keep building the product in Australia. We’re an Australian business and we do all about marketing and content driven out of here. So that will continue to grow and has been, but certainly the U S will grow because it’s such a big market for us.

Eventually Southeast Asia will become a huge market. There’ll be by next year there’ll be about 200 and the estimates are 205 million SMEs globally. 150 million of those are in Southeast Asia, but they’re more micro businesses and less mature in terms of digital. So it’s a future market for us, but in time it will be the major part of the market for us.

Jordan: [00:40:42] Yeah. And getting to that market. Is it about having on the ground presence? Is it about translation of product? To be 90 for that audience, or is it something else in particular?

David: [00:40:54] A little bit of everything, but certainly translation of product, and an adaptation of product, because those SMEs work differently to let’s call them more developed markets where they’re more rational and they’re thinking about digital marketing.

So there’s a lower level of maturity and even skills. That’s interesting like there’s 150 million SMEs by next year, across Southeast Asia, 97% of them have no ad or marketing technology. And there simply aren’t the skills to be able to solve that problem agencies or anywhere. So it is a technology solution that will only solve it.

Jordan: [00:41:29] So this is very interesting. I’m curious when, I guess you asked this in the AFR article, when does the idea of, I know that list. Is it part of the long-term story for Menergy, but where do you see that on the time horizon? Are there things that you want to knock off before that happens?

David: [00:41:47] Yes. I think that’s always the case, right?

It’s always a question of numbers. What is the right time? It’s a question of shareholders because you want to accommodate their requirement to reach a liquidity event. And it’s a question of what’s the right time for the product and business as well, because you do see a bit of control when you transition from.

Private to public and you become more, open to scrutiny, et cetera, I but that’s a natural evolution in the business, but the other core thing, and the reason why it is interesting. And I think it’s a traditional path perhaps, but we are building a whole bunch of product partnerships with organizations that we consider best in class.

We don’t own that technology. So there’s an element of risk for us. And the most of them are actually still small privates. So there’s an opportunity. If we were to lead with a rise, then we’d have a. A liquid script solution. We can consolidate those guys, give them, tenure and long-term plans for their business and take control of the IP and add the revenue. And everybody is a winner, right? So there’s benefit and logic in that for us as well, because we just risk.

Jordan: [00:42:48] That, that then I can see the longer term growth from listing is vertical integration is bringing on board these as part of the Metigy business and expand, things that Tesla and the likes have done really well.

David: [00:43:01] Yeah, totally. And the common sense for us, as I think, as an agency owner, you would understand like the issue off the back of doing in our row as calculations, et cetera, is that it’s still about connecting the MarTech. And most of our customers really struggle with that. So if you can help them connect that marketing stack and make it a consistent congruent experience, it’s a little bit like Salesforce, but for SMEs at an affordable logical scale, because you’re bringing all of those data sources into a recommendation engine and ultimately becoming truly agnostic a dollar on this channel.

Compared to a dollar on this channel, we’ll give you this much return. So there’s benefit in doing that. Not just because we’re solving a technical issue that frustrates our customer, but ultimately all that data into a recommendation engine is an incredibly powerful position to be in. So who were the people when you think about leaders in specifically MarTech and SAS, who do you really respect?

You have to, I think you have to be respectful. The HubSpot guys that built an incredible business. I’m not a lover of the product, but that’s a personal thing and I’m not an enterprise marketer, but I love what they do. They really made SAS in marketing technology, viable and global and logical.

So I think sprout social probably have done a bit more of a finessed approach to the product itself and they’ve got a pretty credible business. Who’d Sweden and I think more than just the CIO, but the early team at Hertz suite carved out the logic of what you could do. And maybe they’re just going to be confused and lost along the way, which is not a reflection because they were early in the market and made a bunch of decisions.

And then once you’ve done that, it’s hard to say. Move on to the next wave. There’s two or three guys in Albert IO, which isn’t as Riley group, which is doing what we’re doing for an enterprise. Customer really brilliant in terms of the way they’ve gone about building a product and, again, really able to see the AI opportunity in marketing technology early on.  and build a great business off the back of that.

Jordan: [00:45:03] There’s numerous questions that you get in a lot of these interviews. I, I was curious, what’s the question that you wish you got asked more, that you feel that you could talk about for ages or gets missed by a lot of people?

David: [00:45:16] I think a burning thing for, from my perspective is just the thought that MarTech product builders go through and the, just the entire sort of human centric, design philosophy. Because if you look at say I’m a lover of apple in many ways, I’m having. Frustrating experience with them at the moment, trying to get our app live.

But, that’s a big tick story that everybody’s got one of those, but generally I love the like they’re so set human centric with their design, and they’ve taught us all to expect that, the technology, you will adapt to the way we want to live and do things. Most business software doesn’t do that. It’s product design is deciding what experience you’re going to have and that’s what they deliver for you. So I really see an evolution in marketing technology and marketing software that becomes.

Yeah, the market is centric. Like we’ll let you work the way you want to work, not the way we make you work. And that’s a huge opportunity, I think. And I don’t see much happening in that or much talk about that in business software design. But to me, it’s just a. We were already moving towards that because it’s obvious that the consumers want to work a particular way and we’re being taught to expect that’s okay.

So we’re trying to move ahead of the curve, but nobody talks about that.

Jordan: [00:46:30] Yeah, that is interesting. When you think about most of the software and SaaS that we use, it is… it can be really complex. And particularly when you have to onboard, and this becomes a major feature of what you’re doing. It’s to be honest, a pain in the arm.

David: [00:46:47] And it’s all there, right? So we’re trying to do a solution. All the power is there, but only as you want to discover and use it, because if you’re learning how to market, you don’t need to let us actually just dang confusing. We want to do a few things well, and when you’ve mastered that, Hey, here’s a few more things that you could try and do that will improve your performance or extend the opportunities you have on a particular channel.

Do you want that new feature? Yes. Okay. Turn it on and away you go get giving the power back to the user to work at a pace that they want to work out in a way that they want. And even being able to do stuff non-linear right. When you create an ad, do you want to go 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, or do you want to just do three and come back and do one, two and four and five later, right?

Jordan: [00:47:29] Yeah. It’s a very good point. I’d never really thought about that. I don’t know why. I’ve. I’ve just, I’m thinking about an experience I’ve had in the last fortnight particular, not app, but system and. It’s a way it’s really complex and you have to intuitively get to know the platform itself. And each platform itself has its own quirk and you’re right.

I think apple has really made people, expect those little things. I want to jump into some rapid fire questions to finish things off. Okay. What does your morning and evening routine look like?

David: [00:48:03] Morning? I do a session with a personal trainer three days a week to try and stay fit then how that doesn’t always work, but, and then I’d try and get a swim in a coffee and then get into the day.

And light night is these days take entrepreneur calls to the UK calls to the U S at all hours. So it invariably is invaded by trying to run a global business.

Jordan: [00:48:23] Yeah. So daily call, do you ever get time to chill and watch Netflix or anything like that.

David: [00:48:29] I try and fit something in. It’s not as often as I would like, but you’ve got to find some time for yourself, or you in science? Yeah.

Jordan: [00:48:35] What have you been watching of late? What’s your pick of choice?  during the last year?

David: [00:48:41] really, oddly enough, enjoyed The Queen’s Gambit, but on Netflix. It was really clever. I’m not a chess player. I used to, but, know, I just enjoy the whole psychology of it and, women taking on men in that really, male environment. So yeah.

Jordan: [00:48:55] It was a good series. Very good series. Somehow I found I don’t know why, but I’ll be watching clips from ma I hate reality TV, but I don’t know what it is, but the permeation of maths being everywhere in the Zeitgeist is just, I can’t escape it at the moment. And my partner, she’s not into it either, it’s one of those things that we’ve found. So we’ve tried to find some TV shows to get away from it all. Last question for you. (What’s the) best purchase under $200?

David: [00:49:24] I fit a new fishing rod and not so much because it was a great fishing rod just, it’s got me out more with my son. We’ve been fishing a few more times. It’s those little things where you go oh, I bought him that for Christmas and I’ve got one and he’s eighteen so it’s still about finding stuff. He loves fishing. I love fishing. So we’ve just been out doing it more. A bit of brine, bit of flat head, bit of snapper and stuff. Never enough to Surat in Surat. So yeah.

Jordan: [00:49:50] I love seafood Greek island background, family loves seafood. I never got into fishing. I don’t know why, but I have many friends like, with the Greek background, they go fishing for squid at night. The Bay is like the thing. Yeah, absolutely. That’s huge. Yeah. It’s a massive thing.

David: [00:50:07] I would describe it as forced meditation.

Jordan: [00:50:10] It is actually when I think about it, like my hobby is bonsai and I find that more than anything, it just gets me off a screen for hours on end. But you can’t start a task when you’ve got a bonsai tree and it can’t, it’s never like a five minute thing. You’ve got to take a good hour plus need to do to fix it up. So labor of love. And it’s never ending as well. So you never done. And that’s what I need. Cause otherwise I just sit. I, if I can, I’ll just sit on emails or phone or whatever.

Very typic. David, thank you so much for coming in. Where can people find you and Metigy on the interwebs?

David: [00:50:46] It’s Metigy.com that’s pretty straight forward. Metigy.com. And best to reach me on LinkedIn David Fairfull and with two L’s. So hit me up there or David.fairfull@metigy.com.

Jordan: [00:50:58] Awesome. We’ll link all of those in the show notes as well. David, thanks for coming in.

David: [00:51:04] Thanks Jordan. Really enjoyed it. Have a great day.

Jordan: [00:51:08] Thank you so much for checking out this episode. If you do like it, please subscribe. And of course, if you’re watching the YouTube video as well, I we’d really appreciate that. You can also find out clips channel in the description for audio. If you’re not already listening, you can search uncommon on PocketCasts Spotify and apple podcasts quite easily. For video. If you’re not watching, you can search uncommon on YouTube at behind the scenes takes and clips on social media, then definitely check out at uncommon underscore. On Instagram, but otherwise look, thanks so much for tuning in and until next time, thanks for listening.

Daren: [00:51:54] You’ve just listened to forward-thinking again, I’m Daren and Metigy hopes we helped you find more insights and tips into your business. To find out more about Metigy and get a listener exclusive three month free trial. Visit us at Metigy.com/podcast. And while you’re there, go and check out some more episodes. With what you heard, please share a link to another business owner or marketer who you think could get something from this. Also, to help us out, it would be great if you left a five star review on your favorite podcast app. Last, never miss another episode by following or subscribing to us on your favorite podcast player.

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