Why marketing is like oxygen for your business, with Brendan Hill

Why marketing is like oxygen for your business, with Brendan Hill
Metigy Learning
After five years, one out of two businesses will fail. That’s 50%. And before ten years, that failure rate increases up to 70%. But why is this? One of the main reasons why businesses don’t perform well is because they don’t know how to market themselves. Marketing is the lifeblood of the business. Metigy’s head of content, Brendan Hill further digresses this in This Week In Marketing. Brendan Hill is not only employee number four of Metigy, but is an entrepreneur, angel investor and solo capitalist with 15 years of experience under his belt. Having had his own fair share in owning and running a business, he understands the struggles and speed bumps that marketing for your business has. Alongside the growth the several tech startups, Brendan also discusses with Daren Lake the valuable leverage Marketing AI can have on your business. 24:03

What you will learn in this episode:

  • What to focus on with your small marketing efforts
  • What Brendan wants to do for small businesses through their marketing efforts
  • The main problem Metigy wants to solve for SMEs
  • Why you shouldn’t be super hero syndrome
  • What AI can do for small businesses moving forward

Reach Brendan Hill 

Reach Brendan Hill 


Daren (00:04): Let’s talk about oxygen for a second. Oxygen is needed for respiration and release of energy in our blood. The body gets oxygen through breathing. No oxygen and, yeah, we all know what happens next.
Daren (00:18): Find out how similar marketing is to life blood for your small business on this episode of Forward Thinking. Hey everyone. I’m Daren Lake, the audio content manager here at Metigy. Welcome to Forward Thinking, a podcast by Metigy. Daren (00:34): In this series we speak with inspirational business owners, brands and marketing experts to learn from their experiences on the frontline and uncover what it takes to build a world-class business. Daren (00:48): Brendan is usually interviewing people on this Forward Thinking podcast series. So, I turn the tables on him. This is part three of a four part series about how Metigy and Elon Musk are disrupting the future of their industries.
Daren (01:03): Brendan is the Head of Content at Metigy and has over 15 years of marketing and business experience under his belt. He’s also an entrepreneur, angel investor and solo capitalist, who loves all things start-up, tech, and golden retrievers.
Daren (01:17): Here’s what you’ll learn. One, what to focus on with your small business marketing efforts. Two, what Brendan really wants to do for small businesses through their marketing efforts. Three, what problems Metigy needs to solve for small businesses. Four, why you should not be a superhero. Five, what A.I., artificial intelligence, can do for small businesses moving forward. And, much more.
Daren (01:39): Let’s get into it as I put Brendan in the hot seat and interview him, for a change.
Brendan (01:46): Hi, I’m Brendan, Head of Content at Metigy, and we’re building a defensible video-first content marketing strategy. We’re helping SMAs get better with their marketing. You know, I used to be a former small business owner myself and, I even had a four-year marketing degree and I remember everyday in my business was such a struggle to know what to focus on with my marketing, as well.
Brendan (02:15): And marketing, it’s really the lifeblood of any business. There’s a famous statistic out of Harvard. One out of every two businesses fail. And the number one reason is because they don’t know how to market themselves. So, having owned a small business myself, having seen the problem firsthand, I knew it was a big issue and our mission at Metigy is to not only help these small businesses survive, but also thrive, off the back of our marketing AI.
Daren (02:45): All right. I love it. I love that stat, the one out of every two. Brendan (02:49): One out of every two. It’s brutal.
Daren (02:51): Yeah. Marketing is a big problem for a lot people. Creatives, for instance, really suck at marketing. Myself included. I’ve become a marketer, through the years. You’ve literally answered like four questions with that one sum-up. I love it. But let’s dive a bit deeper.
Daren (03:10): Give me one sentence to sum up where Metigy is at now?
Brendan (03:15): If I had to describe where Metigy is at in one sentence, I’d say Metigy is at an inflection point. Daren (03:21): Ooh.
Brendan (03:21): We’ve just had 20 million dollars of funding. It’s really going to put the Elon Musk SpaceX boosters on our growth and getting us in front of more SMEs. Getting us in front of those one in two small businesses that fail within the first two years.
Brendan (03:40): And I guess our real mission at Metigy, especially with the content that I’m overseeing at the moment… You know, I want to go out, down the street in Sydney. I want to go to our other offices in Denver and Colorado and Singapore and in London, as well. I want to go down, I want to meet small businesses, and I want them to say, “Thanks to Metigy I now know how to market my business. I’m now getting 2 to 3X improvement every quarter just from using Metigy each month. I might be a novice marketer. I might be an expert marketer without time. That AI is helping me and my business get to that next level.”
Daren (04:19): So what is the one problem that Metigy needs to solve from SMEs. I know we’ve kind of tip-toed around it a bit. Do you think there is one problem? I know there’s probably a million. But if there was one problem. Obviously, it’s marketing, but what would you say within that umbrella of marketing is the problem.
Brendan (04:41): There’s many problems and, being a former small business owner myself, I had something that I called superhero syndrome. I wanted to do the accounting. I wanted to do the marketing. I wanted to do the customer support. But at the end of the day there’s only 24 hours in a day. Unless you’re Elon Musk, he seems to find a lot more hours in the day somehow.
Brendan (05:01): So for average, normal small business owners, that time pressure it’s a real thing. There’s an ancient start-up proverb, “Time is oxygen for your business.” We only have limited runways. We need to produce revenue. We need to get our marketing right and get our message in front of our customers. So the time pressure… you know Metigy has some fantastic solutions for that.
Brendan (05:29): It automates a lot of the processes, even mundane tasks, like posting across multiple social media platforms. We take care of that in one click. It tells you when to post, so you don’t have to experiment. Our best time AI tells you when to post your content. So you don’t need to run multi-variant tests, multiple A/B tests. We already know what works, when it works. So we can roll it out and get the results we need straight away.
Daren (05:59): Since we’re in the future, do you want to keep going into the future? Let’s talk about the future. I didn’t mean to go here this quickly, but we can go here. I wanted to talk about the past, but when an interview is going a certain way, you just let it go it’s way.
Daren (06:11): How does AI help SMEs, business owners, moving forward? And in particular, how does artificial intelligence help the marketing side of it?
Brendan (06:22): So there’s many layers how I think AI continues to develop each day, and it’s already helping marketers in many ways. We see that right inside the Metigy platform right now. We have some fantastic recommendations and our underlying core technology, that decision support artificial intelligence, so we can suggest the best path for marketers to take if they want to get more engagement on their posts, if they want to get more followers, if they want to get more brand recognition.
Brendan (06:54): We can break that up into granular step-by-step processes that they can take all inside the one Metigy platform. They don’t need to leave the ecosystem to achieve their marketing goals. So, it’s super exciting.
Brendan (07:06): We’ve got stuff like image artificial intelligence. We’ll actually be recommending what image to use in your social posts to get the most engagement and that’s based on some machine learning and really deep learning as well. Thousands and thousands, and even millions of images, that our artificial intelligence goes through and can make recommendations based on that.
Brendan (07:34): I think it’s just the tip of the iceberg, which is why it’s such an exciting time to be involved with Metigy and join Metigy to really get on the rocket ship, as I said, and really help us achieve our goal of becoming the ultimate SME marketing suite.
Daren (07:52): That’s really cool. I don’t know… Do you know of any other companies… I know you don’t want to talk about competitors too much, but do you know of any other companies that are using artificial intelligence to help marketers? Outside of Google and Facebook?
Brendan (08:06): Yeah, you’ve got the big platforms that obviously have pretty deep artificial intelligence embedded into their platforms. But the approach that we have taken at Metigy, there’s not too many people following us, so we are a bunch of SME marketers and we’re building software for SME marketers.
Brendan (08:24): So we’re really inside the ecosystem. We’re a user-centric company, we really understand our users pain points. So we can go away, develop this proprietary artificial intelligence technology that’s directly addressing our users pain points, come up with their solution and we’re becoming an integral part of small businesses’ technology stack, which is super exciting.
Daren (08:51): So we’re going to go back in time a bit. Back to when you started at Metigy, 2018, I think. Brendan (08:56): Yeah.
Daren (08:57): Tell me what your reason for coming on board with Metigy was. On board the rocket ship, that’s the whole metaphor we’re going with.
Brendan (09:06): Yeah so, I definitely hopped on the rocket ship in late 2018. Talking to David and Johnson, the two founders, they just had really massive vision and it was something that you really wanted to be a part of. They told the vision of Metigy with so much gravitas and really that inevitability of success, that Metigy was going to be the one tool that small businesses are going to use to be successful marketers.
Brendan (09:34): And you know, being a former small business owner myself, I just knew the challenges and the time constraints, the constant upscaling, because marketing platforms it’s changing everyday at such a fast-moving space. It’s hard to keep up while running your own business, as well.
Brendan (09:54): So, I just really was passionate about helping small businesses. That’s something that I had done in the past before and this was a great way to scale that up and help potentially millions of small businesses around the world with their marketing.
Daren (10:08): That’s a great and noble cause. What experience with content in the past has led you to where you are with Metigy? You were speaking about your previous business. Feel free to tell us the story of your previous business and you trying to do too much? That’s always, like you said, a problem of too many entrepreneurs. So yeah, feel free to story it up.
Brendan (10:32): Yeah, definitely. So I’ve been a massive football fan. So, the world game… Daren (10:37): Is that footie? Or soccer?
Brendan (10:40): That’s soccer.
Daren (10:40): Okay, because I’m American here. You might have some American listeners.
Brendan (10:43): Yes. MLS, I believe, in America. So…
Daren (10:46): There we go. Yes.
Brendan (10:47): Yeah, massive soccer fan my whole life. Played it growing up. Supported Sydney FC and the mighty Tottenham Hotspur Football Club. And yeah, I’d always been a big collector of sports memorabilia. So being in Australia, to get a signed, now… Harry Kane jersey. You know, Tottenham’s main star player, it’s a great way to remember the great players. It’s great to be parochial for your football team and display that and it’s really taking the memories off the pitch and putting it on your wall. You might have a signed jersey, for example.
Brendan (11:28): So I started a small business that was a marketplace for signed sports memorabilia and I grew that over a number of years and, as I mentioned, I did have a three-year marketing degree behind me. But, it was so hard to find the time to do the marketing, keep increasing week-on-week, quarter-on-quarter, and knowing what channels to use. Knowing what type of content to post. Hiring different marketers. Using different freelancers. There’s so much that goes into your marketing strategy.
Brendan (12:06): When I met David and Johnson and came across Metigy they were trying to do this in a simple way. One tool, to rule them all. It’s all inside that Metigy ecosystem. And that AI layer on top that’s just the crowning glory. I wish I had a tool like Metigy when I was running my business.
Daren (12:27): Yeah, don’t we all. You know, I’ve started a couple businesses and I’ve gotten lost in the mist, the vagueness of-
Brendan (12:36): I know.
Daren (12:37): “Use this marketing thing. Get on every single platform and do this and then do that.” And, “Oh, don’t post the same thing on every platform. Make it different.” So, yeah. I think a lot of business owners, small to medium enterprises, can totally relate with you.
Daren (12:52): Thank you Brendan, for that main part of the interview. I like to have fun with my podcast and do a bit quirky type stuff, so… I’ve got this new segment, this new section, it’s a lightning round. Quick, rapid response answer. Just give me one quick answer. A couple words, one tight sentence to the next few questions and we’ll wrap this up.
Brendan (13:17): Great.
Daren (13:18): You ready?
Brendan (13:18): Ready.
Daren (13:19): All right. Name one book slash movie slash YouTube video slash podcast course. Any sort of medium you know, content, because you’re a content creator, that is above all the rest, just one… that has helped you with your content creation in marketing.
Brendan (13:35): Mm…
Daren (13:37): Very big. This is an expansive question. This is a big one.
Brendan (13:40): Yeah. One piece. I think I might cheat a bit on this answer and say, the Tim Ferriss podcast. You know, he’s a master interviewer now. And the quality of guests that he gets on. So one week he could be talking to a marketing expert like Seth Godin, for example. He’s a big inspiration, I’ve read all his books and tried to really integrate a lot of his actionable advice into a lot of our content, as well.
Brendan (14:13): And then another week he might be talking to Bob Iger, the CEO of Disney, for example. And Bob Iger, in his recent book, “Ride of a Lifetime,” he talks about the value of content. So you know, they acquired Marvel for four billion dollars. They acquired Lucas Film for four billion dollars. And that was just to acquire their fantastic content. So it really speaks to how powerful content is in 2021 and beyond.
Brendan (14:47): And that’s what we’re really trying to do at Metigy, as well, and it’s a big inspiration. How can we build our own defensible content? How can we build a world like Disney have with the Marvel Cinematic Universe and the Star Wars Universe?
Brendan (15:03): So I like to call it our, I guess, our Metigy Content Universe. We have multiple podcasts. We have how-to articles. We have opinion pieces. We have videos that show marketers step-by-step what they need to do in their business to succeed. So I’d say there, using Tim Ferriss as a proxy, I’ve gained exposure to many fantastic marketers and content creators like Seth Godin and Bob Irga that have really inspired us at Metigy in the approach that we’re taking with our content.
Brendan (15:37): Because if you look at most tech start-ups, the usual route is raise a lot of money, go out and buy Facebook and Google ads, and it’s just a raise to the bottom at the end of the day. It’s not defensible. It’s not unique. Your customers aren’t going to get a good sense of your values and what you offer them as a company.
Brendan (15:58): So at Metigy we’re taking a different approach. As I said, we’re actually currently migrating to a video-first content company and what we’re doing, we’re creating unique content, not too dissimilar to what Disney is doing with Disney+ at the moment. And we’re getting this unique content in front of our massive group of forward-thinking marketers around the world. So they’re getting educated, they’re getting inspired, and now they’re using this in their real-life marketing, and getting great results. And if you couple what we’re doing with this great content, you couple that with our powerful AI layer, I’m just really really excited to see what we can do in the next three to four years.
Daren (16:45): Yeah, you have officially have gone way over the quick sentence answer. I like it, it’s okay. This is our podcast so we’ll take as much time as we need on the answers. You did touch on Disney and I didn’t mean to interrupt this flow of quick response but, I just read an article that I will send to you and- show note person please put this in the show notes… about Disney and Disney+ and how, within one year, I think they’re making more revenue than Netflix.
Brendan (17:21): Wow.
Daren (17:22): That is… they weren’t even ready for that and they actually have pivoted like, all hands on deck, to Disney+ now.
Brendan (17:32): Wow.
Daren (17:32): Which is almost like they should’ve done this three years ago, but obviously COVID and them not being able to release the big Blockbuster’s that they normally would to the theaters. That’s absolutely, frighteningly scary, but also like, “Wow!”
Daren (17:51): Even if you’re not in media content, it still goes to show that you can still pivot, internally, your business models and things that look like crises and catastrophes can also be blessings in disguise. Not to go on a COVID rant. We’ll tie this one up right here.
Daren (18:11): Let’s get to the next one. Favorite tool or suite for general productivity and organization. Brendan (18:17): I’m a massive Air Table fan.
Daren (18:22): They are not sponsoring us, by the way.
Brendan (18:23): No, no, but… I use them personally. We use Air Table inside the Metigy content team and the greater marketing team at Metigy as well. And what I really love about it is it’s so user-friendly, it’s very powerful, as well. So it’s got a lot of automation that you can build straight in. The UI is great. It’s great for planning. It’s got some great CRM functionality as well. A lot of drag-and-drop templates.
Brendan (18:54): So, it’s something that you can use straight out of the box and it’s a super powerful tool. It makes it simple and similar to what we’re trying to create at Metigy as well. Really powerful too, really easy to use, user-centric interface that can yield you some amazing results.
Daren (19:11): Least favorite social media marketing trend that you wish would end. If there is one.
Brendan (19:20): Wow. I’m not sure if it’s a social media trend, but it ties into the whole influencer movement, at the moment, as well. And I see a lot of small businesses fall into this trap. So they might be on YouTube, looking up a how-to video for their business and YouTube will target them with some business guru ads. They’re very well-made, these 15, 30 second YouTube pre-roll ads. They’re speaking straight to the small business owner’s pain points.
Brendan (19:54): But you really have to look at these people’s achievements, like have they actually built a big business? Why are they on YouTube if they’re so successful at building businesses? So I think business owners really have to be wary of where they get their educational content from. There is no barriers for anyone to get in front of their iPhone and make all these crazy claims. And you know YouTube is not really filtering any of these paid coursers that are charging a lot of money for.
Brendan (20:26): And that’s something that we really concentrate on in the Metigy learning ecosystem. All our articles, if they’re not written by one of our expert in-house marketers… We have a team of expert content writers around the globe, across six continents, and these guys are experts in their field. They might own a Google Ads agency and their writing Google Ads articles for us. So they’ve been on the frontline, they’ve got the battle scars, and they know what to do to make an article really actionable and valuable for our Metigy users.
Daren (21:04): That’s a good point. I’m seeing a lot of those YouTube videos and they do catch me with some of the pain points where I’m like, “Oh yeah, I do experience that.” And it ends up being a five minute ad and I watch the whole thing and then I’m like, “Should I click on this?” You know? I’m like, “Should I?”
Daren (21:17): All right, last question. If you had a crystal ball, because we’re all about the future here- Brendan (21:22): Yes.
Daren (21:22): Where do you see the digital and social media marketing industry in the next three to five years? Have fun with this, there’s no right or wrong answer.
Brendan (21:31): Well, I see video as continuing to be the dominant medium in all the digital marketing and I’m pretty interested to see where the deep fake technology is going as well. It’s already pretty advanced. Are we going to get personalized deep fake videos targeting us on different social media platforms?
Brendan (21:53): And you know, as there’s more and more data produced each day, the personalization of the marketing industry is just going to keep improving. Especially with the uptake of voice technology as well. We’re talking to Alexa, we’re talking to Google Home. Their gathering more and more data points on us. Amazon has the Alexa voice data. They have our purchasing buying behavior through Amazon Prime. They know what we’re watching on Prime Video.
Brendan (22:25): So the level of personalization, it’s going to increase and I’m looking forward to seeing how artificial intelligence and video really mesh together to really enable that trend.
Daren (22:38): Yeah me too, and you add in the layer of if AR, MR and VR… these Apple Glasses actually ever come out. I don’t know if you’ve seen “Ready Player One” or read the book.
Brendan (22:50): Yeah, I have. Daren (22:50): I’m really looking forward to The Oasis and VR. Yeah, it’s going to be an interesting future, for sure. Thank you, very much, Mr. Brendan Hill for-
Brendan (23:02): Thank you, Daren.
Daren (23:03): …coming on board and walking the 4.5 meters across the office to record this today. Brendan (23:09): It’s been good, looking forward to hearing the final episode.
Daren (23:15): From Metigy, 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 our more about Metigy and get a listener exclusive 3-month free trial, visit us at And while you’re there, go and check out some more episodes.
Daren (23:33): If you like 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 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. See you on the next episode.
marketing & artificial intelligence
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