How to Embrace GaryVee Style Marketing [According to James Orsini] Ep #22
Mark: Listeners, welcome back to the Content Callout. You've got Mark, here, thrilled to release an interview that I did with James Orsini who's the president of the Sasha Group which is part of the VaynerX Company. We did this ages ago and we never got around to releasing it because we were waiting for the right time for this new show, but now we get the opportunity to share the wisdom of James Orsini to the masses and we are so thrilled to that with you today. I think you're going to get a ton out of this. We'd appreciate it if you would share this with your friends, family and colleagues. Give us a shout out on social. Subscribe to it wherever you get podcasts, and then, obviously, if you can give us a review on Apple Podcasts we would certainly appreciate it. If you don't know who James is, then I really don't know what to tell you. You've basically been living under a marketing rock for a very long time, but once you get to know who he is, you'll start to understand why Gary chose him to run, as the operating officer, for VaynerMedia and now as the president for the Sasha Group. I really, really appreciate this guy's wisdom. You're going to get a ton out of this. Thank you so much. Enjoy. James, welcome to the Content Callout Podcast, man. Thank you so much for being on.
James Orsini: Thanks for having me here, Mark.
Mark: I'm so stoked to have this conversation because our entire business is based on, essentially, Gary V's pillar content model where we create one form of content that then gets blasted out onto different forms of content, and that content begets content, and now we're doing it for other people, and it's just turned into a rapid success, so shout out to what you guys are doing at the Sasha Group and at VaynerX, because I think, just, brilliant, brilliant stuff that's coming out of there. For the listeners who don't know about your role within Vayner and Sasha, what is it that you do?
James Orsini: I actually started as Gary's chief integration officer. I became his chief operation officer when his brother AJ retired about three years ago. Up until last year, I was part of the VaynerX family. This year, Gary decided to birth a new offering for small business. He said, " James, on the cover of Entrepreneur Magazine. I got six million followers and we built a company to service Fortune 500. I don't have a product for all these other people. Do you want something new?" I agreed, and he made me the president of the Sasha Group. We service businesses from one million to 100 million in revenue.
Mark: It's such an underserved market, man.
James Orsini: Oh, my God...
Mark: You guys must be crushing it, because no one does a great job for these guys.
James Orsini: We laugh because we had 4, 700 inquiries in the first 48 hours.
Mark: Whoa, that's no joke.
James Orsini: Mm- hmm( affirmative). Not people who visited the website, people who actually filled the form out to be serviced by the Sasha Group.
Mark: Insanely crosstalk...
James Orsini: Clearly, we brought them the A team in a space that's probably used to B players from C companies on the best day.
Mark: Yeah. You're talking to some of the fastest growing small and medium- sized businesses in the world, and you are creating these marketing campaigns that influence people to buy their stuff. What do you think goes into making you guys so successful at creating campaigns that influence that decision to buy?
James Orsini: I think it's good storytelling. We take the time to understand the entrepreneur's story and why they got behind the product that they did, what benefit they think it brings to the consumer, what role it plays in a greater ecosystem, and we work really hard to tell that story. As you know from Gary, people will consume compelling content regardless of the lens. It doesn't have to be a 30 or 60 second commercial. It could be a minute, 15 seconds, and if it's good content, they're consuming it.
Mark: Yeah, 100% correct. That's what our entire business is based off of, is based off of that model, but I think people haven't bought... Yes, you've had 4, 700 people inquire within 48 hours, and first of all, that's insane, but so many businesses just don't get it or they're not willing to take that plunge into doing something different. For me, it feels like it's a lot to do with fear about that exposure on social media and what that might mean. How do people deal with that and get over that?
James Orsini: We work hard in helping them to understand... The Sasha Group really has three pillars. One pillar is education, one is consulting, and one is the digital marketing. We take the time to educate them so they're actually a smarter consumer of our services, because how can you measure my success if you don't understand the landscape that we're about to market you against? Before we take their money, as most agencies would, right? Agencies have been into how fast can I get an AOR status and an annual contract. We run more like a consultancy and engage them in a small project, because, quite frankly when you have 4, 700 inquiries you can have some moxy and you can pick who you want to work with. It's a mutual dance here in either the educational process or the consulting process where it's a small project- type assignment. A few bucks change hands over a week or two and we get a feel for whether or not we want to enter this journey together for a longer period.
Mark: I love that. When you're going into these discussions, you mentioned something that I think is really important, especially at how rapidly the business is changing with social media, and now leveraging Tik Tok and stuff like that. How do you have those conversations to educate them? Do you guys have training programs that you put people through? Is there an education program? What is that?
James Orsini: We have something here which we call the four Ds. It runs like sort of a combination classroom, workshop- type set. Small groups of between 10 and 14 sit in a room at a time. Gary's in the room for an hour and a half, and think of it like a Zappos or Disney day in the life. They come in and see under the hood of VaynerMedia and get an understanding of how consumers consume content on the platform. We run them in our New York office, our London office, our LA office and our office in Chattanooga, Tennessee. We've had, probably, the better part of 400 or 500 people go through it already. Sometimes we do it in a more corporate environment, like if they have a large group of people, 50, 100, 200, could be franchisees, as an example, we take a version of it to them. Gary doesn't typically join us on the road, but if they have enough money to hire him as a keynote, they can. If not, we bring a keynote from the Vayner Speaker Series here. They pick, maybe, four modules that they want educational training on. Could be inaudible skills and voice, could be smart product, could be just general platform knowledge, an we rotate them through. Yeah, two different educational components that have worked well for us.
Mark: Love that, and I think the thing that really benefits your customers is that you're testing so much with Gary, and that business, now you can use all of those learnings across what you're doing as the Sasha Group.
James Orsini: It's the beauty of it. We don't ask anybody to do what we won't do for ourselves. Gary, right? He doesn't ask any of his followers or any of his clients to do what he hasn't already proven on himself. It's like shooting ducks in a bathtub. We know it works.
Mark: Shooting ducks in a bathtub.
James Orsini: Yeah, but it's inaudible, I serve it up, I know it works.
Mark: Oh, yes, and it's so true. If you were going to give a message to small and medium business owners right now who are considering changing, and many small and medium business owners don't market at all, where should they spend their money?
James Orsini: That's like asking me how long is a piece of string. What they need to understand is that there is a difference between branding and marketing, branding and immediate sales. Gary spent a lot of time on his personal brand which then gave him the credibility to have his own agency, but it was the brand that allowed the agency to birth. Once the brand is as strong as it is, then you could sell sneakers, you could sell win, you could buy an e- sports team, then the brand will carry. I think that's where some of these smaller businesses get it wrong. There's times where we're saying, " Listen, you need to brand to differentiate yourself in crowded space, and that's going to take a little while, so you better be in this for the long term." If you're telling us, " Hey, man, we just want to spike the sales. We're going to flip crosstalk..."
Mark: Yeah, " We just want to do a PBC campaign, run it, whatever."
James Orsini: Yeah, and then we do something different and it wouldn't necessarily be branding, so, inaudible backwards from the ask. What is it that you're trying to accomplish? Once you give me that prescription, then I can tell you how best to market to that end game.
Mark: Yes, okay, so you always start with the end in mind.
James Orsini: Absolutely. Yeah, we need to create brand awareness in the marketplace. Great, it's going to look like this. What do you need to do? I need more foot traffic at Bismarck, North Dakota. Great, this is what we're going to do. What do you need to do? I need to separate myself from three others that look exactly like me in the space.
Mark: Yeah. When we're thinking about that piece and how important brand is, a lot of people are hesitant to invest the money in that brand development, and it is, it's you playing that long game, but as long as you can point to the success of others like Gary and like Dave Meltzer and Jay Baer and those guys that have done it, you can show why that brand piece is so important. When you're having that conversation, do you bring those in as case studies or is that just part of the conversation?
James Orsini: We try to tell them that volume trumps perfection. In one of the previous examples that I gave you, Gary says the internet is limitless. Unlike television commercials when you only had 30 seconds or 60 seconds, it had to be perfect. We only have 30 seconds to tell this story, it has to be perfect, or when I was advertising in a print magazine. There's only 60 pages. My page has to look like art because there's only 60... The internet is limitless. Your job is to push out as much content as you possibly can and double down on the stuff that's working and pull away from the stuff that's not.
Mark: One of the things that I think a lot of people struggle with is that a lot of the analytics on the organic stuff that gets pushed out on these platforms has to be manual because the platforms just don't provide the analytics, so you have to have a decent math person to help you understand what's working and what's not working, correct?
James Orsini: Gary calls it math and art, got to have both sides of the brand. You got to have somebody who understands the math side of things and the analytics, very important, but you have to have somebody who can creatively stimulate, either through design or copywriting. A few people also realize the benefit of engaging in other people's content, commenting, reposting.
Mark: Yeah, so important.
James Orsini: Yeah, a lot of the algorithms that are in all these platforms are based on engagement.
Mark: Yes, 100% correct. This is the problem that I have with most people, is they'll put a post up and they'll say, " It's not working," and I'll say, " Yeah, because this is the only post you've posted in three months and you're not liking or commenting anyone else's stuff. That's why it's not working."
James Orsini: Yeah, and don't be afraid to share somebody else's stuff that's good.
Mark: Right, exactly, because it's only going to help you with your ranking in the algorithm.
James Orsini: Exactly, exactly.
Mark: Yeah, 100% correct. So many people are scared of doing LinkedIn work and really putting themselves out there on LinkedIn as a brand, as a company. What would you say to those people about the power of LinkedIn?
James Orsini: Look, if you are a remote follower of Gary, there isn't a day that goes by now that he's not commenting on LinkedIn, and realizing how great the organic reach is on that and really understanding... He made a comment the other day about Tik Tok and he was talking about buying land in New York City. He says, " Yeah, people think they discovered something early because they bought land in New York City in 1954. Well, Tik Tok is buying land in New York City in 1856." He's like, " That's how early that is in there." I think what happens, too, is I get a lot of, " I don't really have the time to post." I'm like, carve out a moment in time. What works for you? Could be 7: 30 at night. It doesn't matter, but start with saying, " Hey, a half hour a day, I am going to either post or engage in other people's content." I did a podcast yesterday and they asked me what does my day look like. They wanted to know from the moment I woke up. One of the things that I did say is, while having coffee in the morning I am checking Twitter for my news and LinkedIn for what's happening in my community, Instagram for what's happening in family and social circles. I get through all those before I step in the car to commute to work.
Mark: Love that, and you can, right? That's the thing, is it doesn't take a lot of time. Just start scrolling through your feed, liking on other people's stuff, commenting, finding the people that like on the things that you like, connecting with those people. It's not complicated. I think people make it more complicated than it has to be.
James Orsini: I'll tell you what else I do, which I find super rewarding, is I share relevant content through DM, so, direct message something that I believe is important for this other person to see, and what I get is the, " Oh, my God, he's so freaking inaudible. That's something that we talked about three weeks ago. He actually remembered that conversation and thought enough to share relevant content with me on that?" I pick up followers for life doing that.
Mark: Yep, 100% correct.
James Orsini: Yeah.
Mark: So true, and I think that it would shock a lot of people to know that the vast majority of conversations that are going on on social media are through DM, right? You don't see the vast majority of sharing because it's done behind the scenes.
James Orsini: It's done behind the scenes, yeah.
Mark: That's where all the value is, as well. If you're too scared to start commenting publicly, start sharing stuff privately, at least.
James Orsini: Absolutely, absolutely. I can't tell you how great access Gary has developed through the DM side of social media.
Mark: Awesome, love it. As we close off here, James, is there anything that you want to share with small and medium business owners about what to do with their marketing and how to improve it. If you could give them one piece of advice, what would it be?
James Orsini: I think, getting a clear understanding of the ROI and the measurement that success looks like is very important. Don't just spend your money. I think, what our clients are finding so refreshing is really twofold. One, " Hey, James, I got 300,000 to spend," and I'm like, " Yeah, we're not going to spend that yet. One, because you don't understand the environment in which I'm going to ask you to spend it, and two, your business card has three brands on it. I don't even know which one we're going to market against. You don't have enough money to market against all three."
James Orsini: Take the time to educate. Understanding the ROI of that and recognizing, too, that hear at the Sasha Group, our goal is to get you to outgrow us. We sit down and say, " Great. How fast can we get you to 100 million so we can push you down the block to VaynerMedia?" They find that so refreshing, like, " Oh, my God, this is all about me, not them as the agency." When I was at Saatchi, my goal was to keep you in the hallways for 40 years as Proctor& Gamble or General Mills. Here, it's, how fast can I push you out and throw you down the block?
Mark: Having that thought and that mindset in mind with our customers, I think, is so important. I think it really speaks volumes as to what kind of a company you guys run, which is customer- focused first. You guys are obsessive about your customer success, and I appreciate that as a business owner so much watching what you guys do, so thank you for doing all the things that you're doing. How do people follow you online?
James Orsini: I'm on Instagram, Snapchat and LinkedIn @ jamesorsini, and on twitter @jimmythepencil.
Mark: Awesome, love that. Thank you so much for being on, man. I really appreciate it. For the listeners and viewers, just so that you know, I'll link out to all these social profiles. Highly recommend that you check out other videos that James has been in. Obviously, I'm a massive fan of What Gary V is doing at VaynerMedia. Please follow that stuff online, too. Thanks so much again, James. I really appreciate it.
James Orsini: Great to be here, Mark. I hope your audience enjoys it.
Mark: Wow, just incredible wisdom from great James Orsini. Really, really enjoyed this. As I was re- listening to it months later now after we recorded, I remembered the feeling that I had when I was speaking to him. Every time I chat with him I get so much out of it, so much wisdom. Big takeaways for me are just the way that we look at storytelling and the way that we integrate storytelling into our marketing campaigns. I would love it if you would share this interview with your friends, family and colleagues. Share it on social. Talk about it on social. Tell me what you think. Do you agree with what James is saying? Do you not agree with what he's saying? Give us a rating on Apple Podcasts. We would certainly appreciate that. It helps us out a ton, preferably five stars, nudge, nudge, wink, wink, hint, hint, and subscribe to us wherever you get your podcasts, whether it's Google, Spotify, Stitcher, Apple Podcasts. Wherever you get it, we appreciate it. Thank you so much for listening in today. Have a great day.
How do you build and market a brand like GaryVee? How do you create marketing campaigns that influence the decision to buy? What’s the difference between branding and marketing? One of GaryVee’s right-hand guys—James Orsini—shares some savvy branding and marketing techniques in this episode of Content Callout. Check it out!
James started as Gary’s Chief Integration Officer and became his Chief Operating Officer. Up until 2019, he was part of VaynerX. This year, Gary launched The Sasha Group where James is now President. The Sasha Group serves businesses that make between $1 million to $100 million in revenue.
Outline of This Episode
- [1:55] James Role at VaynerX
- [3:04] Create marketing campaigns that influence
- [5:27] How to have educational conversations
- [7:32] The difference between branding and marketing
- [9:12] Invest money in brand development
- [11:27] Put yourself out there on LinkedIn
- [14:15] How to improve your marketing
- [15:45] How to connect with James Orsini
Resources & People Mentioned
Connect with James Orsini
- Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/jamesorsini/?hl=en
- Twitter: https://twitter.com/JimmyThePencil
- LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/james-orsini-4b1aaa7/