Connecting Digital Strategy to Financial Results

In this week’s The Faces of Business Episode, our guest speaker was Ken Novak. Ken is the Owner at HATCH Quantified. Before this, he was the Global Director, Digital Marketing and Ecommerce at Parker Hannifin. Ken uses his experience from agency and company digital strategy management roles to develop and implement digital strategies that rive revenue.  Ken helps companies develop digital strategies that drive financial results. 

Connecting digital strategies to financial results is indeed a sport of its own and the guest we had today knows that.

In this week’s The Faces of Business Episode, our guest speaker was Ken Novak. Ken is the Owner at HATCH Quantified. Before this, he was the Global Director, Digital Marketing and Ecommerce at Parker Hannifin. Ken uses his experience from agency and company digital strategy management roles to develop and implement digital strategies that rive revenue.  Ken helps companies develop digital strategies that drive financial results.

The conversation of the episode started with Damon asking Ken about his journey towards his role. Answering this, Ken said that he was an Ohio guy. He studied there all his life. During his study days, he found philosophy as a subject and fell for it. He said that this is when he studied rhetoric as a subject and realized its importance.

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Moreover, Ken also said that this is what he uses in all his sales as well. Additionally, according to him connecting digital strategies to financial results is not difficult if you use the correct approach for it. Ken said that first, he fell in love with philosophy, then with marketing, and then with digital marketing and this is how he works his way off.

After this, Damon asked Ken about his passion for his work. Responding to this, Ken said that as he grew up in a small city, he had no idea of what rhetoric was, however, when he was introduced to this subject he felt his life-changing.

Ken also mentioned that according to him life skills are a lot more important than we think. He said that having a college degree or education is also necessary, but life skills are what matter the most. After this, Damon asked Ken more about how to convert digital strategies to financial results.

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Furthermore, he also asked about the agencies that Ken has worked at. Answering this, Ken said that he spent the initial half of his career working at various agencies especially advertising ones. He worked with one agency that invented

Aside from this, he also got to work in other disciplines and then transitioned to b2b and ecommerce. Elaborating on this, Ken said that when he worked with agencies, he was applying strategies for certain results but he was not getting those results.

This is when Ken got confused because he did not get why they were not getting results even after applying various strategies. To answer this question Ken’s career went on a different spectrum and he found out that strategy is nothing without proper execution.

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Therefore, this is exactly what Ken wanted to apply at his company HATCH as well. According to ken, connecting digital strategies to financial results is only possible with proper execution.

The conversation ended with Damon thanking Ken for his time.

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Damon Pistulka, Ken Novak


Damon Pistulka  00:04

All right, everyone, welcome once again to the faces of business. I’m your host, Damon Pistulka. And with me today, I’ve got Ken Novak. Ken, how you doing today? Man?


Ken Novak  00:14

Damon, great to be here, buddy.


Damon Pistulka  00:16

Yeah, I’ve got to say Ken with hatch. quantified. That’s right. Yeah. Sometimes I screw this up. It’s like someone asked me at the end. Who was on next Eva? Hell, I don’t know, sometimes


Ken Novak  00:28

I’m David. It’s fine.


Damon Pistulka  00:29

Yeah, there you go. Good. Good. Good, good. No, that’s awesome, dude. Well, I’m glad glad to get you on cam. Because, you know, the first time I saw your I forget where we met on LinkedIn and how we did it, but I saw your profile. And it says, I help you grow revenue and avoid costs with digital investment by tracking to financial KPIs. And I was like, boom, I got to talk to this guy.

Because, you know, if you’re running businesses, I think this is one of the biggest questions as an executive is like, Okay, if I spend this money, how the hell do I really understand if it’s doing any good? That’s right. So it’s gonna be cool to talk about this a little bit. And learn a little bit more about your your background can. So as we normally do here, let’s start off with your background. Tell us a little bit about about college growing up, whatever and then kind of kind of your, your journey to where you are today.


Ken Novak  01:31

Yeah, great. Grew up in Cleveland. Right before we went live. We’re talking a little football. I’m a tortured Browns fan, Damon. My entire life. I’m tired of this. I want one Super Bowl one. One, which you know what?


Damon Pistulka  01:44

I gotta tell you. I really like that Baker Mayfield kid. I think I mean, personalized. Maybe he’s not the best player I don’t even know. But the commercials he does on TV are so darn funny. He just gotta you just gotta like him.


Ken Novak  01:58

I want a winner. Just give me a winner. Yeah, that’s what I’m looking for. I grew up in Cleveland. I’m an Ohio guy. went to Ohio State. I’m a Buckeye to the Ohio State. Ohio State. Thanks for that. Right. And in. At Ohio State, I got introduced to something I never really was introduced before it was philosophy. Yeah. And I know that you’re, you like to wax philosophic yourself. So we can we can talk about some of the philosophy upbringing I had. But long story short is my my degree actually was from, had a grandmother got sick, moved back closer to home.

And what Kent offered me was a degree in rhetoric that was founded in my in the undergrad learnings I had at Ohio State. Yeah. So here’s how I talk about rhetoric. And this is really important for sales and marketing and business. Okay. Rhetoric is the Greek art of persuasion. Right? So it’s an orchestrator carefully crafting a select group of words in hopes that they can that the audience that they’re talking to will take action, the one that the orator wants, that’s rhetoric. So how I tell the story is, that’s a pretty good proxy for sales and marketing. Yeah.


Damon Pistulka  03:16

Yeah, exactly. Well, in


Ken Novak  03:19

school, I got introduced to philosophy and argumentation and in rhetoric and in some of the underpinnings of, of ancient philosophies, and then I got into marketing, I fell in love with digital. And when I was getting out of college, there weren’t really any websites. For your listeners, check out the Wayback Machine, the wayback,, check that up. It’s a publicly archive, available of old websites, and go check out Google’s original website and some of the ones back in the day like MySpace and

Right? You can actually go back in time, even for your own corporation. Some of the larger ones, you’ll find out what your website’s used to look like. Right? Wow. So talking about sales and marketing and how you’re really just trying to appeal to an audience so that they’ll take an action. The digital space has unparalleled business opportunities to ensure profitability, digital, inherently you have data collection, you have different channels that customers are seeking and engaging different brands, products and solutions. All of it can be measured, because it has to be measured. Every executive wants to know this, so we’ve got plenty to talk about. Yeah, that’s the background.


Damon Pistulka  04:38

So So when Okay, so you want to cut we went to free couple well known schools there. So which one did you like better?


Ken Novak  04:50

Wow. Well, they’re completely different, right? Oh, hi. Oh, Stan.


Damon Pistulka  04:55

Oh, you froze up for a second. Both Parsi so when I asked the test Question you froze up there. So so what? Which one did you like better? Because Yeah, gotta get it on camera dude.


Ken Novak  05:08

Reasons football at Ohio State, the Ohio State, there’s nothing like that, right? Yeah, lost in the shuffle I’ll see I was in classrooms that were filled with 300 people with a person down in a little stage with back in the day of transparencies and right, a different experience versus Kent, which is much smaller. Everybody gets to know you one way or another, right. So at the end of the day, I have great memories of both.

But my time at Kent is where I really got into rhetoric. And you know what, that’s actually it was a turning point in my collegiate career too, because I found myself in an Honor Society, which wasn’t really a part of that community growing up, but I was I found myself as a member of something called lambda pi Ada, which believe it or not, there’s a national fraternity for rhetoricians, and I love to be a part of that community.


Damon Pistulka  06:00

Yeah, that’s cool. That’s cool. Well, it’s, it’s interesting when you when you think about that, and the differences in the colleges and, and even when they’re, you know, closely, geographically like that, and not so far away, and, and the other things that you really remember about the college, that’s for sure. That’s cool. So that so I got it, I just got a you don’t hear about many people going into rhetoric. I mean, what really what really was like, Wow, this would be interesting, or this is what I want to do.


Ken Novak  06:34

It was really, it was an interesting point in my life, because, I mean, I grew up in a small city called Euclid, which is a suburb of Cleveland. Right? And in living in, in that city, I mean, it everyone kind of looked and talked to like, by and large, right. And when I went to Ohio State, I mean, it was a real shock to the CNS of my DNA, right?

Yeah, the acronyms. But I got into it because a light bulb went off. I found a passion around something that I was never exposed to before. But it’s because it actually went back to one class. I can tell you what it was. I took a class at Ohio State and a moralism. Okay, in my mind exploded. I never was, I mean, I’ve just there’s IQ and EQ. Yeah, there’s a lot of things that in the EQ side of my brain, I just didn’t get much exposure to, or knowledge around. And it peaks something really important to me that really stayed with me and is really core to who I’ve become today.


Damon Pistulka  07:42

That’s cool. That’s cool. It’s cool to hear about it. Because there are these these different inflection points that you that you really run into. It’s like, I remember, I had no idea I was going to go to school for engineering, I had no idea honestly, God, I you know, I grew up on a farm, I went to went to the school and my counselor at school because I came from a very small town. And it’s my college concert goers, we came from a farm, you should go into agriculture. And I was in the first semester and I’m like, Dude, this isn’t for me. And my roommate was actually an engineering like, oh, that sounds kind of cool.

And I started doing it. And, and, and, of course, subsequently, my roommate dropped out, which is funny, dropped out, not not out of engineering, but But I stayed in it and and I hit a class, I can still remember the class, it was like design materials or something like that, or metallurgy, one of those in that second year, where I was just like, this is really what I like, I really liked this stuff. And it’s it was super interesting to me at the point. And by the time I, I got done, I was just like, this is just where I want to be. So that’s cool. That’s cool. Hey, remember that stuff?


Ken Novak  08:55

When you get exposed to something? And this is I mean, that’s one of those life philosophies. And we’re gonna wax philosophical for a second. Yeah, life skills are more important than a lot of the education knowledge that we attain over the course of our collegiate careers or Yeah, and life skills. That means so much more. And one of those life skills, I’ve got two daughters, one of the things I’ve really tried to instill in them is try new stuff. Yeah, you’re never going to know or uncover a passion of yours that makes you happy. Unless you try it out. Give it a shot.


Damon Pistulka  09:30

Mm hmm. That’s for sure. And when you talk about that, I really, this is huge. To me. There’s there’s a, you know, an education is is cool for some people, for other people. It’s not and that in the whole scheme of things is not necessary decider of success, decider of good person, decider of compassion, empathy, any of those kinds of things.

It’s just it’s just a piece of it. of you is all it is, but oh man I can tell we’re gonna go down the slippery slope aren’t we will get there in a little bit. So you started out your career rhetoric. We talked about that summit. Yeah, college got out with that. And then you started with some digital agency work. So you’re moved out and doing some marketing. So what really did you learn from working in the agencies that you liked? Didn’t like those different kinds


Ken Novak  10:21

of things? Yeah. So the front half of my career, I mean, the way that I tell my career stories, the front half of my career, I was global digital strategy guy working inside of agencies, my career actually started at the advertising agency that founded Okay, so the, the original digital Foundation was cultivated in a digitally centric organization, and there was no better career experience I’ve had, then starting there, and I got a really deep understanding and, and training in employment, communications, HR, talent acquisition candidate experience.

And eventually, what I ended up doing is I transitioned out of the employment space, and I went to CPG and b2b e commerce, if you will, right. Yeah. And it was a really great way to start to, to round out my skills and my knowledge and my experience.

And it was a different set of problems for a different set of organizations with a different set of people and a different set of technologies. And, and, and so the, the front half of my career was all consulting. And then I hit a point in my career development, where it was really unfulfilling to me to be quite honest, Damon, but it was, it had nothing to do with the agencies I was working for. But the process, the process was on fulfilling because sometimes you’re working a couple years, developing what you know, is bang on strategy for a client, right? Yeah.

And what happens and why it was unfulfilling is that the execution of the strategy that you’re creating, is reliant upon the people process and technologies of clients, and determine what comes out the other side of that process more often than not, didn’t always look like what the strategy was meant to be. Yeah. And I didn’t get it. I couldn’t understand. Why couldn’t we make this strategy come to life? So I left the agency business. And Damon, I went to the complete antithesis of the career spectrum. I went to 100 year old man global manufacturing company. Yeah, work. I didn’t global digital.

It was the execution of good strategy, though. So I wrote it out my my career experience, for the second half of my career, doing digital ops, I was a hiring manager, I built a team had responsibility for E commerce and digital design, customer research, anything search related, but it was the execution, it was the opposite of strategy. And I fell in love with that, too. And that leads me to hedge because what I’ve created with hedge is clients, businesses, executives, strategy is meaningless. Without execution, prove it. Get the opposite of executing to make it better, but prove it. Yeah, we do with hatch.


Damon Pistulka  13:24

Yeah. Yeah. This is awesome. Because I think really, there’s some questions I want to ask about the the places and things like that. But then I want to get into this execution piece. Because it’s, it’s, it’s the foundation of our business as well. Because I do think that the, you know, it’s like boxer, Mike Tyson says, you know, the best many plans are fine until you get smacked in the face. And it’s so true.

It’s so true, because because, you know, you can set as an agency person or strategy development person and build this, this wonderful strategy, then then turn it over to somebody that changes the basic philosophy of what you were doing, because they don’t agree with it, and it flops. That’s right. And or they can’t consistently do what they needed to do to execute that strategy. Because the consistency was core to the strategy or something like that. So back it back at in early in your career in the consulting so you so you’re actually working as was ramping up and all that was going


Ken Novak  14:29

and so I started in the early 2000s monster was already a thing, but it was still going. Eventually when monster became the dominant brand. In the the was a publicly traded organization agency. And when when monster became the dominant brand, the agency spun out and what private, but it was a phenomenal experience and the people and the knowledge and the skills were unparalleled. It was a Yeah,


Damon Pistulka  14:58

I mean, what were some of the challenges As you were trying to solve their overall with with monster I mean, because because it was I trying to remember, now there really wasn’t anything like


Ken Novak  15:09

it that at the time though, it was a job board, right? Yeah, yeah. And then come around and Career Builder and right. It was a place for organizations to post job openings. But the challenges that we were solving for organizations were how to get better, more better quality candidates. Right. Yeah. That’s ultimately what the business objective was. And you have to leverage a lot of different tools and channels in candidate acquisition, right. Monster job boards was one of them. What about your website? Right. What about your career website?

And part of the in this is the interesting thing to Damon, is the stuff that I was talking about back in the early parts of my career. Damon, a lot of it hasn’t changed. Yeah, it’s crazy to me, the challenges and the friction that organizations put in front of candidates that they’re trying to get to know they’re trying to date them. And they just put up roadblock after roadblock in front of them, that keeps them the candidates from performing a meaningful business action that you as a business owner, want them to perform, which is get the resume, they’re coming to your organization to find a job, get the resume.


Damon Pistulka  16:31

That now let’s just stop right there. Because you are you’re hitting on some of the things that I mean, I’ve been talking about this for a year plus now really hard because this one thing that you’re saying, could make a big difference by Do you have a place where someone can submit a resume? Do you have your open jobs? Just listen on your website? Do you talk about benefits? Anything? Like just something simple? I mean, not nothing? And and I bet a lot of people that are listening to this right now? Don’t have that?


Ken Novak  17:01

Yeah, well, and what was really fascinating to me in that in that experience that I was creating at the time was there’s a direct correlation between profitability of an organization and happiness of employees, just like there’s a direct correlation in the profitability of an organization and a reduction in recruiting costs. Damon is the amount of money that companies spend, not just with headhunters and job boards and and those kinds of fixed costs. What about the what about the lack of productivity of the workforce?

What about those costs, because the longer that you you’re, you have lower talent or open roles sitting open longer. Yep, organization is not as profitable and productive as what it needs to be. So the one of the stances for salaried workers, you can expect anywhere from 100 to 200% cost to your organization to refill a role. One to 2%. That’s the cost to you. When you’re looking at a workforce that is turning turning over at scale these days,


Damon Pistulka  18:20

that hurts your bottom line. Yeah, significant, significant and the costs, not not just this 100 to 200%. But the costs are not just in dollars lost productivity, not things not getting completed anymore. The costs are to hire those people. Now you have to have specialists that know how to market just to find people. It’s just, it’s just so much different than it ever was before to find good candidates.



That’s right. That’s crazy.


Damon Pistulka  18:52

That’s crazy. So what was when you look at something like that and look at obviously a big digital company, what were some of the things that you were going Why would have never thought as a digital company, we had to solve that.


Ken Novak  19:07

I’ll give you I’ll give you a layup. And I’m going to talk about career sites again, Damon, career websites for corporations when a candidate comes to your site, and they have that upload button that the candidate has the ready made, carefully crafted and worded PDF or Word document if you will, when they hit that upload button, and they send it over. Thank you for your time. Move on. If I send another career website demon that after my upload, the next screen I see as a candidate are asking me to fill out all of the same fields that are in my resume and stop it. Stop it now. Please know that is something that I never thought I would have to continue to run up against even today.


Damon Pistulka  19:58

Yeah, That’s, that’s such a relevant, simple. And it turns out how many people if you didn’t fill out those for the fields to get your resume submitted, how many people are not going to do that? I mean, you can’t even get, you can’t even hardly get people to fill out a form for, you know, to win a million dollars on. Joe, it’d be crazy.


Ken Novak  20:25

Yep. Yep, don’t get in their way. And that’s what a lot of this comes down to. And what I started seeing over the course of my career is that Daymond, there’s direct parallels between the challenges and friction points of a candidate applying for a job, very direct mirrors of challenges of the effectiveness of your E commerce site, customer who want to come to your site and find a product and check out is the exact same challenge that you’re facing, with candidates coming your job, coming to your website to find a job and apply UX and usability friction that you put up in front of them.

It hurts conversion. And when you hurt conversion, you’re hemorrhaging money. You’re leveraging opportunity.


Damon Pistulka  21:13

Yes, yeah. Yeah, cuz you’re an E commerce that conversion, you know, if you can bump that up double Yeah, you don’t have to bring more people. He just let him buy. That’s right. That’s right. Let him buy. So this is this is really cool. I and honestly, I didn’t plan it. But this is working out? Well, because you were working for a fairly significant b2b brand. They’re in the industrial space. And they’re kind of products I got to believe are a lot of different variations of products, longer, shorter, bigger, smaller, all kinds of stuff.

Now, people that don’t know much about e commerce when you’re trying to sell that stuff online. Just Just take bolts, for example. A quarter inch bolt, you know, comes in how many different thread pitches? And yeah, that’s right. finishes and links. How the heck do you present those kinds of things easily for people to find what they want? Yeah. So tell us about some of the challenges and what you really learn when you’re working for, for this, this global brand, helping them build out their ecommerce?


Ken Novak  22:20

Yeah. So again, go on the Wayback Machine, you can look at some of these old websites, and you’ll see a vast improvement in a lot of this stuff. Right? And in b2b and industrial, which I know a lot of your audiences. Yeah, part of that community is that there’s a lot of really common challenges across the entire space, that are really due to the inherent complexity of b2b Right? Yes, b2b and b2c? Sure there’s some overlap between them. But the business complexity of b2b is very different. And that’s where you get into some really tricky situations, dealing with things like distributors and channel conflict.


For instance, I’m against that, how do I how do I modify or improve my now decades old commercial model, which is belly to belly? And now I’m introducing a brand new channel where customers are looking to find product? What does that mean to my commercial model? And one of the things that I try to educate our organizations on is it’s not a conflict. It isn’t a conflict of your commercial model. It’s an extension. It’s a compliment. Yes, of your commercial model. It just happens to be engaging customers in a channel that they prefer. You got to do there.


Damon Pistulka  23:41

Exactly, exactly. And I just want to take a second here at Kenneth’s. Thanks so much for stopping by candidates to the listener often good, good guy. And Michelle gun out of Houston. Thanks so much, Michelle, for stopping by. Yep, we’re gonna talk a little college, little football, little bit of marketing. Michelle’s very, very knowledgeable when it comes to to selling and sales, that’s for sure.

So yeah, this is something that I’ve talked and I need to if you haven’t been introduced to Chris Harrington, I need to introduce you to Chris Harrington because Chris and I are good buddies. Yeah, Gen alpha, the Gen alpha because you’re just talking you’re speaking my language because when you heard I get out it’s like oh yeah, cuz you all these things you know run through because you’re right.

That and this is this is where my my whole premise for a lot of this it looks like guys that got hair like me or gals that got hair that’s a little more my color. This people that are we look at it, we go, Hey, we used to do business like this face to face. We’re doing business, right? People that are buying now, buying the kind of products you’re talking about b2b products. Yep. Are in their 30s and 40s. Come on, let’s be real for the vast majority people they buy from Amazon They buy they buy from they buy ecommerce all day long for their personal needs. They buy their cars on Amazon, not everybody, of course, but a vast majority, their use that convenience.

Now, do they? Do they reach out if they need technical help or something? Yes, you have to be able to do that. But when you can, when you can sell ecommerce and provide the the belly to belly support, like you said, or sales where that’s where that’s appropriate or is desired by the customer, you have a much more robust model. That’s much, it’s just it works. Because you, just like you said, you’re selling it the way that you’re letting the customers by the way they want to buy.


Ken Novak  25:42

That’s right. That’s right. And at the end of the day, that’s what all of this comes down to. And that’s what I’ve created with hatches, looking backwards over both have the soul of those of that career that I just mentioned, yeah, you got a different way to do this. And ultimately, there’s a buzzword that everyone likes to talk about digital transformation. Everybody uses it, but nobody really knows what it means, right?

So what it really means it’s not ecommerce, it’s not in here’s what I say. Digital Transformation is not about technology. It’s about people, the people and the humans of your business. So the approach I take now is simply forget about the technology for a minute. How do you humanize the experiences of these people, so that they convert into meaningful business events that they want to accomplish? And you want them to do to?


Damon Pistulka  26:39

Well, I just think we should sit and listen about that. Listen to that. Just think that over for a second and playing it back in my head, because you’re right. You’re just trying to humanize this into the the event that gives them what they need, and gives you what you desire to.


Ken Novak  26:54

That’s it. And that’s where a lot of this marketing comes into play. Right? I mean, talk about marketing buzzwords, like personas, and journey maps and all of that. But at the end of the day, the one of the main premises of marketing is simply know your audience, I’m going to go back to that rhetoric. Yeah, he had, right know your audience? Well, you’re gonna have multiple audiences in in the industrial space. Let’s let’s, let’s peel the onion back a couple layers, right? In the industrial space, will talk about two primary sets of humans, engineers, right?

Yeah, the ones that are doing one of two functions, which is backing a part number into the design, Mm hmm. Or in the aftermarket, the person has to go fix the thing that just broke. Right? In those cases, those two different types of engineers with two different day to day realities are both coming to your manufacturing website or your distributors website to find a product. And they do it one of two ways. They either navigate down your product categorization, or they hit search.

They do both. But the point is, they’re coming there to for a very specific reason. And they one of the things I like to talk to organizations about especially in industrial, you have to have a utilitarian approach to the website, get them in and get them out.

You want to stick around too long. They want to get there they want to find the partner, the engineer that wants to spec you in once the part number, given the part numbers. That same organization is going to have a different person come to your website, which might be procurement, two different needs two different functions. You gotta you have to build experiences for both different functionality, but what you keyed in on for the bolt example, attributes, attributes, attributes. That’s what engineers need. And if you don’t have good product content, and attributes for your products, good luck.


Damon Pistulka  29:00

Let’s just Let’s just hold that thought for a second because that is that is where I think it’s like people are living in the stone age’s. Sometimes when they think you’re going to be able to sell things ecommerce, you don’t have your product attributes sound really good. Because otherwise, how the heck are you going to tell your systems how to show the right things when you need it? How are you going to let people search? I mean, there’s so many things that you can’t do if you don’t have your product attributes sound.


Ken Novak  29:28

That’s right. What you mentioned before is the the generational differences of today’s b2b buyers. Going back to my monster days, is I got a lot of good foundational training in the differences of generations. And what I thought was interesting is a sequence of of generations going from small to large, right? The Greatest Generation went away to fight the war. Right? And when they came back what they do, they made a bunch of babies born right Greatest Generation boomers, Xers, maybe? Yeah. Smaller. It raises again with the millennials. Right? And those millennials and what’s happening over the course of time those generations are phasing out of the workforce?

Well, as we all know, the boomers are the ones that are currently phasing out. Right. So it’s really important to think about is that the majority of your buyers, today, are the ones that have really high expectations digitally, that you’re probably not hitting their mark, because the buyers coming in in industrial shopping experience today, their expectations are defined when they have their consumer hat on. Mm hmm. Your website has to provide the same sort of reduced friction that they’ve come to expect. Because if you put friction in front of them, they’ll go someplace else.


Damon Pistulka  30:54

Yes. Yes. 100%. So you see many companies getting it?


Ken Novak  31:04

You know what, the one? Great question, by the way, because in certain industries, there’s a lot of older mentalities, if you will, right. But regardless of the current state of any organization, in any industry, the ones that get it right, have good leaders, leaders of the organizations, they’re the ones that drive strategy and execution priorities within the organization to manage it to become most profitable, the organizations that are doing it right, or have executive leaders that get it and know that they have to fix it. That’s the one commonality.


Damon Pistulka  31:50

Yep, get it and know they have to fix it. That’s right. Yeah, because that I feel like there’s a lot of companies that are dying a slow death, and they don’t realize it. And it just, it happens in an almost crazy manner, sometimes, because you’ll see a company and they’re doing great, and they might just, you know, take a little bit of the shine off. They’re not quite doing as great as they were one day.

And then the next thing you know, there’s somebody that’s got 25% of the market share that they once owned. And they came out of nowhere, because they were, you know, they did it differently, or they did you know, whatever. Yeah. And that’s, that’s what I think has happened to a lot of these especially larger, more successful companies, because they, you know, you can defend it. I mean, you can defend it just like, hey, this is this, this is that for quite a while. Sure. Till until it’s just, well, I guess we’re wrong on this is an AMI really is here and the waters waist deep.


Ken Novak  32:49

That’s right. Well, in your you’re putting a big spotlight on something that’s really important here, because why don’t organizations change? Why is it so hard to do that? Yeah, tell you why. It goes back to some of that philosophy background I have, because psychology is a major portion of this conversation. Change is hard.

The human brain is hardwired, to protect the body, right? And think about what happens if you’re going into an organization, and you have to change everything. What do you think happens to the people that organization, you get that not so good feeling in your belly? Right? Yeah, it’s an anxiety, it’s an anxiety that your body ramps up on because I don’t this guy’s talking about. I don’t know what that even means, right. And there’s a lot of so to pivot in organization. And to transform. This is the hard part. But it’s a reality. You have to change from the inside out to mirror the buying processes, and experiences of people on the outside in.

So when I talk about them as humans, a business, employees, customers and candidates, at the end of the day, when you have happy people of your business, the profitability and the financial outcomes you seek are a natural byproduct, but the employees of it of your organization, to your most valuable asset. And if you have bad experiences for candidates and customers, who’s the one holding the bag? Yeah. And it just sucks out engagement and productivity from the workforce. You got to fix the experiences of the people on the outside, but you have to change most importantly, your internal processes and philosophies inside. And that’s hard.


Damon Pistulka  34:42

Yeah, it is because you have to be open enough to ask the hard questions and go it art is the way we’re doing it really effective anymore,


Ken Novak  34:50

right? That’s right. That’s right. And who wants to answer that question? If you if you’re afraid the answer is bad. No one even wants to ask the question. For the same reason, yeah, it does go back to psychology. And it certainly applies to executives. I mean, I just saw an interesting stat to Daymond, that this whole great resignation or whatever you want to call it, by the way, we got to stop calling quitting by the way.

We today on your show, Damon, let’s start a movement to stop calling it quitting. Quitting is a negative, dirty word, knock it off. Four and a half million people in November Damon prioritize their life happiness. Here’s the interesting stat. C suite executives are affected by it too, for the exact same reason. And it goes back to the psychology of the person. Right. And since I believe it was since May of 2021. The number of quits or C suite executives that have prioritize their life happiness is more than doubled. So yeah, it affects them too.


Damon Pistulka  35:57

Yeah. Oh, I did not realize that. But it it affects everyone. Sure. It did us this is. And it’s not. Yeah. I got to think about that a little bit. Because it that’s just it’s staggering, really, when you think about what’s happening now. And on the other side of it, what we can do to prevent a lot of the people re adjust or adjusting their, their lifestyle differently.


Ken Novak  36:30

That’s right. Yeah. As leaders. That’s right. I’m going to be doing a webinar with era tomorrow, actually. And part of it is going to be talking to organizations about how to win in this current labor market. Because this is crazy. I mean, this is nuts. Two thirds of all employees are looking for a new job.


Damon Pistulka  36:49

Yeah, well, there’s two thirds, oh, my goodness. Well, it’s it. You know, if you’re an employee, and you’re not happy where you’re at, this is the best time you’ve ever had, you know, in the, in the, I can’t remember a time when you you were able to actually switch and move to a different job. A different job. That might be where you had to go to an office, that might have been a horrible commute that now I could get a remote job.


Ken Novak  37:13

That’s right. That’s right. And that within itself, Damon is the biggest shift in all of this is that the power that used to be with the employers, most importantly, the employers that were in a half hour drive of people that lived in that locale. It’s off the table. Right? There is nothing you’re in, you’re in Seattle, right? Yes, yeah, here I am in Sydney in Cleveland, there is no shortage of opportunities for digital people in the Seattle market.

And there’s no reason why that a lot of these forward leaning organizations that have put in place, employee programs that are important to them to give them that flexibility between work and life and, and, and working digitally remote elsewhere. They’re recruiting people across the country. So a lot of these people that are leaving organizations, the biggest change here is that the power sits with talent. For the first time in history. Talent has the power. And it’s largely because I’ve been relegated to the employers that are within a half hour drive, I can go work anywhere.


Damon Pistulka  38:21

Now, I think that this You’re 100%, right. And I get excited about this. Because in the areas where the talent pool of people that can work digitally, is limited. This has opened the world.

And it really has changed the game for people I guess it gets me excited, because if I was if I was in the middle of Montana, with a big company and I had struggled with, you know, sub 1% employment, I would be figuring out how to remote every single person I could and figure out how I could get the best people from across North America, United States, wherever the heck I wanted to hire him and figure out how to do that. Because you have given these people that are forward thinkers, these leaders on on precedented labor or talent pool so that they can tap into and I just think that’s super exciting.


Ken Novak  39:26

I couldn’t agree more. There’s so many good benefits that are coming out of this. In fact, the state of New York just passed a new law that job postings have to state the salary. Okay, that level of transparency is only because of the shift in the power that is now happening with employees and talent. Hmm, great. Now we’re gonna get some some of the more perplexing challenges in the employment space like salary equity, and die, right.

These are all things that are increasing doubly important to culture, and employees. And it’s really put a lot of downward pressure on organizations to change how they operate, change, how they, what is the culture of the organization, along with all of those long standing processes that are inefficient? And are making a lot of people unhappy?


Damon Pistulka  40:21

Yeah, yeah. As something as something, well, you know, we were going to talk about we are, we’re still talking about, we’re gonna talk about digital strategies and connect them to financial KPIs, but I really enjoy the fact that we’re talking about people, because at the end of the day, you know, these digital strategies aren’t going to do you any good without having the right people to execute them. And the people leaving two thirds of the people looking for jobs.

And then as I said, to the talent pool opening up, you know, globally for four businesses, I think you really have to look at that. Because as you move into these these different strategies, and you do and decide that you’re going to change, and you’re going to do the things you need to do, you’ve committed to doing that. It does take the right people.

And that’s going to be one of your first challenges. If if you’re in a in a turnover situation where you don’t have the people to do it. We’ve seen a lot of that in in some of these manufacturers, and frankly, most companies that that really weren’t adopting good leadership, I’ve had some that zero turnover, almost no good companies had, you know, braced, whatever, they’ve always been treating their people. Well, then on the other hand, we’ve had some with quite a bit of turnover, but this, you got to start there, otherwise, you can’t execute any of your strategies.


Ken Novak  41:44

That’s right. That’s right. It all comes down to execution. And that’s all we should really be carrying about. Because going back to those consulting days, everybody pitches strategy. Every agency has the, the, their version of a concentric circle, right? Or a fishbone chart, right? Yeah. It’s all the same stuff. All it is, is a sequence of events of how we’re going to work together. Yes, there is a difference between them. But at the end, clients should really just care about the results.


Damon Pistulka  42:14

Mm hmm. So how do you kind of turn this on? It’s on its side here a little bit or on its face or on its behind? Yeah, with hatch, you’ve, you’ve changed the way that you do this with clients a little bit. And it and it really does focus in on the the execution and the results?


Ken Novak  42:30

Yeah. So I lead with execution. And the way that I talk to clients about it is paying for the ops, you get the strategy for free. And this is a big difference, because because, again, the strategy isn’t terribly valuable, not without execution, certainly not your business owner. So if you think about the agency, concentric circles or the fishbone chart that they have, right? I use that chronology of events between consulting agency and client, four ds, and there’s a lot of different versions out there. But I’m going to talk generically, discovery, design, develop, deploy, right sequence of events. Here’s what unites the challenge of the consulting world.

Discovery gets shortchanged, Discovery gets shortchanged, because clients, I’m not gonna pay you to learn my business. Yeah, my business, in agencies on the other side and saying, I’m not gonna go sit 10 and three other the brand strategist and the creative director inside of a client for three months, go learn their business, fingers crossed, we’re going to win some business on the way out.

That ain’t happening either. Right? I was on the front lines of this friction, natural born friction in the consulting agency with the client. And what happens is discovery gets shortchanged for those reasons. So what I did with hatch is something different because discovery is critical. It’s critical, because if you don’t have good discovery, guess what happens in that design portion of any program or initiative. It’s iteration after iteration after iteration after iteration.

Why? Because you’re just learning stuff out, you should have known before you started. So what I do, what I’ve tried to do with hatch is simply pull the plug on that friction, right, give away the strategy, but most importantly, have a model that is cost averse, because every business owner doesn’t want to spend money anyways. In that put together ways that you can help them start to turn the battleship. And then if they want to execute it internally, great. If you need help, let me know.


Damon Pistulka  44:50

Yeah, yeah. And that’s good, because I think that you’re right in. The strategy is important. There’s no doubt about it. But if you don’t if it’s not deployed or executed in the right fashion, you do just end up redoing, redoing, redoing.


Ken Novak  45:07

That’s right. And nobody wants that. And it and executives get tired of it. We’ve been working on this for how many years? Employees are burned out because they’re all frustrated. And oh, by the way, who suffers the most customers and candidates? Yeah, can’t get out of your own way. So part of the ways that we have to start thinking about this differently, is everything has to be measured.

Executives love numbers and KPI, methods, methodology and a process that looks at Digital KPIs, operational KPIs, but most importantly, how they tie together to equal financial KPIs, because, and margin and revenue. These are all things that executives follow every day. And let’s use the in fact, let’s This is a great example. Let’s talk about an industrial b2b manufacturer, right?

The executive teams look at those financial metrics to determine the financial health of the organization. But guess what else they follow? They follow things like inventory, turn and scrap rate. Why? Because those are guideposts for the quarter the numbers and how they’re going to look. Right. And what I do with hedge is we have operational and digital KPIs that executives need to be monitoring with just as much attention, because there’s just as much correlation to the profitability and the financial health of the organization. But they aren’t looking in the right places.


Damon Pistulka  46:43

Yeah, so you your digital KPIs you’re talking about are just as important as scrap and downtime and other things like that, that they’re looking at. Yeah, and this is this is something that that’s really at the core of of work we do with financial too, because I think a lot of companies look at their why not think I know, a lot of the companies as you said, they’ll look at these, these guide posts. But they really don’t have to just look at guidepost two, they can look at like you’re saying the digital KPIs, these are all important guide posts. And a lot of times where we help companies do is then take that take those guideposts and go, Well, what was our gross profit?

What was our gross margin, not on a monthly basis. And this makes this makes financial people throw up when I say this, but let’s do it on a weekly basis, let’s do it on daily basis if we really need to, let’s say, I mean, we have all these wonderful systems, and we only broke the year up into 12 months, because somebody decided it was you know, that’s the way to do it, because 11 years ago, but I know that if I have just like with with digital,

I mean, with digital, if somebody is managing a massive pay per click campaign or something where you’re spending money, it can go like this, like this, or if I’m making something like I’m champion in my making spark plugs or something like that, I’m going to make 5 million spark plugs today. You know, each one of those spark plugs is good, by golly, you don’t make a million of them and then go, oh, I guess we didn’t, you know, right and turn out so well on that they’re all bad or something. That’s why vision system always there just came around.

So when we when we were working with clients, like why why do you wait till the end of the month, and then oh, it’s not the end of the month, because it takes our financial people another two weeks to get our financials done so. So you could be going for six weeks, and not really knowing other than maybe looking at a checkbook, which is the god office way to do it, what you’re doing, and I think that the guideposts that you’re putting together and some of the other financial metrics, these are things that business leaders that really want to know, before they get surprised by financial statement good or bad.

That’s right, how they’re doing and you want to sleep well at night. Go home knowing how you did rather than guessing. And this is awesome. I did because the way you’re talking about this and the things that you do is is so key, because this is not little money. When you’re talking you’re talking hundreds of 1000s millions of dollars in in digital efforts when you look at some some mid to large sized companies easily. And if you can’t tie these into actual results, you can have somebody that’s helping you build a strategy that you’re executing poorly and it’s just money going down the drain.


Ken Novak  49:34

That’s right. That’s right. Ultimately, the way that I talk about a demon is every digital investment you make in your organization needs to attract one or two things if not both, top line revenue growth, or the avoidance of cost, both of which lead to a healthier bottom line. That’s all this is. And we have to think about these programs and initiatives and upgrades and whatever We think of all the changes that have to be made, ultimately have to be thought of as investments. And you got to answer three questions. How much is it? How much am I going to get back? Over what timeframe?


Damon Pistulka  50:11

Yeah, yeah. Good stuff, man. Man, it’s win. Okay. So awesome talking about the, you know, the digital strategies and financial KPIs. And incredible if people want to talk to you, can they reach out to you on LinkedIn, you’re in the comments, and you’ll be on that you’ll be in the in the blog posts and stuff. We’re getting near time. But I got to talk about stoicism with you just for a second. Love it. So.

So a post that I put up, I didn’t even think about it the other day, and you commented on it. But let’s let’s just start in on that about Then what’s your you know, cuz you’re a rhetoric and philosophy guy, I just want to hear your thoughts around it. Because you were before we got on, you talked about embrace the suck. Yeah. And I really think that this is something that our leaders of today, and people in general can really, really get get. Benefit from. There we go.


Ken Novak  51:14

So yeah, you just made this post recently. And it was from a Navy. And I haven’t read the book, by the way yet. I looked at the at the summary, if you will, I did a little lighter reading coming on today. But what was interesting is that even the the foreword, and the summary of what the book is, really ties back to a core tenet of stoicism, which ultimately comes down to acknowledging the things you can and can’t control.

Yeah. And anytime you spend on those things is time wasted. But most importantly, those obstacles that you’re faced with in business and in life, they’re opportunities. And you need to choose to view them as opportunities, because there’s ways that you can grow their growth opportunities. There’s a great book for you, by the way. Ryan Holliday, who’s a stoic buff, if you will. In the book is called the obstacle is the way.


Damon Pistulka  52:16

Oh, yes. I read it. Yeah. Great. Yeah. Awesome book, awesome book. Because you’re right. I mean, we can sit here and these these kind of challenges, because we’re all gonna have I don’t care.

And this is this is the thing that a lot of people that look at successful people, they’ll look at all, whoever they could look at Tom Brady, they could look at look at yesterday, Patrick mahomes, you could talk about any people that are sports, fame, anywhere you want. And you go, Oh, man, it’s so great to go slow, rate them, but they don’t see all the challenges that they overcame. Yet, they’re like just sheer tenacity, you know, crying in your losses, thinking you’re not going to get there anymore. That dumb, nasty, it takes in the effort to get that good at something.


Ken Novak  53:01

So a lot. And again, this goes back to so much in psychology, right, is that the human brain as it’s hardwired to protect the body has a natural resistance to anything unpleasant. That’s the brains job. Right. But what separates a lot of the Tom Brady being a great example, the amount of hours and to your point, the successes and failures behind the scenes that nobody sees.

So many people in life, see someone like Tom Brady and want the results, but aren’t willing to put in the time and effort to get there. Right? And that’s where a lot of that you’ve got to have a a, you got to have a strong stomach to get through adversity, right. You have to, but it starts with your mindset. And it’s not the event that happened. It’s what happened, how you choose to live after that event?

Because it’s history. Yeah, right. And that’s a lot of the ways that the Stoic philosophers have viewed things is they didn’t determine success. Based on whether or not they won a, an audience or an argument over the way that stoics view success is whether or not they made best use of what they had, at that time, where they were. And it’s a constant reminder to focus on those things. Because if you’re looking at things that are outside your control, you’re wasting your time. Yes, I did in business too. Yes. Awesome.


Damon Pistulka  54:42

It’s incredible, dude, I’d and what a way to finish it up. It’s It’s so good to talk about this because I think that’s one thing we can all look at is choose. We’re all going to get delta a poop sandwich once in a while. It’s how we choose to deal with it. You know? That’s just the way it is. That’s right. Everybody’s gonna have challenges and when you look at it and you know, are you gonna get up? Are you gonna keep moving? Are you gonna do what you think is right? Are you just gonna sit there and say I’m done? And it’s a choice.


Ken Novak  55:12

I got to thank you Damon, because this is the first webinar where I got to repeat the phrase poop sandwich so


Damon Pistulka  55:21

yeah, well, I’ve been bucket list for me. Yeah, there you go. There you go. Well, I’m clean on my language. So I didn’t go with my alternatives and, and and doing it but you know, what can thanks so much for being here today. You know, we’re talking about digital strategies and how you’re connecting them to financial KPIs covered a wide range of topics. I just want to say thanks so much for being here, man, because you are a real gem of knowledge, knowledge in the e Commerce Industry and, and stoicism, which is just an added bonus at the end. Thanks so much for being here today. Man.


Ken Novak  55:56

David, I can’t thank you enough for for playing host. I really enjoyed this thing. All right.


Damon Pistulka  56:00

Well, if anyone wants to reach out to can go ahead and look him up. Ken Novak on LinkedIn. You can look at hatch as well and find him there. And you can also look in the show notes he’s in there. You can connect with him there. So thanks, everyone, for being here today on the basis of business, we’ll be back again

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