b2b, talking, people, print, business, magazine, products, media, company, industry, sell, equipment, roi, leads, understand, sales, salesperson, day, branding, today
Richard Reiff, Damon Pistulka
Damon Pistulka 00:02
All right, everyone, welcome once again to the faces of business. I’m your host, Damon Pistulka. And with me today, I got rich, rife from industrial media, right?
Richard Reiff 00:16
That’s correct. That’s where I’m from
Damon Pistulka 00:17
boys lawyers want to ask because I get nervous when I’m introducing people. And I want to make sure, but man, I because I am doubly nervous today because you are like a legend in industrial media and b2b media. And I just, I know you giggle about that. And you laugh. And you’re you are giggling when we got started, but, man, it’s it’s just an honor to have you on today, man. Oh,
Richard Reiff 00:38
thank you for that for the kind words.
Damon Pistulka 00:40
It’s, it’s, it’s really cool. Because when you sent me your bio, and some other things, I there’s just a few things that rang out in here. And we’re going to talk about these a little more in detail. But you said one thing is branding is important. But sales leads are critical. It’s like that’s, uh, you know, it’s it’s often talked about but not said, and maybe as much as we need to in those terms. Because if your work and your media and other advertising doesn’t drive sales, it’s really not doing what you want it to do.
Richard Reiff 01:15
Clearly, in b2b. That’s the case. Yeah, yeah.
Damon Pistulka 01:17
Yeah. Well, let’s, let’s talk a little bit about your background. You’ve you been at this a little bit and seen a few different things happen. I have
Richard Reiff 01:27
half my life in it. I made a change quite a few years ago. Yeah. At the time, I was in agriculture, and in manufacturing, and so on. And the industry was really in a bad way. I decided to make a change and did. Yeah, and moved into the media business. I had been buying some media, so I understood it to some degree. But it it, it loved me and I loved it. And nearly immediately, finally this great business.
Damon Pistulka 02:00
Really, that’s cool. So what did you I mean, getting into it at that time, what did you go? Wow, this is cool.
Richard Reiff 02:07
I’ve a couple of things. I knew that I had the ability to if I did it right. To bring buyer and seller together? Yeah. They could do business together. And so I knew that you had to I had to know and understand companies I was dealing with. And this was pre internet. Yeah. So you really had to do some, you know, look at their brochures and look at things so that you knew who they were kind of their brick and mortar, how they how they work, what were their products, how did they go to market? And then the best part was the proof thing, you know, love to talk to some of their customers. Yeah, about what they saw in the company.
They were doing business with? Yeah, it was, it was good. I have. I have a story years past the guy who was my mentor. If I if we have about two minutes or three here? I’ll tell ya. Yeah, let’s do it. Well, we, with our chairman, who was an incredible sales guy. We went on a sales call, trying to sell a feed green industry guy at that time, and we went there.
And we at the time, we had a small plane flew in. I was there as the publisher, our sales gal was there. And the chairman, the guy picks us up in his new at the time was a big old Cadillac, brand new broom. This is a small, little town in Kansas we’re in. Yeah. And our chairman, of course, he was a showman. But he said, I’m really surprised here. And the guy looks over at him and kind of drive we’re going. We’re driving by various things. And he said, I’m really surprised we pull up in front of the man’s business. Beautiful bit front brick front look great.
And our chairman, man, I’m surprised. Well, this went on through the day. And I’m not going to bore you. We did the plant tour. But he was always surprised the chairman was. And finally the guy said, John, we are not going to my country club for dinner. We’re not doing anything until you tell me why you’re surprised. He said, Well, when I started to see the little ads, you ran with us, I thought you were just some small little crummy company. And he said, you’re not. You are anyway, he went on about how beautiful the company was, how big they were. And so on.
The end of that story is we left there that day, the guy gave us a full schedule, full pages. And as far as I know, in that magazine, that was that was 35 years ago, that guy still is in business, his sons. And they still do full schedules with that magazine, which is still in in print as well. Wow. It was a great story. So they were presenting their company with little crummy ads. Yeah. Branding, their company branding their products with little crummy ads. And in fact, they were a substantial company with substantial problem solving ability with their products and it wasn’t showing up in print. So yeah, It started. Yeah, that
Damon Pistulka 05:01
that is a great story. And that’s one of those things that I think a lot of the lot of the piece that people don’t really understand. And that because you grew up in those businesses, right, and a lot of people do that they grew up literally grow up in their business, and they can walk out one day, and they’re a big business. Yeah. And they really don’t even realize it, because they’re still living in. This is me struggling and trying to make it but I’m, I’m making 50 or $100 million a year in revenue
Richard Reiff 05:29
now. Yeah. They don’t think of themselves. Yes. In the way others might. Yeah, you’re right. Yeah, I’m quite sure you’re right.
Damon Pistulka 05:37
That’s a great story, though. Because, as you’re talking about that, you were talking about how you had research, research potential clients that do it. I’m thinking to myself now, people today have we really take for granted what the internet has given us as far as information at your fingertips, because what you were talking about is a significant undertaking. So if I want to find out at that company, you’re talking about in Kansas, anything about that company, you literally have to put hands on a brochure and talk to somebody that’s used their products, or talk to somebody at the company, that’s really the or somebody that knows about them, maybe.
Richard Reiff 06:18
But yep. Back in the day trade shows were so valuable for that reason. Yeah, we didn’t know who that we just gather everything, we could pick everything, and study it and find who the target might be. So we knew something about them, in order to start a conversation of any substance. Yeah,
Damon Pistulka 06:37
yeah, that’s that is that I that thought just hit me. Because the fact of the matter is, when you are doing the kind of things for them even researching a new industry, or or, or a little bit different industry, you really had to do a lot of work just to understand the industries well enough. And like you said, the the understanding another thing that you said in your said, understanding who buys what, and why. Yeah, that’s a heck of a question to answer when you don’t have the internet to to look up information.
Richard Reiff 07:10
That’s true. And then the Enlightened salesperson today, if they’re really enlightened, they grasp that and they understand that after a while, and if they’re bright, doesn’t take that long. They know as much about the out the overall industry as the people they’re talking to. Because while they can drop names, they can talk to a number of companies, and they’re gathering information, how’s business?
How do you go to market? What are the problems today? So now they can kind of carry that out to the industry? And if they do it, right, they don’t divulge names or companies, they become they can become those individual people. They’re trying to sell their go to person for industry information, things that might help them run their business. And yeah,
Damon Pistulka 07:56
yeah. Well, and this ties back to like the the media that you guys are producing now. We’ll talk about that later. But I mean, keeping abreast of industries with relevant data like from from industrial question news, you look at manufacturing dotnet online, just the different places that you can get this information digitally, but also then in print as well. But yeah, salesperson today can be an industry expert, if they really worked at it. Not that long.
Richard Reiff 08:30
And not that long. It’s not that hard. Yeah, they should be. Yeah.
Damon Pistulka 08:34
So you’ve gone through a few, a few, or we call them transitions in the in the industry. So can you talk about that a little bit. You know, we were sitting here at back there, and you’ve talked to that you’re in Kansas, and he’s so like, Great add to that guy. And then all of a sudden, a few years later, they start talking about the internet and things like that.
Richard Reiff 08:57
And it happened. Well, it happened kind of slowly. But during this time, that company that I worked for, was sold three years later, it was sold again. Two and a half, three years later, it was sold again. And then a final sell so all that was going on in the noise, incredible noise in the background, the same time print was starting to slip because of costs. And many thought that email digital was the you know, he he media was the way to go and it was going to be the answer to everything and a lot of mistakes were made a lot of companies they just keep being sold at multiples of EBITDA until it the debt load was too much.
And even though they had a great company, have great products and maybe great people, they couldn’t service the debt because of the you know, 1012 time multiples. So the the Traditional b2b media magazines and, and immediate kind of, it’s not so much a favorite son anymore in the equity or venture capital guys anymore.
Damon Pistulka 10:12
Yeah, yeah much the investors, they drove the hype because they probably thought that the electronic or digital growth was going to just skyrocket everything and, you know, when they came down to the point that you’re going to have to actually make money and and pay that back. It was a little different story.
Richard Reiff 10:28
And it did work for some people. Yeah, Google and Amazon and so on. But,
Damon Pistulka 10:33
but you think, yeah, you think about that. It’s really the the big aggregators of content, not as much as the content creators that really came out of that smelling the best. That’s right.
Richard Reiff 10:46
It’s really, it is interesting to look back at that and try to dissect, you know, the winners and the losers and why and, yeah, yeah, it just doesn’t keep me awake. But it’s a great deal of interest to me how it all evolved is fun. Think about it.
Damon Pistulka 11:01
Well, it is interesting. We’ll talk about a couple interesting facts. But you said something here, that when these companies were going through this transition, where we got Okay, now we’ve got this thing e media, digital media, whatever coming on, and we’ve got our print media, and you said that they just they just didn’t handle it very well, because they they split them up.
Richard Reiff 11:21
Yeah, they, they started to treat it, they just, well, many of them, it became pretty apparent, they felt like they’re treated traditional content producers, their editors, magazine editors, there was just no way that they were going to be able to handle e media at the time. Just know. Yeah. Because it’s faster. It’s more concise. It’s it’s a lot of things that print maybe isn’t. So they split up their staffs does it you’re going to do digital, and you’re going to do print, they created a competitive environment, for content and who got what story first.
And it was just, it was bad for many of the companies. And on top of that, then the sales side print was thought to not work, because that was being spread around the industry print doesn’t work. This is wonderful. That’s when all the banners and the buttons and all that crap was out there. Which really turned into just more sources of branding, which is fine branding is absolutely critical. But it wasn’t getting to the to the meat, and that was in b2b people want. They’re in business to sell stuff. Hard gapmers our advertisers are they don’t sell stuff. They don’t survive. Period.
Damon Pistulka 12:42
Yeah. Yeah. And that’s, that is and b2b media, too, I think in b2b, and this is correct me if I’m wrong here. But in b2b, we’re really talking more about products and services where where someone is, yes, they’re concerned about price, but they’re typically concerned a lot more about, hey, is this going to do what I want it to do? Because I don’t want to go out and buy a million dollar piece of equipment or, or even $100,000, or a $10,000 piece of equipment, if it’s not going to do exactly what I need to do. So it’s so there’s a lot more a lot more technical aspects to it. I think when I think a b2b,
Richard Reiff 13:23
write it, I like to think of it, especially from, say, an engineers perspective. But most anybody in b2b, they don’t necessarily know at the time they get the magazine, and I like to go back to magazine, yeah, that they’re gonna need what they see. But they have a pretty good idea that when they see something, interesting idea, I’ll put that back here. I’m going to try to remember it. Because as good as the search engines are out there, you can’t just go in and say, I want to look for something I might need when I might need it. It doesn’t work that way. Yeah. So it’s it’s done a little bit differently. Whether digital or whether print, frankly.
Yeah, I think it’s yeah, it’s a different dynamic. You know, and we’ve now gotten those who are surviving, understand that it really what goes around comes around, it’s still about ROI. It’s still about leads for people who either need it now or might need it in the future and lead times in some things, like you said, a new piece of equipment, if it’s a substantial investment, capital purchase, that lead time takes it takes a long time for them to even know that it’s in. Yeah, and a lot of people have to weigh into it.
You know, if it’s a new product, going to if you’re going to be building a new product, sales has to weigh in, can we sell it for what we’re going to have in it? Finance says here’s what you’re gonna have in it. Can you sell it for that? And so on it goes and people in the in the company management have to weigh in on those decisions. So it does take time and b2b consumer is so different. What we do?
Damon Pistulka 15:08
Yeah, it is it is. So I was curious you, you’ve been with a few different companies over the years. Did did the companies take you traveling across the United States? Or was it was it pretty much located, where you’re at today or a little bit out that
Richard Reiff 15:25
actually really was one company that became another company became another company. But I was consistently there started out as a sales guy, and then the publisher and then a vice president, and President and so on, of all of these companies. Yeah, until 2006. It was when I decided I want to do my own thing. So we got an equity partner, and we started a company that we subsequently sold in 2013.
Or somewhere in there. Okay, so yes, I these are national company, so the US and Canada, and then some of the brands I had Europe, especially Italy, and Germany, and so on. So I spent in my sales years spent a lot of time over there. And, you know, generating business, especially with the Italians were really good to us because of all their crop equipment that yeah, their vineyard equipment worked over here for pecan trees and so on. And so it’s fun bringing them to this country, finding them new markets and having our dealers in that case, that in this case, buy new products to sell. Yeah, it’s fun.
Damon Pistulka 16:34
It really is interesting. When you look at there are so many industries in b2b. I was talking to somebody the other day about Street Sweepers and snow products for ski resorts. And you think about all this b2b stuff, and he just brought that up. I mean, I grew up on a farm in South Dakota.
So I understand a little bit about farming and and, you know, the specialty farming equipment that I had no idea that existed growing up on a farm that you talk about that for pecans, are you talking about? The wine industry in managing the vineyards, it’s just crazy, the amount of variations and customizations and stuff that there are. And these little niche markets, like, like, you know, like a street sweeper or, or when you look in some of the specialty construction equipment that there are, there’s just, it’s incredible, the amount of the amount of different b2b products that are available to us at any
Richard Reiff 17:35
airline. I was thinking of a company who happens to also be in Kansas, that grew an incredibly I mean, they were a tillage equipment, manufacturer, discs and that kind of thing. Yep. They evolved, they started to have flatbed trailers to carry this stuff on for the farmer and so on. Then the they were in spring equipment, and then they involve evolve, they had street sweepers for a while, suddenly, all the the de icing equipment in aviation came into play. And they became a major player.
Wow. generating new products and new products are typically the lifeblood of many companies. And yes, companies like Rubbermaid, and Weather Tech and some of these that just keep inventing three is probably one of the greatest stories of all time. Yeah, building new product off the base of understanding that you have I agree with you, I had no idea either. But when you would see it, you’d say, Oh, now I understand it. I know why I’d be involved in work on something else. And yeah,
Damon Pistulka 18:40
it’s it’s so cool. And I think I think of your history and being able to travel all over the world and talk to these different b2b equipment or product manufacturers. And, and and just to learn it, I’m sure there were some really interesting things that you you got to look at and help them help them promote or advertise or bring awareness about. So what are a couple that really stick out in your mind? Go man, this is an interesting one that I
Richard Reiff 19:07
remember it. Well, the awareness, awareness is the key word. I because of that, I saw a lot of that and I too, was born and raised on a farm in Iowa. And I had a I had an idea what farming was then I wouldn’t have a clue today. Either I get what’s going on but when i The Italians, I was able to see some of that specialty equipment they had a lot of it was, you know, we would call it lawn and garden equipment. But you know, landscaper equipment. The big one were these mowers that had an attachment and so he’d go along the vines and had bounce off and not hurt the vine but then it mow the grass in between and down to do well. I said you know what?
This there’s no reason why this won’t work in Georgia on the pecan groves or in Washington State on the apple orchards. and they were ready to go. They came to the States. They visited some of those places and, and lo and behold, they started set up dealer selling that stuff. That’s a great story. Yeah. Kind of think of the company’s name. Now they were in Northern Italy near of Venice. Actually. I’ll come up with it. But anyway, it was fun. Oh, yeah, to be able to help them just to point them in a direction. And I got to spend the whole weekend on a yacht because of it one time having lunch and wine in Italy, and the weekend, it was great.
Damon Pistulka 20:36
But that’s not a bad deal, have you? Well, that’s I mean, because you what you’re talking about there is past, you know, whatever you want to call it, advertising, creating media, or even talking about the ROI of media, you’re talking about, as a producer of b2b media or content, whatever you want to call it, you are actually trying to help them explore new markets. Yeah, that that helps. And this is what we talk about a lot I hear a lot of people talking about it, too, is if you make your customers successful, you will be successful. And you were practicing that very thing a long time ago. And I bet I bet it really helped to drive business success by making your customers successful.
Richard Reiff 21:28
I used to listen to when I would drive across the country, a number of motivational speakers, one of which was a famous Zig Ziglar. He up, zig had a line. He said, If you help enough people get what they want out of life, you’ll get everything you want out of life. And it is about that. Yeah. And I kind of practice that. When I would take manufacturers and try to turn the light on to some other industry. It was fun.
Damon Pistulka 21:54
Oh, no doubt, no doubt it is sometimes it’s just shining a light on a little different because we’re in our zone, you know, we’re looking in that zone, or we’re thinking about that. And things can happen off to the side that we don’t even see for sure. And when we
Richard Reiff 22:10
talk about relationships, I mean, the loyalty that comes out of that kind of transaction is never forgotten. Never. They will remember you. And they’ll continue to invest with you. And did in our advertising products. That’s, that’s good. Yes. It’s good. Yeah, do it a lot of times, but it weren’t doing a lot of
Damon Pistulka 22:31
times, but but when you’re out there helping people be successful, it makes you feel good. And it’s a good it’s a good way to do business, I think because, you know, you’re you’re, it’s a win win for everyone involved.
Richard Reiff 22:44
And it tells them that you respect them. Because you know, and understand their business. You know, who they sell to, you know, how they sell it? Do they go through dealers or distribution or what? And they appreciate that. Yeah. And I got invited to their homes a lot. And this and that. It was, yeah, it was a relationship that stood the test of time.
Damon Pistulka 23:05
Yeah, that’s, that’s awesome. That’s awesome. So as as we see, media, now we’re turning the tides here. Now. Now people think that print media is dead. Or they’re thinking that, and this is not dead. But what is your view on the whole kind of state of today, as we talk about? The digital, quite honestly, in my mind, is getting like print magazines were 25 years ago, when they were 30 years ago, whatever it is, you know, time eludes me, but but when magazines were so popular, there was a magazine for everything. And now, there are websites or whatever. There’s some sort of media for anything. What do you think is kind of the correlation between the two?
Richard Reiff 23:53
First of all, I don’t think much has changed with regard to the people who would be our readers or advertisers? Yeah. We’re talking about a medium here. But so I’m both I’m a magazine guy. I still love magazines. I love them. I I love to turn the page. It’s there’s a place for everything, but you can kind of touch it and feel it differently. We used to say the greatest place for our magazine stand up were in the company’s dealer was an ag dealer in their restrooms. Yeah, we’d sit there and read. But it was good. So so I don’t see any of it has having changed. I think that a magazine is a tremendous branding vehicle. So is the website so can be newsletters.
So that puts the name out there in the back of mind for a company and then advertising. goes with it. And I think today as it was before, everybody, anyone who We’d spend money with us to advertise. It’s still the case today. I mean, they want to value. Yeah. And today it’s and it was then all about leads in the magazine business, you remember the old bingo card? Yeah, and the circle numbers and stuff and send me this stuff. And they did. And we would process those cards and send them the names and so on. So these companies, whether they ran ads with us, or whether they ran a new product news release on a whatever it was they just built, or were built.
Yeah. Yeah, digital is the same kind of thing. They can still run, they can run an ad, we may, we may talk about a new product, and what have you. But hear, someone will click, and of course, with digital media that has created a whole new set of problems that we’re dealing with today. things called bots, and non human traffic and yam and all the crap that goes with it in the magazine business, nobody? Well, yeah, some kid might see the magazine circle, every bingo card, every number in the bingo card, because he wanted stuff, brochures and the like. But for the most part, that wasn’t an issue.
Today, it’s a huge issue. Really. It’s huge issue over 50% of the traffic today is non human. Really? Yeah, at least. And that’s, and that’s what Google telling us. And they might have a certain interest in trying to keep that percentage number down, you know, a little bit. Yeah. So and it’s, it happens. Not necessarily all abuse, there is spam. Yeah, there are people out there who are trying to, you know, commit fraud, but also our security systems that we have on our sites.
When, when a newsletter lands, let’s say on your desk, before it gets to you, the your security filters, checking in microseconds, all these links to see if it’s legit, or if it’s spam. Well, all of those clicks counts. So you could have Oh, so now there’s, you know, if there were 15 clicks, but you’re only one human. So yeah, therein is the problem. And too many now in this industry are selling clicks and click through to open rates and all of this stuff, when at the end of the day, what they really want is a lead. Yeah, they’ll pay for that. Yeah. And then it comes back as magazine. Yeah,
Damon Pistulka 27:38
it comes back to ROI again, right. And it comes through. And as, as we talked about earlier, I don’t know if we were even on when we’re talking about this, but But you know, it’s it’s kind of like, if you’re if you’re a really good digital salesperson. And the one of the things that I and I’ll back up a second, one of the things that I talk about with a lot of people is, how does a business person really understand the ROI on digital? There’s a lot of different ways that people can tell you, but what is really in game? I mean, what is that, that
Richard Reiff 28:12
has evolved to initially? Yeah, this all started to happen. We got all these clicks, we got all this interest, we got all this. Okay. But who? Yeah, who are they? Yeah, you know, I got to do it, because my competitors doing it because everybody says prints dead. And everybody says, I gotta buy this stuff.
And so I did well, now, they’re starting to understand that it’s still ROI, it’s still about, are we going to spend these 1000s of dollars on this program that you’re putting together for? We want to sell something. And so yeah, it’s a combination of print, and newsletters, and then to help foster a lead program that we sell the cost per leads. Program, which gets harder and harder and harder. Because of this non human traffic.
Yeah. And when we go down that path, we’re trying to we’re trying and we’re fairly effective at it. But it’s a never ending everyday problem, sorting out all this stuff. And so instead of saying to you, gee, we got 380 leads, we got 13 or 15. And so over time, as they convert, they find out that those 13 were really people who said, Yep, send me some stuff. Yeah, it starts to it starts to sink in. So that is a tough part of the sale today, convincing them that the money they’re spending to get way less than what they maybe think they should get or what others tell them to. But once they start to convert them, you have a loyal customer, hopefully for life. Yeah,
Damon Pistulka 29:51
you hit it 100% There too, because the right salesperson can say well, it’s about it’s about leads lead flow, you get it If I if I can send you 100 leads a day, would you be happy? Well, yeah, after good leads? Well, that’s not that didn’t come out of the mouth 100 good leads is a lot different than 10 is a lot different than 100. Bad leads or 10 Good deeds is a lot better than 100 bad ones. Absolutely. And that’s it. Yeah, it is it is because because as you said, you’re trying to separate between who is real, who is, first of all, artificial or real human. But then you got to go, who is really interested and who’s just fishing
Richard Reiff 30:33
that to that, too. So there are a lot of things you do. And that’s why a program, I think, from needs, the more complete the program, the better they are. Yeah. Now it takes more money, of course, and not everybody has that kind of a budget, and so on and so forth. But in the perfect world, they would use a number of mediums that we offer to keep their company out there their products out there. And then yeah, generate leads.
Damon Pistulka 31:03
Well, in really, I think I think what we’ve got, there’s a myriad of things that play into that, too. It’s like understanding of back back again, and this is what’s cool about what we’re talking about the ROI of b2b media. And the ROI of media in general, or anything in general is that it’s still some of these principles stand the test of time, because understanding who buys what and why and serving them the right content, you know, is is still king, it still is king. And that content is different.
For the same product, with different types of users, different age of users can different geographically, all different kinds of things affect that. And that’s where the rounded programs, I think, are more effective, because they’re reaching the widest audience in the way they want to be targeted, or the way they want to be reached, I shouldn’t say
Richard Reiff 32:00
and if the content is right, and it better be, yeah, they will keep coming back. And doesn’t mean they’ll inquire about a product or anybody’s product every time probably won’t. But if they keep coming back, and if it’s the right audience, then they will eventually they’re going to go because again, we don’t all know what we’re going to need until we need it. Yeah, if you go to the search, we all go through this. We go into search for something. And I was doing some things today I want to learn about some stuff.
But it’s no longer easy. You got to go through what you pull up and look at what the dates were. I was getting stuff coming up. You know, yeah, numbers 2010 2006? Yeah, it’s old news, I had no good, I have to have 21 or 20. You know, so search is great. But you have to know what you’re searching for. So you got to still filter it
Damon Pistulka 32:56
yet. And definitely in to, you made a great point there. Because as you get into b2b, you get into some of these niches where you go, Okay, this is a specialty, whatever, right? There’s not that much data. Right? And then you have to look at like you said, how outdated? Is it? I don’t want to see the the best CNC machine from 15 years ago. So loose. Yeah. Is there a way past that now. So you really have to look at those kinds of things to make those decisions as well. And that’s where I think to in b2b, like I would, I’m just, I’m thankful I don’t, I don’t do a lot of b2b and b2c kind of work anymore. I don’t, I don’t plan that really never have that much. But it’s so much.
I don’t want to say the word easier because it’s not easier. You have opportunities in b2b to really niche down into, you know, I am that street street for a street sweeper manufacturer for a city of 15,000 people in the northern part of the United States, or something like that. Exactly. Because we’re like that I can niche down and really target my customers a lot better. And rather than trying to, you know, I’m trying to sell Nike shoes to somebody, man, that’s a who’s gonna buy you know, they’re tough. Yeah, that’s a lot different because you’re trying to
Richard Reiff 34:21
talk to everybody. I read a piece on, you know, Coke and Pepsi or, you know, they’re big competitors. Yeah. And Pepsi has made some real strides lately and I started watching what they’re doing and and you know, when Coke was cutting back, Pepsi was starting to show people enjoying tacos and a burger with Pepsi. And it hit me it’s a great it’s a great way to put that product out there and make people think about it and now it’s one of those ads I remember when I have a but it was so many ads like most of them, I don’t remember even who you Because I don’t watch much network TV anymore.
There’s just too much of it. Yeah. So when someone hits it with something that’s right, I think you do remember, but consumer is I wouldn’t even pretend to know how those folks make those decisions. It’s incredibly difficult. It’s a lot to measure that and whole different way of measuring and so on. So forth. Yeah, I see this as much easier. Yeah. Reasons You just talked about? Yeah.
Damon Pistulka 35:26
Yeah. Well, it plus, it’s taking you around the globe in some really interesting places and meeting some very cool people, I’m sure and, and really been an experience.
Richard Reiff 35:37
I’ll bet there’s a bunch of Pepsi guys have probably flown in the G fives and so on. They’ve been around the world, too. That’s true.
Damon Pistulka 35:44
That’s true. So you mentioned No, we were talking earlier about some pain points, pain points. And what keeps you what, you know, what kept you awake at night, over the years.
Richard Reiff 35:55
All over the years. budgets and so on. I mean, I, I talked to one of our editors today about the early days, the I when I started, there weren’t on computers. And I’m doing budgets now. And I’m talking to her about budgeting and so on. And I became very good at it. Button. So I had to go to a trade show in Italy. I had six products at that time for our company, all my peers in the business had one magazine, I have six, back in the days of the greenbar, printouts. So I went to Italy armed with a, you know, seven sheets of green bar for every magazine that I had, then I had to pencil it in and then run a calculator to figure out what I was doing.
And I had to do those budgets. And when the trip was over, I went a few days early. So I had peace and quiet. It was really tough duty to we rented a kind of a condo kind of a thing out in the middle of a vineyard and near Verona, Italy. So it wasn’t all bad duty. But yeah, you had to do that with a pencil, you know and calculator. It was unbelievable. So I would stay awake at night, worrying about the budget and worrying about sales and worrying about that I was training right.
But the pain points today are much more top of mine. Now this whole bot traffic, non human traffic. Could be pain. Number one maybe. I think social media. I get on a high horse here. But it’s a huge pain point for me. There’s so much money wasted on social media. I guess I can say I personally have killed my Facebook and yeah, it’s everything I I just, I just couldn’t deal with it anymore. Yeah, I kind of miss it. But I couldn’t deal with it anymore. I just think social media has done. I don’t want to say more harm than good. But it’s done a lot of harm. Yeah, to our country. A lot of businesses have wasted huge amounts of money on social media, in trying to promote their business.
Other pain points I have I ad agencies who try to buy solely on reach, you know, we go to this is our audience, and you should, you should buy it. One of them back in the day was the old PR model. We were controlled publications. So advertisers were flooded our boat, nothing else advertising. And they would come to say, well, you know, this year, we’ve decided to do PR for our clients. So we’re going to be asking you to replace all of this product news for us. Well, that’s good. But you understand how we work?
And they just couldn’t get through that? Yeah, well, we can’t run this out of the goodness of our heart. I mean, if everybody did this route of business yesterday. Yeah. So that was a yesterday’s kind of a pain point. There were a lot of my salespeople who tried to sell rather than try to build a relationship, or an agency that sells a client based on a relationship. And that relationship might involve, you know, martinis and steaks. Yeah, instead of ROI. Those kinds of things. One of my big one and this one I’ll never forget his pain point is stupid. It can’t be fixed. Yeah, yeah, it just can’t be.
Damon Pistulka 39:37
There’s no no reason to argue stupid, no work.
Richard Reiff 39:41
The USPS is a huge pain point today prices just keep going up. Oh, we’re spending too. print these two magazines. Combined circulation 120,000 or so. To print them and deliver them. Takes more money today. What revenue used to be on some of the smaller magazines? I had? Clearly, we’re spending over half a million bucks to print these magazines six times a year. And get them in the mail. Yeah, a lot of money. Yeah. And it, they don’t have the if you could do an analysis and say they don’t pay, because the gross profit is, is not near what it is elsewhere. But it’s our greatest tool. We think here. Our greatest marketing tool, the print
Damon Pistulka 40:33
there, I just, I just have to feel there’s always gonna be a place for print in the right industries and in the right situations, because I think of so many businesses, like you said, agricultural dealership, factories, whatever you’re, you know, those kinds of things. There are you walk into a equipment dealership, there’s, there’s magazines about equipment, you walk into a factory, there’s there’s magazines around the factory, there’s a fanzine that’s talking about automation and equipment and everything else, that you can’t just you can’t recreate that kind of thing, because there’s people in those situations where that magazine gets picked up and looked at.
Richard Reiff 41:16
Well, we think and I think we should probably be thankful for the fact that there are way fewer today, we really have really have no head to head competitor anymore, where we use mean handfuls. Yeah. Because they you know, it was only room for one or two. Yeah, so we just had to do it better. And we feel like we have in some of them, were doing it well, but they got caught up in the whole debt to equity, you just couldn’t survive anymore.
With the cost of print going up. Paper, postage ink. Printers, there are fewer today, and they’re huge. Yeah, the margins on printing are so tight. So we need to be probably thankful that there are fewer magazines out there. Because we couldn’t survive in an environment where with IGN as an example, if it still had all the competitors, it had of say 20 years ago. I mean, you’d be over yesterday, kind of thing. That helps.
Damon Pistulka 42:23
Yeah, yeah, that is, well, it’s been awesome talking to you rich, because you are just a fountain of knowledge here. And I just, I imagine myself in your shoes a little bit vicariously, you know, going going through some of this this adventure, because it really is an adventure when you think about the way that you had to research help your clients produce the media, and everything it would it would scare a lot of people today because of the the uncertainty and the the work that you would have to do without really just a different type of work.
Richard Reiff 43:06
I made a little note before we came in here, and I said to myself, execution is always the key to a successful business. It’s no different in b2b, if you do your homework, understand who buys what, when, why. And then serve them with content. The defined that defines the marker helps them to find the market need with an ultimate goal of favored status. If I can do for what a customer what I described you earlier, I will eventually become, you know, a favorite media arm and that relationship then can go and grow. And yeah, love trust in that.
Damon Pistulka 43:48
Yeah. Yes. Awesome. It’s awesome. And it just this hearing and talking about these universal truths, you know that that in the print industry, even before the print industry, they were the same as it was today. I don’t care if I was a caveman selling arrows, man. Yeah, same thing. We’re just using different ways of communicating and showing people why they should you know why our product or services is the one they should choose.
Richard Reiff 44:15
Yeah, yeah. And it can be the product. A lot of products could be considered equal than service. Yeah. Might not be equal. And yeah, yeah, it’s not it’s a lot of things it’s that’s why I think business to businesses. If you really no one understand your market no one understand the people in it. No one understand how the market works. You’re ahead of so many today. Yeah. Take it for granted. Don’t understand it necessarily.
Damon Pistulka 44:43
Yeah, that’s for sure. That’s for sure. Well, Richard, it’s been awesome having you on here day. I just, I just feel honored to have someone like yourself with the experience that you do and just the because, you know, I I’m a b2b guy manufacturing guy, and you mentioned and engineering, I happened upon that by luck, as I was trying to figure out what to go to college for, because I didn’t want to be on the farm.
But it’s, I really appreciate you taking the time today and sharing with today and showing us how the ROI of b2b media. While we might be using different mediums, we might be used in different ways to reach those customers or potential customers and create that awareness and those things. It’s basically there’s a lot of similarity. And I think that’s as we go forward, it’s going to be going to carry through as well. So
Richard Reiff 45:36
we’re all looking for return. We’re all looking for respect,
Damon Pistulka 45:39
period. Yeah, that’s for sure. Well, thanks so much for being here today. Thank everyone for listening. Really happy to have rich here on the broadcast. We will be back again later this week with another guest. So we’re out for now. Thank you so much.