Outgrow Blog

Marketer of The Month Podcast- Episode 078: What It Takes to Win Fast in an Ever-Changing and Highly Competitive Industry: Debunking the Hawke Method With Hawke Media Founder Erik Huberman
13/09/2022 Arpan Gupta
14 min read

Hey there! Welcome to the Marketer Of The Month blog! 

Marketer of the Month

We recently interviewed Erik Huberman for our monthly podcast – ‘Marketer of the Month’! We had some amazing insightful conversations with Erik and here’s what we discussed about –

1. Diving deep into the Hawke Method of Marketing

2. Identifying the low-hanging fruit of marketing

3. CMO in a box: automated insights for the new age marketer

4. Peer collaboration and programming: The Hawke Fest

5. Building a loyal community base in a post-pandemic world

6. Accessibility to great marketing: The Hawke Media Mission

About our host: 

Dr. Saksham Sharda is the Chief Information Officer at Outgrow.co. He specializes in data collection, analysis, filtering, and transfer by the means of widgets and applets. Interactive, cultural, and trending widgets designed by him have been featured on TrendHunter, Alibaba,  ProductHunt, New York Marketing Association, FactoryBerlin, Digimarcon Silicon Valley, and at The European Affiliate Summit.  

About our guest:

Erik is the founder and CEO of Hawke Media, a highly successful marketing agency known as Your Outsourced CMO® that has assisted in the growth of over 3,000 brands globally and is valued at more than $150 million. Erik has received numerous honors and awards, including the Forbes 30 Under 30 Award, CSQ’s 40 Under 40 Award, and Inc. Magazine’s Top 25 Marketing Influencers Award.

Episode 078: What It Takes to Win Fast in an Ever-Changing and Highly Competitive Industry: Debunking the Hawke Method With Hawke Media Founder Erik Huberman

The Intro!

Saksham Sharda: Hi, everyone. Welcome to another episode of Outgrow’s Marketer of the Month. I’m your host, Dr. Saksham Sharda. I’m the creative director at Outgrow.co. And for this month we’re going to interview Erik Huberman, who is the CEO of Hawke Media. Thanks for joining us, Erik.

Erik Huberman: Thanks for inviting me, Saksham.

Saksham Sharda: In one sentence, what does your company offer?

Erik Huberman: We are an outsourced CMO and marketing team to brands.

Saksham Sharda: Okay. 

Don’t have time to read? No problem, just watch the Podcast!

Or you can just listen to it on Spotify!

The Rapid Fire Round!

rapid fire

Saksham Sharda:  So we’re gonna start with a rapid-fire round. The first question is at what age do you want to retire?

Erik Huberman: I don’t wanna retire

Saksham Sharda: Work from home or work from the office?

Erik Huberman: Probably home.

Saksham Sharda: How long does it take you to get ready in the mornings?

Erik Huberman: 15 minutes.

Saksham Sharda: In one sentence, describe to me a problem that your company is facing.

Erik Huberman: Declining economy.

Saksham Sharda: Your favorite SaaS software tool?

Erik Huberman: Caspio

Saksham Sharda: The most embarrassing moment of your life?

Erik Huberman: I don’t get embarrassed that easily.

Saksham Sharda: Who’s Peter Theil?

Erik Huberman: VC.

Saksham Sharda: The first movie that comes to your mind when I say the word ambition?

Erik Huberman: Now it’s “Social Network”

Saksham Sharda: And your favorite app?

Erik Huberman: Caspio

Saksham Sharda: The best no-code tool you use?

Erik Huberman: Caspio.

Saksham Sharda: Okay. How many hours of sleep can you survive on survive?

Erik Huberman: Four or five. But Fridays, seven to eight.

Saksham Sharda: Okay. Fill in the blank. And upcoming marketing trend is __________.

Erik Huberman: AI and SMS.

Saksham Sharda: The city in which the best of your life happened?

Erik Huberman: Los Angeles.

Saksham Sharda: Pick one, Mark Zuckerberg or Jack Dorsey?

Erik Huberman: Mark Zuckerberg.

Saksham Sharda: When did you last cry and why?

Erik Huberman: Over my dad’s passing a couple of months ago.

Saksham Sharda: The biggest mistake of your career?

Erik Huberman: Giving too much trust to executives and not trusting, but validating and verifying.

Saksham Sharda: Okay. How do you relax?

Erik Huberman: A lot of different ways. I’m a hobby junkie, work out, and then just like to hang out with the family sometimes.

Saksham Sharda: How many speakers can you name from this conference?

Erik Huberman: One.

Saksham Sharda: You wanna name him?

Erik Huberman: Actually two, myself and Mike Asher coz he is speaking with.

Saksham Sharda: Okay. How many cups of coffee do you drink per day?

Erik Huberman: Almost none except for when I travel overseas and I do a cup in the morning.

Saksham Sharda: A habit of yours that you hate?

Erik Huberman: Habit of mine that I hate, don’t have that. I have a lot of willpower, so I usually cut those.

Saksham Sharda: The most valuable skill you’ve learned in life?

Erik Huberman: I’d say to get things done myself.

Saksham Sharda: And the last rapid-fire question, your favorite Netflix show?

Erik Huberman: I wanna start the newest “Stranger Things”, but I haven’t yet, but that probably would be it. There are a few great ones, but probably Stranger Things.

Saksham Sharda: Okay. That’s the end of the rapid-fire round. You didn’t have any passes. So that was amazing.

The Big Questions!

Big Questions

Saksham Sharda: So we’re gonna go onto the longer questions. The first one is could you tell a little bit more about the Hawke method?

Erik Huberman: Yeah, so we’ve worked with almost 4,000 companies at this point and have run marketing for them and grown a lot of them successfully. And probably analyzing around 40,000 companies’ marketing we developed a methodology of how to ascertain where the low-hanging fruit is and where the opportunities are in marketing very quickly, coz we have an ongoing basis for our clients. And through years and years of developing that, it started to become a framework that we taught our team that we used over and over again. And we saw that it worked well. And so after again years, I was approached to write a book and they’re like, what would you write it on? And that’s when we distilled it into this methodology, which is about sort of the three principles of marketing –  awareness, nurturing, and trust and how it fits like a tripod and basically how to constantly monitor your marketing. And it’s built for heads of marketing CEOs, people that really wanna understand that overall framework. So it’s not necessarily like an individual tactic book. It has a little bit of that, but it’s more about that overall framework to work in so that you can constantly understand where your opportunities are in your marketing strategy.

Saksham Sharda: And how have you over your career learned to figure out where the low-hanging fruit is?

Erik Huberman: Yeah. So I think like most things it’s about simplifying it, which is the hard thing to do. Like I think it was Mark Twain who talks about how short stories, are much harder to write than long stories. And it’s the same kind of idea how like if you wanna spend the next month analyzing a marketing strategy can probably come up with some things. But what if you have 30 minutes to figure out what to be paying attention to and where to work? And so the idea is – We created a way to do that, where, again, it’s about these three principles and we do believe these are the three categories of marketing that all drive into a successful marketing campaign. So awareness, how do you build new awareness for your brand, introduce new potential customers to your company, nurture what do you do once they’re aware you exist, to bring them in and turn them into a customer? And then what do you do post-purchase to bring them back and then trust 75% of consumers won’t buy from a company they don’t inherently trust, so how are you building that trust? Before you have a brand that people know and you have that awareness, trust comes from third-party validation. So influencers, referrals, reviews, etc. And so then what we do is we look at all the leading indicators that show that those things are covered. And we look at benchmarking, meaning how you compare two companies in your industry. And so between those two things, and this is a proprietary software tool we’ve built, we’re able to go, “Okay, so based on your company and your industry, you’re not doing very well on this number”. Well, what’s driving that number? Well, that’s a nurturing number and through nurturing, you’re probably like, let’s look at your email marketing, your SMS, your content, your website, all these different things. Here’s the number that’s off. That’s what we need to fix. We need to fix your website. So it’s about going down the checklist from starting at the top, like which category to then which channel to then, okay. There’s the fix.

Saksham Sharda: And how do you relate this to your concept of CMO in a box?

Erik Huberman: Yeah, so two ways! One, you know, the company we started is basically fractional CMO work and then built out into executing all the different strategies we were implementing as well. And so now we have teams of Facebook marketers, email marketers, web designers, etc. And so this is something we haven’t announced yet. We’re building a tool now that takes the Hawke method, takes this benchmarking, takes all this, and creates automated insights. That truly is gonna be a CMO in a box software-wise. Currently, it’s done manually through fractional CMOs people that we have on staff.

Saksham Sharda: And what is Hawke Fest about? We’ve been reading #Hawkefest things. So what is that about?

Erik Huberman: Yeah, so I realized literally before I started Hawke that there wasn’t a meetup for e-commerce professionals in LA and there was one of the hotbeds of e-commerce. So I started doing a monthly happy hour that got popular, really fast, and hundreds of people would show up. And then a few years into that, I think it was three decided to do a one-day event for e-commerce C-suites in LA and make it fun and engaging. And the idea was to have fun, network, and learn. And so we made it, we curated the audience, we made it fun and compelling. I thankfully had a decent network to make some great speakers and celebrities and things like that. We did it three years in a row before partnering with the city of LA to then create eCommerce week, which is a full week of eCommerce events. And then COVID hit, so we’ve done it virtually for two years.

Saksham Sharda: And do you think it’s hard getting an online community to be consistent?

Erik Huberman: Yes. Online communities are very hard. I mean our first year doing Ecom week was 8,000 people. The second year was 4,000 people. Not because anybody had bad reviews, but because when the world is open, people don’t necessarily want to just sit online. When everyone’s stuck at home, online is compelling and those communities thrive. But the moment the world opens up, you saw it with clubhouse, the app, like literally the month everybody started going back outside all of a sudden, no one’s on clubhouse anymore.

Saksham Sharda: So what would be a solution to trying to make a community because a lot of marketers and a lot of companies are trying to make communities? Well, some of them are just buying them because it’s so hard to build them. So what is the solution you think?

Erik Huberman: In person, it matters just as much. That’s why we do in-person events too. It’s hard, we’re a global business. We have offices in China, the Philippines, Canada, the US, and the UK and we still throw an event in LA. Because even if people are flying in or even if you can only grab that core audience, I think it’s a lot harder to build community online. Just as much as it’s hard to build community through a virtual company, which we are now too, it’s a lot more difficult. That doesn’t mean it’s not doable and that the cost isn’t worth the reward. But you have to add in person just we’re biological, that’s where we build relationships.

Saksham Sharda: Okay. And talking about the company again, what do you mean by Hawke media agency, but with an ‘S’?

Erik Huberman: I don’t know where that came from.

Saksham Sharda: From the feed, but well, okay. We can skip that question. So you’re headquartered in Santa Monica, the extreme west side of the US, yet here you are at a Euro-based conference. What is your intended presence in Europe and how do you intend to get there?

Erik Huberman: Yeah, so we in February acquired an agency in the UK and partnered up with a man named Will Tickle that is now our head of Europe. And we’re looking to expand throughout Europe. And so we’ve created this concept of very nimble, flexible, accessible, great marketing solutions. Like that is the idea. The mission of Hawke media is too great accessibility, to great marketing because, what we found in the industry is that 99% of marketing agencies have no idea what they’re doing. And the 1% that are good are really expensive, want long contracts, high minimums, et cetera. And so we just wanted to solve that by saying, let’s be good at what we do but easy to work with. Like, not that novel of a concept, but frankly, in our industry, it is. And so we did that in the US, grew incredibly fast, and now with 300 people, we went where we should start at looking at where else in the world, this can help. And we’ve already worked with a lot of European and Asian brands to come to the US. Now we wanna start working on that same model in Europe. And so we found a great partner we’re able to get to a deal with and now spent the past few months integrating and soon enough for really kicking off growth out here. So we’re looking at, we’re starting in the UK, but we’re looking at actually our next target is the Netherlands. We’ll see how that works, coz opportunity has to arise as well. But we are excited about being in the Netherlands as well.

Saksham Sharda: And speaking of clients and partners, could you name us one client that you’ve loved working with, an interesting case study about a client?

Erik Huberman: Yeah. So another little anecdote about Hawke as we started doing a lot of angels investing about a year in, turned into a small venture fund, a 5 million fund, which then turned into a 50 Million dollar 2nd fund. And we had a client for at that point 3 years called the Cell it’s a plant company that we took from, a small little New York-based online direct to a consumer product company, tens of millions of dollars in revenue, really solid company. And they went to raise some money. And one of my marketing managers that were managing it, calls me and goes, “Hey, I don’t wanna do this behind your back. Would it be okay if I invested in one of our clients, like tell me more”. And so he ended up investing. We invested in the company and since then they’ve grown massively and they’ve become one of the biggest online plant companies. And we’ve been able to be their marketing team plus give them funding plus advice for them. And it’s just been an awesome partnership. And it’s a woman-led business. It’s impressive business. And so that’s been a great one.

Saksham Sharda: All right. And the last question is what would you be doing if not this?

Erik Huberman: I don’t know, which is funny because like we’ve been offered to sell the company many times. And I haven’t, because I can’t answer that question. If I knew what I wanted to do if there was an alternative. Let’s say Hawke failed, or I sold, I’d probably be working on the investing side for a while, but I will say because we have the fund, investing’s too slow for me. I like it as a part of what I do, but it’s not fast-paced enough for me to keep me interested and passionate about just that. So the way I do it now is I have a business to operate and then I also get to invest. And so to do one or the other buying narrowly doesn’t sound that enticing. So I think the other thing is I joke all the time. I am just one, you know, rough decision away from owning a taco shop on the beach in Mexico. So could swing the far another way that if I wasn’t doing this, I’d just be surfing.

Saksham Sharda: Well, that’s the end of the interview.

Let’s Conclude! 

Saksham Sharda: Thanks everyone for joining us for this month’s episode of Outgrow’s Marketer of the Month. That was Erik Huberman, who is the CEO of Hawke Media. Thanks for joining us, Erik.

Erik Huberman: Thanks for having me.

Saksham Sharda: Check out their website for more details and we’ll see you once again next month with another marketer of the month.

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