My name is Phill. I'm here to share ideas on ethical marketing & business philosophy.
I’ve spent my career working in almost every industry imaginable defying the manipulative tactics used by unethical marketers looking for quick wins. I believe that being genuine and taking the time to view things from the customer’s perspective leads to sustainable growth and long term loyalty.
This site is dedicated to educating and sharing ideas with aspiring and experienced marketers alike with the goal of cleaning up the scumminess consuming our craft.
I’ve been hands on with marketing and building businesses since my teenage years and I’m still obsessed with learning more and getting better at what I do with the goal of improving my customer’s lives.
The T-Shirt Company
It really started after I had the idea of starting a t-shirt company with the idea of competing with Affliction, needless to say my shirts paled in comparison in terms of design and material quality.
Yet, that didn’t stop my brand from reaching people all over the UK, Canada, Australia and almost every state in the U.S.
I did two things that ultimately led to my brand’s rapid growth.
1. I made it a point to connect with my customers on a personal level through social media and email whether it was to accept praise or complaints.
I did that naturally, it wasn’t a marketing ploy I just believe customers should be treated with respect and get what was promised them.
2. I made sure my brand stood for something, that it had a reason to exist.
My brand’s message promoted standing up to the man and carving your own path in life. I made sure everything I did from social media posts to how I interacted with customers relayed that overall rebellious message. I essentially lived the lifestyle I was selling, or at least my customers thought I did – I wish I was that cool.
Those two things combined led to thousands of followers across the world reaching out to me to get the latest shirts, bands sending me photos of them playing in my gear, people spending $30+ to get their shirts overnighted for a special event and people sending me messages on what the brand meant for them on a personal level.
I eventually got connected with MMA fighters, Chanel West Coast, a Playboy Mansion Events Coordinator and even some of Affliction’s sales people without spending a dime on marketing.
It’s important to note that I’m from a town of 2,500 people in the Midwest with, at the time: zero business, political, or celebrity connections. This was pure natural growth because my brand connected with people on an emotional level.
The Gaming Site
A year after I shut down my t-shirt business (due to receiving a hard lesson in business finance) I built a gaming website that focused on news and guides.
Taking some of the lessons I learned with the t-shirt endeavor I started off by establishing an inside group of gamers that I would communicate with regularly to get their feedback on the website.
The private chatroom I created for these insiders provided me more insights than I could ever imagine. They spoke openly about what they wanted to see published, types of site features they’d like to use, features that they didn’t like and so forth.
I started taking in their recommendations writing guides they felt were missing from the gaming community and creating new sections of the site to meet their other requests. Of course, I had to filter these requests as not all of them fit with the original mission and purpose of the website.
Shortly after I started publishing content full time I had articles reaching over 250,000 pageviews each within days after being published. At one point my web host called me multiple times because I was “melting” his servers with the rapid growth.
Within a year I went from 0 to 600,000 monthly unique users, 2.5M pageviews on a marketing budget of $35 total. I spent that $35 sending a game developer a gift basket to thank them for providing assets to use on my site (exclusive screenshots, videos, etc.).
Without any expectation, they posted the gift basket online thanking my site for sending it. I had to find a new web host after that message reached their 1M followers.
20+ other websites decided to mimic me by sending their own gift baskets, soon the devs were buried in chocolates, salamis, fancy cheeses and an interesting slew of cracker spreads.
I sold that website shortly after as it was too much to manage while attending college full time.
That website further proved to me that if I actually cared about my customer’s needs, wants and interests that it would lead to sustainable long term growth.
After I graduated I landed a gig with an SEO agency in Columbus, OH and after working there for 18 months some of my work got noticed by Seer Interactive who asked me if I would be interested in joining their team.
I said of course, Wil Reynolds promoted the idea of building “Real Shit” which aligned well with my belief in being genuine and providing customers with a good experience.
At Seer I had the opportunity of working with major Fortune 500 clients to some of the more well known startups coming out of Silicon Valley and Los Angeles.
One of my favorite examples of an account I managed at Seer was a Fortune 500 client working in the B2B space selling materials for factories. My associated and I noticed that the website they built was full of copy that sounded as if it was written for the scientists who designed these factory materials and not the customer who were typically factory and plant managers.
With their blessing, we completely revamped their website with new content using the lingo of their actual buyers. Within a couple months their site went from an average ranking in Google of 29 to 10, their qualified leads doubled and organic traffic generated an additional $60M in revenue in 6 months.
Many of my accounts would regularly see 20 – 40% growth month-over-month by creating content that met their customer’s needs.
After 3.5 years in the agency world I finally got my chance to join a local startup in the FinTech space. Joining the startup world in California had been my intial goal since the beginning, this was huge.
Taking my learnings from my past ventures and client work I got started on the marketing strategy for the new app I was in charge of growing.
With minimal paid budget, ~$5,000 total over a year, I had to get our app in the top spots in the app store. I did this, for a few of the terms we were targeting, but the thing I did that had the most impact on growing the brand actually happened offline.
Companies with booths at conferences are notorious for giving out cheap and ultimately useless swag. I wanted to do something different so I ordered customized, professional bottle openers – the ones used by actual bartenders.
Why did I decided on these? First of off, the Wall Street crowd likes to drink and they were our target market. Secondly, they were relatively cheap at $2.13 per unit. Lastly, they had weight to them and felt like a quality item when you put them in your hand.
Similar to my gaming site, I set up an Insider’s group on Slack to chat about upcoming feature releases, mock ups, new ideas, etc. with our top users. As a token of appreciation I sent those Insider’s our first set of bottle openers.
Days later, images of our bottle openers were being shared all over Twitter. People wanted to know how they could also get one of our awesome bottle openers.
The next time we set up a booth at a conference we had a crowd of people looking to get a hold of one of our bottle openers. They would tell us how much they enjoyed using the app, how many of their friends they’ve shared it with, and promised to share it with even more.
Soon after that we had people bragging on social media about receiving swag from our us which turned into a continuous loop of new users looking to join in on the fun.
Of course this didn’t happen in a vacuum, it was more of a vehicle of growth. I had spent months tweaking the messaging and building a brand before we gave out swag.
This is just a great example of how being generous encourages customers to be even more generous in return once they establish a relationship with a brand.
Shortly after, we were acquired by StockTwits.
After StockTwits I took on my current Head of Marketing role at a sourcing startup called Sourcify that we took through Y Combinator (Class of Winter ’18).
Going against recommendations from most of the startup VCs and founders we’ve met I decided to focus on organic growth through well thought out and beneficial content.
To this day, through our organic efforts we’ve seen $10s of millions in production leads reach our company as we continue to improve our software and operations.
Connect With Me
This bio got a little out of hand, but it only scratches the surface of all the things I’ve done in my career. If you’d like to reach out to share ideas or just connect you can find me on LinkedIn and AngelList or email me at [moorman].[phillip]@gmail.com (without the brackets).