Part 2 with Sean Burrows: Marketing and Influence in 2020
Let’s start with a little context:
For yourself: What is your overall goal here? Where are you going with this?
What industries do you look to for inspiration?
Strategically: What are you using your influence to do…
Personal website, sponsor website, tracking
Facebook (740 followers) Instagram catch all
Twitter (1016 followers) Seans Political Voice
Sean Borrows on Youtube (5800 subs) 136k Vid, several 10k plus vids, looking to build this to 10k subs for SHOT Show.
@sean.go.boom (interesting that Sean Burrows didn’t return IG page in search
Instagram (32.5k followers) Likely will become a lifestyle page. Long form content will be sent to youtube etc.
Formulas: The content waltz
* Gun Porn
* Gun Porn
What are you liking for equipment these days?
Tripod, DSLR: Cannon T7i
Sponsors: Federal Premium Ammunition, Breda, Safariland, Vortex Optics, Emerson Knives, Dakota Tactical, ShootSteel.com, HKParts.com, Gargoyles, 5.11 Tactical, Briley 3 Gun, ELF, Dueck Defense and Rhino Metals
Mark: 00:00:05 [inaudible] hey everybody, and welcome back to this in the cast parts. You is still on the first episode. We talked a little bit about [inaudible] now and now we’re going to get into the passive side of marketing. [inaudible]
Mark: 00:00:19 welcome back Shawn. Good to be back. I tricked you by not having a long winded ad segment before I introduce you to the shit. Oh, I guess we’re back now. Yeah, I know. I think, um, you know, uh, my thought process here was people, uh, listen to an hour and a half of us talking and, and ads and all that stuff on the first one. And, and what we started to kind of scratch the surface of the conversation. I didn’t want him to have to wait too long for the goodies on this one.
Sean: 00:00:45 No, it makes sense to me. And, um, you know, we’re, we’re just, uh, a weekend in between episodes, at least recording. I don’t know how you’re going to release this, so it’s still fresh in my mind. You know, it’s interesting to like do it right. But then it’s another thing to talk about it like after shooting a three gun stage. Like so w w what did you do there on your, I’m like, I honestly don’t.
Mark: 00:01:07 Yeah, I love that people come up to me and they ask me questions like that and I’m like, I don’t know. I just tried to get all the ammos into the all the guns and then get all the animals out of the guns into the things. Right. That’s why I love pictures cause all the bullets go on all the holes in the photographs. Oh, same with videos. Yes. Yes, you’re right. Very good. Yup. Cool. Well look, um, so in the first episode we talked quite a bit about like how you kind of arrived here and, and in both the shooting world and in, um, and then the marketing and also that you’ve got a big change in your sponsorship around, you know, and now federal premium ammunition as your title sponsor. And, uh, so this is actually kind of an interesting time to talk about this cause I’m assuming you’re shaking things up a little bit right now.
Sean: 00:01:50 Um, federal is actually not my title sponsor. Um, it shaking things up. Yeah. It’s, it’s kind of a, I, I got into this, just documenting my journey and then, you know, each k called and then this whole possibility of like getting support. I, I mean the whole influencer marketing thing is still so wild west, especially in our industry. Totally. Um, that, that it, you know, three, four years ago it was, it was completely unheard of. I’m like, yeah, yeah, I suppose I could just keep on doing what I’m doing and you could then, um, supplement my efforts with equipment. Sure. That, that doesn’t suck. And, and, um, so the thing is though, they, they called because I’m in the digital marketing and social space anyway. And so I wasn’t going to just because it was a hobby, create less quality content or do it halfway just because it was my thing and it wasn’t a paying client.
Sean: 00:02:54 In fact, I probably a certain point, I wound up putting more care and time into it. Um, then, then those, those, uh, uh, paying me because I, I wasn’t, there wasn’t pressure. There weren’t, um, third party, uh, decisions being made on what needed to be done. It was all my ideas. And so I could kind of marinate in it more as far as creating content, uh, starting conversations, experimenting with, uh, what kind of engagement I can get on certain pieces of, uh, things on different platforms. Um, but I’ll tell you it’s, it’s weird. Uh, one thing we are going into, um, any kind of marketing in this, uh, shooting, hunting outdoor spaces. You know, especially with guns, it’s so restricted. You can’t advertise on primary platforms. And a lot of these companies aren’t used to like even marketing. And so I, you know, talking to a company that actually has a marketing budget sometimes is a novelty and totally a novelty.
Sean: 00:03:56 And even some of the bigger ones have a hard time distinguishing between business development, marketing and sales. And it’s all just been a one mass. Like we want more money’s in art. Thanks. Yeah. Right. Well good. I mean, that’s, that’s really great. I mean, that is what I suffer from all the time. I think the largest budget I work with is for marketing. It’s, well, it’s well sub a million bucks, which is nothing in the big scheme of the marketing world. No, no. And it’s a constant conversation on the, on the business side. But no, I’m the Weirdo that’s decided to literally sit on the other side of the table that I sit on professionally. Um, and turn that into a hobby. Yeah, totally. Cool. Well, let’s get into this a little bit. So, um, I think what I’d like to do is, and maybe in the hopes of, you know, I dunno, not educating but, but giving some people a direction here is starting with, you know, before you jump right into like, what are you going to do tactically on Instagram is like, what’s the kind of the context for you?
Sean: 00:04:54 So if like for yourself, what’s your, I mean, do you have a goal here or where are you going with this? You have a direction or are you just Kinda gone with the wind? How does that look for you? Oh, again, you know, I kind of found myself in it. Um, well not knowing I was necessarily going for it. And so that, that, that goal is kind of been an evolving thing up until really a month ago, maybe five weeks ago. I mean, I, I was, um, prepared to, uh, really just keep doing what I’ve been doing. And that’s, that’s essentially seeing how high high is with the amount of value I can produce for my, um, the, the companies that support me. I’ve been pretty happy. Um, you know, some things have changed like federal coming into, uh, the roster has been, um, incredibly, um, beneficial. Um, but other than that, I’m not, you know, I’m not looking to see, um, how many more different types of products I can get right for the work.
Sean: 00:05:58 I, it’s really been more about simplifying, you know, that, that the learning curve has been like, well, let’s see what different kinds of companies find what I’m doing valuable and level big and small. And, uh, as, as I’ve, I was more of a data gathering exercise over the first year, year and a half. Um, and the last couple of years it’s really been about simplifying and I’m doubling down on the companies that one as a hobbyist, a competitive shooter, um, I can benefit from the most. Yeah. But also too, um, you know, I guess with that deciding, uh, the best things that I can do with what I’ve got in front of me, uh, to, to create more value for them and then, uh, figure out what more I can do, it’d be doing maybe on other platforms to increase that value because, um, when, when value increases, uh, benefits increase as well, especially when you have a relationship.
Sean: 00:07:07 Now, there are a few smaller companies that I just have relationships with these people. And, and again, this is a hobby for me. This is it. It’s, um, I, I’m also a business man. Just, it’s in my DNA, so I can’t not make everything into a business. Yeah, no, I got it. I, it’s what really floats my boat is the relationships, the, the, the people. And if there’s a company where that dynamic really dramatically changes, um, you know, I’m, I’m more than open to, uh, no longer working with that company regardless of how much I like the, the product.
Mark: 00:07:44 Yeah. Cool. Well, so, okay, good. So you’re, and I think this is pretty consistent. So there’s a theme with all the people I’ve talked to about this that are actually successful is their primary goal is to drive value for their sponsor or their customer, client, whatever you want to call it. Right. And, um, and I think there’s, there’s no doubt that that has a huge impact on the overall of what you’re doing. If, I mean, if your primary purpose is to make yourself look good, you might not do a very great job for, you know, company x, y or Z.
Sean: 00:08:16 I think early on, especially in the Instagram influencer space, like looking good with, you know, cheesy product placement, what was good enough, it drove enough engagement too. And certainly there are some, some big personal brands that really, you know, their, their entire premise of their, um, social platforms is just painting that beautiful life, not necessarily in our space, but, um, and it’s, it’s very effective. People just drool over that. They think there’s some level of uh, attainable perfection in reality based on what they see on their, their little three, four inch screen. But you know, we know that’s not the case. However, that’s, that is an effective form of advertising for certain types of products for us. Um, you know, I seen a huge modulation to, um, form following function in the firearm space, specifically in ev and related products, right? So, um, it’s cool to have a selfie and gun porn will always get it’s, you know, likes and comments and people like to talk about gear.
Sean: 00:09:28 But then there’s also, you know, a real, ah, just heads above the rest level of value where those that are real practitioners and those who put certain product lines through the ringer over the course of a competition season or maybe they’re a and armed professional [inaudible], you know, the military law enforcement or they have experience having been one now retired. And so those sorts of, um, contextual pieces of continual content, uh, really add up and giving people, um, a reason to justify a purchase. Yeah. You know, it, it, it makes it, uh, it’s more interesting and the more people are spending their time scrolling through these things on, especially Instagram, um, you need a disrupt, you can’t have, you know, w w we made jokes about, uh, the, the generic overly done forms of content. Yup. And I, I’ve been experimenting with all sorts of stuff over the last month, especially since, you know, I, I’m, I’m just so, so to be clear, I, um, uh, Alicia and I, um, have moved on from HK and we, we did a, the first, first part of August. And, um, we’d been,
Sean: 00:10:55 well for almost a year, over a year. Um, in casual conversations with companies. It’s always good to build relationships and keep things open. Um, and, and I’m certainly not going to be rude, but we’re, we’re now officially working with a B and t Bruger and Thomas their Swiss gun manufacturer. In fact, they make a lot of components and things for HK when, um, they have like a big military contract or something. And, uh, this last July B and t actually beat the MP five and a bid for the army’s new, uh, sub gun contracts. So the, the B and t APC nine k, which is the short version, um, has replaced the MP five k. So, um, you know, and I, that’s a half century old, um, piece of equipment. That’s big news as it’s like a Beretta disappearing from the battlefield. Right? It’s, it’s, it’s a, it’s a significant, um, thing and, and, uh, but you know, we, I, I’ve been a B and t fan for a long time because they make, uh, amazingly high quality, um, guns, but they just make long guns and sub guns. So, nope, no pistols. So that was an interesting transition. So yeah, we’re in the middle of, um, finalizing terms with Alice gun works for a competition and then as an influencer, that’s interesting to me now because I have zero, um, product exclusivity in the realm of anything conceal, carry or, or, um, uh, pistols of any kind outside of that. So, um, I w a a big departure on my youtube videos over these next six months is, uh, doing reviews on, um, non HK pistols, which, um, it’s a lot of fun for me.
Mark: 00:12:47 Cool. Well, welcome Dallas. It’s going to be fun to work together. Oh, that’s right. Your working with them. Yeah. No, I, I, I, I’ve heard about this for awhile, but I haven’t been able to say anything or, uh, or do anything about it cause, uh, you know, things weren’t solid yet. Sure. Well they’re, they’re solidifying this. Yes. That’s great. No, I got that really cool man. Yeah, I think you’re going to be pleasantly surprised. Oh, they’re great
Sean: 00:13:11 guns. Yeah. I’m, I’m very, uh, that’s why we’re talking.
Mark: 00:13:15 Yeah, no, it’s cool. And also, uh, working with, um, Adam is amazing obviously on the hardware and the content side, but, um, you know, cat’s also a really great like, uh, influencer on her own right. It’s been really remarkable. It’ll be good to have a, even more, we’ve, um, we’ve actually found so far to be honest with you, more horsepower at atlas outside of the three gun industry, um, people who are like crossover, uh, that we have inside. So the originally we had a lot of real great success with people who are like just straight up three gunners and then we’ve started to see that kind of level out, let’s just say for lack of a better term. So it’ll be fun.
Sean: 00:13:51 Small sport. I mean even [inaudible] PSA is bigger. Uh, totally. I have a few friends out here that are shoe, uh, Mike Stoker for one. He just, he just signed on with atlas a few months ago. So
Mark: 00:14:02 whole though, it’s amazing how poor USPSA, I mean for the, for the number of people involved, there’s not a lot of really good influencers in that game that we’ve, we’ve stumbled across there a handful for sure. But like, I, you know, it’s not like you have the, what I’ve seen, and maybe I could be wrong about this, but, um, I, from what I’ve seen in this space, there’s a lot of really awesome shooters. Some of the best in the world are in USPSA, but there hasn’t been this like drive to, to deliver on, you know, it’s like they’re not that interested in this, this side of the business.
Sean: 00:14:36 Well, no, it’s, it’s in fact, I mean that, that, that whole, uh, so I, I think this is a good segue, right? Yeah. So, um, you know, when I, when I first started getting into three gun, I, you know, I mentioned in our last, I guess episode installment that, you know, I, I didn’t wear a Jersey for the first year because I just didn’t feel like I was like Jersey worthy. Yeah. On a Sunday afternoon, I will see, I’m just middle aged to retirement age road. Bikers going on their big long bike rides and they’ve all got jerseys on right. They’re not doing a tour to anything. No. You know, they, they are decked out in um, standard issue uniform and that is Jersey of your choice just because everyone needs to know you’re a road biker. Right. And some, um, person commuting to work that can’t afford a car, it has a big difference.
Sean: 00:15:26 Um, in fact, some of these damn bikes cost more than cars, but, um, the, the idea is, you know, the idea of, uh, the ambiguous Jersey worthiness, um, has been interesting to me. And honestly though, you know, when I first got my first Jersey and I put it on for a, a match, I felt it was a weird level of self consciousness when first, until I had to snap myself out of it. Like, look, all these companies have supported me even getting to be able to shoot this match. And if I don’t wear it, it is doing them a disservice. You know, it had to be a paradigm shift where a lot of the, the people getting into it were, we’re on TV three gun nation, you know, they got their sponsors from a different way and now it’s, uh, it’s more like a rock band bringing in, uh, their own audience. Um, you know, I, I have my crowd that I bring and they get to watch everything at the match that I choose for them to watch through this device right here. This is my broadcast device. And so, um, they are literally, um,
Speaker 4: 00:16:39 okay
Sean: 00:16:39 that, that’s been a huge shift. Um, and I’m not saying there’s been a shift in Jersey worthiness, but I, I feel like that’s sort of a vibe is still there in, in, uh, USPSA. Um, it’s just strange to me. It’s just a shirt.
Mark: 00:16:54 Yeah, no, I know. But I think part of that’s the context thing that we originally came from. It’s like if you’re out there to bring value to your clients or your customers or sponsors, whatever you want to call it, you are, I mean, look, ultimately they’re like clients. I mean there is an exchange of goods and services, right? So it’s a hobby, but it is a professional business. If you’re taking money or services or goods for work, it’s a job. I mean it is. I mean, and so if you’re coming to it though from like, I want to create value for these people, for these clients, customers, sponsors, whatever, whatever word you’re comfortable using, then wearing the Jersey means one thing. If you’re coming from vanity, um, and it means a whole nother thing. And then inside a vanity is, is the vanity based on like you’re really, really good and you’re, you know, you’re being vain but you could back it up or are you doing it out of vanity and you just showed up with a bunch of logos, so look good and feel good and look cool, but you’re really not delivering on anything because frankly wearing a jersey to a match doesn’t amount to Jack Shit in terms of moving the needle for the customer or the client or the sponsor, whatever you want to call it.
Mark: 00:18:00 Um,
Sean: 00:18:01 especially if their logos of companies, you just like a totally,
Mark: 00:18:04 well look. I mean you have 300 people at a match, right? How many, you know, 80% of them are convinced that this trigger and this rifle with this comp and this optic is the only way to go. And if you give me any other options, I’m going to hunt you down on Facebook.
Sean: 00:18:20 [inaudible]
Mark: 00:18:21 I mean it is really that, I was just literally this morning I was on Facebook and there was this guy was just like asking a question about something simple. Oh, he’s trying to decide between the combat master and the DVC three gun, both find firearms. Just a simple question. He’s never owned a 2011 before and it’s a, it’s a, you know, 300 comments deep of brand x brand y. If you get that combat master, you’re a loser. What do you think your John Wick, blah, blah, blah. This is the guy tried to make a buying decision
Sean: 00:18:48 and see I that, that’s for me. Um, those groups are not where I’m valuable. I rarely participate in any of those conversations because I, I’ve got, frankly, I’ve got my own audience to tend to and it’s enough work. Tell me what the upside is for getting engaged in that conversation. None. Zero. Yeah. The only people that benefit from those conversations are those that can own and control the actual discussion group, kind of the moderator can’t keep, uh, rules intact. Um, you know, that, that’s, that’s really a, a bad value decision for the owner of the group.
Mark: 00:19:27 Yeah, I know. Well, I, well and there’s, well, let’s get into this a little bit, so, okay, good. So one other question I have before we get into the strategics is do you look at other industries for inspiration? Because I mean, our pool of talent is small. I mean, meaning there’s not a lot of people in the big scheme of things in three gun.
Sean: 00:19:44 Well, like I mentioned earlier, you know, my, my company IGB Research, uh, I, we’re, we’re relaunching a new website, uh, first week of October because, um, our influencer management services have exploded a five x over the last 18 months. And a lot of it is, you know, companies in any industry heard the influencer marketing’s the, the new way to go. And so they’ll send out a bunch of stuff to a bunch of people that have, um, the perception of big numbers. Some of them are fake, some of them are not big numbers of no engagement, low numbers of big engagement. They don’t know what they’re doing. But like, yeah, let’s just send free product and then we’re going to get, but it’s like the old days of search engine optimization. There were companies that literally thought that if they could get on the first page of Google, they could retire within 90 days on a beach with a Margarita in their hand and never have, like it was the old nineties silicon valley, a.com boom dream where it just sock puppet commercials don’t work anymore.
Sean: 00:20:51 Um, you know, the influencer marketing is now the big thing and people are being duped with how to coaching ads on Instagram, stories for become an influencer and get lots of free stuff and vacation for free. And then on the other side, you know, companies are like, wow, look at all these influencers, I’m going to just give them stuff. And, and, and, and it’s, it’s a whole big misunderstanding in, in relationship dynamics, uh, while utilizing the common ground of a, um, fake environment, which is filling your social platform, correct. Instagram, Youtube, whatever. And so, um, it, if you’ve got real entities on either side of a fake digital, um, ecosystem that don’t know how to function in those waters, it, the, the, the chances for success are slim to none. And so, and you wind up getting, uh, oh, I, I, I spent so much on product for these influencers and I didn’t get anything in return.
Sean: 00:21:57 We didn’t make one sale. And so that comes back to the, the misunderstanding of the difference between business development, marketing and sales and, and, and so, yeah, I look, I don’t know that I look to other industries for inspiration, but I am, uh, I apply what we manage and do on a professional side over to what I see working here. But it’s interesting, you know, it can be to an influencer’s advantage to have a less than experienced, um, sponsor company to work with, uh, with, you know, a decent budget and, and you, you help them build an influencer program. I’ve, I’ve done that a couple of times just because I wanted to work with them. Um, and then on the other side, uh, you, you have, um, the, the potential disaster where you get your free stuff and then he goes shoot with it. You do a couple of posts, he’s a few has tags and they think, you know, what the hell right.
Sean: 00:22:58 Um, case in point, I, uh, my first ammo sponsor, just a small little company in the Midwest that, uh, um, made really nice high end, uh, pistol ammo and their, their whole thing was that, you know, black hills pri or a black hills quality Walmart prices kind of thing. But it was still more expensive than anything you could get at Walmart. Now you can’t get anything at Walmart, so it doesn’t matter. But, um, they, they, they wanted to bring me on and you know, I, we set out in black and white in a very, very, very detailed, um, agreement that, you know, I was going to do x, they would get y and, um, and then, you know, my, my PR, I had to put my professional hat on because I could tell how, how inexperienced they were. Um, they, they were manufacturers