Dave Mastovich reflects on what he’s seen, what he’s learned from the No BS Marketing Show, the struggles, the barriers overcome, who helped and how, and where the show is headed in the future. He explains how the goals of the show have changed since the beginning and the feedback he’s gotten along the way.
It’s the No Bullshit Marketing Show. I’m Dave Mastovich, CEO and founder of MASSolutions, the world’s only no bullshit marketing consultants. We’re hitting a milestone with this episode. Seven years of the No Bullshit Marketing Show. Seven, seven, whew. It’s a lot to take in to have this happen and hit this milestone. And throughout the course of those seven years, we’ve had a lot of guests when we hit either an annual anniversary or when we’ve had a round number of 50, 100, 200, 300, 400. And I think we’ll do that for the 500th. But for this seventh one, I thought I’d just talk to you and tell you a little bit about the why, and tell you what I’ve seen, what I’ve learned, the lessons learned, the struggles, the barriers overcome, who helped and how, and where we’re going to go in the future. First, my company is about marketing strategy, and top and bottom line storytelling. And we use the science of storytelling and the science of marketing strategy. And I just walked you through the science of storytelling. What cognitive psychologists have shown is that our minds begin to go to work without us even knowing it. When we’re in an interaction with others, we tend to go through a process, we try to figure out who that person is the focal point, what they’re all about, what’s their goal, what’s their target audience. We do that, we try to figure that out as we’re talking to someone. Then we want to know, what are their struggles, the barriers they’ve overcome, who helped and how, the lessons learned, and what their takeaway is, and where they’re gonna go from here. That’s what we do. That’s why you see that the pilot of a new show, within the first 15 minutes of that show, probably even shorter, first five minutes, they’ve done most of those things. They’ve talked about the target, the goals, the struggle, the barriers overcome, who helped and how. And that’s how it starts. That’s how movies start. That’s how stories start. So I’m gonna go through all of that today for you.
So what was the goal? Why did I start the No Bullshit Marketing Show seven years ago? Well, first, I’ve always found that there are so many leaders with compelling, powerful stories that aren’t told or heard. Leaders that are hugely successful, but they’re not leading the Fortune 500 company, they aren’t the CEO of an NFL team. They aren’t a famous author, they aren’t a rock star, or movie star. But their stories are every bit as powerful, and maybe even more powerful, because they’re more real, they’re more easy to understand. They’re not based on this unique person that made it to this ridiculously high level. But they are people that have succeeded financially and business-wise and family-wise, and they have a unique ability that shows, and they convey that, and they produce at a high level, and they love their lives. So I thought, I want to do a podcast that interviews people, and lets them tell their story. And I would ask a couple of open-ended questions like, talk about what got you to here. What do you see as the one thing that makes you unique? What’s your biggest idea, your overarching theme of why you do what you do? And ask open-ended questions like that, and then shut up and listen. But I wouldn’t shut up completely because they’d inevitably lead to I’d say, wait a minute, you did what? And that would go down another interesting story. Another anecdote. Another analogy. So we’d hear what their goals were. We’d understand their barriers, and the struggles and the barriers they’ve overcome. We’d see what lessons they learned, we’d figure out who helped them, and how, where they are today and where they’re going tomorrow. And what their big idea is. So we began with a very ambitious schedule and did 50 guests in the first year. Actually, it was 52 and had over 100 episodes, two episodes per guest because these conversations went on and on and on. What I heard was that a lot of people said I liked the guest, but you know, maybe you should interject your stuff. So in year two, figured we’d test it. I still did about 25 guests, 50 episodes that way that I did another 25 or so episodes of me talking about current events and how people can benefit with their leadership and communication through storytelling, and how important real marketing was. And that worked really well. And the feedback we kept getting was your guests are great, they’re interesting people, but it’s not enough to get me to listen to that the whole time. But what I’m really liking is the takeaways that I, as a CEO and founder of a company can use, me as an entrepreneur can use, or I’m a chief marketing officer, and I can use that, or I’m a content specialist, and I can use that, or I’m a coach, I can use that. So in year three, we began to focus more on telling those stories. And we’d still have a guest here and there. So the first why behind doing the podcasts was I wanted to tell the stories and let people tell their own stories about leaders who I believe are hugely successful. But there was a second one right from the beginning, that I wanted to offer timely marketing insights, strategies, tactics, to help anyone out there.
Part of MASSolutions’ mission is to help someone, anyone, regardless of size of company, or industry, if they wanted to do real marketing, help them be able to do that. Because when I was leading a multibillion dollar company, and doing the marketing and storytelling, I often thought, oh, it must be because we have the resources. That’s why these other companies can’t do real marketing. But then I’d find a person here was a jewel in marketing, a diamond in marketing, and they’d be able to do it when their company only had 22 employees or the company did $57 million in annual revenue, or the company had 300 employees and so forth. And I realized it wasn’t because people didn’t have the resources, it was because they didn’t understand real marketing. So the mission of MASSolutions was to help any company, regardless of size, or industry be able to do real marketing if they want to.
So, tying to our mission, the second major reason for starting a podcast seven years ago was to be able to give that kind of marketing insights, marketing tips, marketing strategies, marketing tactical ways to do it, to anyone out there that wanted it. So that’s the why of why we started seven years ago, and why we’re still today, nearing our 500th episode. Now, when you look at the seven years, what has happened, what you saw, seven years ago, I remember I would speak to organizations and tell them on my podcast, they asked me what it even was, because there was a large segment of the population that didn’t really use podcasts 7, 6, 5 years ago. And even today, now everyone knows what a podcast is. But we’re still only at about a third that maybe listen regularly to a podcast. At the beginning, I was telling people about what the podcast was. And now we’ve seen a shift where more and more people are doing podcasts. One thing that I’ve seen is there’s a lot of people doing kind of a circle of podcasts, things where I’ll be your guest if you’d be mine. And there’s a lot of podcasts being done just to get a lead into the funnel by interviewing them, putting on the podcast. I’ve even had people do that with me where they called me and said, They want to interview me then after the fact that was just to pitch me. So that’s a little disheartening, because I’m a marketing purist, and I wanted the podcast to be really about leadership and communication. So over the seven years, I’ve watched it evolve, to where it went from being relatively unknown, mostly unknown to relatively unknown to now known, but still not everyone doing it. But now there’s so many podcasts, and so many are done primarily for lead gen or brand recognition. I do believe it’s valuable for both of those, and I believe you can repurpose the content. So I don’t begrudge it, but I like when the podcast itself has legs. And I’ve always believed that the No Bullshit Marketing Show had legs. I believe, if you go back and listen to any of these podcasts out of the nearly 500 podcasts that you will get value. And not just if you’re a marketer, someone in PR, someone in sales, if you’re any kind of leader, or founder or if you’re any kind of person that’s telling stories, which is everybody, you can get benefit from the vast majority of the episodes. So that’s what I’ve seen over the seven years.
What’s happened for us during those seven years is continued growth at MASSolutions. And the word growth means more than just sales growth, more than just client growth, more than just top line growth, more than just bottom line growth, although both of those have been achieved significantly over the seven years. Growth means growth for our clients, first and foremost. And that growth for our clients is top line, bottom line, and personal and professional for the people we work with. Growth is also for our clients’ clients who learn about our clients, and are able to better make a decision. Growth is also about my team, and our team’s personal and professional growth for each team member. And that’s something we’ve seen consistently, for anyone that’s come through the MASSolutions history, that they have grown while here and after here if they’ve gone. And they’ve grown while here continuously when they’ve stayed, which is many. Many have stayed for quite a long time. So that’s part of our growth. So during that seven years, MASSolutions has grown as a company, top line, bottom line performance, but grown our clients and grown our clients’ clients, and we’ve had personal and professional growth from each of our team members.
Another piece of growth is the MASSolutions platform. Seven years ago, I hadn’t really done much speaking. I’d spoke back when you were getting paid lofty sums for speaking 2005, 2007, etc. Recession hit, it kind of dipped. And I just was never a full time speaker, but I reduced my speaking dramatically. But about six years ago, partly because of the podcast, I started getting asked to speak more. I started speaking to C-suite groups, chief executives, chief financial officers, chief operating officers, founders, presidents, of companies that are in groups or at companies across the country. So that piece of the No BS platform, the No Bullshit Marketing platform has grown and continues to grow with keynotes, half day workshops, full day workshops. So that part of the platform has grown. The podcast, as part of the platform, has grown. The blog, as part of the platform, has grown. Video content, as part of the platform, has grown. And recently, the excitement of storytelling mastery, which is an online course, one to a few, but really one-to-one, where people get on there. And when we did the first cohort, earlier this year, we got comments like I thought I’d be able to check some email while I picked up some tips, and wow, it was so interactive. I made relationships with people, I understood different industries, and I gained so much. It’s about interacting with other professionals, whether it be a CEO, a founder, a chief marketing officer, Director of Marketing, a content specialist, a head of sales, all of those things. And we were able to see that happen in the next one starts in September. And so the growth of the MASSolutions platform now includes that type of interactive learning and more to come. So what’s next? When I think of what’s next, now that we’ve done seven years of the No Bullshit Marketing Show, and this being the anniversary episode, when we began in August of 2015, what’s next? I’m not sure. I’ll be completely honest with you. Here’s what I know. I know that the No Bullshit Marketing Show brings value to so many people that that’s going to continue. I’m not sure exactly how often, what the format would be, so forth. But that’s going to continue, I’m loving it. It’s going great. But we’ve got ideas for other things. I’d like to get back to interviewing people, and have storytelling for leaders and life where we have storytelling that leaders tell about their life that can help other people’s lives. And that would go back to the guest format. But that would be the show because I don’t want it to necessarily tie back to No Bullshit Marketing, because that was one of the things. Guests would go, why would I be on the show? I’m a CEO, I don’t do marketing. Well, first of all, you do marketing and second of all, you do storytelling, but I get it, the title could be off-bearing, off-putting. So we’re probably going to embark on something that is storytelling for leaders in life where we go back out and do that and maybe do it in a series or where there’s maybe eight episodes on this topic and eight episodes on that topic where we go out and get creative. I also want to have fun. I’ve been kicking around, doing No Bullshit tequila talks because I’ve already done a couple of these. I’ll drink tequila, so I don’t know if they’re ready for everybody else to see. But when I talk about the story behind that tequila, first of all the story behind tequila, which is so misunderstood people remember just from doing shots in college, or whatever. So the story behind tequila, which is quite interesting. And then the story behind specific tequilas, tied to pop culture, tied to music, movies, shows, and then the stories behind specific tequilas and myself or my team or my friends, my family. I’m thinking that can become No Bullshit tequila talk. So that’s a possible additional expansion under the No Bullshit umbrella. So that’s kind of what’s next.
Now, I told you at the beginning, the science that the cognitive scientists say what we go through, as we are interacting with others, and we’re formulating stories, we understand their goal and their target audience. We want to understand the barriers that they had to overcome, the struggles they worked through. We want to understand who helped and how, and the lessons learned. And then what’s the big idea, the one takeaway of where you’re going. So I’ve kind of walked through some of this, but I haven’t completely gone through with even the barriers and the struggles, the lessons learned and who helped and how. I’ll touch on a couple. This is a lot harder than I ever thought it would be. I have a radio background. I produce stories, top and bottom line storytelling for many companies. That part did and does come easy for me. But two other parts are hard. And that’s where we’ve had struggles and barriers to overcome. The first is there is a lot of work to get these done and produced. We’ve had to really think about how to do that. The barriers we overcome, as we had to realize, we need to put more time towards the content calendar, we need to put more time towards the target audience to make it more about them. So we weren’t always practicing what we preach. And so that was a struggle that was a barrier overcome. And the second thing is the marketing. But we didn’t go into this for it to get so many listeners or viewers and there are so many podcasts out there that to be in the top 20%, you only need a couple 100 downloads. To be in the top 10%, you might need 1000 downloads, I can’t remember the stats, but it’s not a lot. So we didn’t get into this to say oh, we’re gonna get 183,000 people to listen, that’s for The Big Time, How I Built This by Guy Raz or Dan Patrick on the sports side, or Dan Le Batard, two Dans, or, of course, Joe Rogan. We didn’t get into this for this to get a certain number of listeners or viewers. But it still needs to be marketed. So when you look at the two barriers, the two struggles that we had to overcome, one was tied to actually producing it and getting it done again and again, which takes more than you think, and to get to seven years, took a lot of time and effort from a lot of people. And the second thing is the marketing of it continues to evolve, because at the beginning it was altruistic, barely marketed at all, we knew people didn’t know what podcasts were, we realized that wasn’t so smart. Then after a year, or two or three, we had to say wait, let’s market this a little bit. So we still haven’t marketed it a lot. But we do get a lot of good feedback. We get success stories from people that talk about how they love the podcast, and they send certain episodes to their boss, or they play certain episodes for their team.
My son in college said that the professor put the podcast on one day and imagine this, you’re a freshman or sophomore in college, and you’re in a class of 40 or 50 people and years from now he’ll say, well, that was really cool, they showed my dad’s podcast. But at that particular time, he probably wanted to crawl under the desk. So multiple college professors have reached out to me and said, do you mind if I use this? So it’s getting out there without marking but we know that that’s something. So those were barriers overcame, struggles we overcame.
The lessons learned, tied to those two, the lessons learned are, it’s great to do something altruistic and to help others, but you also have to have a plan for how you’re going to use that to tell your own story. So again, cobbler’s son with no shoes, that cliche the cobbler’s son with no shoes. That’s something that I’m guilty of quite a bit, whereas we don’t market ourselves and tell our own story enough. So that’s one of the lessons learned, one of the major lessons learned. The second lesson learned was that you have to be prepared to build this, and in the early stages, when you’re doing something like this, you aren’t going to get a lot of feedback. So the lesson learned was you had to be strong through that and be confident and believe in it. Now, you want to thank people, because who helped and how, well so many people helped on this. The MASSolutions team, there have been at least 20 people involved with the podcast over the course of time. Multiple people have jumped in and said let me direct this. Multiple people said let me help this, let me interview you. We’ve had people do video, we’ve had people do audio, we’ve had people with the posting, we’ve had people with the content calendar. I want to thank all of those people, that entire MASSolutions team has helped from day one through year seven. We’ve had so many people way back in the beginning, an old mentor named David Smith is a high level sound audio person that works at the highest level for court cases and so forth. The first 50 to 100 episodes he was fixing them for us so the audio quality is absurd. People like that were jumping in. All kinds of people have jumped in to help. The obvious key team players that have been here have done that from the beginning and continue to do it. So I want to thank them. All of those guests, each guest has brought something special, so I want to thank them. I’ve interviewed just about everybody in my family here. My parents have been on the show and mentors have been on the show, our clients, I have to thank our clients because we wouldn’t exist if we didn’t have the clients. We want to thank the people that have helped with construction of multiple studios. And I want to thank my sons, because they’ve all been on the show, many, many times. My youngest has been on, and one of the episodes in the past that was an anniversary episode, we play him when he was on when he was 10. And then we play him 10 or 11, then we play maybe 16 or 17. And you hear the voice, and it’s hilarious, because you know how your voice changes. And that’s Carter. So Alec, Brevin, and Carter, I want to thank them for being so passionate about this and being willing to be on the show, because there was some discomfort. We do multiple shows with all three of them, and then try to do individual shows with each of them. So when I think about that, if there’s anyone I forgot, I want to thank the entire team, I want to thank my family that’s been involved, I’m going to thank our clients, I’m going to thank all the people that helped produce this and push it out. So that’s who helped and how. So we’ve now gone through what cognitive scientists say is the science behind storytelling. And that’s really what this show is all about. It’s about leadership and communication. And both leadership and communication are driven by storytelling. It’s the one thing that goes across generations, across cultures, to help communicate, educate and motivate others. And we talk about how you can leverage the power of storytelling again and again, and we talk about how you can leverage No Bullshit Marketing and have a system and science behind your marketing. Seven years. It’s a long time. If you’d like to hear more and learn more about those seven years, and the No Bullshit Marketing Show, go to MASSolutions.biz. Thanks for listening to another episode of the No Bullshit Marketing Show, seven years strong, recorded here in MASSolutions studio in bold, beautiful, downtown Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. Remember, ask yourself, what’s the big idea? And build your story around the answer. It’s all about bold solutions. No BS.