Travis Eiland is the Global Strategic Account Director at Adobe and former Senior Manager of Business Development at Magento. He’s an expert in sales, business development, go-to-market strategies, program development and white-labeled solutions.
On this episode of the rich and poor ed podcast, we have Travis Island who was the head of continent commerce, or at Magento, which was recently bought by Adobe. But we dive into a ton of experience driven commerce partnerships, the management of operations, the humanizing of commerce, more or less, and more or less how you can kind of get your ads and overall business to resonate more and more with how the times are changing with new ad tech, definitely tune in if you're curious and the omni-channel approach partnerships, or even kind of order management capabilities, make sure to tune in because that's going to juicy.
I think that the right investments is, is where you want to focus. It's um, it's tough to, it's tough to do all things. I mean, as a brand you're, you're doing you're, you're looking at operations and warehousing bill, man, B2B partnerships. There's so much there that you're, you're doing. And I think that using some of that profitability to start, um, you know, little SWAT teams or little pods of people that can look at developing business, whether it's like a B2B scenario, or if you're looking to get products into retail stores to extend your brand presence, I think those are enormous things to do. And it's all about maximizing each channel, but you got to add channels one at a time. I think in every case you got to start with one and keep those bricks building.
The rich and poor ed podcast, where we break down the financial principles that rich advertisers are deploying today to turn advertising into profit and get tons of traffic to their websites without killing their cash. These advertisers agencies, affiliates brands are responsible for managing over a billion dollars a year in ad spend. You'll hear about what's working for them today. They're rich ads and we'll roast their Epic failures and crappy ads on the internet with core ads. Let's get into it. Welcome to another episode of the rich ed dad podcast is your host, Zack Johnson. Um, what the one and only Dylan Carpenter. Dylan. You're ready to talk about some e-commerce today. Oh yeah, definitely some ad tech stuff, some ad tech and some e-commerce today's guest has seen just, Hey, he has like this God's eye view of big e-commerce business. Now we're not talking like a, I want to be a Shopify, a drop ship millionaire. We're talking about real businesses doing eight, nine figures, 10 figures a year. And, um, it's pretty cool. He, uh, he was previously the manager of business development and strategic alliances over at Magento and, uh, is now, um, head of content and commerce and strategy and business development and Adobe. And he's in our backyard and he's in Austin. Um, I'm excited to get into it. I feel like I'm, uh, I feel like Travis has
A really interesting perspective on what's trending and what's working right now in the world of, uh, I said, well, we'll call it like mid market, like e-commerce but yeah, man, Travis Island, welcome to the show, man. Thanks. Glad to be here. So you're just represent Austin, Dylan, Dillon's up? Uh, he's on North Austin. I'm like what, maybe
Two miles from you right now, track
Down South. Right. And fan Scott, look out here. I'm actually in dripping Springs, which is just on the other side of the County line. There you go. There you go. So tell me a little bit about, uh, what you were doing.
You're doing it Magento and now you're doing at Adobe for those of you don't know.
So Adobe bought Magento was like went two years ago now. And, and um, and so that was obviously an awesome thing to experience. So I'd love to dive into that, but yeah, just get me up to speed if they're, if they're not familiar with, with you and, um, maybe, maybe slightly familiar with Magento. Yeah, absolutely. I actually started at eBay and we very quickly divested, uh, when eBay and eBay enterprise split and Magento ran as a private equity company for a few years. And, uh, I think very early on with escorting Adobe as a, as a potential acquire. But, um, you know, after the past two years, you know, it's been nothing but uphill. It's uh,
Let me get this straight. You started at E-bay. I didn't know this about Magento. You started at eBay and then that got spot off and to Magento and then now I've got acquired by. So you're
I like the guy that's like, along for the ride, you're like, you're just like good old Labrador retriever of business development. I was just like, Oh, we're going over here. Yeah, it's been fun. It's been really interesting to see. I've been very blessed to see how that whole business model of divesting and private equity and acquisition work and now the challenges and the, um, and the opportunities that come being at a big company. So it's, it's been really fun. I, I initially helped build out the cloud product, which Magento had been a single tenant product for a very long time and we still are in a way, but, uh, that was my first project. So I've had a variety of focuses when we look at how commerce interacts with different business platforms, hosting being one of them, which was my background. But now at Adobe, it's more about the content. It's about the experience, experience driven commerce, but, uh, yeah. I, to be it, to dive vast as a private equity company and then be acquired and be along for that whole ride has been, it's been amazing. It's been awesome.
So you have this amazing view of what's happening in the, and it's particularly for much larger size e-commerce businesses. Uh, so talk, talk to us about some of the trends that you see right now, uh, that, that are, that are working for this market.
Yeah, absolutely. No. I sit kind of across both content and commerce, which is the Adobe AEM product suite, as well as Magento. And we do have an open source product that a lot of, um, a lot of companies that are somewhat smaller and actually some that are much larger use even doing a hundred million dollars on that product. But typically it's for companies that are starting doing less than a million online revenues. So thinking about what types of product services serve each of those cohorts of businesses at each stage of that growth, or like a merchant maturity cycle. I've a really interesting purview to see, you know, what types of payments technologies, what types of ad tech technologies or backend business operation, um, suites are right for each stage of growth within commerce companies. And so it's, um, now going into like the Adobe side, there's a whole slew of other types of technologies that are involved in administering experience driven commerce.
So, I mean, regardless of whether you're a millennial on Snapchat or a procurement officer at a global distributor, your expectations as a customer have changed higher than other higher than ever. And it's really shown in the way that we've developed technology stacks. And I think in a lot of ways we're behind, but you know, it's, it's all about making customer's lives, easier making experiences, uh, for, for me as a consumer, making it easy for me and worth my time to invest in different products and, uh, and companies and brands. So it's clear that legacy infrastructure we're using is somewhat inadequate for the task. And, but across every industry, whether it's B to B or B to C people, aren't just buying products, they're buying experiences. And that's really changing the way that we all see a lot of these shops come up and these brands really scale quickly.
All right, Travis, I want to know what's the playbook, the ECC right now for, you know, a seven figure e-commerce businesses that's scaling to eight figures. And w what, what do you see is the, the, the rich ad playbook for this, for this [inaudible] cycle?
Yeah, there's, there's a lot to unpack there. I think, I mean, going back to, you know, how digital technologies are changing the world and everything, we know whether it's how we socialize exercise, interact with brands or shop, you know, it's, um, it's really interesting. And, and shoppable ads is become, uh, something that a lot of these marketplaces or social platforms are looking at as technology becomes more headless in nature, and you're able to drive experiences ubiquitously. I think that's a huge piece of it. Uh, so, you know, I've seen a lot of marketplaces pop up. There's actually a lot of marketplaces that are coming to Magento to build out like a third-party marketplace. And these channels, I think offer a really unique opportunity for customers to dominate some less mature channels. I mean, there's obviously the channels like Amazon and eBay who make up the majority of the market, but there's over 300 global marketplaces, regionally language, culture specific, and they're growing really fast.
Like another lens has a marketplace called bull.com or bol.com. Um, Egypt has one called soak S O U Q. I'm not sure if I'm pronouncing that right, but a social social media and online communities are, are also in a way of form of a form of marketplaces in themselves, especially if they're owned marketplaces. So creating that community experience and making it shoppable. I think that's something that really changed and how advertisers look at delivering these experiences. You know, if you look at like Facebook's becoming more native and the experiences they drive, you can buy straight off the, uh, the store. Um, and it's, it feels like you're still on Facebook. So, you know, rather than like the years previous, you kind of bounce off to, uh, the retailer site and it's kind of like this jumble kind of experience. So I think more of these social media platforms or marketplaces are going to own that whole procurement cycle of product advertisements.
And they're the primary traffic source for online retailers. So is drives awareness and, and they refer traffic and they monetize it. And variety of ways that I think like a house might be an interesting example of how a fragmented market is doing $9 billion in volume. It's, um, you know, they, if you're not familiar with them, they're an app. They started as an app and kind of like a, a social, um, housing design, architecture, construction, um, platform. And they've started now being able to have experiences that you can shop directly from. So if you see a particular house or something, or a kitchen, or maybe it's an outdoor venue that you can go in and click on different things and actually buy straight from, from house and their own that full end to end experience that whole buying experience and have over 10 million products. So I think that we'll see a continued to see a rise in that.
And then, you know, the different types of experiences are gonna start taking shape. So as an ad, uh, professional, if you think about like the Instagram and Facebook boom of, of advertising, I think it's going to become a more intuitive, um, video's going to take a, a huge rise. Tic-tacs already testing shoppable videos. So the, if you can build more immersive experiences, I think that's really the future. And you starting to see it with this whole idea of like the rise of a corporate studio. We have a client called textile, and most people will probably be familiar with like their brand step Lytics or shoe dazzle. And they're just scaling content production in an enormous way. And they're using celebrities to really endorse the products and build a brand around the products rather than, you know, building a product and then developing a brand around the product. So I think that's a, it's a huge change in, in this era. And especially when brands are thinking about breaking through the noise and this era of mistrust and misinformation.
Speaker 4 (12:46):
Oh yeah. And I mean, you mentioned kind of Fabletics and whenever Kevin Hart kind of partnered with them and all those commercials, I got sold on Kevin Hart being so funny and such a killer intro offer too. So, I mean, they leveled up the way, they kind of created an experience for their customers. So just make it feel very different where I would have never touched them before any of that. But something else you kind of mentioned too, is the whole Facebook shop side of things. I mean, it's super lucrative on the Facebook side, just because more time on site, they're controlling some more of the payment processing. So it's kind of cool to see how these massive platforms are coming up with this new, different, you know, systems more or less to improve the whole streamlining system for the experience and whatnot, but it's also kind of giving them some more, you know, I guess authority, because, you know, if you're buying through Facebook, that's more time on Facebook, they're seeing more of what's going on. So, I mean, I just think it's so interesting on how fast this kind of industry is moving and how efficient it's getting to kind of really streamline these processes. It seems like.
Yeah, absolutely. And I think that might be challenging for a lot of brands to keep up. And I'm a huge advocate of partnerships being that that's, you know, that's, my career path is partnerships, but, you know, thinking about the variety of marketplaces that exist and being ubiquitous, being everywhere, and then learning these systems, I I'm really a big believer in finding the right agencies to partner with. And whether that's somebody who can take care of the supply chain or just do ad tech until, you know, you, you can build those resources internally as a big brand or a big company that's doing, you know, eight figures. It's, um, it's hard to do yourself. And I think that two things emerge. It's one, you can really leverage the, um, the knowledge and understanding that agencies or, or services companies have to accelerate your brand and take care of things where you might not.
I mean, just looking at the level of sophistication, a brand needs to have, especially growing from $10 million to $25 million and beyond, there's a huge jump there and native experience and, uh, and talent. So if you think about, uh, what your objectives are at that stage of business and building a foundation and really having order management become a part of the way that you do business, having the right fulfillment centers to keep, keep up with like two day shipping and all the other things that Amazon's doing, it's a, it's tough. And so I think that one of the goals to look at there, if you're giving up some of that responsibility of your business is, is driving up sales to reduce cost of goods sold. And it's all about profitability at that point. At some point you have to look at systems that become too big and bulky. Uh, you start to not realize where your profits are going
Speaker 4 (15:32):
Now with these different kinds of extensions out there, or you were mentioning kind of upsells, are there just a ton of those kinds of saturating the market right now, when it comes to, you know, I would imagine they've got to have different levels of, you know, back end processes for someone who's doing, you know, a million a year versus a hundred million a year. Are they pretty different in those kinds of scenarios? Or how does that kind of phase out from kind of what you see, you know, working for the other, you know, e-com brands.
Yeah, absolutely. I think one of the most important things is operations on the backend. So I kind of look at the world in three different segments. There's the experience piece, which encompasses ad tech and also like personalization. Then there's the management and operations, which could be like product information management or order management. And then you have payments and payments can come in a variety of forums. Originally. I just thought of payments processing. There's so much more there to the types of products you sell and the financing options you give and the loyalty that gift cards create, or even like services like Klarna or an affirm that offer split payments. And so I think a lot of these tactics are great and it's, it's about weaving these things in together and, and leveraging the, the wholeness of a service that you might have, like for instance, like with a yacht PO where you, you have ratings and reviews and UGC, it's like, how can you leverage that in your marketing automation suite?
And those are pretty typical for most commerce companies across the board, as far as growing companies. What I see the difference between somebody who's maybe between that zero to 10 million and 10 million up is the adoption of order management. And then subsequently at some point collecting the data on your customers and the rise of personalization. And it started, you know, years ago with the right message, the right channel, the right timing, the yield conversions, but technology is giving us the capability that we only thought was unreachable a year ago. So I think that personalization transcends product recommendations. It's about connecting with your customers the same way, like a family hardware store connected with their customers and their community, you know, a hundred years ago. So there's something every company can do by empowering agents and store associates to delight customers. I think that's an important piece to humanizing commerce and something that, you know, small companies can do really well because they're nimble and large companies have a tough time executing on that.
Um, maybe one of the best stories I could say personally is a company called Sweetwater, which is a pretty large music company in music instruments, guitar, pedals, um, podcasting equipment, everything really. And they, um, they actually, I bought, I think something that was pretty nominal. I think I bought like a guitar pedal or something. And at the beginning of the year, I had an S one of the store associates reach out to me and asked me if he could help in any goals that I had for the new year with, with my music. And, you know, I'm just, I just play for fun, but, you know, I I'll be a lifetime customer Sweetwater because of that. And, uh, I think it's, it's really important to humanize commerce, especially like I mentioned in this whole era of mistrust. And, and that really goes to having that lifetime viability where you spend so much effort on ads and bringing customers in to experience your brand.
And then the back end is where I see a lot of the evolution happening right now that post-purchase bringing information into the purchase cycle like shipping and fulfillment, or if some, if maybe a package is a delayed, is reaching out to that customer with a 10% discount on its next purchase. Just to be sure that you're aware of what the customer experiences is after they, after they purchased something. But there's a lot of technology out there it's really exciting to see what's being brought to the table. And it's fun for me to kind of see the best of breed and, uh, and see how clients are being using these technologies to either increase profitability, uh, just drive brand loyalty, or even like raise their, raise the bar on their search engine optimization, man, the whole concept of humanizing commerce. Just
Speaker 5 (19:58):
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Work, check it firstname.lastname@example.org. So, I mean, you see behind the scenes of what's going super well, but of course we'd love to see that poor ad segment of, you know, things that just haven't worked very well. So, I mean, I'm sure you've seen a wide array of maybe crashed and burns, maybe poor launches or something kind of along those lines, but what is your poor out of this scenario, things that you saw that did not go well?
Speaker 5 (21:40):
I mean, there's two ways to, I think, approach a response on that is one it's, it's like the ad side, which, you know, I don't actually do ads myself. Um, but I see them. And then the other, one's like a business operations in a, in a growth point of view, check, it probably answer better. But on the ad side, you know, I think that consumers are a lot smarter with what's being presented to them. You know, there's just a proliferation of clickbait. And so going back to humanizing commerce is being real with what your brand stands for. Um, for instance, like this whole conscious capitalism revolution, a couple of years ago, there's so many brands that were sort of hanging their hat on, um, you know, philanthropy. And I think it started kind of after Tom shoes a bit and it just proliferated after that.
But, um, I think that consumers can see right through that. And I think having a mission behind your brand or your company is super important. It's, it's what makes, makes us live. It's what's makes it, it's what makes life worth living. And I think that's important to, to just be genuine. And in that approach on the operations side or the business side, I think sprawl is there's something to be said about sprawl, whether it's it sprawl or, um, having too many employees doing too many different things and being very specific and the way that you designing your business, or actually putting people in place that can operate systems the way that they were meant to be operated. I kind of mentioned this before is like making sure you have the right team of people in place. This could be externally as partners or internally, but if you get too much sprawl than the investments that you're making in these tech and your technology suite, your technology stack, so diminished, and I think that's a dangerous place to be because you're, you're driving revenue, but your profitability is going down. And if you can, if you can look at it in the same census is doing both at the same time, driving, driving down cogs and, um, increasing at the same time is building efficiencies with the revenue that you're making. I think that's just good business sense.
Speaker 4 (23:51):
Complete sense there, man. This is an interesting one today. Hell yeah. So I mean, you know what the whole word ad poor ad concept, we try and find the crossroads between the marketing and the financial side of things. So I mean, this very, open-ended kind of question here, but what kind of financial tips could you have for, you know, a business that's doing, you know, tend to shoot 25 million a year or, you know, even more than that, it's where it's kind of a bit more of a high tech kind of question, I guess you can say versus the guys who are just doing, you know, less than 10 million a year. Yeah.
I think that the right investments is, is where you want to focus. It's um, it's tough to, it's tough to do all things. I mean, as a brand you're, you're doing you're, you're looking at operations and warehousing fulfillment, B2B partnerships. There's so much there that you're, you're doing. And I, I think that using some of that profitability to start, um, you know, little SWAT teams or, uh, little pods of people that can look at developing business, whether it's like a B2B scenario, or if you're looking to get products into retail stores to extend your brand presence, I think those are enormous things to do. And it's all about maximizing each channel, but you got to add channels one at a time. I think in every case you got to start with one and keep those bricks building. Um, from the financial side, I don't know if I have a good purview on, on that piece, just cause I'm not in like an investor seat, but one of the best things that I think you can do as a business is, uh, building out your order management capabilities as you start to extend products and different channels and leveraging ads and different channels.
And you're selling everywhere, becomes hard to manage. And you know, a lot of the stores, especially in there, like the retail side, not necessarily manufacturing as much, they're looking at this whole omni-channel strategies, being ubiquitous, being everywhere all the time. And, um, and that can be harsh on operations. So like how do you know if you sold something online with a discount or a coupon and they bring it in store that that coupon needs to be, you know, uh, reconciled. And so there's, there's a lot of inventory reconciliation leveraging your stores for distribution and fulfillment centers. It's one beauty thing that, uh, comes out of leveraging, uh, a more enhanced order management platform. And so I'm thinking about, you know, that omni-channel experience is the important piece I think is when you start to grow is being able to scale the backend as fast as you can scale the ad side, you can bring in customers very quickly. You can bring in resellers fairly quickly if you have a good brand, a good product, but unless you're able to really, you know, push products out and then reconcile all the inventory and profitability it going be hard to drive growth.
Speaker 4 (26:41):
Oh yeah. And I mean, shoot, it J scaling an omni-channel approach to some can be a mess. So I mean, the order management on the back end is going to be the biggest deal because I mean, not only that, but then the tracking can be a mess. So I mean the amount of variables involved towards like, you really got to focus on that kind of back end first before, you know, jumping into these new areas because it's, it's a, it's a new land basically. So I think that's some killer stuff there. Now, when it comes to the partnership side of things, you may have a little bit more insight here, but when's a good time to kind of look into partnerships kind of when scaling and how important is it to find the right partner? I was literally reading an article on Twitter. I think it was like yesterday of like, you know, finding a partner is like finding like a, a partner in life where I've seen some nightmares, but I've seen some really good things come out of it. So it's kind of different to see, you know, how people look at how they form partnerships, whether it's, you know, somebody I just met somebody I've been working with for years, how would you guide somebody on the partnership side of things?
That's a great question. And I think it's something that we all struggle with finding the right partners that can add the right value. May what is the, what is the economic change in that? You know, there's, there's two kinds of partnerships, really. There's one that, that you pay for a certain product or service. And there's, there's another that are, you're sort of reciprocating some level of value, whether that's a value and bringing an ecosystem or, or, uh, clientele, uh, to a particular partner or if you're paying for services. And I think that creating the right incentives in any sort of contract is really important. If the right incentives in the right will promote the right behaviors, then the outputs are going to be good and recommendations are always great. But you know, you never know once you're going in, I think setting the right expectations with the partner on what's capable.
Um, a lot of companies will try to oversell what they can do and that comes out like after you purchase. And of course, like we're talking about the experiences here. So I think being truthful with what you want to achieve and seeing if they can help you with just that, those first initiatives, because once we start talking about partnerships or, or outsourcing different parts of our companies and you, you start building the list, what do you want? Well, you see that list can get quite long and the priorities aren't centered, then, you know, you're kind of chasing the, this magic golden carrot or whatever, and you can really be distracted and what you want to achieve with that partner. So I think it's better to keep it a bit more concise and realistic. And as that, those partnerships begin to flourish and you capitalize on those initial initiatives, there's always going to be room and time and funding for adding more, adding those things on your wishlist,
Speaker 6 (29:36):
Man, that was perfect. Or
Speaker 4 (29:39):
Travis man, this has been absolutely Epic. So what's next for you, man? What do you have kind of coming up in the pipeline? How can people get
In touch with you? How can we support you, fill us in then? Yeah. I mean, I love talking about this stuff and I really appreciate you guys having me on the show. It's, it's fun to talk about. It's fun to listen to different perspectives. You know, I I'd encourage anybody that, uh, want to have a conversation around this stuff to reach out on LinkedIn. I'd love to have conversations and, um, and connect with people and like-minded individuals that are pushing the limits of themselves and their companies and, you know, those, those are the, what we all remember in life and in business and what, uh, whatever situation you're in is the stories, the stories that you can create and the friendships you can build. So definitely open to conversations.
Speaker 4 (30:28):
Yeah. And anything you want to kind of shout out you got going over there or
Yeah. I mean, you know, everybody that I've come across in my life and in my career within commerce, you know, it's, uh, it's been an amazing journey. I've met some wonderful people and, um, you know, those, those people are my friends now. And so, you know, I give a shout out to Yappo great partner and great friends over there. I have not-so personalization stack that we've been working with for years.digital group, um, Vertex. And there's so many I could list, but, uh, those are some core partners that I think have just done wonders in the ecosystem and, and helping brands and products scale and, and helping, you know, Magento be a better product and, and do more for its customer. So, uh, if I had, if I didn't, I missed you, you know, I'm thinking about you because, uh, you know, there's just so many people I couldn't even list. I appreciate that opportunity to give those call outs. Yeah,
Speaker 4 (31:29):
No worries, man. Well, Travis, it's been an absolute pleasure, man. Thanks for jumping on the show. Thanks guys. Thanks Don.
Speaker 5 (31:41):
Thanks so much for listening to another episode of the rich ed or ed podcasts. If you're like me and listen to podcasts on the go, go ahead and subscribe on Apple podcasts, Spotify, YouTube, and rich [inaudible] dot com slash podcast. And if you absolutely love the show, go ahead and leave a review and a comment share with a friend. If you do take a copy screenshot of it, email me email@example.com. Show me you left a review and I'll give you a free copy of the rich add or add book to learn more about the book. Go to rich ed [inaudible] dot com to leave a review that a rich ed or at.com/review. Thanks again.
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