Interview with Founder and CEO, Hawke Media – Erik Huberman


“Be very careful because in technology everything is very input-output, and there’s a lot of logic associated”

1. Tell us about your role in Hawke Media?
I’m Erik Huberman, and I’m the Founder and CEO of Hawke Media.

2. Can you tell us about your journey into this market?
Prior to Hawke Media, I founded, grew, and sold Swag of the Month and grew’s sales to $1 million in four months. I built different e-commerce brands and ran into the same problem each time: finding great marketers, attracting them, and affording them is incredibly difficult. I started out with a small team of seven marketers, each with their own expertise (a Facebook marketer, search marketer, web designer, strategist, etc.), and the idea was to have a SWAT team where all of the marketing was done a la carte and month-to-month.

Your business was able to get exactly what you need when you need it based on a menu of services, and Hawke Media was flexible to those needs to ensure long-term, sustainable growth for your business. Once the business got going, it turned out the same problems that I had identified were pretty much ubiquitous for business owners and marketing teams, and Hawke Media was off to the races. We are now fully operating on a mission that great marketing should be accessible to everyone.

3. How do you think technology is upgrading marketing Sector?
There are two things I think technology is really helping with:
1. Data and understanding what your marketing is doing in a more consistent manner
2. Automation—allowing for more scalability and what people can do by leveraging technology, things like personalization and very unique ad targeting that you couldn’t do if someone manually had to do it

Through technology, you can reach a lot more people in an individualistic way, so it makes people more scalable.

4. How has the data-driven approach enhanced marketing strategies?
Having the right data is actually a big problem in marketing, where a lot of people are short-sighted because they’re looking at the data wrong. If you’re using the data to educate yourself in the right way, you’re not just flying by and looking at revenue at the end of the year. You can actually make incremental progress on an ongoing basis to get a better return on your marketing and growth at a faster rate.

5. Can you explain how Content & Social marketing have optimized the performance of marketing organizations?
Content and social media marketing allow for incremental testing of creative. If you ran TV ads, you have to film the commercial and run with it. Now, with digital marketing, you can try different ads, targets, interest bases, etc. to see where the response is with lower budgets, so you can really hone in on who the right target is and what the correct creative is before doubling down and going big with it.

6. How does your Lifecycle marketing service empower marketing professionals?
What we found is through proper lifecycle marketing, you can legitimately increase your ROI and therefore revenue by 300 percent because it’s the true lifeblood that drives both conversion rates on your advertising as well as lifetime value of a customer. One of the main reasons we’ve been more successful than a lot of other agencies is that we don’t just focus on advertising but then also what to do after a customer or potential customer sees that advertisement.

Lifecycle marketing takes into account the fact that most people don’t buy a product right away while seeing an ad, as well as most people forget to just come back and buy on their own. You can do things to bring them back.

7. “Hawke Media, your outsourced CMO,” can you elaborate this for our audience?
The idea is for companies that can’t afford a talented CMO or head of marketing, we can act as a fractional CMO for them and be that head of marketing for them—drive strategy. For companies with marketing CMOs, we have someone who can act as an advisor and bring a forest-from-the-trees perspective we can get by working with over 2,000 brands that you could never get internally.

We can be a partner to them. We come at everything from a strategic and consultative perspective as if we’re a CMO, not just, “Hey, we’re here to sell you Facebook ads.”

8. What advice would you like to give to the technology Start Ups?

Be very careful because in technology everything is very input-output, and there’s a lot of logic associated.

Marketing is more nuanced than that.

When you’re looking at your marketing, don’t get stuck on being too short-sighted with the data. There are things like a purchase cycle, which is the time period between when someone gets introduced to your product and actually purchases it, that really skew the way the data should be looked at.

If you’re trying to be too data-driven in marketing, you can end up cutting off your nose. Make sure you understand that there’s a nuance and art to it still as well.

9. What digital innovation in the Martech scape you think will make its mark in 2020?
Personalization. I think that you’re going to start seeing a lot of companies really start to master one-to-one communication—where it feels like the site, ads, and emails are all talking to you, versus just blanketing everybody.

10. How do you prepare for an AI-Centric world?
You constantly monitor it because it’s not going to change overnight. It’s going to happen incrementally. If you’re watching it on an on-going basis, you won’t have to switch your entire habits overnight.

You’ll just adapt slowly as it becomes implemented. Some will be bigger changes than others, but if you wait to learn about it until it’s all happened, you’re screwed. Adapt over time as AI becomes more of a part of what we do.

11. What major developments are you planning in terms of enhancing your capabilities?
Moving into 2020, I want to continue to help Hawke Media grow and expand, across the country and internationally. I also want to make sure that all of my employees have access to the resources and tools they need to succeed. Even though I’m on the road a lot, I want to continue to make sure I’m always a phone call or a stop in my office away for each and every person working at Hawke Media.

12. Can you tell us about your team and how it supports you?
My team does everything. My job is to be strategic, look at the vision of the company, help on expansion, and identify where we have opportunities. My team does everything else, whether it’s what we do for our customers, how we run the team, or how we help our own people.

We have a very, very good team that is firing on all cylinders to build this business. It’s not like I do everything. They don’t support me. I support them.

13. What movie inspires you the most?
Caddyshack—because you should never take yourself too seriously.

14. We would love to catch some glimpses of your much talked about chic and fabulous work culture

15. Can you give us a glance of the applications you use on your phone?
I use pretty standard apps, but the best unknown app that I use on my phone is called Captio. It allows you to take quick notes and email them right to your own inbox. I use it constantly when I’m on the road to remember ideas and remind myself of things, as well as take people’s contact info.

Erik Huberman is the Founder & CEO of Hawke Media, a full-service Outsourced CMO based in Los Angeles, CA that launched in 2014 and has been valued at $60 million. In just five years, Hawke Media has grown from seven to over 150 employees and has serviced 2,000+ brands including Raden, BeautyCon, Bottlekeeper, The Ridge Wallet, Buscemi, Red Bull, Evite, Verizon Wireless, and HP. Hawke Media was recently named on the Inc. 5000 list of “Fastest Growing Company’s” of 2019, one of Adweek 100's "Fastest Growing Agencies" of 2019, and a recipient of STEVIE Awards in the American and International Business Awards for “Company of the Year.”

As a serial entrepreneur and brand marketing expert, Erik Huberman is a sought-after thought leader in the world of digital marketing, entrepreneurship, sales, and business. Prior to Hawke Media, Erik founded, grew, and sold Swag of the Month and grew’s sales to $1 million in four months. Erik is the recipient of numerous honors and awards including Forbes “30Under30,” Inc. Magazine’s “Top 25 Marketing Influencers,” and the American Marketing Association's “4 Under 40.” Erik is a regular contributor to major media publications like Forbes, Entrepreneur, and Business Insider, and is proud to have and recently joined XPRIZE as their key marketing advisor.

Hawke Media is a full-service Outsourced CMO based in Los Angeles, CA, providing the guidance, planning, and execution to grow brands of all sizes, industries and business models. Hawke’s collaborative process, à la carte offering, and month-to-month fee structure give clients the flexibility they need to boost digital revenues and marketing ROI. Hawke Media was recognized by Inc. as the country's fastest-growing marketing consultancy, and is proudly one of Glassdoor's "Best Places to Work".

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