Episode 27: Jason Magee

LaunchPod Academy

LaunchPod is an ever-evolving educational platform and community ran by former Amazon employees. Members can leverage; condensed courses, live workshops, 1-2-1 consultations, mini-clubs, and an expert network when launching their Amazon businesses, to achieve sustainable success. You can find out more and grab a free trial here.

Click here for the RAW unedited transcript
[0:00:00] George Reid: Welcome to It’s Always Day One. My name is George Reid, a former Amazonian turned Amazon consultant. Each week on the podcast, you’re gonna hit industry experts, brand owners on Amazon employees share their answers to the basic yet fundamental questions you should be asking yourself about your Amazon business. Now let’s jump in. Hello, Jason. Thanks so much for joining me on the It’s always Day One podcast today, Johnny, give us a quick background off. Firstly, how we met each other at a ah year ago. When I say met, I’m inverted commas there because it’s a linked in meat on a zoom meat as everything these days we’re going to give a quick background of how we know each other And what you’re what you’re up to these days.

[0:00:43] Jason Magee: Yeah, Yeah, George, actually, remember, I was serving a slightly different role at take a metrics. I think I cold called and cold reached out to you because you were looking Yeah, right. Shameless way were looking for agencies who wanted the license, our technology. And this was before your business in a much different spot. But that’s how you and I once we talk, I feel I’m a relationship. Guys united hit it off. And just honestly, even if we had no direct work together just seeing your name come up in disrespecting you. I’d like to think that it’s sort of blossom to that way. Yeah, in general, I my e commerce background. I used to run partnerships in North America for a money transfer service called World First. Um, e commerce wasn’t big for World first of the time, but I love the way move money. Cross border for Amazon sellers by providing local bank accounts. Not just world I loved. It was scalable. It was repeatable for our company was revenue every two weeks. We knew in Amazon which money into accounts. And then I just really fell in love with the entrepreneurial spirit of running an Amazon business. And funny enough, I cold called our CEO Alastair, uh, seven or eight years ago and became good friends of hiss and led me Thio, run run sales and business development. Taking

[0:02:08] George Reid: metrics is that Is that something you’d recommend for anyone looking for a job right now? Because there are many people looking for jobs to straight up cold. Call the CEO. Is that what you’re preaching. Is that a big lesson?

[0:02:19] Jason Magee: Well, to be fair, I wasn’t looking for a job. I take a metrics. But funnily enough, the way I found World first is I saw the company loved the company, and I loved. I loved with company was they didn’t have a role that I wanted Thio work in. But I just reach out said, Look, I love your company. Here’s my background. I’d love to come in and meet you, and, uh, there wasn’t a role then. But two months later, they called me up. Said, Jason, we as promised like we found a role of be a good fit for you So that my thing is, if you want something so cliche, go get it right. Like I was trying to add value, though, which is a key aspect, which is Hey, I think I’m a really good fit. I love your company. I just want to start a dialogue in a skip. This developed a relationship. Yeah, I

[0:03:07] George Reid: like this from from any higher managers point of view and we’re going off on a tangent here. We will get around to Amazon eventually, but I’ve heard a lot of Amazon interviews in the past on one of the things they always say about Why Amazon? If you’re flipping around and you’re approaching someone, you’re saying, I love your company. I love what you’re doing Here is why you kind of already answering one of those big questions of Would you be a good fit for the company? Would you have that enthusiasm that drive? So it’s interesting you’re you’re taking it. I like it and it’s clearly worked eight years later, still there. And what? Senior director of sales it says on nicotine up. I got that right?

[0:03:42] Jason Magee: Yeah. Yeah. Senior director of Sales Eireann. I run the sales team also helped build out like I have to build out our partnership with Walmart marketplaces. Well, eso it’s been fun again. I’ve learned before, never be loyal to companies. Be loyal to people. And I really I really, really love. I love the team. I love our CEO on a personal level, and yeah, I mean, you just you just wanna If you’re gonna do some work for so much of your life, you better sure sound like the people that do this that you’re going to see all the time

[0:04:18] George Reid: 100%. 100%. I mean, you’re always going to get in in much bigger offices. You’re always gonna get someone you think is in our household. There was many of those Amazon, but, uh, you know, if you could find some good ones in the group and fantastic but in very large companies you’re going to dislike someone. But you touched upon you touched upon Walmart there, and I’ve got one question I had prepped beforehand. I don’t prep many, but occasionally write stuff down eso in today’s market. Where would you launch your product first and why? And when I say where the options would kind of be Would you go? Amazon, Walmart, eBay. Would you go straight to your website? Would there be another kind of combination that you would do? What would be your take on that going into 2021?

[0:05:04] Jason Magee: That’s a good one. Um, when you launch a product, what you’re trying to do is you’re trying to quickly establish product market fit, which means do I have a very good product to people who are consumers? Are Is there a need for this product? Personally, I don’t know of a better way. I mean, you could do Kickstarter and things like that. But if you’re trying to build a sustainable business, I feel like Amazon is the place. I would still go because very low Baird entry. I don’t have to start another website or anything like that. You can quickly spend money on advertising and sell products. And not only does that establish a relationship between your products in those keywords and Amazon’s algorithm the amount of people who are purchasing on on Amazon, you’re gonna get reviews right? If you do it right, you’re gonna quickly find out. Is my product selling? What do people have to say about my product through the through the reviews, especially if you’re getting them the right way? That’s the quickest way to market and the quickest way to gather user feedback. Um, that’s that’s my personal take Walmart e. I love. I love the growth story of Walmart. There’s a few ways to look at Walmart. There is a marketplace Post article that came out, which is Amazon, uh, number of months ago. Amazon is four billion unique. E think it’s 2.4 billion unique visitors, a month, while my 400 million. But for everyone seller on Amazon, there are only 2100 unique sellers unique, unique visitors. But for Wal Mart for everyone seller, there are 27,000 unique visitors to that product. So yes, well, traffic isn’t as high. There’s less competition. So if you can establish product market fit in the competitive jungle, that is Amazon. Um, Wal Mart is a great option, especially because you can duplicate and achieve economies of scale by using WalMart Fulfillment service. Deliver etcetera. It allows you to have a platform that you know and trust similar to Amazon. So that’s my my long winded answer. But it’s a race of product market fit. Well,

[0:07:09] George Reid: I think, yeah, that brings all about the basics. And people need to be asked themselves them basic questions off. Um, I’m looking for a very quick launch time. I look in turn stop very quickly, um, looking scared, kind of advertising running effectively very quickly. That’s why Amazon Walmart obviously do offer that service, but that’s probably more of a short term mindset as well. Would you agree? Because Thea, the flip side, I’m not disagreeing at the slightest here. I certainly do agree. The flip site is building out your own personal assets through a website where you can build email. This etcetera

[0:07:49] Jason Magee: 100%. I completely agree. I think if you’re trying to build a brand, Amazon’s May in Walmart have made strides that have you tell your brand story. But there’s nothing like building a community building an email list, building people who already love your products, and then we then have to decide is How do you eat those together? Do you duplicate the same products on your website that you do on Amazon or Wal Mart? You offered, um, or curated that customized experience by selling things on your website, Or let’s say you’re launching new products. You launch them on your website first to give your you know, your email lists, um, love and then and then goto that Zatz so dependent on the products that you sell etcetera. But I do think on the channel is absolutely key. But if you’re looking to see, do I have product market fit? Is this a product that the like the Amazon community of consumers? They’re gonna You’re gonna get quick feedback

[0:08:45] George Reid: on that’s yeah, That’s a good point, I think. Depends What stage you are is a brand already. If you’re brand new product and it’s the first batch, you want some quick sale to see that people are willing to buy it. But we did it recently with a new bundle for a relatively well known brand in the UK, and we just wanted to test this new product that we’re going to like on board. The sales numbers came in. The volume was good in the first month we validated it. Are we now? Then club get start to build on that idea a bit more? Um, I think it’s very just you say that about creating different product offerings for your website for Amazon? What advice would you give around that? If you’re brand that has got a big arrange? Would you look toe create something different on your own website, or would you look to this replicated mirror?

[0:09:36] Jason Magee: This is probably a bad example, because we all know Nike, obviously, you know, is not selling on Amazon, but you take like, let’s just say I’m Nike and I’m selling. I have my shoes that come out. You know, I wanna put them on Amazon. But what if I want to give the consumer’s ability to choose their color of a shoe? They want to choose whether they actually have their initials or quote etched into their shoe. They’re not going to have that experience on Amazon today like you would on your website. So if you really want to create a culture and a community off getting something unique and customized, that’s a lot easier to do on your website s. Oh, that’s that’s 11 angler things very important. It’s certainly get independence category by category. Uh, another one could be. If you sell a wide range of products, the smaller or the lighter ones that could fit into a standard box. It’s easier to sell on Amazon FDA with those products. But if you have bulkier items that may not be great for storage fees and Amazon, that’s a great one to compliment selling your website as well. So if I’m a cool company, I’m a cell, you know, widgets or something or a hammer on Amazon. But I may sell the toolbox, which is a lot heavier on my website.

[0:10:53] George Reid: Yeah, obviously in the UK, with that fulfillment option. You do have seller Phil Prime, which comes in a little bit more competitive because of the storage fee benefits. Um, just kind of a caveat. Caveat to that, I think, is well when it comes to launching a new range you mentioned earlier on about sending your email list, giving them a bit of love by giving them early access to stuff. I think I think that’s important. What’s your view on kind of continuously building out the email list, continuously keeping them engaged, giving them them perks of early access to things? Is that something you see is becoming evermore important or you perhaps swayed by new things like chatbots

[0:11:40] Jason Magee: for me if you’re going to create, if you’re not looking like if you’re trying to build a sustainable business, it’s very important to build a community. If you look at the FDA acquiring business that we see, some folks may want to see a one or two product hero, and that’s that’s their M o. Other companies, like they want to know like Are you building a sustainable business in a actually a brand? It’s what I think to really build a cult following. Brand you have to do that outside of just using marketplaces. Today again, that can change. We know how these marketplaces can do it, but also it’s a great opportunity on again. This could be a little bit cheeky of a way to go about it. But some folks even use your email list to drive traffic to Amazon. Obviously, that can dilute them going directly to your website. But but having having an email list in a community gives you options. How you use those options is up to you. But if you don’t have options because you’re one trick pony, it could be very tough. Uh, but also, if you have a list that’s a really good list, ask them what they want next. That that could be a good area to say. Look, we want to curate an experience based on folks who love our brand. What do you think we could do? What? That’s a really good way to To engage in product development?

[0:12:59] George Reid: Yeah, I think the email list is something you could be utilizing for ordinate things as kind of the community assets like Facebook group of social following. Whatever it happens to bay on bond. I think it’s very important. So many people. That’s one brand I’ve got in mind. And he’s like 35,000 on his email list, works in the supplement space, and he’s very reluctant to send any of its Amazon, not not a drop on my theory is you’re looking more sure What’s your long term goal? Here was what kept asking him. Do you want to kind of float around on Amazon and be ranked on page to page one on the occasional search term? Are you looking to kind of solidify your position on page one for key search terms or Yeah, of course. I’m George. I want those organic sales coming in for X Y zed term. Okay, when you gonna have to almost, like, invest in the term on pull on All the different levers you’ve got is my mind set on one of those levers is sending them from your email list. Yeah, exactly right.

[0:14:06] Jason Magee: Yeah, I completely agree. And again, everything needs context because there are certain cases where you know it may not be good. Thio do that. But I think that not enough people are doing that because the amount of scale you can achieve on Amazon is is unreal onboard, literally. Like I get the fact that you have tow, you know, pay to play with advertising, and they take their cut percentage. But they’re bringing traffic if you have a very good product and you’re not a tree falling down the woods. If you can get your organic three organic ranking and you can continue to invest in the channel, the channel is going to perform for you. If you invest in it is well,

[0:14:45] George Reid: yeah, yeah, you’re absolutely right. Then, like, people are very reluctant because they’re going. I’m going to sacrifice margin. But it is you mentioned before we started speaking, you guys got a new flywheel tall building out at Technimetrics. But this flywheel term, I see it as, um it applies to some it different things. Obviously, Jeff came up with his own on a napkin. But my theory with this is if you’re pouring in better into the Amazon Channel, yes, you’re sacrificing margin. But over time the flywheel is going to get going. You’re going to get that kickback because you’re requiring customers organically on our Yes, I think it was feed visor came up with a study in 2019 and people were saying most people use Amazon advertising his customer acquisition. Amazon is a whole. If you’re a consumable brand should be customer acquisition

[0:15:38] Jason Magee: because, well, we talked about this dimming interrupt. But this is something that’s near and dear to our heart, like we all do. An audit of an Amazon account like Oh, I have a very low a cost my revenue, whatever. What you actually realize is that their their bidding on all branded terms. Like if I’m Jason McGee T shirts? Absolutely. If I bid on Jason Maggie T shirts, I’m gonna have a low cost and high conversion rate. But that’s not incremental. Eso When you when you’re building an Amazon or a business on anything, especially on market places, you need to build instrumentality building with income mentality in mind, which is what I have gotten this thing, this sale if I not. What if I would not have advertised or built up a following their one way that we focus on attacking this amount of attacking the right that the right terminology? But when you go to advertise and even when you’re just going to just run a business like if you advertise right, you’re gonna drive top line Organic growth. That’s the fly with when you advertise, you should break it up into a least three buckets. My own terms. Generic terms. Which another marketplace Post article. 78% of search terms or generic in nature and Amazon Then I have competitors I want to target. So the goal, the Holy Grail is investing just enough on your own branded terms to maintain those top spots. Avoid conquest ing. But if you over invest in Brandon terms, you’re gonna you’re gonna cannibalize organic sales. The other opposite end. I should have a much higher a cost the lower row as on competitive terms, but I’m stealing a competitive from somebody. It’s still over my competitors. Er that is incremental as it comes in the 78% of people who just want something that’s like a T shirt size medium blue. I’m winning them. It’s kind of a medium level incur mentality, but you should sacrifice a cost to acquire a customer through a term that is not referencing your brand. That’s what other companies and investors want to see. A swell like, Are you winning new customers? Advertising is incredible. Way to do that.

[0:17:39] George Reid: Yeah, you’re absolutely right there. Kind of. What are you taking away from them? How are you making the competition’s life a little bit harder? How are you building out? A strong kind of foothold in in a particular niche for blue T shirts. Whatever happens today, um, and that’s what advertising I like the way you kind of simplified it. There. Your own terms, you generic term to competitors. Um, so at the moment, with with the amount of data that’s available Amazon, I don’t know. We take a metric plays a lot on manipulating that data, helping people visualized that data. But how do you see data leveling or widening the playing field for small two medium to very large brands? Because it’s not always the cheapest thing to get hold of, right?

[0:18:28] Jason Magee: Yeah. I think one of the things that’s awesome about Amazon is the access to data, but I think I definitely said this before, but data is like, uh, unrefined. Everybody says, like data is the new oil. I say its unrefined data is under. Find oil useless unless you can refine it and turn it into gas. Petrol, you name it the challenges, like remember from years ago, the average seller, uh, one of our Amazon reps told us, is the average seller had 14 different tools connected to the NWS authentication. Yeah, like there’s always more access to data, but you have to you what you then, whether you’re using a tool or running your business. What you need to figure out is, how did these different data points? How do they How do they work with one another, which which which one affect the other one, too? So I think the folks who are going to win it does level the playing field for brands. But the brands that are really going to win is great. I have all the state of what Oh, I actually do with it. So it’s It’s following steps and processes and ways to analyze the data that I can actually extract value for my business. I mean, obviously happen to give examples of that, but I think that’s who I think it does level the playing field, the thing that I love about Amazon that levels the playing field for ah Mom and pop company to have a bigger impact than the biggest companies of the world. I use an example, like folders, terrible listings on Amazon people. They’re still gonna get be purchased because its soldiers. But the reason why we even have bigger companies come to us that have us up solve these problems is thes ankle biter. Brands were willing to use the data and make changes and adjustments and be be niche in scrappy there kicking these other brands. Ass is, which is what I love about what I do. And that’s why I love what Amazon is in. Walmart created the ability for companies, get recognized and, you know, play by their own rules

[0:20:32] George Reid: completely agree with that. I think some of the tools out there they’re well priced. What you get in return a fantastic on. But it does help you access and visualized some of the data more and more. Um, but in the same spoken, you know, use example out 14 different tools. Those numbers for some small brands, if you’re 14 is obviously not the case anymore. I imagine it’s more like sub five. It can still stack up right that that monthly cost plus your fee. You play to the advertising manager. Plus, maybe you’re paying for something else, Um, sort of consultancy or whatever it stands up, right? So, big brands they could dio with spending three grand a month on consulting on X y zed software shrugged my shoulders. Who cares? But the brand to turn my love, By the way, um, they’re not necessarily got the budget to do that when they’re still gonna pay for stock, right?

[0:21:31] Jason Magee: Yeah, that is true. Um, one thing I will say. And obviously I don’t want to make assumptions or overarching statements, but the the ability for for D C brands and the brands that are starting the they also have less red tape than large brands have. You know? So the ability for them, like I love the community that is like the D D C community, whether it’s Amazon or Shopify, etcetera like you can take action on things while other companies were waiting to catch up because you have less restrictions and restraints and you could move a lot quicker. So, yeah, anybody can throw a huge budget on things. It’s a good way to waste a lot of money even if you’re a large company. But you need a I love checklist, right? You need to make checklists and processes or what are the most important things I need to do for my business to run? What do I need to check in, day in and day out, where the few things I could do to get better today like that doesn’t have to be overly complicated. And yes, can somebody who has $100,000 budget dwarfs somebody with five K? Yeah, but you don’t need to win every time. You don’t need to win every keyword auction you need to need to win at the right time. That’s that’s something that’s very important is when is it like, when is the bet worth it? Right? What is when? Is it worth it for me to try and make this like, think about gambling on it was probably a bad. But like when you go on your bidding on a keyword, you go when when you even wanna have a seat at the table and say, You know what? I’m willing to bet on the key word. Or you know what, too rich for my blood not working. That’s where that’s quite a practice in the parameters come into play.

[0:23:14] George Reid: Yeah, I completely agree. Just Justice mentioned that on one of the Nordic naturals episodes with it a while ago, saying some days you just tap out like I’m not getting involved in that bidding war. What I think is well, about the advantage you do have is a smaller brand is I don’t know about you, but on linked in. I’ve been seeing a lot more posts. I shared one about shop local I feature that, I believe, Amazon said, Introduce where you can essentially put a filter on and just see results from 100 kilometer radius. So you know you’re buying from people local. That was my idea that they should introduce plug for myself. What I’m seeing is I sent this about two months ago or something, but I’m seeing Mawr and Mawr posts on linked in there about supporting small brands on things like prime day Black Friday, saying, find something you like on Amazon. Discover it there. Go have a look on the website by from them directly. Yeah, and this is becoming Morva theme. I’m noticing a lot because of covert and everything like that. People wanting to small support small mom and pop shops. I wonder then, how consume all brands take advantage of this and for me. I think it comes down to the community. But I wonder what else you think small

[0:24:32] Jason Magee: brands could

[0:24:33] George Reid: be doing to ride the wave.

[0:24:34] Jason Magee: I think one thing like community is obviously key. If you have a community, you now go back having an email Lester or an Instagram following. That’s very important. Everything to is I see a lot of brands. Accessory right on Amazon’s coattails around announcements, right? Like I saw this really cool posting a newsletter where D. D. C Brand would run Facebook ads talking about prime day sales. They get hopefully not against Amazon CEO s, but they’re offering discussed on their site, but they’re riding on the prime day way. But look, we’re offering prime day level discounts on our own website, so I really like that, which is like you could do that on Amazon, but it’s also like a I’m gonna give them the same experiences if they bought from our website or even a cheaper one, but goes back to their have the community or knowing where to advertise like that was like a Facebook ads, but they were running it with similar lingo and languages. Thio drive traffic.

[0:25:26] George Reid: Yeah, I like that a lot. And yeah, it’s a case off. What strings can you pull on? What leaders can you pull? You’re not always gonna win the big keyword battle for advertising. So you’ve got a look at what you can do in comparison to what you can’t do. Andi, I would be really looking kind of ride that way. For me, the community is big building out Facebook groups, making it that we’re not a big brand. If you’re running social ads, you don’t have to have the most fantastic go ad. But it could be honest ad again on social expert, But

[0:26:01] Jason Magee: Georgia, I think that’s interesting. And I remember I read a book years ago about a guy who who left Facebook, and he talked about the the the the impending wave opinions in negative terms. But the coming wave us micro influencers. So you look at I think it was quick, be like the news, like they had all hundreds of millions of dollars of paying celebrities a list celebrities to talk about it, where the way you really win is going after. Find somebody with 5000 followers, you know, find somebody like use that as your influencer. It’s more cost effective. People are actually more likely to actually truly care about that influence or not be a box or something like that. But if you could, I would rather take, you know, 100 influencers that have 100,000 followers collectively, rather than putting all my eggs in one basket with one influencer as 100,000 followers themselves. Because that’s how ideas spread, Uh, in my opinion. So if you could do that, I think that’s just a really good idea for building communities

[0:27:02] George Reid: on Do. You would argue that those five K people than more like to resonate with your brand rather than the 500 k following who resonated with the biggest payday. So we’re saying, Yeah, like collecting clicked in groups of micro influences that essentially resonate well with your brand rather than those who resonate with the biggest payday was my take away um, which I think it’s still easily achievable Now I wanna finish today’s session with a quick speed round of three questions flat answers will be great. It’s a new thing. I’m trying trying last week. Let’s see if it works going today. People Motel

[0:27:41] Jason Magee: Brett’s Yeah. Alright,

[0:27:45] George Reid: alright. Question number one. What is the biggest threat to a brand selling on Amazon?

[0:27:51] Jason Magee: Who? Um not listening. Thio, your feedback. Um simple is that Listen, look at your views. That’s how you make better products. And that’s how you actually engage with people who are looking to buy your products

[0:28:07] George Reid: in today’s world. Can you start on Amazon business with 10 grand? Yes. If you’re running an Amazon business on your own, who would you hire first?

[0:28:18] Jason Magee: Uh, yeah. Um, I would hire I’m gonna give you two people. Number one. The closest thing you can have the Holy Grail or a silver bullet on Amazon is having a well optimized listings. I think near and dear is having somebody who could make sure that it’s presented very well. Um, I’ll leave it up when you ask for one. That would be a very important important. Something Adam are also

[0:28:45] George Reid: it was a three question around. I haven’t thought the 4th, 5th and 6th yet, but I think I told you I’m not very good at these things. I was like three questions works you rattled about quite quickly. But that is I think that’s the Holy Grail. Everyone’s pretty much mentioned that at some point in the 26 or seven episodes we’ve done, everyone has said something about contents. King listings, king. Everything’s listing. So a big take away. For those who have listened to all 26 episodes or 27 episodes, it’s still the case. Jason, thanks so much for coming on today. I really appreciate spending some time catching up with you, and you shared a lot of valuable tips there on Bond. Look forward to hopefully having you on again in the future when the world changes even more.

[0:29:32] Jason Magee: Thanks, my friend. Really appreciate it, George. Thanks.

[0:29:35] George Reid: Nor is Jason. You enjoy the rest of the day, mate. Hey, guys, just a quick one. If you are enjoying the podcast on either have some actionable next steps or new ideas, I’d really appreciate if you could one subscribe to the show and leave us a review. Thes are really, really important to us. As you probably know, being in the Amazon world. And two, If you’re looking for additional support with your brand, head over to the website. It’s always day one dot co dot UK. We’ve got links to other resource is as often our guys speak soon.

[BONUS EPISODES]

Available to subscribers

Check your email!