Nobody launches a small business because they want to spend their time managing and marketing—but often, for a business to succeed, you have to burn countless hours every week on those tasks. Mid-level and large businesses can hire staff for this purpose, but what about the hardware stores, restaurants, and chiropractors?
These are the people JB Kellogg wanted to help, with his company Madwire, which offers a complete marketing and management platform for small businesses, rolled into one.
On this edition of UpTech Report, JB tells where this idea began, how it works, and why he believes the mom-and-pops require a unique solution that differs from the larger competition.
More information: https://www.madwire.com/
JB Kellogg is the Co-Founder & Co-CEO of Madwire®. He founded Madwire when he was 28 years old and helped grow the company to over 100MM+ in revenue and 500+ employees in under 10 years.
Madwire’s mission is to help small businesses grow by enabling SMBs and entrepreneurs to manage and grow their brand from a singular platform called Marketing 360®. At Madwire, JB enjoys being a part of building a championship team that pursues championship performances and making a difference everyday.
DISCLAIMER: Below is an AI generated transcript. There could be a few typos but it should be at least 90% accurate. Watch video or listen to the podcast for the full experience!
JB Kellogg 0:00
The problem really is small businesses are trying to grow their business and manage their business oftentimes with limited budget and limited resources. So how do we give them a platform and a piece of technology and also a team to help them do those things?
Alexander Ferguson 0:20
JB, I’m excited to chat with you today to begin, can you share what is your company man? Why marketing 360 In five seconds really brief, what is it?
JB Kellogg 0:30
Madwire helps small businesses grow and their local communities glow with our marketing platform, marketing 360, which is a platform that allows a business both to manage their business and grow their business and one platform.
Alexander Ferguson 0:41
I love it mark, the business grow and their communities glow this nice tagline. But then it’s that that platform and the marketing services with it. What was the problem that you initially saw that led you do to say, Okay, I gotta build something gotta solve this?
JB Kellogg 0:58
Yeah, well, the problem really is small businesses are trying to grow their business and manage their business, oftentimes with limited budget and limited resources. So how do we give them a platform and a piece of technology and also a team to help them do those things? And so that’s what we’re solving for small businesses, you know, have a lot of different things that they have to do on a daily basis to be successful. So how can we give them the opportunity to do those things with one platform that’s fully integrated in a team to help support them? Right? That’s really the goal.
Alexander Ferguson 1:28
For a small business, there is definitely a lot they have to manage and worry about. Is there a particular size or scope? Is it is it for like franchises? Is it just like, you know what mom and pops like what is a good clientele for you guys?
JB Kellogg 1:45
Yeah, our wheelhouse is really businesses that have between one and 100 employees. So truly small business, and that would be spread across all the major industries that you could think of in the small business space. So what you would have seen in the old days in the phonebook is basically our customer base, so roofers, plumbers, chiropractors, retail stores, restaurants, fitness clubs, everything you’d see around town. And then we also have E commerce, about 30% of our customers sell products online. And they’re selling any kind of product you could think of with an online store.
Alexander Ferguson 2:15
Would you say there’s some similarities things like Infusionsoft or HubSpot? And how are you guys different? Tell me more about your technology?
JB Kellogg 2:23
Yeah, there’s similarities for sure, I’d say the difference. You know, the main one for us really is that our platform does more than those solutions do. But those solutions might go deeper in those particular categories. So for example, Infusionsoft is a CRM platform, very, you know, robust when it comes to a CRM platform. And what you can do there, HubSpot, I would put into that same category of a pretty in depth CRM, HubSpot is a little more UPS upstream. So they’re, you know, businesses usually are a little bit larger, more mid level businesses and enterprise type businesses might be using HubSpot. Infusionsoft is probably more in our wheelhouse in terms of the customer base. But when we’re talking about functionality, marketing, 360 will do more for what a small business needs. So it’s more comprehensive. So you can do payments, you can do invoicing, subscription billing, you can manage your leads, and customers, of course, with the CRM, you can do automation, through email marketing, text, message marketing, and social media scheduling through there. And then you can also do online advertising, through the platform also. And so and then one major difference with us is you can also, you know, beyond the platform, you can actually add a dedicated team into your plan. And so when you do that, you’ll have a dedicated marketing person, a dedicated content writer, a dedicated creative person that can create videos and things like this. So the alternative to a small business is doing it in house, which is very expensive to hire somebody to do that, or it’s just taken away from their time, you know, that they’re they’re trying to devote to run the business, which is very time consuming. So it’s a better solution to add that into your plan, oftentimes, and so we provide that,
Alexander Ferguson 4:01
that’s like an add on service that they just pay hourly for whatever work they need. How’s that that add on services that way it
JB Kellogg 4:07
works. It’s an add on subscription. So you upgrade so our platforms $395 a month that gives you the platform and everything, you know within it. And then you can add the team if you move up. So you can go to 695 or 995 or 1295 and beyond based on your needs, and you add these dedicated resources into your plan, and then you have access to those individuals to help execute your marketing plans for you.
Alexander Ferguson 4:33
It kind of seems that it’s maybe better for b2c type companies or that’s where definitely you’re geared to would you agree with that statement?
JB Kellogg 4:42
Yeah, we do both. You know, we work with b2b a lot as well. And B to see also so I would say both, you know, as far as percentages go off the top of my head were probably more like 80 to 90% b2c and then you know, 10 to 20%, b2b type businesses.
Alexander Ferguson 4:59
I feel like the HubSpot Infusionsoft there’s a lot of those different types of things. But they’re definitely good for B to be not so much for b2c. So it’s powerful to have that. The built in option that goes to consumers. Tell me this, this has not been an overnight, just suddenly, you’re here. And it’s all developed. It’s been a longer journey. 10 years, 11 years, how long is this? Have you guys been developing this?
JB Kellogg 5:27
11 years at this point? Yeah.
Alexander Ferguson 5:29
11 years? How has the technology developed and kind of the solution that you’re offering? And where are you excited? What’s coming up next?
JB Kellogg 5:39
Yeah, I mean, it’s been a huge evolution, when we started the company, we were mostly just a service based company, we wanted to be a technology company, we just didn’t have enough experience, necessarily to know exactly what to build. So we started working with small businesses, understanding their needs, what they did on a day to day basis, how they needed to grow their business and manage it. And over time, we started building the platform little by little. And so we started with the website piece, because when we started, you know, 11 years ago, that was the big thing, like everybody needed a website. So we started with the website piece, and then moved into the CRM and the marketing pieces and just kept layering it in. So it’s been an 11 year process, building this platform, you know, and adding more features and functionality as we went along, we slowly transitioned into a tech enabled company where we had services still primarily, but we had technology to support those things. And now we’ve transitioned to a technology first company where we truly have a platform that is DIY friendly, really great user experience. But and then you can add in the additional resources on top if you want to. But it’s technology for so that’s been a big shift, we’ve gone through three versions of our platform over the 11 years. The third version, we actually just launched the beginning of this year. And it’s, we think, transformational in the space, we’re really excited about it. And to answer your question on what’s the next thing, what we’re really focusing on right now is something we call Smart Start, which Smart Start is basically the platform, auto customizes itself based on the industry. So we want to be very broad in terms of the platform should work for any kind of business, you can be any business and use it. But we also want to be deep in terms of the functionality, if possible, based on your industry, if we know it. And so the platform, basically if you if you if you start a Platform account, you say you’re an H fat company, it will completely customize itself for an H fac. So all the CRM fields, all the payment products that are that are pre loaded all the website, landing pages and designs pre loaded all the email campaigns, everything is specific to H back. So it goes really deep in that regard. And then you can add the marketing modules, which would be ongoing smart campaigns. So you got Smart Start and smart campaigns. We already know what the best keywords are for an age back with the best ad campaigns are during what time of year. So with smart campaigns, you can turn that on, and it will basically automate your marketing throughout the year. So that’s what we’re really excited about sort of the next wave of going lag of going deeper with each of these verticals.
Alexander Ferguson 8:07
The power of technology is affected that automation, the ability to skip a bunch of steps, if you had to do it yourself, that the economic and power that you had over the years, it sounds like is you’ve been able to learn about all these different verticals, and that any new person coming in if you’ve already been working with a lot of people in that specific verticals, plumbers and electricians, you’d be able to say, Great, here’s a whole stack that we’ve already proven that I capture that correctly.
JB Kellogg 8:35
That’s exactly right. You know, and what we always say marketing is actually really simple. At the end of the day, it’s doing more of what’s working and less of what’s not. The problem is nobody knows what’s working. So with marketing 360, we know that, you know, we’ve seen from 1000s of businesses, what is most effective? And so how can we help other small businesses grow with that information faster? You know, and so that’s the thinking with Smart Start Smart campaigns, it’s really something that allows you to skip ahead, like five years of learning, with marketing right out of the gate?
Alexander Ferguson 9:07
Are you aggregating the data from all everyone in in a specific field? So you can start to see benchmarks and then provide those benchmarks to those people in the category of like, here’s what you should be seeing. Are you providing that or see that in the roadmap,
JB Kellogg 9:22
combination of that and just experience? Yeah, I mean, we know what call to actions, what messaging works for each of these verticals, just from doing it for 11 years. So we have that information. We have information, like what the keywords are on Google that drive the highest return on investment, based on the industry, which social audiences are most engaging, you know, based on the industry, those sorts of things. We’ve, you know, we’ve understood over this 11 years, and so we’re just leveraging that with technology now.
Alexander Ferguson 9:52
Being DIY friendly, makes a lot of sense for small businesses. That’s the way you start as a small biz, you don’t have money to pay anyone. So you do Let yourself but yeah, you only have so much time. So trying to split yourself. You need technology to really amplify your efforts. And it sounds like a platform like yours is something that can help a small business in that in that way. That’s right. Moving forward integrations, do you see? Are you playing? Just have everything within? Or do you see integrations with any other technology and platforms out there? And what do you have currently?
JB Kellogg 10:26
Yeah, for the most part, marketing 360 is a closed platform. But we are working on and actually, it’s about to release as an open API to our CRM. And then we’ll we’ll kind of build on top of that, what we’re seeing is, and what we want is small businesses to use a closed platform, because it allows it to be completely automated, because it’s all integrated. In other words, when you accept a payment in the platform, the platform knows that so I can update the CRM, contact it and then send an email to ask for a review. And so by having a platform that’s fully integrated, it allows for that. That being said, though, there’s a lot of other great tools out there that a small business might be using, such as maybe a home service company that’s routing their trucks and managing their trucks out on the road. That’s not functionality that we have. But that is functionality that should be able to integrate with our CRM, so that it can update the CRM, etc. And so those are the types of things that we’re looking at how can we extend the platform that enhances it, but doesn’t necessarily create competition within the platform, and in an unintegrated? Way is kind of our thought process on that
Alexander Ferguson 11:32
power of integrated, there’s a lot of benefits that come with it, is there any statistics or stats you can share of how much how much usage and how many people are using your platform today?
JB Kellogg 11:43
Well, today, we have 20,000 active customers that are using at least some component of our platform in some capacity. So some of them may be more focused on just using the website component, other ones might be, you know, more focus on using the CRM component. So as a whole, you know, the pretty much 100% of our customers are using our technology in some capacity, what we’re really working on right now is just increasing platform adoption, you know, as a whole. So we’re looking at and analyzing what’s the percentage platform adoption, in other words, out of all of our customers who’s using 75% of the platform, how many are using 20% of the platform, this is relatively new reporting for us with a new version of our platform. So it’s too early to really, you know, speak to any of those numbers. But what we want to do is try to get platform adoption over 75%. We understand some small businesses, you know, may not have used for text message marketing, it just doesn’t make sense for their industry that much. So we get it, it’s not going to be 100%, necessarily, but we feel that if it’s 75%, we’re driving the biggest impact that we can and we’re creating a platform that’s pretty sticky.
Alexander Ferguson 12:49
Is there any words of wisdom that you would give to a small business owner of that they should think about when it comes to marketing and growing their business?
JB Kellogg 12:58
Yeah, I mean, a small business owner, you know, if there was an audience out here sitting, I would just say, hey, you know what you need to build your business on the right foundation, when it comes to technology, that’s key. I’m not saying it’s necessarily marketing 360, it might make sense, you know, with another piece of technology based on your industry, I believe marketing 360 is the best solution for small business, but look around. Ultimately, what you need to make sure that you do is build your business on a good foundation that you can scale and grow with, you don’t want to have to change systems halfway through, that’s a nightmare. Switching payment systems, switching CRM is very difficult. So start there, and then invest in marketing. You know, Bill Gates once said, You need to invest, you know, if you had $10,000, to spend, you need to invest at least 9000 in marketing. And I think that’s where most businesses fail is to have a great product that have great services, but then nobody ever hears about them, because they don’t properly get the word out about their brand, and invest in their brand. And what you’ll find is that the most successful brands aren’t necessarily the best product or service that there is out there. But they’re better at marketing. So just focus on marketing, and you’ll ultimately be successful.
Alexander Ferguson 14:03
Where can people go to learn more about what you guys are doing and what’s a good first step that they can take?
JB Kellogg 14:08
As far as learning I mean, check us out on YouTube, we have tons of content we put out all the time with business tips, marketing tips, it’s totally free. So you can look up marketing 360 on YouTube. If you want to learn more about the platform, go to Marketing three sixty.com There’s a lot of information there. And if you have any other questions, call us. You know, we have free consultations, we’ll look at the business, we’ll analyze it, it’s totally free. You don’t have to work with us. We just our mission is to help small businesses grow. So if we can do that by giving you valuable information, you know, that’s a win for us.
Alexander Ferguson 14:37
That concludes the audio version of this episode. To see the original and more visit our UpTech Report YouTube channel. If you know a tech company, we should interview you can nominate them at UpTechreport.com. Or if you just prefer to listen, make sure you subscribe to this series on Apple podcasts, Spotify or your favorite podcasting app.