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Are you curious about the secrets behind profitably scaling global brands to 10+ figures through a holistic approach?
With over 15 years of experience, Justin has earned a reputation as an accomplished entrepreneur and marketer. His expertise lies in developing and implementing proven strategies that have successfully scaled numerous global brands to 10+ figures. His approach is comprehensive and utilizes omnichannel tactics to drive profitability and growth.
Currently serving as the Chief Operating Officer of AdLeaks, Justin plays a pivotal role in managing one of the world’s largest digital marketing communities. AdLeaks has over 290,000 members across 12 Facebook groups, serving as a testament to Justin’s leadership and ability to foster thriving online communities.
Get ready to gain insights into Justin’s journey, learn from his experiences, and discover the strategies that have made him a standout figure in the industry. Don’t miss this episode as we delve into the landscape of brand building and digital marketing.
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Scaling Global Brands to 10+ Figures Using Omnichannel Marketing
Welcome to the Conquer Local Podcast! Our show features successful sales leaders, marketers, thought leaders, and entrepreneurs who will inspire you with their success stories. Each episode is packed with practical strategies, as our guests share their secrets to achieving their dreams. Don’t forget to check out and subscribe to our YouTube channel for the video version of each episode, where you can see our guests in action. Tune in to learn the highlights of their remarkable accomplishments and get tips to revamp, rework, and reimagine your business. Whether you’re a small business owner, marketer, or aspiring entrepreneur, the Conquer Local Podcast is your ultimate guide to dominating your local market. Tune in now to take your business to the next level!
I’m Jeff Tomlin and on this episode, we’re pleased to welcome Justin Brenner. Justin is the Chief Operating Officer of AdLeaks and the Advisory Board President, which is one of the world’s largest digital online marketing communities with over 290,000 members across 12 Facebook groups.
He is an accomplished entrepreneur, marketer, brand builder, and community leader with over 15 years of experience. Known for his proven strategies and tactics, he successfully scaled numerous global brands profitably to 10+ figures using an omni-channel approach while partnering with both small and large businesses.
Get ready Conquerors for Justin Brenner coming up next on this week’s episode of the Conquer Local Podcast.
Justin Brenner’s journey from affiliate marketing to AdLeaks COO.
Jeff Tomlin: Justin Brenner, welcome to The Conquer Local Podcast. Probably one of the better handles that I’ve heard, digital marketing assassin. That’s serious.
Justin Brenner: I don’t even know where I put that. My bio.
Jeff Tomlin: Hey, maybe just to kick things off, you can talk a little bit about your journey. You started out in affiliate marketing, and today COO at AdLeaks. Maybe you want to talk just a little bit about the journey, where you started and how you got to your role right now at AdLeaks.
Justin Brenner: Yeah, so I got started out in 2008, actually. I actually have a master’s degree in health, physical ed, recreation, exercise science. And I wasn’t making any money. And I had a really, really good friend at the time that was running his own affiliate marketing company, doing really, really well, really well. Back in the day of when popup… I don’t know if you remember the days of the popups.
Jeff Tomlin: Sure do.
Justin Brenner: All over the computer, back then virus stuff.
Jeff Tomlin: Yeah.
Justin Brenner: So that’s what he used to do. And he was very, very successful. Probably to this day, still one of the smartest people I’ve ever met in the industry. And I was like, I’ve got to figure out what you’re doing. I mean, you’re doing something right in life. And he’s like, “Yeah, sure, I’ll show you.” So I went over and started just learning with him, spending an astronomical amount of time diving in into the affiliate world. And my first year, I was able to pay off all my student loans. And I was like, “Wow, this is something serious.” This is what I need to do the rest of my life is this digital thing. And it’s changed my life. So from 2008 to probably about 2012, 2013, really, really focused on the affiliate side, working with all of the different large affiliates like Microsoft and McAfee Antivirus and Norton Antivirus. And transitioned out of the affiliate into more of the branding side, so working with brands because we had kind of seen the way that technology was changing. We were doing, some could say it was somewhat black hat marketing at the time. People obviously frowned upon it because we were the ones that were taking over your computers with all the pop-ups, and we were getting paid for selling things. Nothing illegal but just frowned upon from a user base.And transitioned out of that and started working more with real brands just because we saw the way that the technology was shifting and just how fast things are moving in the space. And did that from about 2013 to about 2017. And obviously, the one thing that we all know is how fast digital changes. Part of that is just staying engaged with different people that are smarter than you, always learning. And part of that was I went to a mastermind and met the original founder of AdLeaks, whose name was Tim Bird. And I got to the mastermind, and I was kind of the guy that was running the mastermind because I was asking all the questions, answering a lot of questions. And that’s when I think Tim kind in his mind felt like, wow, this guy is something special. I got to bring him on board for the team to help grow our community and help run it. And that’s how my journey into AdLeaks transpired. AdLeaks was started in 2012, and it started out with our Facebook ad buyers community. That is one of our 12 communities, and it’s the largest. We have about 150,000 plus in that one group. And that group was formed for basically the purpose of trying to mitigate the waters of Facebook’s horrible customer service, which unfortunately is still existing today. And that’s how that whole journey started.
AdLeaks started as a community to solve Facebook marketing problems.
Jeff Tomlin: I dabbled in… Well, I did more than dabble. I did a lot of work in affiliate marketing and started out a similar way that you did too. I created a website with selling resume and cover letter templates. And then we did affiliate marketing with that. And I thought it was a great way to start out because you have to learn how to build an audience and you have to drive conversions. And I just thought it’s a great starting point to learn how to get real results out of marketing right at the very beginning.
Justin Brenner: Yeah.
Jeff Tomlin: When AdLeaks was first created, what were some of the initial problems that the community was trying to solve over and above the Facebook dilemma that a lot of marketers had?
Justin Brenner: Yep, yep. That was the main reason it was started. Back then, it was probably even probably worse of customer service, which is hard to even believe. A lot of people just didn’t know how to mitigate Facebook waters. And they were looking for a place to come and just ask simple questions, look for help. I’m having problems with this. The Facebook system’s glitching out. What do I do? And Tim noticed a real need for that at the time and started the community, and it just started really, really growing and kind of transpiring of bringing people together from all over the world. I mean, our user base is all over the world. And over the course of time, obviously pre Covid, during that time there also used to be a lot of meetups, getting in-person events together and stuff. So it’s always just been a place, and not only necessarily for Facebook, even though the original name was Facebook Ad Buyers, it’s a place where anybody’s having issues with marketing can come and just try to leverage the knowledge of one another, because that’s how I was so successful was just learning from others. And I still learn from others. I don’t know everything. And that’s the great thing about the space is I learn something new every single day, which is amazing.
Digital marketing trends: iOS updates, behaviour psychology and omnichannel marketing.
Jeff Tomlin: I’ve always leaned really heavily on communities because there’s so much to know. And a lot of people say the only constant in digital marketing right now is change. And there is so much change. What are some of the more recent trends that have you really excited about what’s going on in the digital marketing world?
Justin Brenner: It’s kind of a twofold. It has me excited, but then it also causes more work. So obviously, we know a couple years ago, and I don’t even remember when it was, probably been two, three years, we had the whole iOS 14 debacle. Which kind of rolled out, which if you’re aware of that kind of really was probably in my lifetime in the space, the biggest huge shift in change. And obviously, it was the unknown. It was the end of marketing as we know it, if you remember. And now there’s another one that’s coming out, which is iOS 17. All of this is really, in my opinion, really brought the top tier marketers to the forefront. Facebook was really, really easy five, six years ago. You put up a campaign, you run it, tracking was pretty accurate, you’d get sales. Wasn’t so much on creative testing, it wasn’t so much as it is now about offer and just the level of brand, the level of customer service. Not only with that, with the change of how technology has changed, you put the simple fact of just behaviour psychology has changed. People really don’t have the patience that they used to have anymore. With all of the scam stuff that’s out there… Just look at how many phone calls you get a day on your phone. I mean, everybody is trying to scam everybody and steal from everybody. And that’s really set a behaviour psychology mindset of the person on the other end of the computer a lot higher. There are a lot more not opt to buy stuff online, especially on Facebook. And you’ll see it all the time. We’ve had clients in the past, in my lifetime, that will have comments on their ads that say, “I bought from this company. It’s a scam. It’s a scam,” and it’s not. It’s somebody that’s imitating that company that’s selling something that they’re not shipping, and it goes bad on the brand. So a lot of it has really made a better marketer have to come out at the top. You have to know how, not necessarily to be relying on Facebook, but how to, which I know we’ll get into later, more of how do you scale this and how do you do this correctly through omnichannel marketing. Because you can’t track everything anymore. Most brands that we worked with, or most brands that people have worked with or that we see across our community, a lot of them, 88, 90% of them are Apple devices, right? Well, they’ve opted out of tracking. So you don’t get necessarily the one-to-one tracking that you used to get anymore, which makes it really, really hard for people that are spending a lot of money to be able to say, “Hey, I’m spending X and I’m getting Y. I know that it’s working.” We used to be able to do that and we used to see that kind of client reporting for people in the community, and they’d be able to output those numbers. “Hey, I spent 10,000, I made 30,000.” It doesn’t really work that way anymore because everything is so muddied. The waters have been so muddied. So it really takes a lot better of a marketer to stand out to know how to navigate that storm and really say like, “Hey, we’ve spent this much, we’ve brought in this much across the entire brand,” and really look at it from a holistic approach. Which is great, but that’s also hard because a lot of clients will say, “Well, no, I want to spend more on Facebook.” But you can’t really track it to the level of what you want to be able to track the revenue to that, if that makes sense. It’s not like the stock market where you can just go and invest in one stock and know, I made a 300% return on this one stock. You can’t see that in digital as much anymore. Everything is claiming attribution, and it makes it extremely difficult, and that really makes it a lot harder for your lower level marketers to stand out, which is where AdLeaks come in, is to try and help those people gain the knowledge, gain the… What’s the word I’m looking for? To surround themselves with people who can not only teach them, but show them how to do it. But then it allows people like me, who I would say are top 1% of marketers in the world to really say like, “Hey, this is to stand out. I’m going to stand out a lot more.” Because the average Joe could put something up five, six years ago on Facebook and stand out. It’s not that way anymore. You will fail if you don’t move quickly and you start adopting the technology, if that makes sense.
Shift in marketing mentality: omnichannel attribution is essential for success.
Jeff Tomlin: A hundred percent. I think the trends that you’re talking about, this is why in surveys over the past couple of years, especially this last year, CMOs have indicated that they’re investing a lot more in brand marketing these days because of this. Now, you brought up omnichannel, so why don’t we get right into that and maybe talk a little bit about how the evolution here and the challenges that we face now in marketing is shaping how people think about omnichannel and how they’re approaching it?
Justin Brenner: Yeah, you’re seeing a really big shift just in thought and mentality of people. We used to, back in the day and we see across the community talking with members, people that own agencies, myself, working with clients in the past, is you would always just report on the numbers. So you’d just say, “Facebook spent this, Facebook made this, Google spent this, Google made this.” Well, now all of those ecosystems work differently. So an example would be, let’s say you have a person that comes from an ad. They’ve never heard of your brand before. They find you on a Facebook ad. Well, they click that ad and they don’t purchase. And then they sign up for your email. So now they’ve had two touchpoints already. Most people, as you know, maybe you don’t know, but they don’t usually buy on first touchpoint. That’s very, very unlikely. Two days later, they go to Google and they search for your brand name. They click an ad, they don’t buy. The next day they get an email and they buy. So now let’s go back to this and let’s unwrap and unpack how all of that revenue tracks and where it’s. So for Facebook, if you’re running a seven day click and you’re looking at it within a seven day window and that click happened within seven days, Facebook grabs and claims that revenue, if it can. There’s things about, you get into the technicalities of is it Android versus Google or whatever. Let’s just say they claimed it. They claim it, they grabbed that. Well, email claimed it, right? Because the email, they signed up, so now you have Facebook and email claiming it. Well, obviously email is not going to be a channel you can scale because it’s dependent upon all of your traffic channels, but also your Google claimed it. So now you have Facebook and Google that are responsible. When you’re looking at that and you’re not using maybe some type of attribution software, like AdLeaks has an amazing partnership with Wicked Reports. They basically are their own first party data system where they’re able to have lifetime attribution and they basically track all of these clicks for the user journey. You can go back and see it, and you’re able to take that and you’re able to put that journey and stitch it into one journey. And then you’re able to look at that attribution from a first click across the whole journey versus per channel. And that’s where you’ll see a lot of marketers hitting the home run of when they get to that level and they can understand the complexity of that, and they’re able to go in, they’re able to use something like a Triple Whale or a Wicked Reports or an Ad Beacon or a Northbeam, and they’re able to stitch that journey together. And then they’re able to unpack that for the client and say, “Look, we’re spending X here and we want to scale on first click because that’s where the traffic is coming from.”
And a lot of marketers don’t understand that or they can’t comprehend that, and they don’t have necessarily the tools to do it because some of those tools are expensive. You start getting larger scaled clients that are doing a million, 2 million a month, and you could spend five, 10,000 a month easily on those systems if they have huge email lists. And that’s where we see the most success and most growth across all of the meetings that we have within the community and stuff, is people that are actually leveraging those attribution systems and they’re looking more at incrementality of the level of, okay, what is actually driving the sales? Where are they coming from? Not necessarily the last click, because if you look at a last click and that scenario we gave, you would say, “Hey, Google’s working. I want to scale Google.” But that’s not where the user came from. They came from Facebook. So in that scenario, you’d want to put more money into Facebook. And that’s where we see the waters really, really get muddied in that omnichannel approach.
Omnichannel strategy improved brand growth and customer acquisition cost.
Jeff Tomlin: Do you have any example on the top of your head where any particular campaign that was run where omnichannel experience strategy really created a difference in the brand growth of a client or a particular brand you guys are working with?
Justin Brenner: Yeah, absolutely. I’ll give you two examples. One was for a very large CPG brand, probably in every department store, Walmart, huge online, very, very well known if I was to say their name. I was part of discussions and part of the community was able to help them. They were basically spending a lot of money on Google. And as we know, brand search, anybody that knows Google, and that’s the first question I see of all these guys putting screenshots of this amazing ROAS in Google. Well, a lot of that comes from brand search. If you have a large enough brand, you could drive really, really a good ROAS in platform just by adjusting your spend on brand search. So an example, let’s say I was spending a thousand dollars a day. And a client came or somebody in the community came to one of those members and said, “Hey, the ROAS is really, really bad. We need to do something.” Well, that’s really, really easy to manipulate and fix. All you got to do is shift money from cold traffic to brand search, and now you just can dial up your ROAS and go back to them and say, “Oh, yeah. Look at that. Awesome. Oh, yeah. Great.” But is that really, really driving incrementality? Is that really, really driving that whole omnichannel approach? And I got to do this study with Google where they actually looked at your organic search click versus your spend click, and how much of that spend is actually incremental? At what point do you hit 50% of your brand search spend 60%? At what point are those people not going to buy? And they were able to actually go back to that brand and they were actually able to say like, “Look, you’re spending $250,000 a month on brand search. It’s not worth it. Anything over 60,000 or 70,000 or whatever it may be is where you’re just paying for people that we’re going to purchase anyway because you’re getting too much impression share.” That’s the first example. The other example is for a brand that doesn’t have a Wicked Reports in place and is spending a lot of money. When you’re able to go in and you’re able to start stitching together that user journey, that holistic journey of touchpoint A to touchpoint Z, and then you’re able to dive in and you’re actually able to eliminate spend from campaigns that are not working because they’re not actually driving first click sales, if you’re looking to scale, that’s where you can see a big major impact. And the one thing that I really push people to look at is when they’re communicating with clients now more than ever, is to look at what does it cost? Because we’re looking at this whole big holistic approach. What is the north gold star metric? How do we know if things are going really, really well? And the thing that we really, really look at is what or try to push people to look at is what is your cost per new customer? So you’re spending X and you’re getting back Y across the entire brand. What does your percentage of spend to marketing look like? What does that look like? And we really push that. And most people can understand it. But you always get some people that you see talking with members amongst the community of like, it’s really hard for them to grasp because they say, “Well, I did a big sale and they were already on my email list and they purchased anyways, so my cost per new customer in that case might’ve been driven one way or the other.” But that’s really trying to move to that position of spending X, getting back Y holistically, putting money into what’s working better overall through that journey, and then measuring it from the overall, are we driving new customers cheaper, is what I push people to look at.
Importance of go-to-market strategy and balancing workload in marketing.
Jeff Tomlin: Yeah, some of those examples you’re walking through really underscores the importance of really dialing in your go-to-market work. Because I’ve seen firsthand so many companies and literally firsthand how as people try to scale their sales and marketing, your customer acquisition, your cost payback grows really quickly if you don’t have a scalable approach and a way to really dial in and optimize your marketing dollar spend.
Justin Brenner: Yep, yep, exactly.
Jeff Tomlin: So you balance a lot of the work, the leadership work you have at AdLeaks and you do a lot of hands-on work yourself. How do you balance the work that you’ve got on your plate?
Justin Brenner: A lot of it is, I love what I do, the community. If you would’ve asked me seven, eight years ago if I would’ve loved doing this, number one, I get paid to always be on top of everything in digital marketing, which just is amazing because it changes so fast. So I’m lucky enough that part of my job is to have to be able to answer everyone’s questions. And to be able to do that, I have to be… I’m not an expert in everything. If you ask me if I’ve ever ran a native ads campaign, no, I’m not an expert. I don’t like native ads. I would never push a brand to run native ads unless they were a huge level of a brand. So there’s some things that I definitely am not an expert in, but for the most part, I’m extremely, like you said, a ninja assassin or whatever the term was I used. I can’t remember, Swiss Army Knife. And I’m fortunate enough that that’s part of my job is to stay on top of everything. When a new change comes out for Facebook or from Google, I have to read up on it, I have to learn and I have to be able to answer questions in the community and amongst our mastermind calls and things of that nature. So that’s part of it, just being very, very fortunate. The other part of just managing everything is we have a really, really good team in place, and they help me navigate that waters. They do a lot of the heavy lifting that I don’t have to do, thankfully. And without them, the community wouldn’t be possible.
Community is everything in leveraging knowledge and networking.
Jeff Tomlin: Justin, for the people that are listening, what would be your number one takeaway stick in people’s minds to think about right now, given the landscape out there?
Justin Brenner: Yeah, I would say, not to try and sell you on AdLeaks, but community is everything. I mean, I would not be where I am today unless it was leveraging the power of… I always used to hear this, and I think I’ve heard it from, I think Grant Cardone and says it and everything, whether you like him or not, but your network is your net worth. If you would’ve told me that five years ago, I would have said, “No.” But I can tell you, my world changed upside down from when I went to that first mastermind and got involved in AdLeaks. It opened so many doors just through meeting people, being able to network with everyone and just being able to leverage the power and knowledge of all of the biggest and brightest minds in the world. And that’s really, really everything.
And that’s part of why, and we had talked about this, was we had the Facebook ad buyers that was born. But kind of the spinoff of where AdLeaks went with that is the group got so big so fast. I mean, we went to zero and now we’re well over 150,000, that we needed a place… Because obviously, with that, you get, pardon my language, you get some of your shitheads that will come in the group and they just spam and then you have to kick them out. And that’s just part of growing a community. Anybody will tell you that with that runs a Facebook community. And so what we did was we created more of a secluded private paid group, which is truly the bread and butter of AdLeaks, not all the non-paid communities. And that’s a lot smaller of a group. And there people are willing to bend over backwards to help. There’s a lot of people that have been there for three, four years that will hop on calls with you and help you fix something for free. They won’t even charge you. I do it all the time. We do mastermind calls weekly where people can get on, they can basically have one-on-one consulting and leverage eight to 10 people in a group. I can go out and do consulting with big brands if I want and charge $1,500 an hour. That’s in that call weekly for free, for a hundred bucks a month is what we charge. So it’s really, really the community drives me to want to help. It’s just amazing when you can help somebody turn something around or they come to you and they say, “Hey, I run a small brand. I’m suffering. I need help.” And you can help them make changes and then it’s like, “It’s gotten so much better. I’m profitable again.” That’s extremely rewarding, and that keeps you going and keeping you want to help push to help those people.
Contact Justin Brenner to continue the conversation.
Jeff Tomlin: Justin Brenner, it’s been a pleasure having time to spend a few minutes chatting with you about this stuff. If people wanted to continue the conversation with you, how do they reach you?
Justin Brenner: They can just find me on Facebook. So Facebook handle, just Justin Brenner. I think my handle is, I am Justin Brenner. Otherwise, just shoot me a DM on there. Otherwise, if you want, we can also, anybody that wants to join or looking to join the community, we can give you, I think it’s 50% off the first three months. So just hit me up. We’ll give you a link to join. If you just want to hop on a call and just chat, shoot me a message. I’d be more than happy to do that, to help you try and troubleshoot anything that you’re having in terms of with your marketing campaigns.
Jeff Tomlin: Justin, it’s been a pleasure. Hope you have a great one and look forward to chatting with you in the community.
Justin Brenner: Thank you. Appreciate it.
Jeff Tomlin: Well there you have it, a lot of great learnings from our chat with Justin Brenner. Justin’s journey from learning affiliate marketing to supporting the AdLeaks community highlights the significance of continuous learning and the power of networking in the ever-changing digital marketing landscape. AdLeaks was born out of the need to address the challenges faced by marketers dealing with issues like poor customer service from platforms like Facebook and the complexity of tracking and attributing results in an omnichannel world. Now it’s a flourishing community
Another key lesson from Justin’s insights is the importance of community and networking in the digital marketing landscape. He emphasizes the value of leveraging the collective knowledge and experience of others, as well as the willingness of community members to help one another. Justin’s own transformation, from being part of a small group to building a large and supportive community, highlights how connections and collaboration can drive success in the dynamic field of digital marketing.
If you’ve enjoyed Justin Brenner’s episode discussing Omni-channel Marketing keep the conversation going and revisit some of our older episodes from the archives: Check out Episode 622: The Art of Traditional and Digital Marketing Strategies with Darren Anderson or Episode 620: The Power of Verticals and Go-To-Market Strategies with Corey Quinn
Until next time, I’m Jeff Tomlin. Get out there and be awesome!