Be part of a community in your industry that believes in sharing ideas and innovations.
Eric Dyck is the CEO and Founder of iStack Training. He’s a ten year veteran of performance marketing and has built many successful campaigns and companies in almost every digital marketing discipline available today. He’s gone from search engine marketing, email marketing, app marketing, ad tech, mobile marketing, Facebook Ads and even e-commerce.
His superpower is understanding, recognizing, and connecting people and ideas that dramatically improve digital marketing businesses for entrepreneurs around the world.
He was born in Canada and lives in Victoria, B.C. which has become one of the true hotbeds of performance marketing in North America. He started as an independent affiliate, promoting toolbar downloads on Google Adwords and has gone on to master dozens of technical media buying skill sets. Along the way, he has been collecting contacts at every stop in his career. Now with iStack Training, he seeks to help others benefit from his bird’s eye view of the industry, and help advertisers and publishers capitalize on trends quickly. He draws on his diverse business network to bring the most exciting speakers in advertising to his stages and help them deliver their valuable tactics and strategies to audiences around the world.
He is known as one of the people who have helped craft performance marketing into what it is today. Performance marketing has evolved into an industry that is rabidly obsessed with over delivering in order to create the highest possible lifetime customer values and be able to stay competitive when media buying. However, affiliates and other performance marketers now find themselves in an amazing position to evolve digital marketing towards a high-performance model where every result is attributed, measured and fully leveraged.
Eric is most regarded for his relationships in the performance marketing industry as well as his deft touch with programming the most relevant and valuable content for his fellow entrepreneurs and marketers. With six sold-out training events in Berlin, Bangkok, Barcelona, Vegas, and San Diego, Eric is proving out that the world is ready for iStack’s brand of highly tactical training on digital advertising.
The quality of his events and his vision for the future of performance marketing is allowing him to draw some of the most dynamic and forward-thinking entrepreneurs to speak at his events. Every speaker who comes to the stage has built at 7, 8, or even 9 figure business, while still maintaining their practical skills on the front lines of digital advertising. One need only look at iStack’s event sponsors to see a who’s who of exciting and dominant companies in the space. The world’s number one e-commerce platform, Shopify, selected iStack as one of their very few event partnerships and partnered with them throughout 2019.
Eric had only 4 employees in 2017 but that number has grown to 10 and there seems to be no end in sight for the potential to continue growing iStack Training. It is the enthusiasm of his team, his growing audience, as well as his sponsors that keeps him so excited about the future of iStack Training, as well as the performance marketing space as a whole.
Where did the idea for your company come from?
I wanted to help entrepreneurs “stack” their skills, network, and profits. iStack was born from this desire and it’s what they focus on every day. It also came from years of failures and experience in the space. A need for an empathetic adjustment was more than necessary to improve the entrepreneur and ad-buyers experience. It wasn’t easy for them but with their lucrative experience in the space and the immediate need for such a program, iStack took off rapidly.
What does your typical day look like and how do you make it productive?
My team is decentralized, so we usually work remotely. I start every day by walking my daughter to school. I then start with catching up on my Emails and Slack messages until 9 am, then start working on my fasting and work until noon. That’s when I break my fast and catch up on podcasts for an hour or so. About 3 times a week I’ll take a bike ride around the coast for about 45 minutes. Early afternoon I take meetings and settle in for my most creative part of the day around 2 PM. Here I check in on our ads and work on any copy that I need to do. Dinner, family time and bath time for my daughter happens around 6 PM, and then I’m usually back online working with our development team, designers, and social media teams in Manila, who are just starting their day. My days are long but punctuated with family, fitness, and time to reflect.
How do you bring ideas to life?
My best ideas come up in conversations I have with the incredible people in my network. I host a podcast once a week, so each of these is an incredible opportunity to learn. Often during bike rides, I am able to let these ideas settle into a plan of action. Then it’s directly back to Slack and bouncing ideas off my team, and board members. Once the idea is vetted and supported it’s straight to Trello, where we break down the plan into checklists and knock each off.
What’s one trend that excites you?
The statistic that excites me most right now is 1%. Only 1% of consumer packaged goods (CPG) are bought online right now. This represents the biggest opportunity in our space right now. If you can create a brand around products that people buy week in and week out and give them a compelling reason to buy it from you, online, you might just have a billion dollar company on your hands.
What is one habit of yours that makes you more productive as an entrepreneur?
Bike rides along the coast of British Columbia. Any day I can work in a bike ride is a day I’ll be more productive. It really allows me to clear my head and think effectively.
What advice would you give your younger self?
Don’t be afraid to fail. I was recently reading about the concept of a “failure resume.” I really liked it. I can point to several moments throughout my career that I felt like a failure, but through the course of time, I see that they were incredible learning opportunities that have helped me become the entrepreneur I am now.
Tell us something that’s true that almost nobody agrees with you on.
Let data tell the story, but never be afraid to lead with a hunch. Running effective Facebook Ad campaigns is all about leveraging data, but don’t let yourself think there’s no room for creativity. All the most successful ads we’ve ever run have come from taking a creative or quirky approach. Most recently I created a gif of me swan diving into a pool, urging attendees to “take the plunge,” and attend one of our events. I never thought a shot of me in a bathing suit would be part of my company’s ad campaign, but the ad converted like crazy. People’s attention is ridiculously short and precious, so if you can come up with a concept that will stop thumbs in the newsfeed and can create a powerful and appropriate sentiment, then don’t be afraid to put yourself and your creativity out there and on display.
As an entrepreneur, what is the one thing you do over and over and recommend everyone else do?
I recommend that you do something you’re uncomfortable with every day. Like Ryan Holiday and the great stoic philosophers he draws from say, “the obstacle is the way.” If you feel hesitant to do something you know you should do, make sure you tackle it head-on. The growth you achieve every time you accomplish something that you find intimidating makes it extra worth the effort.
What is one strategy that has helped you grow your business?
The strategy most responsible for growing iStack Training is to provide incredibly valuable content to your audience on a regular basis. Through our podcast and other social media efforts, we make sure that we have a regular stream of high-value content reaching our audience. That way, when we launch an ad campaign we can harvest all the good vibes we’ve been putting out there. This strategy allows us to lower our cost of customer acquisition greatly.
What is one failure you had as an entrepreneur, and how did you overcome it?
Earlier in my career, I built an ad network for mobile apps and I wasn’t able to achieve profitability with it. We had built a large network of publishers but just weren’t able to make it pay the way it needed to stay afloat. Luckily, we found an acquisition partner who greatly valued the network of apps we’d put together and we were able to work out a deal for stock. My first exit wasn’t a massive win, but because we had created value outside of positive cash flow I was able to walk away considering it a small victory.
What is one business idea that you’re willing to give away to our readers?
I live in Canada, where marijuana is now legal. Advertising for cannabis is tricky terrain, but these companies are going to be printing money and will be in a desperate need to spend it in ways that enhance their market share. Whoever can figure out how to advertise within the limits of platforms like Facebook and other social media sites will do quite well. One idea: create a “free plus shipping” lead gen campaign where you send a free piece of branded swag in exchange for an email address and the shipping fee. With the right marketing, you can ROI on the shipping fee, and these leads will be like gold to cannabis companies.
What is the best $100 you recently spent? What and why?
I bought my wife a Roomba for Xmas. She’s wanted one for a while now, but I’ve always thought it was silly. We said we weren’t getting gifts for each other this year, so it will be a surprise and it will show her that I’ve been listening and that I am capable of changing my opinion on things. I know it’s not super romantic, but she’ll like it and that will make both of us happy.
What is one piece of software or a web service that helps you be productive?
My business wouldn’t be possible without Slack. It allows me to coordinate with my Canadian and Manila teams seamlessly. Incorporated with a project management tool like Trello, we’re unstoppable and fully accountable.
What is the one book that you recommend our community should read and why?
I already referenced it, but I loved The Obstacle is the Way by Ryan Holiday. I think we’ve been sold a bit of a lie and many people feel their lives should be easier than they are. True meaning in life comes from facing adversity, triumphing and finding something more than just money.
What is your favorite quote?
“F*&k the Barracudas, I’m building it anyway.” Max Fischer in Rushmore. I’m a huge fan of this movie by Wes Anderson. There’s something about Max’s passion and determination to succeed in love and life at any cost that resonates with me.
- Most companies suck at marketing. With the tool sets and resources available today, there’s no excuse for this.
- Be part of a community in your industry that believes in sharing ideas and innovations.
- Provide valuable content if you want to grow!
Steve (Stefan) Junge hails from Germany and helps with the day-to-day publishing of interviews on IdeaMensch. While he and Mario don’t share a favorite soccer club, their enthusiasm to help entrepreneurs is a shared passion.