It is really important to focus on what’s most important, consistency is king.”
Oren Greenberg is a digital marketing consultant, often helping as out-sourced head of digital/CMO. A growth hacker / digital marketing agency owner and head of search for Wonga.com, a startup that grew to 1000 employees at its peak.
Oren has been quoted in publications such as Virgin entrepreneur, Business Zone, The Guardian, M&S for business, Business Info Guide, Real Business, Fourth Source and Raconteur. Voted as top 100 hot list for British Interactive Media Association 2015. An expert guest on business podcasts, including excellence, expected and digital marketing radio. Oren is a Virgin startups mentor and enjoys good sushi.
Where did the idea for Kurve come from?
The idea of starting Kurve didn’t actually come to me in a spark as much as it evolved over time. Working for many years meant I build up a good network, and as more and more natural referrals came to me starting my own agency seemed like a natural evolution.
What does your typical day look like and how do you make it productive?
My typical day includes catching up on industry news (all digital marketing related + some strategic content like HBR or broader marketing news like the drum). I’m engaged with all my clients daily, even if that’s sending them a message about a thought or something I’m progressing on. It’s super important they feel I’m an extension of their business rather than an outsourced resource. A lot of people I work with to deliver to my clients fall through on this ironically – it means I need to be very much on top of budgets and setting clear briefs and deadlines. A typical day is bouncing between phone calls on Skype and chats on Slack, reviewing and setting up tasks on Asana, conversations with contacts on Linked-in and email and, of course, the actual strategic and tactical formulation which includes over 30 pieces of software I won’t bore you. Productivity is a simple result of inbox0 + GTD methodology with a few of my own personalised quirks (e.g. labels in Gmail, using Feedly + pocket + Evernote effectively). The most important piece of advice I can share is to make sure to set clear deadlines, review the task list often, really commit to GTD + inbox0 and stick to what’s most important to do first.
How do you bring ideas to life?
The way I bring ideas to life is actually pretty boring, it’s a proven methodology that has come about from years of crafting – be it sculptures, animations, infographics, Facebook campaigns or the like. They all have their own quirks in their process. The only reasons ideas don’t come to life is because there is a proliferation in modern culture of over-valuing ideas and undervaluing execution, a plethora of ideas compared to the arduous challenges of actually making them happen, and the realistic and painful reality that they will most likely fail. The key is focusing on enjoying the process – not the end result. The real question isn’t how do I bring ideas to life – its how the hell to make ideas come to life and really work! That one I’m afraid is nothing but commitment and trial and error. Everything takes 5X longer than I ever expect it to.
What’s one trend that really excites you?
I think the key trend that really excites me is how information and data are progressively becoming more available to everyone, and hence, transparency is creating price reduction and an increase in quality amongst pretty much every single category I can think of. The nature of globalisation means the opportunity is now spread evenly for the world’s population, and with that progressive trends, I believe a levelling of higher life quality. In my remit of digital marketing, I’m enjoying seeing he shift from interruptive marketing into content marketing, less noise from advertising and more relevant information is adding a lot of value to people’s lives.
What is one habit of yours that makes you more productive as an entrepreneur?
I think the key habit that makes me productive is working 12 hour days; my partner reckons it’s how meticulous and organised I am.
What was the worst job you ever had and what did you learn from it?
I’ve never had a bad job – I’ve only ever actually had 5 jobs (animator > project manager > marketer > product manager > marketer > agency owner) )and they’ve all been incredible in their own way. I’ve learned so much from each of one it would take a book to capture it all!
If you were to start again, what would you do differently?
If I were to start again as an entrepreneur, I’d probably have focused on one thing to the greater depth that follows a successful trend I’m passionate about. It’s hard to say as looking back is always 20/20 vision – it takes a lot of experience (see: mistakes) and knowledge to really learn what does and doesn’t work and there’s no shortcut to that (the only one would be to rely on community and other people’s knowledge!).
As an entrepreneur, what is the one thing you do over and over and recommend everyone else do?
The key thing I do over and over again is to stay in touch with the contacts I’ve built over the years. I don’t think anything is as important as building a network.
What is one strategy that has helped you grow your business? Please explain how.
The key strategy that has helped me build my business more than anything is probably pretty simple. Do the very best I can do to achieve the targets my clients have set out. It isn’t so much what as the how that really counts with strategy, it is really about execution. This may seem obvious but a lot of people I have worked with juggle many clients to maximise revenue and then begin to lose them due to poor results – often the focus is on volume and not quality, from time spent in effort to goals – it is really important to focus on what’s most important, consistency is king.
Hiring the right people comes in at close second as that frees up the time for me to focus on the above strategy. All my business has grown from word of mouth, so really that is a sum of lots of little things done right.
What is one failure you had as an entrepreneur, and how did you overcome it?
I’ve had many, many failures, from hiring the wrong people to leaving the right business at the wrong time to not taking up an offer to join the right business at the right time to having multiple failed businesses. The latest failure was a project I was trying to make a go of for a few years after 5-6 people told me it didn’t have legs. I ended up closing it which cost money and a lot of time and mental effort. The only way to overcome failure is to accept that failures are meaningless. Not to get too existential here, we’re genetically hard-wired to avoid failure (eat the wrong berry and you’re dead) but that inbuilt logic is often taken too far in an era of obscene abundance. We’re all ending up in the same place at the end of our journeys, is it really worth wasting energy on something we couldn’t control? If I could control it – it wouldn’t have been a failure.
What is one business idea that you’re willing to give away to our readers?
Business idea I’m willing to give away…
In the last few days, I’ve been messing around with strategic templates from Hubspot and smartinsights.com. What’s very clear to me is that the era of static spreadsheets or word-docs for formulating strategic frameworks is dead. I’d love to see a customizable SaaS product that is focused on common strategic structures that link up to the most popular services. Here’s an example – I’ve formulated a marketing strategy in a Google doc. But that doesn’t actually have any due dates, team members can’t comment on it, it’s static.
Now, cue a task management software – Asana/Trello/basecamp take your pick. It isn’t easy to access the broader framework, it is fragmented in lots of out-dated files living in silos in someone’s dropbox/drive or even both.
If I update a task does it update in the strategic framework in any of these packages? No. It’s manual. Madness.
A strategy is a living framework that the tactical tasks live in – and right now creating/replicating strategies isn’t very easy to do.
If you do this, send me a link I’ll be the first to trial it.
What is the best $100 you recently spent? What and why?
The best $100 I spend, ever, is always on paying the right talent to help me to materialise my plan or my client work. Unfortunately, with working with 7 different people right now it is tricky to say who delivered the best value for that $100 !!
What software and web services do you use? What do you love about them?
Software and web services I use can be seen here: http://pastebin.com/QpXN09cn
I love that they give me insight I can’t get, they allow me to not work from within my head, they allow me to organise and get results – it is like a plumber without a toolkit, can he even do the job?
What is the one book that you recommend our community should read and why?
One book I’d recommend the community read? The $100 Startup – I think it is great for people to think about additional income sources and actually get up and make their passion happen.
What people have influenced your thinking and might be of interest to others?
I don’t really follow influencers per say in terms of thought-leadership; I’m generally more focused on reading about trends, tech, execution and tactics, I believe strategic thinking and thought leadership is best developed from experience. I do read a lot – simply that nowadays people are glorifying others which I think detracts from the formulation of their own path. We focus too much on what’s outside rather than focus on our own dreams – fake it till you make it is how I cracked it; just like dory from finding Nemo said it: just keep on swimming.
Saying that, a few names that do pop to mind are Seth Godin, Rand Fishkin, Marc Andreessen and Leo Babauta from Zen habits.