#51: CEO @ Round Barn Labs, Tye DeGrange, on The 2 Digital Ad Mammoths & Digital Marketing’s Iterative Evolution (Part 1)

Tye DeGrange (@tdegrange) is the CEO and Principal at Round Barn Labs, a growth-as-a-service agency that provides paid marketing and conversion rate optimization services for some of the world’s greatest brands, including eBay, Porsche, and ModCloth and startups backed by Andreesson Horowitz, Kleiner Perkins, and Google Ventures.

Prior to Round Barn Labs, Tye was a Head of Growth at Amazon, Harland Clarke (customer engagement for financial services), and Quotient Technology (acquired by coupons.com) where he tripled customer bases, lowered CAC by launching untapped marketing channels, and consistently finding and solving sticking points in the “customer journey”.

Tye also is an active member of the Reforge growth community, a San Francisco-based growth focused learning series led by world-renowned growth practitioners like Andrew Chen (Uber, Partner at Andreesson Horowitz) and Brian Balfour (HubSpot).

Tye holds a Bachelor of Arts in history from University of California, Santa Barbara.

This episode was very introspective. Tye himself is a humble, thoughtful, and excellent marketer with a wealth of knowledge in digital marketing. He’s incredibly good at what he does (customer acquisition), and thus an inspiration for someone like myself.

In this episode, we talk about growth marketing as a concept, the duopoly of Google and Facebook as behemoth ad marketing sources, and the inception & growth of Round Barn Labs. If you’re looking to reach your growth goals more efficiently, give them a peek here.

This episode is particularly valuable for 1) anyone looking for a foundational understanding of paid acquisition or the evolution of digital marketing over the past 15 years, or 2) anyone who has considered starting a marketing agency or consultancy and wants some 1st hand commentary from someone doing it well.

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Show Notes

  • What made you go from history, to getting involved in marketing? [3:55]
  • Did you seek out the (marketing) role? [6:26]
  • Was it hard getting the role? How did you end up working at adBrite? [7:42]
  • Was your degree in history an inhibitor? [8:51]
  • Is there a lifelong learning aspect to marketing, that keeps you coming back? [12:14]
  • An example with Facebook ads of how lifelong learning is critical [14:53]
  • Limitations with marketing channels outside of Facebook and Google Ads [20:45]
  • Was there something you saw (in marketing and tech) that others did not? [21:15]
  • Were there trends along the way that served as clues to stay in this career? [22:59]
  • Shifts to mobile during 2012 to 2015 [23:44]
  • Did you watch The Great Hack on Netflix? [25:43]
  • Have you developed a philosophy in marketing? [27:28]
  • How letting other people challenge you is important for client success [29:29]
  • How I’m repeatedly surprised at what works and what does not [30:50]
  • It can be hard to get clients to challenge what they believe works in marketing [32:01]
  • How the “why” can be a mystery for the client as well [33:40]
  • The concept of growth-as-a-service is a new idea, isn’t it? [34:22]
  • How Round Barn Labs focused on 1 channel to do really well [37:43]
  • How larger brands need a longer-term view [38:09]

Links from Episode

What did you learn about digital marketing from the episode? Comment below.

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