Summary - Greg Mercer on growing Jungle Scout | Empire Flippers Podcast 181 Summary - BOSDaily#005

So today on BOSDaily we summarise and review The Empire Flippers Podcast 181 where they speak with founder and CEO, Greg Mercer of Jungle Scout which is a product research tool for Amazo.com sellers which helps find profitable products which are trending. 

With over 100 employees and 200 000 customers, he has broken through the dreaded glass ceiling which can sometimes constrain businesses and keep them from going to that next level in revenue and footprint. 

Greg Mercer had no tech background and was an amazon.com seller himself doing quite well. He decided to create some spreadsheets which could help him determine what was selling well on Amazon instead of just guessing.
After noting their success and ability to predict with very defined accuracy, he decided to turn them and the algorithms they contained into a Chrome extension.

One of the first things I took from this podcast of note was how he talks about hiring freelancers on Upwork and similar platforms and the key things to take into account:

  • Always be very specific and clear when defining and describing what you actually want to be done + what the measurables will be to ascertain once the job is complete.
  • Cheaper is most certainly always not better. When hiring freelancers for specialised roles you more often than not get exactly what you pay for. There is no way around paying for talented people. e.g good Software Developers make good money no matter where they live. Just because someone is in India doesn't mean they aren't worth a decent wage.
  • Often Cheap will still get you the job done but it will take longer and often more money outlaid in the long run then if you paid someone more experienced with a higher base rate to do it. 

With the initial product development, complete Greg goes on to recount how he went about marketing Jungle Scout and the incredible success he had doing webinars and podcasts with people who already had audiences to leverage off p "promote" his own service and offering them an affiliate commission. he would make sure that 90% of everything that was delivered was educational and the remaining 10% was his "sales pitch". 

So how did he get onto these people who already had large audiences and so forth? Greg simply built up a presence within his industry by going on blogs, forums and whatever else he could find and offering his advice, tips, and tricks and so forth to anyone that would listen. He quickly became a "Guru" in his space. From here he was able to email and Direct Message on different platforms people with what he calls medium-sized audiences (as going after the big fish can often be too hard as they are receiving 50-100 proposals a day) and have quite a good conversion rate.

A great question which comes about is what's more important, developing a great quality product, having killer marketing or is it a blend of the two. Initially, it's proclaimed that marketing at the start is so important because no matter how great your product is if no one knows it exists then it doesn't really matter but once some traction is gained and so forth having a quality product almost becomes one of the core components around which marketing can be built. This leads to the answer that it's a blend between the two long term, and I agree completely with this.

Hiring is the next point which comes to. Greg is asked how he went about this initially and if his strategy has changed at all. In the beginning, he explains that he needed to hire young hungry "jack of all trades" as roles weren't really defined. As things have scaled and progressed but he now is hiring more specialised people to solve certain requirements that have arisen within the business. 

The most interesting part that I took away from this interview is where they talk about how quickly Greg is able to make decisions and his "process" behind this. It comes down to him understanding that the opportunity cost for him if he waits often tends to be more then if he just acts on his "gut feeling". He summarises this into a perfect one-liner of "air on the side of the decision and just make the decision or how do we collect the data needed and once we have it lets make the call"

The final point that comes from this podcast is around the art of acquisitions and how moving into 2019 jungle scout won't be making any big plays to acquire anything unless it gives them a significant increase in market share or revenue. Greg explains that with acquisitions of software there are issues with coding and so forth where every programmer/ company has their own language and 9 times out of 10 the language of what they have acquired in the past is so different from jungle scouts own that it needs to be fully rebuilt anyway so that all their software engineers can work on it without being trained in now programming languages. "its easier to build your own from scratch than to take someone else's and make it your own"

And there you have it an hour podcast summarised down into a few hundred words. hope you enjoyed the read and please comment below if you have some podcasts or blogs you think I should be following.

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