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IAM1788 – Marketing Expert Helps Businesses Expand the Reach of Their Brand

Podcast Interview with Andrew Maffettone

Why it was selected for “CBNation Architects”:

In this episode of the I AM CEO Podcast, host Gresham Harkless Jr. interviews Andrew Maff, a marketing expert with over 15 years of experience in eCommerce. Andrew has owned and managed multiple marketing companies in the eCommerce space and has also worked in-house at multiple online selling companies, driving brands to new heights. With his knowledge of marketing and business strategy, love for staying ahead of the curve, and ability to execute marketing solutions, he created BlueTuskr, a team of specialized experts dedicated to the growth and success of eCommerce sellers.

Throughout the episode, Andrew shares valuable insights on effective marketing strategies and building a successful agency. He emphasizes the importance of focusing on specialized areas of expertise and mapping out a strategic plan for clients. He also discusses his journey from marketing for bands and tours to pivoting into hospitality and retail, eventually creating his own agency in early 2020.

In addition to sharing his expertise, Andrew offers practical tips and advice for entrepreneurs and business leaders. He recommends taking care of yourself and celebrating small wins, and emphasizes the importance of hammering out processes and developing standard operating procedures.

Overall, the episode provides valuable insights and advice for anyone looking to improve their marketing efforts and expand the reach of their brand, particularly in the realm of eCommerce.

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Andrew Maffettone Teaser 00:00

Also put SOPs in place and processes because if you can actually pick up the business and hand it to someone else, and it essentially run the exact same way because of the processes you have, chances are your value if you go to exit, is significantly higher.

Having that kind of efficiencies in place is an absolute game-changer.

Intro 00:22

Do you want to learn effective ways to build relationships, generate sales, and grow your business from successful entrepreneurs, startups, and CEOs, without listening to a long, long, long. Interview?

If so, you've come to the right place. Gresham Harkless values your time and is ready to share with you precisely the information you're in search of.

This is the I AM CEO podcast.

Gresham Harkless 00:49

Hello, hello, hello, this is Gresham, the I AM CEO podcast and I appreciate you listening to this episode. If you've been listening this year, you know that we hit over 1600 episodes at the beginning of this year. We're doing something a little bit different where we are purposing our favorite episodes around certain categories, topics, or as I like to call them, the business pillars that we think are gonna be extremely impactful for CEOs, entrepreneurs, business owners, and what I like to call CB Nation architects who are looking to level up their organizations.

This month we are focused on the visibility game, a.k.a. marketing, advertising, PR, and sales. I often say the name of the game is being found, and these tools will help you to do that. We have heard the philosophical question, if the tree falls in the forest and no one is around, does it make a sound? If there's a really, really great product or service and no one knows about it, how great is it really? What impact does it ultimately make? This is where we will go into this month looking at visibility, branding, marketing, public relations, sales being the lifeblood of businesses, building many companies, and so much more.

This is probably one of the most exciting and probably the most excruciating topics, but we hope this month to demystify or maybe even vanquish the fear and help and arm you with the tools to be able to increase your visibility. So buckle up and sit back and enjoy this special episode of the I AM CEO Podcast.

Hello, hello, hello, this is Gresh from the I AM CEO podcast. I have a very special guest on the show today. I have Andrew Maff of BlueTuskr. Andrew, it's great to have you on the show.

Andrew Maffettone 02:20

What's going on, man? Thanks for having me.

Gresham Harkless 02:22

Yes. Super excited to have you on and before we jumped to the great conversation, I wanted to read a little bit more about Andrew so you could hear about some of those and things he's doing.

And as a marketing expert with over 15 years of experience in e-commerce, Andrew has not only owned and managed multiple marketing companies in the e-commerce space, but has also in-house at multiple online selling companies, driving brands to new heights.

With his knowledge of marketing and business strategy, love for staying ahead of the curve and ability to execute effective marketing solutions, he created BlueTuskr, a team of specialized experts dedicated to the growth and success of e-commerce.

Andrew, great to have you on this show. Are you ready to speak to the I AM CEO community?

[restrict paid=”true”]

Andrew Maffettone 03:02

I loved that. Thank you so much. Yeah, man. Let's do it.

Gresham Harkless 03:05

Let's make it happen then. So to kick everything off, I wanted to rewind the clock and hear a little more on how you got started, what I call your CEO story.

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Andrew Maffettone 03:12

Yeah, so I actually think it was in high school, and my father actually acquired a small company that sold like car shocks and suspension and stuff. They weren't online and it was back when, like ish bubble was still more or less a thing. Hell not really, but you get it. So they brought it online. He was one of the first companies to bring any kind of shock for suspension stuff online. And I always knew I wanted to get into marketing and I don't really remember why, but so I was like, I'll work in your warehouse if you let me like intern as a marketing intern.

So, started there. Loved what I was doing. He was actually one of the first companies to be offered to join Amazon besides books. And so to this day, still pick on him for it because he turned it down. But regardless, loved it. Thought it was great. And then got into college and actually that was when I first became, I guess quote and quote like a CEO. I actually started my own agency. I was actually in a band and we needed someone that would handle like our marketing and our promotions. I was like, all right, I've done a little bit of this, let me dig into this. I ended up doing it well, it went really well. So the band did well. I had other bands asking, then I had venues asking. Then I had tours coming in asking for help.

After a while, I was like, all right, I'm gonna create this agency. It was relatively structured to music, but I then pivoted it to hospitality and retail. In retail is where I started to get a little bit more of that e-commerce bug. Then after a few years of that, I ended up bringing on a partner and decided we were gonna go our separate ways. So I had them buy me out, left the agency, let them take it over, and then I was like, all right, I wanna go in-house for a little while. So I went in-house. At that time, this was probably over the course of four or five years, I was in house at two different eight figure plus e-commerce companies. I was the only marketer and so it was really like, I was juggling agencies and juggling contractors and stuff like that.

I was like, you know what, this can be done better. And it just so happened that one of the companies I was at, one of the investors was working with me a bunch of times and they're like, look like what you're doing is great. You've already helped a bunch of others, like I was consulting on a few of the other brands they were working with. So we actually ended up starting an agency. I was a minority partner there through, I think it was like three years we had the company and we exited that to a public company in late 2019. Then in early 2020, I was like, all right, now I'm getting back in this, I'm doing this.

So in early 2020 started BlueTuskr and essentially that approach was what I've really started to notice specifically in e-commerce is that the buyer journey is so different. So now that there's Amazon and Walmart and Target and your own website, there are 500 places where you could buy the same product. So we develop marketing strategies that are what's just referred to as an omnichannel approach. So basically our marketing allows, targeting people to go to the website or to Amazon or to Walmart, and we become a full-service marketing department.

So we really are like an outsourced marketing department for our e-commerce sellers and our account managers basically act as like fractional CMOs to a certain extent. Now here I am on this podcast.

Gresham Harkless 06:17

Nice. I love how everything came full circle. So I know you touched a little bit upon like how you're working with your clients and how you're serving them. Could you drill down a little bit more, let us know exactly like what that experience looks like.

Andrew Maffettone 06:27

Yeah, so we really try to take a little bit of a different approach. I think that the one benefit I've had is, when I was in-house, I was on the other side of it, right? So I had all these agencies I had to juggle and one of the issues I constantly saw was my SEO agency wasn't talking to my paid ads agency. My paid ad agency had no idea when certain emails would trigger, et cetera. So their retargeting ads weren't lined up correctly. And so it basically became while I was doing a lot of the work in-house, I was also spending so much time just managing all these outsourced things and they weren't talking to each other.

A lot of times I also saw so many people complaining about full-service agencies, right? Because the theory is that it's a bunch of people who know a little bit about a lot, right? So what I did is I was like, okay, so what I wanna develop here is something a little bit different. So what we've actually put into place is kind of like I said, our account managers act as more or less fractional CMOs, but we have what we refer to as just individual agencies in the same roof. So I have a specific team that only does SEO. They don't do anything else. I have someone who's solely in social, solely in content, solely on paid advertising, solely on the marketplace.

So basically I have just a house of specialists and specialist departments, so that way the account manager, when speaking with a client can get an understanding of where the business is at, make decisions based on the business goal, not the marketing goals, which I think is a huge mistake that a lot of agencies make. Yeah, you're held to certain KPIs and you want to target certain things, but you really should know what their real goal is because they're gonna say one thing, but they mean another. With that, the account manager oversees the strategy and makes sure everyone is talking to each other because they're all internal. So it makes life a lot easier.

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When we come back to a client, we go look like all of them are talking together here. They meet them all, they're all here. They're all stateside, which is always a question as well. Everyone's pretty much like East Coast, central Time, but we're all remote. We're all over the place, so we always hop on these video chats and stuff like that. Really the approach is to embed ourselves as their marketing department. If you were to hire a bunch of these types of people to work for you, you would want to know who they are. You'd want constant updates from them. You'd want to be able to easily chat with them. You'd want to have recurring updates.

So, we always have our recurring calls. We have shared Slack channels with all their clients. They can reach anyone who's involved in their account, whatever they want. It really becomes a, Hey, here's your team and then we get started based on the strategy that we put into place.

Gresham Harkless 09:00

Nice. And like you said, somebody that's actually making decisions based on the greater goal for the business, not just trying to hit whatever KPIs may not actually align with that, but you get to make those strategic decisions and have the trust of the agency to do that.

Andrew Maffettone 09:14

Yeah, exactly. And in e-commerce, there are so many different assets and not assets, but different attributes that you got to think about, which is inventory for a certain product line versus another. Is there enough for us to be able to do that, they have the past couple of years have been product supply chain issues. So okay, maybe we want to slow down on some of the marketing. So there are a lot more higher level conversations that need to be had in order to actually put an actual strategy into place. Because most agencies, respectfully, they'll come in, they'll be like, here's the strategy we always put into place for this.

It's relatively templated, but if you were to hire a marketing team and they were all in-house, you wouldn't template anything. They would start to build it. So we do have to report that we start with and certain structures of folders and like shared drives and all that we start with. But none of them, after we work with a client for three or four months, none of them look the same. And it really comes down to just mapping out. We got to map out the process, which becomes a different discussion.

But that's where I'm trying to adjust the overall theory behind full service doesn't necessarily mean that we're all generalists. It's really more of a here's your team now, let's, focus on how you want that business to be run.

Gresham Harkless 10:28

Awesome. Definitely appreciate that. And I wanted to switch gears a little bit, and ask you for what I call a CEO hack. So this could be like an app, a book, or a habit that you have, but what's something that makes you more effective and efficient?

Andrew Maffettone 10:40

I really think that it comes down to the person. I think that because I'm the same way, right? Like I'll listen to podcasts, I'll read books, I'll chat with people on LinkedIn or whatever, but everyone's motivation and everyone's like a thing that keeps them driving is completely different. So I have my own podcast and I chat with e-commerce sellers all the time, and I ask a very similar question. It's a little bit more about what motivates you to keep going. I don't know if I've ever had anyone give me the exact same answer as someone else. It's all completely different in my eyes.

I've started to really notice I guess a trend in just in my general health, if I'm eating better and I'm working out. Oddly enough, my pipeline also tends to look better around that same time, and my clients are generally happier. And if I'm like getting stressed out and I start eating like crap, and I'm not like getting to the gym as much as I can, all of a sudden I swear my pipe, there's no way that it's accurate. But I swear my pipeline gets smaller, my clients get pissed and I'm like, all right, I guess I got to get back in the gym. So like to me, it's just taking care of myself and trying to just stay in a lighter mood what's helping. And then the clear and obvious thing, at least to me, celebrate the small wins.

So many times I forget to look back like six months to 12 months ago. And if I look 12 months ago, like we've almost doubled since last year. So when I sit here and I'm in a panic and I'm like, this isn't working. Why isn't this working? We should be doing this, blah, blah, blah. I go, yeah, but six months ago I would've killed to be where I am right now. So it's taking it with a grain of salt and don't forget where you started.

Gresham Harkless 12:11

Awesome. So what would you consider to be, what I like to call a CEO nugget? This might be a little bit more word of wisdom or piece of advice, something you might say or heard or learned from your podcast, or something you might tell your favorite client.

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Or if you have do a time machine, you might tell your younger business self.

Andrew Maffettone 12:26

Oh, man. At least for us from an agency perspective, it's a process like, hammering out your process, and finding yourself a good project management system. Spend the time or even have someone on staff whose full job is to just focus on the process. Obviously, in an agency, it's very clear cut, like we need to be efficient while still putting out good work. But I don't care that it's an agency. Every business needs to be that way.

So like having a project management system and actually clarifying, developing SOPs, because that's another thing where I've seen a lot of sellers we've worked with. We always tell them like, build an audience, have a big community, but also put SOPs in place and processes. Because if you can actually pick up the business and hand it to someone else and it essentially runs the exact same way because of the processes you have, chances are your value if you go to exit, is significantly higher because now there's no training.

You don't have to have anyone in there overseeing anything. You've got a big community to work with. So to me like having that kind of efficiencies in place is an absolute game changer. So I think documenting everything you do down to a T so that you could give it to someone who's never worked for you in their life and they could still do it, is absolutely a game changer.

Gresham Harkless 13:44

Absolutely appreciate that. Now I wanted to ask you my absolute favorite question, which is a definition of what it means to be a CEO.

We're hoping to have different quote and quote CEOs on this show. So Andrew, what does being a CEO mean to you?

Andrew Maffettone 13:55

To me, a CEO's job is to just guide and actually just put the right things in place. You're like a conductor, right? Like you're constantly conducting. Hopefully, once you get to a certain point, you're not actually also playing the instruments, but ideally, you're conducting and trying to make this beautiful orchestra as time goes on. There's the cons of it, which is like one of the things that I, even at when I had the agency in college, I never really realized this until the past, like several years.

But the thing that I think a lot of CEOs don't discuss is it's mentally taxing because you can't really confide in your significant other because if they're not in the same page, they're gonna be like if it's so stressful and it's not working out, why don't you just quit and get a real job? You can't really confide in your employees because you don't want to tell them you don't want them to think that something's wrong. If you're just having an off day, you can't confide in your clients because of the exact same reason. They'll start to leave you more or less. You can't really in your friends and family because if things are going well, they're gonna start asking you for money.

So you're on your own little island at all times and it's so frustrating at certain points because you hit a wall and you're like, I don't know who to talk to about this because I want to talk it out, but I can't talk to anyone. And then you think about getting a partner and I don't advise doing that, so.

Gresham Harkless 15:16

And I think that's where the beauty lies and you end up being the conductor and seeing all those things come to fruition and make that beautiful music.

Andrew Maffettone 15:24

A conductor on an island.

Gresham Harkless 15:25

There you go. Exactly. I love that. That's definitely a t-shirt or a bumper sticker. So we should go over that. Andrew makes sense truly. Yes. I appreciate that definition and of course, appreciate your time even more.

So what I wanted to do now is pass the mic, so to speak, just to see if there's anything additional that you can let our readers and listeners know, and of course, how best people can get ahold of you. Find out about all things you and your team are working on and of course, listen to your podcast as well.

Andrew Maffettone 15:51 No E in Tusker. Then you can always just shoot me an email. I love answering questions and stuff. It's like my favorite thing to do. So just Andrew@BlueTuskr, go for it.

And then all of our socialists at BlueTuskr. All my socials at Andrew Maff. eCom Show podcast. If you're an e-commerce seller and you wanna tune in, have at it. If not, that's the easiest way to get ahold of us.

Gresham Harkless 16:10

To make it even easier, we're definitely gonna have links and information in the show notes so that everybody can follow up with you.

Subscribe to the podcast and I hope you have a phenomenal rest of the day.

Outro 16:16

Thank you for listening to the I AM CEO Podcast, powered by CB Nation Blue 16 Media. Tune in next time and visit us at I AM CEO is not just a phrase, it's a community.

Check out the latest and greatest apps, books, and habits to level up your business as This has been the I AM CEO podcast with Gresham Harkless, Jr. Thank you for listening.


Dave Bonachita - CBNation Writer

This is a post from a CBNation team member. CBNation is a Business to Business (B2B) Brand. We are focused on increasing the success rate. We create content and information focusing on increasing the visibility of and providing resources for CEOs, entrepreneurs and business owners. CBNation consists of blogs(, podcasts, ( and videos ( CBNation is proudly powered by Blue16 Media.

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