Today we are talking marketing and online business development with one of the leading experts in the field, Marco Calamassi, who started up in this industry as far back as 2012, when Social Media (Facebook) was just conceived and barely launched and now is one of the very few Marketing Experts verified on both Facebook and Instagram in the world.
We tried to avoid the typical trivial and superficial questions he gets asked during interviews, and instead dive deeper into technicalities and insights, it’s not everyday that you get a chance to absorb invaluable notions that will easily cost thousands of dollars in consultation fees.
But first, just a bit of a background and backstory of his.
Marco Calamassi, born March 20th 1986 in Italy, got his feet in the online world back when he was 10-11, in the late 90s. At that time, the Internet was just starting to get popular and online commerce was “the new thing”.
Ebay quickly took over the online shopping market and the late 90s economic frenzy was just the gasoline on the fire. Marco, from his early-tech PC, jumped on the Ebay hype that was building up across the masses and quickly identified a profitable business model. He imported
containers of sneakers and running shoes from China and flipped them on Ebay for 3-5x markups.
From that initial spark of entrepreneurship, Marco Calamassi has never let it go. He evolved his expertise as the market and digital space evolved along with new platforms such as Amazon, Instagram and Youtube and new techniques such as Email Marketing, Social Media Management and Paid Advertising.
In 2012 Marco Calamassi put his knowledge to use in helping his family business, which is Made In Italy fashion, art and decor, expand to America with a Pop Up art gallery and a Fashion boutique. With nationwide retail trend starting to show signs of a worrisome decline, Marco foresaw the opportunity of a fast online transition that brought him to become a prominent Digital Marketer with outstanding results for his clients, to be one of the few marketing personalities officially verified on socials, to collaborate and consult in the Movie & Entertainment industry and be constantly featured on magazines and publications.
His book “Shaping The Reality Of 2050”, written just for friends/family and colleagues in 2018 and then published in 2020, has been considered a unique and insightful outlook at the digital society of the future where Web Personalities will be the new Rockstars, Online Entrepreneurs
the new Tycoons and Marketers & Developers the new Philosophers and Architects. It has been cited as a “must-read” book on Dzone.com, one of the most prominent technology websites with 5m monthly visitors.
He consulted for two movies and a tv series with the role of Marketing Consultant and Digital Marketing Expert. His profile and credits can be seen on IMDB.com, a website with 450m monthly visitors.
Now let’s dive right into the technical stuff and understand how and why Marco Calamassi is in the top 0.1% of marketers available on the market.
Let’s talk advertising and lead generation now. We asked him to provide some analytics and data from his past campaigns and here some considerations. The average cost-per-lead in verticals such as Marketing is around $5-8 for entry level offers and up to $30 for high ticket offers. Marco Calamassi has shown us numerous campaigns that generated marketing leads for less than $3. Most of them in the $1-2 cost range. Even hundreds below a dollar. And we are talking about American audience (Tier1 targeting).
Let’s go even more technical and evaluate some KPI (aka Key Performance Indicator) or metrics. The holy-grail metrics in Lead Gen and Paid Advertising are CPC and CTR, respectively Cost-Per-Click and Click-Through-Rate. CPC indicates the cost we pay to obtain 1 click. CTR measures the percentage of people that interact with our Ad out of the people that are shown the Ad. Simply put, CPC gives us an idea of how much money we are spending to land visitors to our offer and CTR measures how attractive and relatable is our Ad to that target audience.
Average results, in the US, are $0.70-$1.20 CPC and 2-3% CTR. Marco provided campaigns data showing CTR of up to 12%, with averages of 8-9%. And CPC hovering around $0.10. These metrics are just outstanding.
One of the most sought-after metrics for any marketer on heart, is the Relevance Score. This “recognition” KPI has been recently dismissed by Facebook because it was generating too much controversy and fights between marketers and agencies trying to catch a high RS more than anything else. The RS (Relevance Score) is a rating that goes from 0 to 10 and it measures, in simple words, how good is your Ad compared to all the other Ads in the marketplace at that given time. It highlights how effective that Ad is compared to its competitors, in the auction (Paid Ads are built upon a bid-measured system where a 24/7 auction takes place and marketers “bid” on client-acquisition costs against all the other marketers). It’s said that a Relevance Score of 6 put you above the average and should yield you positive results. A RS of 7-8 put you in the top 20% of performances. Relevance Score of 9 is the holy grail while a 10 is as rare as a Unicorn. Marco’s campaigns show an incredible amount of 8s, 9s and 10s.
One of the most popular advertising objectives is Engagement. Whether you need to grow your Facebook Business page or drive views to a video or spark a conversation with your ideal customer, Engagement is what you need. An engagement campaign to perform requires a deep understanding of your audience and who your target customer is. To know their mindset and psychology inside out. If this analysis has been done correctly and the targeting is on point as well, what is left is a powerful copywriting and a perfect medium to transmit your message over to your audience. By medium we mean the right image or video. If all this has been nailed down, the average CPE (Cost-Per-Engagement) is around $0.10 in the US and $0.01 Worldwide.
Marco sent us an Engagement campaign he ran 2 years ago with the aim of boosting a music video for an artist. We couldn’t believe the screenshot. Marco told us that this campaign and screenshot went viral on Facebook groups of marketers such as “Facebook Ad Buyers” and “Facebook Ads Rockstars”. These are communities where elite marketers share tips, insights and the latest procedures. As you can see on the screenshot, this campaign was getting Engagement for 1/100th of a cent (= $0.0001). It’s even hard to write it and comprehend it. In simple words, it was yielding results for free. Mark Zuckerberg wasn’t happy, for sure. That campaign reached 818,794 people with a $67 spend. Just phenomenal.
Now we want to transition into Conversion ads, those used to make a sale on the spot, whether is a physical product or info-product or a service. Marco has numerous successful campaigns but for the sake of time and to not annoy our readers we will present one case study only.
For this purpose we are going to let Marco Calamassi speaks for himself cause these insights are too hard even to just transcript:
“One of the most important parts of being successful with advertising when it comes to “cold traffic” (= people that never saw you, your brand or product before) is putting smart work into building out creatives (=the visual aspect of an Ad). Sure it is important to have good targeting, understanding the algorithm and manual bidding, but make sure your creatives are the killer of the game. Together with the clients, I always build out creatives that directly speak to the customer’s mind and emotion, depending on which step they are in the “purchase journey”. Customers in different stages (they see your Ad, they search you on Google, they email you, they message you on Instagram, they buy from you….all different stages) have different needs and you need to address those. Let me give you a quick story that serves as an example: You are selling an Antivirus Software and you start a conversation with somebody that saw your Ad and needs an Antivirus right now, he therefore asks you ‘I think I have a Virus in my PC, can your software remove it?’ And you keep bombarding him with the same info from the Ad which was: ‘Our Antivirus is the best one in the world’ and so he asks you again ‘Can your software remove this?’ and you keep telling him ‘We have over 1000 5-Star reviews, check it out now.’ Then he leaves angrily and buys from somebody else.
This conversation makes no sense and it’s the same with the ads you show to people. On every step of their journey, you need to communicate with them in different ways. It’s like a date. First time you engage with your date, you highlight those you think are your qualities and use a
formal attitude, you don’t go for a kiss straight away. Same for a customer that bought from you multiple times, you don’t send him a formal email, he is “family” by now and you must treat him and communicate with him in a much deeper and informal way. So, in conclusion ,make sure you treat every customer differently depending on which step they are at. Here is a little road map: – Cold Traffic – Point out the problem your product solves. Try to give them the feeling that they have the problem and offer them the solution, packaged as a great deal. – Warm Traffic – Try to showcase your product even more. Introduce it as the ‘Hero to all of their problems’. Connect on an emotional level. Read their mind. Offer what their mind is seeking. – Hot Traffic – Show them some social proof, reviews of your product, how people use, testimonials so they can relate and think “many bought before me, OK, it’s the last push I needed”
A trick I often use to give that final push is using “flash sales”, with those I have been able to generate 10x ROAS (Return On Ad Spend) even with just warm traffic.
Here an example of a campaign that yielded a 6.5X ROAS in just a month.
One crucial thing I want to point out is how important CR is. CR (= Conversion Rate) is the metric that, mostly in eCommerce, shows what percentage of visitors translated into buyers.
Over the years I have seen many marketers showcase big Revenue numbers without showing the Ad Spend. CR is the ultimate performance indicator. With a high CR you can literally print money out of this air = generate big revenue with little spending. Average CR in eCommerce, on websites built on Shopify (the industry standard) is around 2.5-3%. On sales funnels that can go up to 5-6%.
Thanks Marco, it’s always interesting to learn new things even in a realm that look so difficult and counter-intuitive. As your CV and track record shows, Social Media growth, management and content creation are other areas of interest and expertise of yours. Thanks for sending some results for that particular sector as well. These are 2 influencers clients of yours you helped build their social following. What strategies did you use ? We all know how difficult if not impossible is to grow on Instagram these days.
“Yes and because of that difficulty, Instagram growth is the most demanded service in the marketing space (he smiles). When social media are in their initial stage, right after inception, the OR (=Organic Reach) is high, it’s like a carburetor that is fully open and lets the whole flow of gasoline to reach the engine. Over time, that flow is limited. Same with the Organic Reach. These platforms want to attract as many users as possible to grow their market share and boost their numbers to obtain funding and investments and so on. Once that is done, they lower that reach because the next stage in their business plan is to develop their own built-in Advertising offer. Translated, you cannot grow anymore unless you spend in Advertising. Now, for any issue there is a fix. For any roadblock, there is a workaround. Without going too much into details, in the last 6 months I have grown my clients following through Giveaways. They are promotional posts hosted on big/huge celebrities’ accounts where big prizes such as cash or Iphones or even cars are offered to the winners. To obtain an entry in the giveaway the users must Like the post, FOLLOW those followed by the celebrity (= the giveaway clients) and tag as many friends as possible. It’s perfectly legal and it yields incredibly fast results. For a stable, consistent growth instead there is no other option than qualitative CONTENT CREATION. Which is, like for Ads creatives, simply building images or videos that speak to your audience and connect on an emotional level. And the goal is for the content to go viral and be reposted, shared, tagged generating a viral effect.”
This has been a long and detailed interview with a leading Marketing expert. It’s a rarity to have such availability and depth of sharing. We wanted to offer our readers a more profound and analytical overview of what advanced and effective Marketing involves these days. With the recent outbreak of Covid-19, retail and brick and mortar took a hit that will unlikely be gone anytime soon. We have seen a huge influx of businesses and companies into the digital realm, whether they were trying to completely transition from offline to online or simply open up their “web” department. Marketing has never been so popular and in need but navigating the professional offers is hard. Marco Calamassi has an outstanding track record and 360 degrees overview of all the latest and more effective trends and techniques in the space.
Hoping you found this interesting, be on the lookout for our NEXT MENTOR to be featured on our publication.