Today, I am happy to share the interview with the CEO at Ad Exchange Group Peter Nguyen, who has agreed to talk about all the things related to running such a giant company as Ad Exchange , as well as the hidden truth about being an entrepreneur. Lets start with the interview.
Please introduce yourself to our readers Peter. Can you tell us something about your digital journey? How and when did you enter into advertising network?
To start off, I’ve been an entrepreneur for over 15 years, and since then I’ve stayed in the digital space. I entered the digital direct-to-consumer space, or what we call the affiliate marketing space, as an advertiser ten years ago. I was one of the very first advertisers who also grew to become one of the larger advertisers in the space. In 2011, I created the course Advertiser 360, which Baylor University ended up using that course called, Accelerated Adventures. The course ended up becoming the number one reading course at Baylor University.
In 2011, I created the course Advertiser 360, which Baylor University ended up using that course called, Accelerated Adventures. The course ended up becoming the number one reading course at Baylor University.
I started Ad Exchange Group soon after in 2013 finding a need in the industry for brands to get quality traffic on the performance side. When Ad Exchange first started we had a rocket-ship growth; we grew from 0 to $100 million in just 19 months and now we’re the global leader in a digital-to-direct consumer.
You are the CEO of biggest ad network Ad exchange group how do you feel about it and what were your reasons for success?
I feel very grateful and fortunate for us to be the leader in our space. Most of it is largely due to our incredible team, manager, executives, and partners who put in 100% of their efforts every single day. One of our largest reasons for success was finding our mindset to out-innovate ourselves or to out-disrupt ourselves.
The big thing for us is that when we first came into the market we always kept an open-ended mind, and always kept the future in mind. We’re very long-term minded, so even though we grew really fast we continued keeping the future in mind and never made short-cuts.
That’s actually the biggest mantra in our office, which is never to take short-cuts since it’s important to do the right thing in this space that’s sometimes gray. You’ll stick around much longer by doing so. Having a high level of excellence, whether it supports technology or culture, everything in our DNA deals with excellence, which is a big proponent in why we succeed.
We’ve also been utilizing holes in the market and really focusing on the client’s needs. It may seem cliche, but that’s exactly one of our main reasons for success and it’s also what we’ve done since day one and will continue to do.
How is your personal life and professional life? How do you create balance while being so big entrepreneur at such young age?
My personal life is amazing. I have a beautiful wife of five years and two amazing kids, a boy and a girl. The important part in maintaining both a personal life and a professional life is time management. I think one of my superpowers is to be able to get a lot done on a given day. Not just professionally at work but also at home. Thus being able to free up more time.
Being a solid delegator who picks the right people, and the right operators is a key component in getting work done. Also, as far as the balance, time management is key in having that balance personally and individually. It all starts with my morning routine, which is waking up early at 5:30am meditating, working out 3 times a week with my personal trainer long, and eating healthy foods.
I have eliminated coffee, alcohol, and meat out of my diet. Having the right proper physical body allows me to stay clear and cognizant to what needs to be done and be efficient with time management. Anyone who knows me well knows that I’m a huge family man.
I don’t hardly ever take working dinners, which is rare for someone like myself, and I try not to ever work on the weekend. I work the normal 40 hours a week in the office and use the weekend to spend time with what’s most important to me— my family and friends.
What was your first affiliate marketing success. Can you share in brief?
My first success was my first campaign I had as an advertiser on my own. It was 10 years ago, and it was a teeth whitening offer. I had only $7000, most of which was on a credit card and that was all that I had in my name at that time.
I launched my first campaign shortly in less than 4 month, and we turned that $7000 to $2.1 million and the rest of it was history. Since then I’ve launched many dozen other campaigns as an advertiser which gave me the schools of experience to create services in the space that provide real value to advertisers and brands.
What blogs do you read in Affiliates? Tell me about an article you recently read that stuck out to you?
Oddly enough, I don’t typically follow or read any particular blogs or even podcasts, I actually don’t have that much time to take a lot of the courses. I’ve never really taken a course in this space other than the course that I’ve created. Even though I’m a huge fan of lifetime learning, most of the time my readings are not in this space.
I typically read non-fiction books, marketing books, leadership books, management books, and most importantly, spiritual books. I spend most of my time in experimental learning if it’s not in cognitive learning. I believe that the fastest way to succeed is through combining both cognitive learning and experiential learning. I actually have a blog post on that which is provided in the link down below:
How big is your team and how do you handle such big team. Any employee management software you using?
Five years ago we went from a handful of employees to over 900 employees (and counting) now in our ten different offices. Typically I think CEOs and entrepreneur should have 2 types of people who should work with them directly. Number one would be Operators, and number 2 would be Project Managers. I’ll throw in Executive Assistant in as a Project Manager where they would be managing their projects and tasks as well.
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You could only attract people as good as yourself by hiring good people, guiding them, and teaching them in the way you want to build the culture, build the company, and cast the vision you have in mind. That will help you better succeed as an entrepreneur and to scale as a company.
Despite our growth, we won countless of employer awards, such as the Stevie Gold American Business award last year and this year, we won OC Best Places to Work in the last two years, and we won the Pillar Awards, which is a global employer award, earlier this year as well.
Di you speak at events. How do you get these opportunities what are your secret hacks?
I’ve been speaking for over 15 years at various events, and before it was not in this industry. It was more personal, motivational, and inspiring in various non-profit type settings with a lot of youth. Which so happens to be where I had my start in public speaking. I do speak and I do get invited to speak often, however I limit where I want to speak at. It really depends on the platform and who’s getting value on the other end.
That’s where I choose to go. I’d speak as little as a few times a year, sometimes a little bit more. Speaking is not one of my careers that I would want to get into. Most of the times why I get asked to speak is because I know people who run big events and they value the knowledge I have in this industry. A lot of the speaking events I do gets asked as favors to speak on stage for more private mastermind events, which is how most of them are for me nowadays.
How much is revenue of Adexchangegroup ( yearly) if you can share with my readers?
We do over 9-figures a year annually and growing, and I have other services and companies combined that does 9-figures as well. I have a handful of companies that are in the 8-figure range and growing.
What are your favorite social media tools ? Which tools do you prefer to use to incease user engagement?
I don’t actually use any tools, this is something that I have not done well because I mainly use social media for my own friends and family, and my own network. I don’t use it to gain more followers and whatnot. It’s typically used for my broader network.
How do you hire employees what key things you look for hiring, Please share hiring strategies here?
Everything starts with building a large organization. So when it comes to hiring, at first look to see if they’re a good cultural fit, especially early on. If you have a bunch of people who don’t fit the culture that you want to see, that will start to become the new culture.
It’s so important that your managers exude exactly what you want and lead the way in order for the culture you want to be created. It starts with leaders and managers first and then the employees. In hiring, having a really strong HR department is key, which we are fortunate to have and understands the type of employees that we’re looking for since day one.
It first starts with cultural fit then skill level. I’d pick someone who is a cultural fit over skillset all day, because what we found is that if you have someone with great skills and has the right skillset but doesn’t fit the right culture will eventually find their way out. Whereas someone who has the culture can build their skills, since most skills could be trained and taught, which can solidify the culture even further.
What is the biggest mistake I can avoid starting out in Internet Marketing?
The biggest mistake is to think that you could do it all or to learn completely on your own. I would recommend you to do your best to befriend a mentor, or find a mentor, if you know someone in internet marketing who’s made mistakes early enough, and to make your own mistakes as quickly as possible.
For the one person who thinks that they could do it all, what I mean by that, is go master and specialize in that one thing and do that really well. Be one of the best at what you choose to do.
Whether it’s to be an affiliate, or being an advertiser, or a service provider. It would take you a long time to do all 3 well, like for myself who’s been in it for a decade, so I would recommend to do one or the other before bringing in one of the other side.
How Can I Grow My Home-Based Business? How Can I Pitch My Product to Large Companies?
It’s really simple. It’s all about sales, and being an entrepreneur it’s always about sales. You’re always selling as an entrepreneur, whether you’re selling for clients, whether you’re selling to employees to work for you— either you’re selling to investors to invest in you, or you’re selling to your future partners to partner with you. You have to be good at sales to be an effective and successful entrepreneur.
The method and mediums can all change, so if you want more clients, in this example find out where all those clients in the mediums are. Are they on Linkedin, searching on google, or is it building a strong referral program? There’s an endless possibilities of getting the lead, and what’s most important is not about getting the lead but it’s to know how to sell.
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We rely fully on referrals and partnerships. Warren Buffet was right about when he talked about the importance of reputation, it can take you a decade or more to build a reputation, but it takes 10 minutes to lose your reputation, so be mindful in taking shortcuts, be mindful of not burning bridges, and be mindful of how you act as a person because all that reflects on your reputation.
What Are Some Good Business Books to Read? What are your favorite books of all time?
My favorite books is “The Science of Getting Rich” by Wallace Wattles. I recommend reading it about 5 times over until you actually live it.
How do I measure the return on my social media investment. What is your measurement for ROI?
Measuring your ROI is really simple. It’s basically what you pay for, or not pay for, in time or in money, and it’s also attributing where how much money you made from that investment comes from. First, it starts with attributing where it comes from, whether it’s from a paid campaign or an organic campaign.
Then it’s measuring your ROI and what you have spent. If you’re talking about your personal brand, that’s not something I spend a lot of time in, because what we typically do is work with bigger brands who actually does not have personal brands.
What are some examples of how you have worked to sell your ideas in collaborative environments?
We do that every week when it comes to collaborating. Influencers marketing and celebrity-related marketing is another division of ours. We’re working with huge brands— multiple billion dollar brands, or household brands, where we’re building the direct-to-consumer channel for so this is something we’ve been having for many years.
From direct-response television brands, big retail brands, to hundred-year-old brand. We collaborate with a lot with them. An example would be that we have a tactical line where we’re collaborating with the king of Instagram, Dan Bilzerian.
What are the killer tips you would give for landing pages ? What kind of tools you have used for optimizing landing pages?
I talked about this in the course Advertiser 360. If you haven’t read the book, “Influence” by Robert Cialdini, he mentions the six principles of persuasion and I apply that in everything that we do (ex. funnel/landing pages). The first step is to increase the persuasion or get someone to convert, that’s the first step and the most important part.
In a landing page, I use AIDA, which stands for, attention, interest, decision, and action. First, you would need to grab their attention, then increase their level of interest, help them make a decision, and then the last “A” is a call to action which is to close them on the sell.
Second thing is to remove friction. How I would do this is on that landing page, I would write down a list of objections that the consumer may have in not wanting to buy the product, and what you do is sprinkle the responses and solutions from those objections and have the most important one first into your landing page to remove the friction along the funnel.
Where do you see yourself five years down in the Digital Marketing industry?
Five years from now I would imagine that our company would be public by then and we’ve probably would’ve rolled up and consolidated parts of this industry. We would also be on the cutting edge of the influencer marketing, e-commerce, the cutting edge of augmented and virtual reality, and how that affects advertising and digital advertising.
We would’ve developed some programmatic media buying for direct-to-consumer by then. And be at the cutting edge of whatever is the latest, greatest and hottest trend, including digital currency and blog chain.
How will you rate yourself on the scale of 1 to 10 based on your Digital Marketing knowledge?
– In the most humble way as possible I would rate myself a 10 out of 10.