The second-order thinking mental model for marketers | Corey Haines

The second-order thinking mental model for marketers | Corey Haines

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Corey Haines (Swipewell, Savvycal, Baremetrics) shares one of his favorite mental models for marketers, "Second-Order Thinking."

If you’re trying to solve a thousand-piece jigsaw puzzle, you can just try jamming pieces together. That could take you days or weeks. But, if you approach it with a framework or mental model (like starting off with the edges), you can increase your chances of success sooner rather than later.

That’s true for marketing too.

Marketing mental models and frameworks give you the shortcut to success.

That’s where Corey Haines comes in. He’s the Co-Founder of SwipeWell and has consulted and worked with dozens of startups, including SavvyCal,, and Baremetrics.

And he’s a huge fan of mental models for marketers. He’s even created a whole course about it!

Today, we’ll dig into one of his favorite mental models, Second Order Thinking, which will help you create more bulletproof Marketing plans… like New from the movie The Matrix.

In this Marketing Powerups episode, you’ll learn:

  1. What is the Second Order Thinking mental model?
  2. Three ways marketers can apply second-order thinking to their weekly and quarterly planning.
  3. How Corey applied second-order thinking to SwipeWell’s embed feature.
  4. Why starting more side projects can help accelerate your marketing career.

Watch or listen to the full episode now!

⭐️ The second-order thinking mental model

The second-order thinking model is a way of thinking through decisions beyond the immediate, surface-level effects and considers the potential second-order or indirect consequences that may result. It might involve asking these questions:

  • Is this decision attractive only because the immediate effect is positive?
  • What are the potential long-term downsides of this decision?
  • What other things or people are impacted by this decision for the better or worst?
  • Could I tweak my decision so it has compounding positive outcomes in the future?

Ray Dalio describes this very well in his book Principles:

"Failing to consider second- and third-order consequences is the cause of a lot of painfully bad decisions, and it is especially deadly when the first inferior option confirms your own biases. Never seize on the first available option, no matter how good it seems, before you’ve asked questions and explored."

For example, while making a hiring decision for an open marketing position, a hiring manager can either apply first-order or second-order thinking.

First-order thinking: "I really need to fill this role because I have many things to do in marketing. I can hire someone right now quickly who might meet my current needs but has certain gaps that may be challenging for my future needs. But we can attend to them when the time comes. Let’s hire quickly!"

First-order consequences: "The new hire can get the marketing campaigns up and running quickly. But, as our marketing needs evolve, the new hire may require more hand-holding and direct coaching. Since we don't have the time to coach and mentor young marketers right now, this could lead to project delays and us potentially missing our KPIs."

Second-order thinking: "I need to hire someone who can meet my requirements for the future and not just my current needs. While the next few months will be tough, the right thing to do will be to keep looking till we find someone suitable."

Second-order consequences: "Getting campaigns up and running get a slow start. However, within the next few weeks, people in the team step up to take additional responsibilities. Meanwhile, the hiring manager can also bring a strong leader with great potential and required qualities inline with future demands."

In the field of marketing, second-order thinking can be applied in several ways.

  1. Anticipating customer behavior: Marketers can use second-order thinking to anticipate how customers may react to a new product or marketing campaign. For example, a marketer may consider how a new product launch may affect sales of existing products or how a new marketing campaign may impact customer loyalty.
  2. Identifying indirect opportunities: Second-order thinking can also help marketers identify indirect opportunities for growth or expansion. For example, a marketer may consider how a new product or service could be used in unexpected ways or how it could be adapted to serve new markets. By identifying these indirect opportunities, marketers can develop new revenue streams and expand their customer base.
  3. Managing risk: Second-order thinking can also be used to manage risks associated with marketing decisions. For example, a marketer may consider how a new marketing strategy may impact the company's reputation or how a new product launch may affect the company's bottom line. By identifying and managing these risks, marketers can help their companies avoid costly mistakes and maintain a strong reputation.

Here are a few ways you can use second-order thinking in your weekly, quarterly, and annual marketing planning:

  • Always ask yourself, “And then what?”
  • Ask yourself what it will look like in the future — 10 minutes, 10 days, 10 years down the line.
  • Ask yourself what it will look like repeated — a second, third, 10th, or 100th time.
  • Map out the possible second-order and third-order consequences to see which has the least risk.

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    🎉 About Corey Haines

    Corey Haines is the founder of the Swipe Files community and SwipeWell app. Previously, Corey was the Head of Growth at Baremetrics and is the current Marketing Lead at SavvyCal. He’s consulted with dozens of startups on marketing and growth, including SavvyCal, Evercast,, Holloway, Beamer, and Timetastic.

    🕰️ Timestamps and transcript

    • 01:45 - How the Second-Order Thinking Model could have helped Baremetrics release a better freemium plan
    • 05:58 - What is the “Second-Order Thinking” mental model for marketers?
    • 11:42 - How Corey applied the Second-Order Thinking Mental model to SwipeWell
    • 18:56 - What are practical ways marketers can start using the Second-Order Thinking mental model in their day-to-day work?
    • 24:05 - Side projects helped accelerate Corey’s marketing career
    • 26:30 - Doing more projects increases your luck surface area
    • 28:20 - One piece of advice Corey would give his younger self: Do more stuff outside of marketing
    • 30:50 - The importance of building a “personal moat”

    Episode Transcript

    [00:00:00] Ramli John: If you're trying to solve a thousand piece jus of puzzle, you can just try jamming pieces together, but that could take days or weeks. But if you approach it with a framework or ment model, it's starting off with edges. You can increase your chances of success sooner rather than later. That's also true for marketing.

    Mental models and frameworks give you the shortcut to success, and that's where Corey Haines comes. He's the co-founder of Swipe Well, and he's consulted and worked with dozens of startups, including SavvyCal, Riverside fm, and Baremetrics,, and he's a huge fan of mental models for marketers. He's even created a whole course about it.

    Today we'll be digging into one of his favorite mental models for marketers. Second order Thinking, which will help you createa more bulletproof marketing plan like Neo from the movie, the Matrix In this Marketing Powerups episode, you learn: First, what is the second order thinking mental model? Second, three ways marketers can apply [00:01:00] the second order thinking to their weekly and quarterly marketing planning.

    Third, how Corey applied this second order thinking mental model to SwipeWell's embed feature. And fourth, why starting more site projects has helped Corey accelerate his marketing. For each episode, I create a power ups cheat sheet you can use to download, fill in, and apply the marketing concepts to your business right away.

    And go to to get those right now. Are you ready? Well, let's go

    Marketing power ups. Ready? Go. Here's your host Ram job.

    We're gonna be talking about one of the marketing power-ups that you, Justin, Iran. Second-order thinking. When you introduce us in your course, mental models for marketers, you share this story around bare metrics free tier and how second-order thinking, uh, this framework that [00:02:00] you've come across could have helped, uh, make sure that this is successful.

    Can you, what is that story? How did that. You know, what is a story about?

    [00:02:07] Corey Haines: It's funny because it was a, this was actually before I was the head of growth there for a brief stint. Um, but Josh, he did a lot of blogging. So he read about the story of barometric, adding a free plan. Uh, I think this was all the way back in August of 2015.

    So way back in the day, you know, one of the startup OGs. Um, and so essentially there were like for a free trial right into like a paid. Forever, since inception. And then, you know, probably like grill starts becoming more of a thing. Free plans become more of a thing. And I start to see some kinda like competitors create free plans and start with free tiers.

    So they think, okay, let's get in the game. Let's start a free plan. So it launched a free plan. Uh, they actually like launched it with this whole kind of fun campaign called Beard Metrics, which is like a play on baremetrics, sort of like social global local analytics for your beard and [00:03:00] something stupid and ridiculous like that, but made a whole kind of like marketing stunt about it.

    And then from that, Was like, oh, also we have a free plan. Uh, so just like a fun kind of cheeky way to announce that. Um, and I think over the next few weeks they had like over a thousand new free accounts created. Um, and so, uh, you know, they had a couple people upgrade to paid after that. I forget exactly, exactly what their metric was, that kind of like, what's the trigger?

    To push them over the threshold to become a paying customer. But anyways, by all accounts and measures, it looked like things were going great until they weren't , because then what HAP started happening was that there was more and more free accounts. There were, and those free accounts were generating the lionshare of the support and then, Um, all these free accounts were using so much bandwidth and data usage that it was slowing down the app and it was causing a lot of bugs and errors.

    And then all of a sudden the engineers weren't working on new features. They were just working on bug fixes and, uh, integration [00:04:00] fixes and um, metrics. , you know, all these kind of like crazy edge cases and things that the free customers were doing, try to accommodate them. Um, the average revenue per user, uh, dropped I think from like a hundred dollars to $90, and then churn went up from I think, like 4% to like 10% or something like that.

    Um, I forgot the exact metrics. It's always a little bit fuzzy cuz you have to like match the exact kind of time and date that this happened. Um, anyways, servers went on fire. It was kinda like this downward spiral, you know, of like all these things. One problem leads to another problem, leads to another problem, and then the kind of cycle repeats.

    And, uh, so I think after maybe about. Four or five months that they ended up shutting the free plan down because just, it was just causing too much chaos. And at the end of it, I think that they only, I think that the free plan generated around 53 customers and they were about 60 [00:05:00] churn customers they could directly attribute to free plan.

    Issues that were, that were caused. Um, so like this is a ROI negative experiment for us. And it was all because of these sort of second order consequences of, you know, you introduce a free plan and then it has all these downstream waterfall effects on the rest of the business that you never would've really thought about before unless you had sat down and thought about like, Okay.

    And then what, uh, what, what, what will this change about the business? Um, we can expect more free accounts. What does that do to our servers? What does that do to our marketing funnel? What does that do to, and you have to just really play that out across everything to really think through all the second order consequences in order to.

    Expect something like that where then you can kind of figure out, okay, I can expect for this to go this way or that way. But really they're kind of just going into a blind. It's

    [00:05:53] Ramli John: unfortunate. . Uh, can you, can you walk us through a little bit about this, uh, second order thinking, what, what [00:06:00] is that exactly and where, where, where is that, you know, believe you came across it from a book, um mm-hmm.

    What is second order Thinking for, for people are not familiar. It, it's something related with consequence. Um, but what, how would you define what second order

    [00:06:13] Corey Haines: thinking is? It's, uh, a mental model for marketing and, um, one of my favorites, I actually got it from Ray Dalio when I was reading one of his books back in the day, um, because, you know, Ray Dalio's a, one of the big time investors I think is Hedge fund, is Bridgewater, something like that.

    One of the really, really, you know, big brain guys in the world, right? And so he talks about this idea of like, you have first order thinking or first level thinking is kind of just like surface level, right? It's like whatever is right in front of you, um, you're only looking down at your feet essentially, and you're, you know, stepping one, placing one foot forward and making that step.

    And then you have second order thinking or second level thinking. Is when you're thinking beyond that, right? So it's where you can't really see around the corner, but

    [00:07:00] it's the next turn you're about to make, right? Um, and then third level is the one after that. Fourth level is the one after that. But really most people fail to see beyond.

    Uh, you know, where they're, what's right in front of them. The first level of thinking, kind of just what's right there in front of 'em on the surface. Um, cuz really what, what we have in sass in particular is that everything is, uh, an interconnected system. You have all these factors at play with each other.

    It's a lot, a lot, a lot like our body, for example. Um, you think like, Well, um, if I, uh, if I eat this food, then it'll help me in this area, but then I might as well might as well have these side effects, right? And then that side effect might also cause this other thing, right? So like you're thinking on the f on the first level, thinking like, you know, a bowl of ice cream at night is gonna make a big difference cuz it's yummy and it's good and, and I love it.

    But then the second part of thinking is, What are all these extra calories doing for my body? Okay, now I've, you know, gained a couple pounds.

    [00:08:00] Now I feel a little bit worse. Now I'm going to eat more ice cream. Now I need to go to the gym more, or now I need to do these other things. I need to cut back in calories.

    And I just, you know, it's this whole kind of downstream effect that you never really would've thought about. Um, anyways, uh, Second level thinking or second order thinking is basically just the practice of trying to see around the corner, trying to look beyond what's right in front of you and anticipate the changes that happen from one variable that you change in your life or in your business in front of you.

    [00:08:30] Ramli John: It makes a ton of sense and you're, I love how you put it, that it's in. things, SaaS specifically is very, very interconnected and you're trying to understand what is the second order, impact or consequences of yes, the plans that you have. Uh, I see this as almost helping you create more bulletproof marketing plans or more resilient , you know, what is the impact of the plan that you have or the tactic that you have?

    Is, is what I'm under. Is that right? Because

    [00:08:57] Corey Haines: what happens a lot of times is that we just kind of like churn through [00:09:00] ideas. We churn through changes, and we're looking for that kind of flash and that pop and that immediate result where we say this thing was a success or a failure, but sometimes the real impact, that doesn't happen on the first level.

    It happens on the second level. And so you might. Think this thing is, uh, great, but maybe it's actually having negative con consequences in the second or third order. Or maybe you think something is really bad, but it actually has positive consequences on the second or third order. Um, we'll see this a lot with like, uh, you know, first order I think is very fast and easy.

    So you think we're just gonna launch. A new website where it's gonna launch a new, uh, a new price. We're gonna launch a new product, we're gonna do this, we're gonna do that, we're gonna change this about our funnel. Um, and on the surface it might seem like, well, there's nothing negative out of this, but it's because it wouldn't show up in what you're looking at.

    And directly in the thing that you just changed, it's gonna happen elsewhere in the business. Like brand magic's introduced in free plan and then seeing that second order consequence of, [00:10:00] uh, the servers being on fire and support going through the roof and churn going up, right? Um, it doesn't, the free account was going up.

    There's more and more users like that number is getting bigger and bigger. It looks better every day, but you can't call it a success until you can really match it against all the second order consequences. So we see a lot of things like, uh, especially within business, um, some of these big changes. Like what if we change a headline on our website or on an ad?

    Um, what if we change the, uh, the structure of our website in the url if we're going from like a sub-folder to a sub-domain, or if we're going from, um, you know, the way that. Uh, you know, put your URLs together, for example, could be big kind of SEO changes on, um, the way that you title certain pages or the keywords that you go after.

    Uh, could be prices, doubling prices, introducing new price, introducing a free plan. , of course, as we just saw, is a, is a pretty [00:11:00] classic one you have to be careful of. Um, it could be just the signup process in general, going from maybe, uh, you know, sign up directly to, you have to request a demo or vice versa, right?

    All these things. Trade-offs. I think the, the real benefit in second order thinking is trying to make the right trade-offs and understanding that there are trade-offs so you can be aware of those in the future so you know that you're not making a bad trade off. I love

    [00:11:24] Ramli John: that. Like it really is, and you're right, I think mar as marketers, it's so easy to get caught up with, uh, shiny object , didn't you?

    A shiny object and this, you know, you're really trying to underst. , you know, the actions and the plans that we create. What is the impact to that? Can you talk, uh, what are some ways that marketers can apply this to. Uh, to, to their, to their marketing. So that is, it is definitely like, uh, you know, more resilient and more bulletproof and more well taught out, uh, and understanding the, the trade offs that, that we are making when it comes to marketing.


    [00:11:59] Corey Haines: I think [00:12:00] that one of the big ones is messaging and copywriting, particularly when it comes to the, the website. Um, we saw this with Savik when I first started. Was, um, there was a version of the website and especially like the big, kind of like hero section with the headline and the sub or the subheader call to action.

    Um, and it was converting okay, but people still have some questions around how is it different from Calendly and what. Uses it and what's different about it? Why should I give this time of the day basically? Um, so we went with our whole positioning exercise, updated the website. This is one of those cases where it was a very positive second order consequence where, um, you know, changing the website doesn't get us more website visitors, but it three x our conversion rate from visitor to sign.

    Just from a simple change in the website and mainly just swapping out the headline and the subheader and then a couple of small sections around the features further down the page. And um, those are really positive. Second [00:13:00] order consequence of like, Hey, You know, this isn't gonna make like immediate impact on our traffic overall, but it's gonna make a big impact on our conversion rate.

    And of course, we're gonna be looking for, you know, things like churn and, uh, retention and average revenue per customer. And trying to really quantify is, is there any other. Bad trade off that we're making. Um, but for that one, it was a no. What was a bad trade off, although with Savik a little bit later on was funny enough, introducing a free plan.

    Again, this is also a very tricky thing for companies to do, but what we had done was. . Um, Savik had largely been sort of freemium, but basically the way that it worked was you could create a free account, but then to use your scheduling link, you had to start a trial. So it's basically like you can create the account, you can come in, you can fill with your settings, you can set everything up, and then when you're ready to go, then you can start the trial.

    So we thought, okay, let's try to go ac actually true freemium, and let's make everything kind of unlocked. As soon as you create the account, you don't have to start a trial. [00:14:00] The trial's already started for you. For whatever reason, this absolutely tanked the conversion rate from sign up to paid. I don't know why it didn't, it didn't seem like there was any logical reason because it's, it really is like objectively a better user experience, not having to click more buttons, take, make more decisions, and, um, You know, everything's like more available earlier for the customer, but for whatever reason, there was a second order consequence of the signup rate going down from signup to paid.

    And it was actually, it's funny because it's, um, like the first order of thinking in the first order, uh, measurement that we had was that there were a lot more people, um, basically starting the trial, right? Instead of like 20 or 30 trials a month, we were going to like 90 to a hundred trials a month, for example.

    but the actual net number of new customers from those trials dropped . And [00:15:00] so, or the, again, the rate just went, you know, drastically down. So instead of, for example, you know, we had 20 trials and we're converting 10 of those, we went to a hundred trials, we're converting five of those. So of course we're, we're gonna have to revert that.

    We have to go back, you know, in and do that. Same with doubling our prices, right? People are always talking about charge more, charge more. What about the second order consequences of. Now you have less customers, which makes you a little bit more fragile to churn, um, but also maybe introduces another competitor to be the more cost friendly option.

    And maybe you're, um, you know, you're just being priced out enough for your customers to where you're not the default anymore, or people have to think about it just a little bit more. Um, low prices is actually kind of a moat because, um, you're giving up margin to some degree. , it's always gonna be the, the easiest, um, option people to, to get started with.[00:16:00]

    As people always, you know, oh, I'm gonna charge more. You have companies like Intercom who are just like going way up market and they're just pricing out all their small startups and small customers, and it's like, okay, but you have to really think about what are the consequences of that? Well, you're not gonna be as much of a household brand name, you're not gonna get as much recommendations.

    You're not gonna get as much word of mouth, you're not gonna get as much, um, recognition. for, uh, you know, other people using or seeing intercom as an example on another site. Cause they have a very kind of viral loop with their little intercom widget and websites. You're just not gonna see that on its many websites.

    So, wow. Like, yeah, there's gonna be a lot of consequences. You can run that through, um, a bunch of different scenarios going from, you know, having your prizes. There's a lot of second order consequences. Even with swipe hole now we're like just on the cusp of hopefully having a really good second order consequence, which is that, um, now you can share collections, which basically means you can share a version or a little curated swipe [00:17:00] file of yours with other people publicly.

    So this is our first viral loop for the product, which is amazing cuz that allows us to stick it in front of a lot more people and we can be embedded on a website. Some people can share links. With their clients or, uh, they can just kind of curate a list if you're, you know, someone was asking me the other day like, oh, what are the best examples of SaaS onboarding?

    And that just like went through and curated a couple examples and made it like, oh, kps. swipe file, uh, or SaaS onboarding, swipe file, and then send it to him directly. Right. Um, but hopefully that brings us a lot more top of funnel users and brand awareness and things like that because we've thought through, and not only will it bring us that, it'll also bring us, um, more back links, which actually might have a second order, a third order, order consequence of helping us with SEO in ranking, hiring Google, and getting more traffic.

    So now we're thinking through like third and fourth order consequences of like, what is. What is the change of the change that this unlocks? You know what I mean? Um, really, really getting downstream. But anyways, those are just a few examples. [00:18:00]

    [00:18:00] Ramli John: Before we continue, I wanna thank the sponsor for this episode 42 agency.

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    Well, that's often Now let's jump back into this episode. I wanna ask around, uh, practical ways that people can apply. Marketers can [00:19:00] apply the second order, thinking around what questions they should be asking themselves or their team, and what kind of exercises they should be doing to make sure that they're thinking about, you know, they're changing the pricing or they're changing, you know, uh, applying some kind of viral, uh, campaign.

    some kind of new channel that they wanna pursue, like TikTok or mm-hmm. , some other thing for their campaign. They've really thought through the trade off. What are those some, what are those practical, uh, advice and, and, uh, things that they can do to make sure that they're thinking through second or third or even fourth order, uh,

    [00:19:32] Corey Haines: consequences.

    Couple practical things keep in mind. Um, I think the first one is always ask yourself and then what? Okay, so we wanna do. . And then what, what does that change? What does this affect, what does this touch? Um, how, how do we expect things, uh, to go after making this change? Especially in marketing. There's a lot of experimentation.

    There's a lot of changes always happening. There's a lot of new things you're always shipping, so always ask yourself. And then what, um, another question to [00:20:00] ask related to this is, uh, what does this affect? What is this touch? How else can, um, how else might we, how else. Might we measure the effect of this, of this thing that we're changing?

    Um, because again, we're looking at things like, okay, we're changing the signup process. Well, it's not just gonna change the signups, it's also gonna change churn. It's also gonna change retention. It's also gonna change our journey for customers. It's also gonna change virality, word of mouth. It's also gonna change the amount of customers that we have, right?

    It's gonna change everything . So you just wanna be aware of those things. In fact, you can even. Diagram it in like a flow chart using like a whimsical or a mirror or whatever it is, like just if we're making this thing, where in the ecosystem is this happening and what else is downstream from this thing?

    You just have that diagram kind of map out like, well, here's the things we have to really keep a close eye on. Um, another good practice is to ask yourself what it would look like in the future or how it could change things in the future. So, [00:21:00] 10 minutes from now, 10 days from now, 10 years down the line, what, what can you expect to see from this change or from this experiment?

    Um, also ask yourself what it'll look like repeated. So can you do this a second, third, fourth, a hundred time? So this is one thing with like running discounts or promotions. Or things like Black Friday or just, you know, get, getting people to practice because again, another, like second order thinking. Well, if you keep repeating, giving your customers a lot of discounts and offering a lot of coupon codes, then you train them to expect that.

    And then you only get sales and signups when you offer those things. And then you have to give it away because, or you have to get rid of it because it's, uh, too costly for your business. You're gonna go too much margin and now all of a sudden the pool is dry. You don't have any customers interested in buying your stuff, right?

    Um, so think about like, how repeatable is this thing? What happens if I keep doing this, if I keep making these changes? Even there are things like if I change the headline on my website every week. , [00:22:00] will someone really know what we do? , you know what I mean? Like, are we, if I keep doing this, are we just gonna confuse people, um, on what we are and who we are?

    And you know, I kind of found this with like some of the, you know, you have like, I don't wanna racket 'em. Cause I love, I love the company, I love the, the founders, but drift. and like it felt like every quarter they were inventing like a new category and they were calling themselves something different.

    And I was just like, dude, I don't know what you are anymore. I don't know what to call you. To me, you're just like a live chat widget chip, and now you're like a revenue acceleration platform. Mm-hmm. , I don't know what that is. And last, last time you were a conversational marketing platform and before that you were a X, Y, and Z or Mark animation?

    I don't know. Um, so like, ask yourself, what are the consequences of repeating this thing over and over again? How repeatable is it? And then if you really wanna get advanced and sophisticated, think about those kind of third order consequences. So you really try to, you know, go around the corner and then around another corner and try to think through like, [00:23:00] okay, what are the changes and things that this affects?

    And then what are the consequences of those things being changed? What else can we anticipate? So a good example again, would be like swipe well, introducing, uh, the shared collections, which makes it more viral, allows people to share those things, which also helps us build back links. , which also helps us with SEO and getting more traffic to our site, right?

    So positive or negative, trying to think through the third order consequences further down the line. Usually after like the third or fourth order or like level, however you wanna think about that. Um, it's kind of impossible. You're just making like this really. Uh, big guesses, but, um, it is a good practice to go through that kind of like third, fourth level stream and, and those downstream effects.

    I love all of

    [00:23:43] Ramli John: this examples, so practical ways that they can apply it. Uh, you know, just instead of being, having a knee-jerk reaction of like, oh, let's do this cuz they're doing it. Uh, you're really thinking through specifically for your business and for your customers. Exactly. You know, what are the consequences and the effects [00:24:00] of this.

    Thank you for, for sharing. I'm gonna actually shift gears now and talk a little bit about career power-ups. Sure. And for you, you've been in marketing for, you know, over six years now. You've head of growth at Bear Metrics. You've consulted for companies like Riverside and now you're. , you have your own SaaS swipe wall.

    What's been something that's helped you in your career, in your marketing career specifically in progressing and leveling up your, your skills or your yourself as

    [00:24:29] Corey Haines: a marketer? I think the side projects have been the most valuable thing to me personally. Um, really just get my hands dirty and learning through experience.

    Having like that really like tangible, okay, this is mine, this is what I'm doing. To me, like that's the most. , uh, like the best environment for me to learn is from really to make it real. Uh, whereas before I'd be like, oh yeah, I know seo. I know to like, create concept, but then when I'm doing it for myself, like, oh, this is hard.

    Or like, oh, I see what people mean when they talk about this. Or, [00:25:00] oh, like, you know, it kinda like clicks more. Right. Or just makes more sense. Um, so things like, you know, starting podcasts and newsletters, creating courses. Little no-code tools and projects that I've shipped before, like all those kind of experiences in some have really, really helped me.

    I wish I would've done more, sooner and earlier. Um, but I, I also like, I'm just so grateful. Like that's one of the, the big things, um, that I advise people to do if they're just getting started, if they wanna level up, is just do more stuff for yourself. Um, starting the e-commerce store. Uh, you know, launch a, a podcast, um, create a little app with someone, learn how to code or design, or, you know, do a , like literally anything that just helps you get your hands dirty and be hands on for the fun of it and not have like a outcome expected to it.

    Um, That's been like the, the real career accelerator for me. Um, being able to speak from experience rather than just from kind of theory or, or secondhand [00:26:00] knowledge. It's

    [00:26:00] Ramli John: cool that you, you've, you're, you're living this, this career power up. You're, you know, you have swipe files, this community, you have, uh, you know, swipe wall now and you've tied out many different things.

    So that's cool that you are living and breathing this and applying it. And it's great way to learn new skills too, right? Like when you're, oh, Hired to, uh, to do, uh, podcasts or I'm guessing that's why, uh, you were able to consult for Riverside cuz you had a, you have a show or you, you

    [00:26:28] Corey Haines: know, you, you're familiar with.

    Yeah, exactly. Yeah, there's a lot more, um, like you get a lot more luck that way too. Just doing stuff and always telling people about it. There's this idea of the, the luck surface area. It's kind of just the, the combination of doing and telling. So if you're doing a lot of stuff, you're not telling anyone about it, then it's all in a vacuum.

    No one knows about it. You can't really capitalize on those opportunities. But if you're just like making much a noise about nothing, uh, you're not really doing anything, you're not living an interesting life, you're not building cool stuff, then no one really feels the need to listen to you or [00:27:00] you know, it's kinda just a lot of noise, not a lot of signal.

    But if you can do a lot of really cool. and you tell a lot of people about that cool stuff. Building public is kind of the biggest, um, manifestation of this, I think. Then we become this magnet for, uh, opportunities and people associating you with different ideas. Um, throwing your name in the, in the ring for you.

    Um, going to bat for you and vouching for you, and just getting bought into the ideas that you're working on. And, uh, so again, another one of those like side project second order benefits is that, um, Uh, people notice that and they see that. And if you do a good job of marketing those projects, then um, you know, later on you can sell one of those projects or you can partner with someone else or might pivot into something else you didn't even think of in the, in the first place.

    But because you did the work of going through that side project, now you have this experience to go and, um, you know, pivot to something else, or even translate that experience into a job, uh, into a another fun side [00:28:00] project, into a consulting gig. Like the opportunity is endless. . That's totally true.

    [00:28:03] Ramli John: I I love how you put it.

    It can turn into an added source of income. It could be your main hustle. It you mentioned about like, it could give you a, a leg up when you're applying to a job where like, oh, it's cool. You have a Describe Falls community. We're looking to build a community. Mm-hmm. , it looks like you have experience on it.

    So I wanna talk a little bit about, uh, how you would give advice to your younger self. Like if you had to, if you can travel back in time, uh, and you can give your younger. , Corey, the younger, the younger version of Corey, uh, um, a message through time, what would be an advice you would give your younger self?

    Uh, and it could be one or two or, or any kind of pieces of advice around career, around marketing, around

    [00:28:44] Corey Haines: even life in general beyond just like start more side projects. I would say do more things even outside of marketing. , do more design stuff, do more programming stuff, um, do more like, get more experience and just kind of like try to get your hands dirty with [00:29:00] customer success and upselling and even sales in particular.

    Uh, just like, kinda like broaden your experiences within the business so that you at least can empathize with people in those things. But also I think you can take a lot of those. Experiences and a lot of those skills into marketing, and then you're a better marketer. A marketer who can design absolute killer.

    You're case study number one, a marketer who can program amazing founder indie hacker, a marketer who can, you know, do sales. Now you can, you know, you have both sides of the, or both skills, right? You're two swords in your hand. Anyways, I wish I would've done more of that instead of just being like, so focused on marketing and thinking, well, I just need to be like a, a specialist.

    You know, I've learned now that I'm very much a generalist, but I wish I would've leaned into that earlier and more. And what would you, what

    [00:29:49] Ramli John: would you have doubled down on? What would you tell your, your younger Corey to, like Corey Double down or coding or Corey doubled out on, uh,

    [00:29:57] Corey Haines: on. I think I would've done, um, more [00:30:00] design.

    I'm not like a great designer, but, uh, I don't think I could ever see, see myself doing a lot of programming. I'd love to be able to just do like an mvp, just kinda like build a hack stuff on the weekends and build stuff that I wanna see exist. Um, but like very functionally and practically, I think design just touches so many different parts of the world where it's like, You know, it'd be easier for me to be able to stitch together social media graphics, um, or like illustrate what I'm thinking for different EY elements in swipe well, um, or like be able to touch the CSS on my site or in my, you know, the html CSS on my emails.

    So like configure the, the design of the content. That stuff is very like practical and useful and, um, it's fun just being able to like, turn ideas into something visual that you can show other. .

    [00:30:47] Ramli John: This just reminds me of, uh, I don't know who brought it up on Twitter or somewhere else, around this idea of personal mote where you, when you combine like several things that, you know, you could end up having something

    [00:30:57] Corey Haines: like that.

    Mm-hmm. . Yeah, that's, that's exactly it. Sort [00:31:00] of like what's the, the intersection and the application of two or three unique, uh, skills. It becomes like its own kind of new thing. Now that personal mode is you're not just the marketing guy. You're the marketing and design guy, for example. You know, you're not just the the programming guy.

    You're the programming guy who can do sales Well, okay, that's superpower.

    [00:31:23] Ramli John: I love geeking out about marketing mental models and frameworks. That's what Marketing Powers is all about. You can find out more about Corey Hayes and his work by joining the marketing newsletter. Swipe files on swipe and following him on LinkedIn.

    You can find those links in the show notes and description. Thanks to Corey for being on the show. If you enjoy this episode, you'd love the marketing Power UPS newsletter that I sent out Each week, share the actionable takeaways and break down the frameworks of world-class marketers from each episode.

    You can go to marketing power to subscribe, and you'll instantly unlock the five best marketing frameworks the top [00:32:00] marketers use to hit their KPIs consistently. And wow, they're colleagues. If you wanna say thank you, please like and follow marketing power UPS on YouTube, apple Podcast, and Spotify.

    If you're feeling extra generous, kindly leave a review on Apple Podcast and Spotify and leave a comment on YouTube. It goes a long way for others. Finding out about marketing products. Thank you to Mary Sullivan for FA, the Artwork and Design Thanks to 42 agency for sponsoring this episode. And of course, thank you for listening and tuning in.

    Well, that's all. For now. This is your host family, John. Until the next episode, have a powered update. Bye.

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