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The SECRET MARKETING FORMULA That Elects Presidents And Builds Businesses | Phillip Stutts | The 2%

Eric Partaker

Are you struggling to reach your full potential? Are you struggling to crack the secret world of marketing? Join Phillip Stutts (Political Marketer, and Author of ‘The Undefeated Marketing System’ and ‘Fire Them Now!’) and Eric Partaker as they discuss some useful tips to change your life forever and help you achieve your full potential!


Customers first, Brand second! – Dive deep into customer data. Find out exactly what they want, what appeals to them, what digital tools they use. Only once you know your customers inside out can you begin to brand your company. Find alignment between your vision and what the customer wants.

Break Through The Noise – According to Forbes we are now seeing up to 10,000 ads a day. You are no longer competing against other companies similar to you, you are now competing against everybody. Break through the clutter by resonating and connecting with your customers.

Is Your Website Optimized?? – Optimize your website. Statistics show that 88% of all consumers will never come back if they have one bad experience on your website.

Enjoy Your Work – Enjoy what you do, it’s a process of climbing a ladder forever. Too often we are focused on our goals and forget to enjoy the process. Get up every day and enjoy the effort, enjoy the struggle, and understand that goals worth reaching take time and effort.

Actions > Distractions – Distractions impede your ability to achieve your goals. Optimize your environment, shut off all notifications, and prioritize your work!

Identify The Kryptonite In Your Life – What is getting you down and causing you stress? Embrace your emotions instead of ignoring them, deal with them so that you can move forward and avoid distraction.


Phillip Stutts: 2018, in response to Trump winning the election, Facebook started banning ads in politics, and everybody loved it. Yes, thank God. Those ads are gone. Not about Trump, just no one wants to see those political ads. That’s great. And I just said at the time, “If they’re coming for us now, they’ll come for you later.” So this is what censorship is all about. The successful companies that market today understand that they’re a data company first, and then they offer a product and service second, because if you own the data, you can’t be canceled. What I’m preaching to people is whether it’s my story or whether it’s your business and you’re building it all on Facebook, or Amazon, or Pinterest or wherever you are, if you’re renting your customers from these platforms, eventually they’re going to take them away.

Eric Partaker: Hi, everybody. Welcome to another episode of The 2%, whereas always we’re interviewing peak performers in all walks of life. Why? To help decode excellence, help give you tips, tools, strategies that you can use for your benefit, for the benefit of those around you, in both your work and life. And I’m super honored to have on the show today, Phillip Stutts. Welcome Phillip.

Phillip Stutts: Honored to be here, man. Love what you’re putting out in the world. Love that I’m in Florida and you’re in Portugal, and we are doing this. So, I’m ready to roll.

Eric Partaker: Awesome. Now you have a pretty storied background, which of course we’re going to be getting into on the show. But just to give some people some highlights, you’ve become an absolute expert at helping politicians win political campaigns. You’ve participated in over 1400 elections, I think, and you’ve helped-

Phillip Stutts: Wins.

Eric Partaker: Yeah, 1400 wins, right? And helped three presidents get into office, win their elections. I mean, that’s a nice place to start obviously. So, which three presidents, enlighten us?

Phillip Stutts: Both, so let’s just start out. Nothing is all success. So, I’ve worked on eight presidential campaigns. Three of them won, five of them lost. So my track record, I mean, you got to think just in the last in 2020, the democratic primary had something like 25 candidates. So if you choose one you got a one out of 25 chance. So, my first campaign, I’ll give you a little example. I was on Bob Dole’s campaign in 1996 and that didn’t win. Clinton won that. And then eventually I’ve worked on others. But the winning ones have been George W. Bush twice in 2000, 2004. In 2004 I ran his get out to vote operation.

And then what you’ll learn about me in this interview is that I’m actually not partisan at all. So when I tell you these names, I don’t care if you’re turned off or not. I really don’t care, but I’m not doing it because I’m some rabid crazy partisan. I believe in candidates and I believe in issues. But, I can also separate. And so the other one was Donald Trump in 2016. We were helping a super PAC, and a super PAC is a political action committee that supports the candidate to win. And we were brought in to help him win North Carolina and Florida, and a couple other states. And we were part of that as well.

Eric Partaker: Amazing. Now, there’s an interesting story, of course, that you have to share that has been widely publicized with the whole Facebook banning of the book.

Phillip Stutts: Yeah, oh yeah. Yeah.

Eric Partaker: Come on, fill us in. What happened there?

Phillip Stutts: This is … So, yeah if you want to know where I’m actually probably very biased, it’s in cancel culture. I just, I cannot stand it and experienced this. So, in December of 2020, my book we were finalizing book covers and things like that and my publisher said, “Hey, here are eight different book covers. Which one do you like?” So I did whatever any good entrepreneur did, I AB tested this with my friends. I sent the eight book covers to about 50 friends and I said, “Please vote.” And the top three each got 12 votes each, the top three book covers. So, I was like, “Oh, cool. Okay. Well, I got three, but I don’t have one that stands out.” So, I went to my marketing team at my firm, at my corporate marketing agency and I said, “Let’ do the ultimate ABC test. Let’s test all three of the top vote getters on the book cover on Facebook. And then let’s just see what gets the most click-throughs.” And we were going to put an ad campaign behind it and all that stuff.

Eric Partaker: Yeah.

Phillip Stutts: We submit the ad and all of a sudden Facebook comes out and says, “We’ve not only denied your book, ad campaign, we are officially banning any attempt to do it, the cover of your book.” And I went, “Hold on, why?” And my ad operations team came back and said, “Well, the subtitle, the book title is The Undefeated Marketing System, How to Grow Your Business and Build Your Audience Using the Secret Formula That Elects Presidents. And the fact that I said, elects presidents in the subtitle, made Facebook say that I was trying to influence an election, an election that had already happened. It was over with. And therefore they said that they were banning the book cover.

Eric Partaker: Oh, man.

Phillip Stutts: And so I went to my team and said, “Okay, this is the algorithm caught the word elects. So, let’s just go appeal to human being and get this set, because obviously it’s a business book. It literally is not … It talks about how we run marketing campaigns and politics, but it’s an absolute 100% business book. My team does, they submit the appeal and eight hours later Facebook comes back and says, “Nope, you’re denied and you cannot appeal again and the book is banned.” And that was it. Eric, I just realized that I have a platform. Most people don’t, can’t scream from a platform and make noise and I knew I could. So I just decided, “You know what, I’m going to make some noise here. I’m going to, as Seth Godin would say, I’m going to make a ruckus.”

And so I wrote a blog about it. And Fox News, it got picked up by Fox News and Fox News contacted me and said, “We want to run a story on this.” They did run a story on it. The next thing I know, a national publication reached out to me and said, “Hey, would you write an op-ed on this, an opinion piece on it for a national publication?” I said, “Yes.” And in that time that the Fox News story ran and I wrote this article, I started having all these people come out of the woodwork and say the same things had happened to them, even though they don’t work in politics. They just have businesses. And one of them was a guy named Justin Donald. So, Justin wrote a business book. It hit number one on the Wall Street Journal Bestsellers list in January.

And it almost didn’t happen because when he submitted his book to Amazon, the whole book was about how people invested during the coronavirus pandemic and made money. And that’s what he wanted the story, he wanted to tell in the book. “Hey, this is how people made money during the pandemic. And because he used the word coronavirus, COVID-19 and COVID, Amazon said they would not upload his book onto their platform unless he removed those words from his book, even though it had nothing to do with the medical condition at all. And I went, “Holy cow, I got to tell this story.” And then this is even crazier. So then we had a charity reach out to me and the charity was, they help rescue sexually and physically abused kids from these homes that are where the stuff is occurring. And they decided, they had the most cases they’d ever had in 2020 because of lock downs. But they raised the least amount of money because of the lock downs and the economic uncertainty.

So, they came and said they wanted, to Facebook, and they said they wanted to run a fundraising campaign in October of 2020. Facebook denied them because they said that they were an issue, it was an issue ad, which fell under some ban of theirs, the election law ban. And therefore they weren’t able to raise money, a charity that is trying to rescue sexually and physically abused kids. And under the lock downs, we’ve never had so much of it has ever occurred, and they couldn’t do it. And so, yeah, I wrote this article and I told these stories and my story.

Look, my story is not that big of a deal. I got my book cover banned. Oh, big deal. But the fact is, is that look, I tell this to everybody I know. In 2018, in response to Trump winning the election, Facebook started banning ads and politics, and everybody loved it. Yes, thank God those ads are gone, not about Trump, just no one wants to see those political ads. That’s great. And I just said at the time, “If they’re coming for us now, they’ll come for you later.” So this is what censorship is all about. They’re never going to stop. It’s a never ending censorship.

Eric Partaker: Well, I mean, and in hindsight though, I look at it and I go, “Wow, what a stroke of good fortune actually for the marketing of the book, because you get to talk about how the Facebook banned, they did the ban.

Phillip Stutts: Yeah, I mean as a marketer, I totally get that and I totally took advantage of it, don’t get me wrong. But it is also a massive amount of BS and a little bit scary. And I mean I have so many people in your space Eric, and you may know people that have experienced this. But they do online summits. They do in-person summits. They do teaching programs and Facebook has banned their ads. I know one in particular, who’s a friend of mine. She was about to do a $12 million online event and in the two weeks running up to the event where they were spending hundreds of thousands of dollars every week on Facebook, Facebook banned their ads and gave them no reason whatsoever. And the fact is, is that they’re coming for everybody. And they got my book cover, again, not the end of the world. But when they come for charities, when they come for people that are writing about financial investment and when they’re coming for teaching platforms, they’re coming for everybody.

And the reason I say that is because one of the things I really emphasize in the book is how important it is that the successful companies that market today understand that they’re a data company first, and then they offer a product and service second. Because if you own the data, you can’t be canceled, and you’ve got to position your company. Can I give you one great example of this?

Eric Partaker: Yeah, please.

Phillip Stutts: About three weeks ago, a business owner reached out to me and said, “Hey, I need help.” It got through our funnel and I did a phone call with him. This guy is running an eight figure business selling baby toys, but high end baby toys, all this stuff. He built it on Amazon, and he’s doing eight figures a year, like $20 million. Okay? And so he reached out and said, “I’m in big trouble.” And I said, “Well, what happened?” And he said, “Well, I built this thing in two years. I sold it to a private equity firm, but they have an earn-out.” So for everybody, that’s how it works, right? He has to earn out, he has to make more money in the company and he gets to earn all the sale out.

Eric Partaker: Exactly.

Phillip Stutts: And he said, “Some low cost competitor trolls,” so people that were making cheap baby products, realized that he was dominating the space in this particular niche on Amazon. They all got together and started going onto Amazon and leaving him one star reviews. And then if you’ve ever dealt with one star reviews, you know you get a box when you leave a review. Is it helpful or do you report? It’s a report or helpful. So all of these cheap baby toy competitors started up voting helpful. So, the first review that anybody saw on this guy’s products were hundreds of one star reviews. And they were all at the top of the page and he obviously pressed report. And all he got was basically a generated response that said nothing we can do.

He talked to somebody, they were in India. And they said, “Nothing we can do.” And then he all of a sudden went from literally making seven figures a month, to making $80,000 a month. And he didn’t own the data for his own company. And so obviously that was how do we market my business now to own the data? But what I’m preaching to people is whether it’s my story, or whether it’s your business and you’re building it all on Facebook, or Amazon, or Pinterest or wherever you are, if you’re renting your customers from these platforms, eventually they’re going to take them away. It’s 100%. And so what I teach in the book, more than anything else, is how do you win the game of marketing? And I’m a big believer that the game of marketing right now is rigged for 99.9% of businesses. And then I walk all through it. We can go from there, but that’s how I look at it.

Eric Partaker: Awesome. Awesome. And of course the book, once again, that we’re talking about is one that you just wrote, The Undefeated Marketing System, which is doing really well, I can see.

Phillip Stutts: Yeah. Thank you.

Eric Partaker: And I think it’s just genius that you’re applying all of these insights from politics and from the campaigns that you’ve participated in, into the business world. And you’ve been described as a result, as a marketing maverick. And so if we just go to that word, maverick. So what is it about you that’s so unorthodox? What’s so different within this book?

Phillip Stutts: Well, I wrote a book three and a half years ago called Fire Them Now, which trying to shed the light on the corporate marketing industry and all the unethical work that marketing agencies were doing. So, that was my entry into the market.

Eric Partaker: Right, right.

Phillip Stutts: So, that may have made me the maverick, right?

Eric Partaker: Got it.

Phillip Stutts: And then for this, it was like, “Okay, you know how the game is rigged. This is how you can win the game.” The marketing game is a 1,000% rigged against a 99.9% of businesses. Why? Because the marketing game-

Eric Partaker: And what do you mean? Who’s doing the rigging?

Phillip Stutts: Yeah, so the way I’d tell you is like this, like a casino, the house today always wins, right?

Eric Partaker: Right.

Phillip Stutts: You, as a business owner, you may get a hot hand. Sometimes I walk into a casino and I tell my buddies, “I’m walking out in that limo out there.” And then check back about three hours later and I’ve hit the ATM six times and I’m out all my money. This is exactly what a business owner goes through in their marketing. They may get a hot streak, no doubt. But ultimately they’re going to lose every time. And the people that win the game of marketing are two different people, marketing agencies, because they get paid whether you succeed or not as a business owner. And the second one is the big tech companies. Again, let me go back to what I just talked to you. Facebook is a data company that does social media. Uber is a data company that does ride sharing and food delivery. Coca-Cola is not a soft drink company. They’re a data company that also does soft drinks and water, and everything else. God bless you. There you are.

And my point is, this, is that what every one of these companies knows, all these billion dollar, trillion dollar companies know, is that they’re a data company first. And what the guy selling the toys on Amazon or what the average business owner, even the $100 million company doesn’t know is that the game the Googles, the Facebooks, the Instagrams, everybody, they change the rules so often that you don’t know when the game has changed. And then all of a sudden you start losing your hand at the casino again.

Let me give you an example. We have a client right now at my corporate marketing agency. They are a criminal background check company. And so they work with the McDonald’s and Burger Kings of the world, because they have so much labor that comes in and out, and they have to do criminal background checks. When they hired us about a month ago, they asked us to audit all their systems. Okay. Three years ago, they started running Google keyword ads and SEO campaigns. They were spending $15,000 a month on this. When we went in and looked, we realized that Google had changed some rules about two years ago, and they had never … this company never knew the rules had changed. And so what they’ve been doing for two years has been bidding against themselves on their own keywords, and raising the price every single month and spending $10,000 a month unnecessarily and they had no idea. And they did it for 24 months.

And this happens almost with every company that I come in contact with. Something worked and then it stopped working, and they don’t know why. But then they double down on it again, and then they lose even more. And then a marketing agency is like, “Yeah, you got to go do this,” because marketing agencies aren’t starting the whole process of the marketing game with real customer, or consumer, or client data. They are just guessing and brainstorming on what they think are great ideas. And I walked through how, in the book, the systematic approach. Look, the companies that successfully market today aren’t by accident. They use a systematic approach. They don’t treat marketing as a hobby, but as a professional systematic application.

Eric Partaker: Give us an example of one company that you love that does this well?

Phillip Stutts: That follows this? Oh man, I can give you 1,000. So let me give you the one that I talk about a lot, that I think is an incredible story. So we work with a national pest control company. This is crazy. I love pest control companies. You know why? Because I think there’s two types of business owners, there’s interested and there’s committed. Everybody’s interested, everybody’s interested. But the committed will follow through, they’ll innovate. They’ll do whatever. Pest control companies are either marketing every month or they’re out of business. It’s like car dealerships. They have no option. Either they’re marketing or they’re down, or they’re done. They’re out of business, kind of like political marketing. Either we win a race or we’re not going to be around for very long, right?

So we worked with a national pest control company and off the backs of the great recession in 2008 and 2009, they started marketing on a guess and it was to market everything to discounts. It worked for about seven years. And I mean, they had explosive sales. They grew their company, I think it was a three or four X, national pest control company. So they exploded. And all of a sudden over a two year period leading into about 2017, 2018, they started losing money every single month and they couldn’t figure out why. And so they came to us and they said, “We have spent $1.8 million on our marketing and we’ve lost $2 million in market share. And we don’t know why. We have no idea. Everything that worked in the past is not working anymore.”

Well, I built my entire business model off data first, the data first approach. So I have a partnership with the largest data collection analytics and AI company in America, and I’m able to take their customer list and overlay it online and then grab those IP addresses and then track those IP addresses, and track what they do, not necessarily what they say. I can track, We have in our database 200 million American consumers, 550 million plus connected devices. We’re tracking on a daily basis, 10 billion purchasing decisions, and one trillion searches every day. And so we took their customer base, overlaid it online and found out that their customer base was older, 55 and older. That kids were mostly out of the house at that point, that they had discretionary income. And when you were marketing to discounts, they saw that as cheap and unsafe. They were going to let somebody in their home that was dangling 50% off the first sale. Why would you let somebody in your home and do that if you had money? Would you do it? No.

Eric Partaker: Nope.

Phillip Stutts: Nope.

Eric Partaker: Yep.

Phillip Stutts: And what we also found was the customer base, because kids were out of the household, they were donating more to charities because they had a discretionary income. They wanted safe green products. This company had one, they were not marketing to it. This company was donating to local charities all over the country. They weren’t touting it. And they wanted, they loved a good family story. This is a pest control company that started as a family business. It was 41 years old. Okay. And we went, “God, here’s what your customer wants.” And the reason I tell you that Eric, is because in politics, I love the politician, but I’m obsessed with the voter. It all starts with the voter. I want to know what moves the voter, what drives the voter crazy? What makes them excited to want to vote for an unknown or even an unsavory candidate? I’m obsessed with that. So for me, that’s the first thing I always look at.

So when we looked at this data, we went back to them and we said, “You got to change everything. You got to remove discounts from everything. And they’re like, “But discounts.”

Eric Partaker: They’re like that’s the business.

Phillip Stutts: “But we did discounts. It built the company.” I go, “Yeah, but you’re here right now and it’s not. You lost two million in market share. Like, when do you want to fix this?”

Eric Partaker: It’s not working.

Phillip Stutts: Right. So they said, “Okay, okay, let’s do it.” So we went through the five step process with them. We can walk through what that is, but for brevity sake, we rebranded them. You don’t brand any company first. You brand them after you find out what your customer wants, and then that’s the brand of the company. So why would you spend money on ads to send them to a website that doesn’t resonate with the customer or the client? Why would you ever do that?

Eric Partaker: So is that step one, getting the brand right? Customer driven brand?

Phillip Stutts: No, no. It’s step three. Step one is a deep dive into your customer data. And I talk about it in the book, how you do it, how I do it, but then how you could do it. Step two for us is now that you know what your customers want, you have to find alignment between your vision and the customer. So you must build out a strategic marketing plan, just like you build out a business plan when you start a business. Why are we running around yelling Facebook ads and all tactics, instead of having a strategy around what you want to do?

And the reason that’s important is because let me tell you the biggest flaw in entrepreneurship and I’m guilty of this. I’m sure you’re guilty of this. We love to tell everybody how great our product or service is. But what if you knew that your client or customer really only cared about 20% of your damn story? Wouldn’t that be good to know? And then how would you tailor your approach from that point forward? Would it be talking about the 80% they don’t care about, or would it be talking about the 20% that fires them up and motivates them?

Eric Partaker: Easy answer.

Phillip Stutts: That’s what I’m so obsessed with. So for us, we build the strategic plan, step two. Now that you know what your customers want in the data, now that you align that with your vision, as the owner, you go work on the brand and you build the brand out. You don’t build the brand first because what are you going to do? What are you building it on? You need to know what your customers want. It just drives me nuts. So many marketing agencies get this so wrong. All they want to do is sit around and say, “We brainstormed. Oh, we have some great ideas. We want to start with your brand.” Well, that costs the company, the business money to go brand. And then it’s branding on a guess. So we don’t do that first, we do it third.

The fourth is you start testing all the messages that you find in the data. Not the messages you brainstorm. Everybody AB tests, but I only test what’s in the data. Because what happens is ultimately let’s say we find two or three ideas, like we talked about in that pest control company. Let’s say if I had two or three, like family story, green products, oh, this was the key. They didn’t want discounts in this pest control company, but we found in the data that they bundled a lot of different services. So they saw discounts as cheap, but they saw bundling as smart. So we said, “Start saying you can bundle your termite and pest control services.” And they went, “Oh yeah.” And so, bEut we had to test all these different ads and different messages.

Eric Partaker: Also, and especially when you get customers to actually respond in a free text field, or with their own words. If you could just capture the way they talk, the way they describe something, so that you’re not using too much jargon or making it sound too complicated. So you’re talking in the way that people actually talk to each other and have that be reflected in your company and in your ads and all that.

Phillip Stutts: Yeah, I mean you get it man. That’s exactly what it is. So for us, step four is to test the ideas we already know are going to work to figure out what works best. Let me give you an example in politics and I’ll swing back to what happened in the past control company. But in politics in 2016, Donald Trump his campaign would run one ad 162 ways. They knew the ad from the data would already work, the message. They knew it worked. But what they didn’t know is what part of it would work best. So they would run 162 versions of one message. It’d be a man in the background, a woman in the ad, ah African-American in the ad, a Hispanic in the ad, a white guy in the ad, a family in the ad. It had different font size. It had different backgrounds, different colors, the font. So it’d be in the right corner, the left corner. They would do whatever. They would test it. And then ultimately they would find eight or nine that blew through the roof.

And then they said, step five is, “Now that we know what’s going to work, let’s go spend some money.” So I don’t spend people’s money until we know it’s going to work and I can give them certainty in their marketing campaign. For this pest control company, it’s not, and I tell people this. This is not an easy process. I don’t have a get rich quick pill. I have the get rich the right way pill. The five-step system is a get rich the right way pill. It’s just not a get rich quick pill. That doesn’t exist. It’s a big lie in the marketing industry. You’re not going to go from zero to 10 million, or 20 million, or 50 million when you run $5,000 worth of ads. And I can’t tell you how many-

Eric Partaker: What? That’s not possible?

Phillip Stutts: Yeah. Do you know how many business come to me and say this, “Look, but we were told.” So my point is this. In the fifth, no, I’m sorry. The sixth month this pest control company worked with us, they had the greatest month in the history of their company and that’s because we rebranded them. It was about green products, family story, how they gave to charities in the communities we were advertising on. We were serving the customer first, not what the business thought would work. And I tell you this because we work with a law firm out of New York, that’s been around for 27 years and they are in their 18th month with us. And they just had the best month in the history of their law firm and signed one of the biggest contracts with a partner national law firm that they never would have gotten without following this formula.

And we work with a national furniture chain that’s 105 years old, and they in April of 2021 had the best month in the history of their company. And we continue to see those. I don’t see it in month one, but I see it continually as we optimize these campaigns over and over again. And I had to tell the story of how this continues to work for every business. Every business we’ve worked with has grown by following these five steps. And so, I had this vision as we all have visions as entrepreneurs. I couldn’t write this book until I proved it. And so I spent four years proving it, and then I wrote the book.

Eric Partaker: Awesome. So let’s go Undefeated Marketing System again. So word undefeated, it’s a big word. I see you got champs behind you and world-class, and there’s a lot of undefeatedness going on. But you also said that you worked on eight elections, won three, lost five. So, yeah, is there a disconnect there? Undefeated Marketing System, was it not used in those five elections? How does that all marry up?

Phillip Stutts: Well, no. In politics, it’s crazy. See, and another reason why if you utilize this in business, you have an unfair advantage.

Eric Partaker: Right.

Phillip Stutts: Because whether you’re in sports, or whether you’re in politics, or whether you’re a trial attorney or whatever, almost everybody ubiquitously uses this without understanding that they’re following the five steps. And it’s like an unconscious following of the five steps. Sports teams use it to win championships. Every political campaign does it to win races. So when I do it in politics, when we utilize it in politics, my competitor is also using the five step system.

Eric Partaker: Right, okay. Okay.

Phillip Stutts: So, all it does is drive massive innovation because I’ve got to out compete, out hustle, and I got to outsmart everybody that I’m running against. Because they’re doing the exact same thing I’m doing. They’re trying to beat me. And so the sports teams use it and they use it against each other, which is why if you look at two of the most competitive industries in the world right now, it’s political campaigns and championship sports or professional sports. Well, why is that? Because they’re all following this five step system. You know who doesn’t use it? Marketers and corporate America.

Eric Partaker: Right. Okay. So, given the ultra competitive nature of politics, the application of that marketing system to business can get you into an undefeated territory? Can get you to the top of your game.

Phillip Stutts: Absolutely. Well, I called it undefeated because about two years ago, I looked around and I said, “Every one of our clients has grown their bottom line, every one. No matter how much the algorithm’s changed, no matter how much people changed the rules, or their customers filter in and out,” or whatever. We were ahead of the curve every time utilizing the system and every business that we worked with was growing. And I went, “There’s people out there that could benefit from this without working with us. I have to tell this because this thing is,” sorry, can I cuss on this?

Eric Partaker: Go for it.

Phillip Stutts: I screamed at my team, “This thing is fucking undefeated.” And that’s where literally that’s where the word came. I was like, “Oh, that’s what I should call this thing.” So that was where it came from, really.

Eric Partaker: Awesome. Awesome. So how’d you get into … Tell us about how Phillip Stutts started, right? How’d you get into all this? You’re the first person I met who has worked on so many political campaigns.

Phillip Stutts: Well, I would tell you that I am one of the first generation of ADD kids. So it wasn’t even ADHD when I was growing up. I was in the 1980s, I was diagnosed with ADD, attention deficit disorder. That’s all they had called it at that point. And they put me on a lot of drugs, like Ritalin. And ultimately I was terrible, like most entrepreneurs, I was a horrific student. I was all over the place and had a lot of attention issues. And ultimately, as I got older, I realized that I could only do what I was really passionate about. I couldn’t do anything that wasn’t super exciting for me. And so, I really only cared about two things when I was in high school and college. I wasn’t in any political club, like young Democrats or young Republicans. I wasn’t in anything like that. I just loved reading about political campaigns. I loved the art of a political campaign, the artistry of it, how it came about, what happened. But I also loved college football.

And you may be able to tell from the interview, but I’m like 5’9″ 150 pounds. There’s no way college football is going to be anything I pursued. And so I just decided, you know what, I’m going to go into the world of political marketing and it feels like that’s something I could be super passionate about, and I was. I mean, you understand this because I know a little bit about your background. When you’re in an early startup, you work 24-7. I mean, there was a three-year period from 2000 to 2002 where I had 21 days off total, total in three years. It’s seven days a week. It’s 15, 20 hour days. And you’re doing it because, you do it because you’re trying to build something to impact the world, but there’s a payoff. I’m doing it because the pay off is somebody wins an election. I don’t need money. There’s no money in it. There’s no money in politics.

You can always hear, “Oh, they spent a billion dollars on this campaign.” Yeah, yeah, yeah. That’s spread out. People aren’t making billions of dollars in the political marketing industry. There’s a good life to be had there, but it’s not like starting Skype and then selling it one day. It just doesn’t work like that. So, ultimately I had just too much entrepreneurship in me. And when I turned about 38, 39, I was like, “Man, I think what we do in politics could benefit businesses.” And I started that and now that’s in year eight or nine of that transformation of going from all in on politics to all in on business marketing.

Eric Partaker: Awesome. So it hasn’t, of course, been smooth sailing the whole way. And like with all entrepreneurial journeys, I’m sure you’ve had your bumps in the road. Can you share some of those bumps, some of the mistakes, what you learned from them?

Phillip Stutts: Well, I spent 30 to 39 being a horrific solo-preneur. I made, fine about money. I mean, it wasn’t like I was making millions or anything like that But, I like to say that I didn’t know what entrepreneurship was. I didn’t know what a PNL and a balance sheet was until I was 39 years old. I’m 47 now. I’m eight years into this thing. And so I just literally, just got clients, send them an invoice, kept the money, siphoned off my taxes and lived my life. And I was also at the time, it’s a much longer story. But I was diagnosed with an incurable esophageal disease, and it brought to the forefront a lot of issues that I had with my own psychology. A lot of … when you get diagnosed with something that’s life-threatening, you sort of take ownership of your life going forward.

And what I realized was that I was riddled with narcissism, not the good kind of narcissism, that tells you how great you are. The narcissist that blames everybody for everything that goes wrong and takes all the credit for all the good things. I’m going to raise my hand, that was me. That’s what I did. And in that period of 38, 39, 40, I just went through a metamorphosis. And I think a lot of men and a lot of women too, go through this change where it’s like the first 40 years of your life, you’re going up the roller coaster and it’s all uphill and you’re fighting, you’re clawing. But there’s infinite sky ahead of you. And then you hit the top of that roller coaster and then you look down and it’s, “Oh, shit there’s the ground and I’m going really fast. And is this all that’s left in my life? And am I literally just battling it out as a solo-preneur every day, blaming everybody for everything.”

By the way, could you imagine what that’s like to be married to, or be a father to and all that stuff? So, I just came to a point where I had to make a choice. What was I going to do and how was I going to live my life? And I started a political ad agency marketing agency in 2015, applying a very different leadership style. It’s much more hard work and complicated than I’m making it out to be. There’s been a lot of ups and downs. But we’ve built that without any outside funding, without any debt. We built that to an eight figure business in three years.

Eric Partaker: Congrats.

Phillip Stutts: And then we started this corporate marketing agency and we’ve grown it, I think 15X in the last two and a half years, without any outside investment and without any debt. And part of that is I literally reinvest all of my profits back into the company, because I’m trying to get it to a certain level, right? I don’t want it to stay at mid-seven figures or low eight figures. I want it to be much bigger than that. And when you’re not taking outside money, you got one other choice. Either you can stay the same or you can just roll those dollars and start adding and building and optimizing for better performance. And that’s the path that I’ve taken.

Eric Partaker: And it sounds like you really found your spot. You really found your tipping point, that intersection of something you really love doing, something you’ve built up a lot of skill at doing and something the world clearly needs, right? Because as you’re saying, while this is super prevalent, the marketing system and approach in your book, and in sports and in politics, it’s much more like a barren wasteland and shooting from the hip when it comes to the business world. And I guess that’s probably what you mean too when you talk in the book about eliminating financial risk. Not so much that you eliminate it completely, there’s still risk that remains of course.

Phillip Stutts: Sure.

Eric Partaker: But that you’re greatly reducing it by going into it not shooting from the hip. Being customer led and data-driven and a lot more wise in the decision making and in the investments that you’re taking as a business owner.

Phillip Stutts: Yeah. I mean, I would look at it like this. We turn the guesswork, marketing guesswork into a science, right? We’re creating a science into your marketing or into the business and marketing to eliminate their longterm guessing game. Here’s why this is so important and I talk about these statistics a lot, but it’s super important. According to Forbes, we are now seeing up to 10,000 ads a day online and offline.

Eric Partaker: 10,000?

Phillip Stutts: 10,000 ads a day.

Eric Partaker: One person sees that in a day?

Phillip Stutts: One person. So I tell people that let’s say we talked to a shoe company recently. I said, “You’re not competing against other shoe companies. You’re competing against lighting companies, computer companies, haircare product companies, clothing companies. You’re competing with 10,000 businesses. Unless you break through all that clutter by resonating and connecting with your customer, you’re going to lose every time.” And this is why-

Eric Partaker: There’s so much noise.

Phillip Stutts: There’s so much noise. Here’s another one. According to Compuware, if a potential customer has one bad experience on your website, 88%, excuse me, 88% of all consumers have one bad experience on your website, they’ll never come back. And you know this is a true because you’ve seen an ad on something and you were like, “Oh, that’s interesting.” You click on it and the font goes all the way to the corners. It’s this weird video. The fonts are all different mix. You’re like, “Whoa, this is a weird website,” and you swipe out. But so many businesses don’t even get mobile right in their websites. And if it makes someone feel unsafe, they’re not going to do it.

And then the last one, well let me give you three more. According to the Bayard Institute, 69.80% … There’s a 69.80% cart abandonment rate for all e-commerce companies right now on average, 69.8.

Eric Partaker: Wow.

Phillip Stutts: Cart abandonment. That means it’s like $260 billion in lost orders every year. Because nine out of 10 businesses don’t even know how to go back and re-market to the people that abandoned the cart. Now, a lot of people do. But I talk about it in the book, how do you avoid that pitfall if you’re an e-commerce company? This is the craziest one. These two are the craziest ones. They just came out. According to Media Kicks, there are around 3,000 YouTube influencers that have over one million subscribers.

Eric Partaker: How many?

Phillip Stutts: 3,000.

Eric Partaker: 3,000 okay.

Phillip Stutts: That have over a million. While there are around five million YouTube influencers that have around 1,000 subscribers. Every one of those five million thinks they’re going to be in the 3,000.

Eric Partaker: Yeah.

Phillip Stutts: Every one of them. But the 3,000 know that they followed a systematic approach and on YouTube, it’s delivering content at a specific time constantly. But people never get that there’s a systematic approach. Those 3,000 people making millions of dollars, that they follow and they never deviate from. It’s the same thing I talk about in marketing. And this is the other one because everybody, all these businesses we talk to go, “Well, I ran Facebook ads and nothing worked.” Well, guess what? In 2016, they were three million advertisers on Facebook. In 2020 at the end of 2020, there were 10 million advertisers on Facebook. And that’s not even, that is not including the people that just pay to boost posts. I’m talking about real ad campaigns. If you add in the people that are just boosting posts and taking up space, that’s another 200 million.

Eric Partaker: Yeah. Yeah, it’s phenomenal.

Phillip Stutts: You think you’re going to win that game of marketing, knowing these statistics now, and you just going out and playing whack-a-mole with your tactics, or the things that you’ve always done. The way the marketing agency you’ve worked with has always told you to do it. It just doesn’t work that way. You’re going to lose. You’re going to lose money and this is what frustrates so many business owners. “God, I’ve lost so much. Dammit, I hate marketing.” I hear this all the time. I hate marketing. I get it.

Eric Partaker: Well because yeah, because it feels like guesswork. It feels like that story that you said earlier where you’re pumping a lot of money in, but yet the bottom line isn’t growing. We can connect back to the word in the title of the book, the Undefeated Marketing System. The word undefeated in the sense that everyone that you’ve worked with, who’s applied the system, they’re growing their bottom line and that’s ultimately what people want to be doing with the business. So, you have a lot of businesses and efforts going on at the moment. One of the focal points of this show is to also help people to just keep it all together in their heads mentally and make sure that they’re not overwhelmed with the work, especially with high achievers, because it can be easy just to focus on achievement. One thing after the next. What do you do to maintain a sense of balance and calm between your work and life?

Phillip Stutts: So, this is something I actively work on and I have failed horrifically for years on. I would just tell you in the last three months, I feel like I’ve finally made some progress.

Eric Partaker: I love how you just said you finally made some progress, rather than you just said, I cracked it, right? Because it’s not about cracking it. It’s about just getting a little bit better.

Phillip Stutts: Oh, God no. The work, I call it the work. The work never stops. It’ll never stop. You have to enjoy the work and know that it’s a process of climbing a ladder forever.

Eric Partaker: Yeah. Yeah.

Phillip Stutts: I thought I had a drinking problem. At the end of 2020, even though I really didn’t drink much during the pandemic consciously, I wondered to myself, I need to stop drinking. Am I drinking too much? And I’m not one of these people that goes out and has 20 drinks. I’m a guy that goes out and has two beers and is done. But I can drink two beers every night if you give it to me. So I was really diving into what is it that do I have a drinking problem? I thought it was that simple. And the more, and I’ve done psychedelics, I’ve done MDMA, and I’ve done LSD stacked on MDMA with a therapist and my wife in the room. I’ve done it all and I’ve made a lot of progress. But this one was really, this is to answer your question, but it was really driving me a little bit insane.

And then it dawned on me through, I mean I’m in active therapy. I’m in therapy every week. One of my therapists was like, “I don’t think you have a drinking problem.” She goes, “I think you have an addiction to distraction.” And I went, “Oh, shit.” And then I started writing out all the things that I do to distract myself every day, to not be in my own thoughts. So here’s what I do. I’d be on my phone four hours a day. I’d have a drink at night, I’d go to the gym. I hated going to the gym, but I did it to distract myself from having to think. I would listen to three or four hours of podcasts a day, just to distract myself away from my own thoughts, to be in my own head. I was so scared to just think and leave my brain alone for a minute and just let it sit and what would happen. And that is a revelation that changed my life, because I don’t really have an alcohol problem at all. I have a distraction addiction.

Eric Partaker: So how did you work on that?

Phillip Stutts: I don’t check social media. I’ll check it early in the morning and maybe right before I go to bed. I mean, literally just check to see if there’s anything interesting. But it’s literally maybe 20 minutes at the most. I put it up when I get home at night. I try not, I mean, I maybe drink one or two days a week, maybe one or two days a week. Sometimes I go a month and I don’t drink. And then the big one for me is I live next to the beach in Florida. Now, I know not everybody can do those. But I literally will leave my office at 10 in the morning and I’ll just drive out to the beach and I’ll leave every device I have in the car, and I will go walk on the beach and I’ll go sit my butt in the sand.

Eric Partaker: Perfect.

Phillip Stutts: And then I start digging my feet into the ground and just staring at the ocean and thinking and thinking, because here’s the deal. The only way to grow is to work through whatever it is you’re doing. I didn’t know. My therapist said to me last fall, in the fall of 2020, “You’ve got to feel through your feelings.” And I went, “I don’t even know what that means. I don’t even know.” I didn’t feel, like I literally was in capable of feeling nine months ago. And so now I understand that if something’s bothering me, I can’t distract myself out of it. If a client is a jerk or somebody is mad at me, or I’ve done something stupid or I misspoke, or I went on a podcast and I said something that’s going to get me in trouble or banned by Facebook, I typically would just immediately throw a podcast in and start thinking about some entrepreneurial idea and all that stuff.

And instead now, I literally drive in silence in my car and go, “Okay, what happened there?” And I think through it and I feel through it. And then instead of it getting pushed down, now it just gets pushed out and I deal with it, and I process it, and then I don’t have any stress or any reason to be distracted. I actually like my thoughts and I didn’t know that because I’ve always just distracted myself away from it, everything from feeling anything. And so for me, I guess as an entrepreneur, it’s how do I find more balance in my life?

Eric Partaker: Yeah. I love that.

Phillip Stutts: And working and feeling through whatever I’m feeling through, no matter if it’s painful or wonderful.

Eric Partaker: And I like how practical you were with the distractions, right? Because if everyone’s trying to become their superhero self, then taking some time to think about your distractions is equivalent to taking some time to identify the kryptonite in your life so that you-

Phillip Stutts: God, I got a lot of kryptonite, man.

Eric Partaker: Right? And you know to stay clear of it and not have it too close. And when the most dangerous times of day are and all of that. So that’s awesome. Love it. So Philip, where can people learn more about the Undefeated Marketing System? Where can they pick up a copy of the book?

Phillip Stutts: Well, you can buy the book anywhere. So Amazon, obviously. iTunes or iBooks anywhere you want, Barnes and Noble. I don’t know wherever. I have a free, if you’re interested in the approach and you’re like, “I don’t even know how to get started on data,” I write about it all in the book. But you can also do a free data assessment with us. My team will do a 30 minute call and walk through how we look at data, how we look at it for your own business and it’s free. And you can go to for that. It takes you literally 20 seconds.

Eric Partaker: Great.

Phillip Stutts: I have a companion podcast to the book called the Undefeated Marketing Podcast. Just had James Altucher on, had Cal Fussman on, who was one of the great storytellers of our generation and interviewed almost every major celebrity in the last 30 years. I’ve got Jay Abraham coming on. But some of the great minds in business and marketing come on and we explore some of these ideas and really dive deep into them. And so another free aspect. And then I write a blog at that you can subscribe to. It’s not a funnel. I don’t sell anything. I like to write about marketing and ideas, and I like to try to help people. And so if you can go subscribe there as well.

Eric Partaker: Awesome. Phillip, it was so cool to have you on the show today.

Phillip Stutts: Yeah, I was really honored to be here, man. I love what you’re doing and keep serving people and helping people, because you’re doing a great job.

Eric Partaker: Yeah. Thanks a lot. I’m going to be sharing the book with everyone in my network. So yeah, thanks very much.

Phillip Stutts: Oh, thank you. I appreciate that.

Eric Partaker: And I’m looking forward to the next book and the next time when we get to chat again.

Phillip Stutts: My wife said if I write a book in the next two years, she’ll divorce me.

Eric Partaker: Yeah, well maybe-

Phillip Stutts: I’m going to write another one, but it’s going to be for at least two or three more years.

Eric Partaker: Or wait for the next lifetime.

Phillip Stutts: Yeah.

Eric Partaker: All right.

Phillip Stutts: Thanks man.

Eric Partaker: We’ll see you soon. Thanks a lot.

Phillip Stutts: All right, we’ll see you.


Eric has been named "CEO of the Year" at the 2019 Business Excellence Awards, one of the "Top 30 Entrepreneurs in the UK" by Startups Magazine, and among "Britain's 27 Most Disruptive Entrepreneurs" by The Telegraph.

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