I’ve followed Philip for sometime now, and actually he was someone who’s online resources and videos on YouTube, were a catalyst for me to go into marketing.
Last week, I spoke with the awesome Philip Ilic, LinkedIn ads specialist, and Founder of Kiin, a digital marketing agency.
We talked about, paid media, organic growth and rooftop cinemas in Portugal.
Yeah. It’s a good one.
How It Started
Philip's journey in the world of digital marketing has been anything but smooth sailing. He's had to pivot his career multiple times in order to find success. Starting off as a Facebook ads specialist, he then worked as a CMO for a startup that ultimately collapsed miserably.
It was then that he had to shift again and focus on B2B sales, which proved to be quite challenging due to the specific niche within a niche market he was targeting.
He turned to LinkedIn ads and began to see some success after much trial and error. He systemized his business using one Google sheet which he continually iterates as he learns new strategies and adapts to changes in algorithms. This level of specificity allowed him to deeply focus on one thing and build a sustainable and systemized business.
He notes that while platforms like Facebook and Google may seem straightforward on the surface, it takes a deep understanding of the ins and outs of these platforms to create a strategy that yields a positive return on investment.
It also requires a shift in mindset, seeing the platform as more than just a performance-based tool but as a content distribution platform as well.
LinkedIn really isn't for rookies.
A Growing Infatuation With LinkedIn
He mentions it's important to understand who the platform is for and commit to testing and iterating to see results. For small business owners, this can be a daunting task, but it's crucial to recognize the value of a high lifetime value and allocate a decent budget to see meaningful results.
It is “just understanding who it's for…I realised actually need a high lifetime value. And you probably need some decent amount of budget to put behind it if you get the kind of like a 3-month solid test behind it to get any success.”
The problem is that many people give up too soon, leading to failure. To succeed in digital advertising, it's essential to have patience and persistence and to keep testing and refining until you find what works for your specific niche within the market. Many come into it thinking it's a lifesaver, but it can be a big hole in the side of the ship if you're not careful.
He believes that social media platforms offer more scalability for B2B sales, especially when it comes to reaching new market segments. However, he also recognizes the challenges of cracking the right audience on social media, particularly on Facebook, which is notoriously difficult.
Companies need to find the right social media platforms to advertise on.
But also individuals need to, too.
Personal Brand On LinkedIn
“I mean, literally, like kicking myself for not doing it sooner because it's been really amazing to do to build like a for leadership, personal banking on LinkedIn. But I'm really late in the game. I only started when I was six months ago…”
I mentioned how that’s how I originally found him, via YouTube. He followed by saying, “I was like, kind of ignoring. I was just going really hard on YouTube. And then I stopped and I was like, damn, this is so powerful, and how do I not do this before?
I asked him about changes to LinkedIn, and we both agreed on one key thing.
“So I'd say the only issue is that I've been noticing even since I started that…impressions are decreasing dramatically.
And everyone I speak to is saying the same thing that was sort of an algorithm update and I'm no expert on the organic side by any means.
Or there was an algorithm update in December, I believe it was, like, all everyone's impressions just reduced again.”
I asked him what he felt about this and he replied, “probably because LinkedIn is following Facebook's footsteps in terms of you're going to be able to advertise from a personal profile. So they're probably creating like, space to reduce the impressions of the organic reach. It kind of I think it's a really big mistake.”
And honestly, I agree. LinkedIn has this uniqueness as Reddit does, and as more of these incorporate advertising, which as a marketer I do like, it does hammer down the organic elements of these products.
How To Get Results, When There’s A Client At Hand
For Philip and his company, LinkedIn proved to be the best platform for B2B advertising. Although they didn't necessarily want to advertise on LinkedIn, they found it to be the only platform where they could reach the right audience effectively. It wasn't easy, but they were able to crack it and achieve success.
B2B sales with long sales cycles is still a difficult task, regardless of the advertising platform used.
Philip made clear to me, in the world of advertising, it's essential to be transparent and upfront about what you know and what you don't know.
He emphasizes that we are constantly learning and that we don't always have all the answers. With algorithms being adapted all the time, it's impossible to know what the next steps are going to be, especially in something as complex as a high ticket or B2B sales.
This is a refreshing approach in an industry that can sometimes be full of inflated egos and over-promising courses, and I felt so at peace, hearing from a marketer who wasn’t promising the world.
“I'm always like a big proponent of like, let's test it. Well, let's see what would work better because ultimately, I constantly see things, I am always wrong actually, as I can be right and sometimes you just don't you know. Really that's the point of advertising for my kind of thing…be very clear upfront with that.”
Other Business Ventures
Philip, mentioned his fair share, of failures and successes.
He mentions running a Rooftop Cinema in Portugal, which he considers one of his favourite things to run. After launching in 2017, the cinema experienced a setback due to the pandemic but is set to launch again for the second year. He enjoys the social aspect, he said, of running businesses and meeting people in the local neighbourhood.
I went into my family business, which restaurants have massive failures. And we started with a bunch of my best friends who had a falling out of wine with five new friends. Again, there's a whole story behind that. Yeah, did quite a few different things.
Despite the ups and downs, Philip remains optimistic and passionate about entrepreneurship.
He is currently launching a startup with a friend called Marketing Hero, which aims to link elite-level freelancer deals with top-level companies. Although, only an emerging business, we were both excited to speak about how that will unfold.
How I found Philip as I mentioned was via YouTube when looking for genuine help with my marketing when starting out. I liked how he touched on one of my biggest pain points, and one point in my agency, finding people to work with.
“Yeah, that's been the hardest thing and this is kind of what I'm pushing on YouTube…the journey of finding clients. Because this is the biggest pain point most people have is like, how do we get customers, even marketing agencies.”
We spoke briefly about the benefits of inbound, and how building a personal brand allows you to show people, you, are without you having to be there.
He even stated, sometimes even people reach out to him, after seeing his content, its almost a 100% close rate, because people already trust and feel like they know him.
Very valuable information in a very saturated market.
My Final Thoughts
One of the key takeaways from Philip's experiences is that entrepreneurship is not always straightforward, and success is not guaranteed.
He acknowledges that failures and setbacks are a part of the journey, and it's important to be open-minded and adaptable to changes in the industry.
Speaking with him, actually, put my mind at rest a lot. Someone who does run a successful agency provides content in that area and is humble and genuine.
Something lacking in this space right now, due to the large influx of people in it.
Thank you, Philip, for speaking with me, and being as wonderful as I knew you’d be.
If you want to learn more about Kiin, and if you're looking for LinkedIn Ad Specialists, see their LinkedIn page, click here.