Landon Taylor is the CEO and co-founder of both BestCompany.com and Snoball. He appeared on Snoball's WOMM Podcast to talk about his entrepreneurial journey, word-of-mouth marketing, and the mission, culture, and future of his companies.
Landon has been an entrepreneur since 2005, during which time he was attending Brigham Young University. And, while entrepreneurship hasn’t been the easiest path, Landon is glad he decided to pursue his entrepreneurial drive and ideas.
“I’ve come to the point where I’m finding the most gratitude in the journey. The people you meet along the journey, the challenges you get to work through, and all the fun that comes with that.”
When Landon was involved with an affiliate marketing agency between 2014 and 2015, he noticed that a number of his clients were starting to engage with third-party review sites and were frustrated because they felt their brand was held at ransom by those sites.
Landon felt strongly that those review sites were a disservice to companies and consumers, which motivated him to establish BestCompany.com in 2016.
Landon explained that he draws inspiration more from those who are focused on others rather than themselves. He mentioned that he has learned more from the people present in his day-to-day life than those actively popular in the corporate world.
“I think of my parents, my in-laws, people who silently go about their business. They look outward for opportunities to serve and help. They're not focused on themselves. They're focused on what they can do for others and the impact they can make.
I find value in strong examples, in the people who just quietly go about their business, they’re people of integrity, and they look to just influence the world for good. Those are the people that I learn a ton from, I'm inspired by, and hopefully can follow their lead in doing so.”
Contribution culture and energy
When asked how he is able to channel so much energy into his companies and his conversations, Landon explained that being part of a team and having a background in sports is a big motivator.
“It helps when you're working with awesome people on an awesome product, trying to solve a big problem.
Growing up, I was involved in sports from a very young age. I was part of some really good teams and had an opportunity to be a leader on those teams. I've had the opportunity in my church to serve and be a leader there. And I just love teams. I love challenges. If things are just kind of coasting, the blood doesn't get going.”
Landon explained that his companies strive to maintain a team-based, contribution-focused culture and energy.
“The culture that we try to optimize toward is a contribution culture. Where it's not about the person, it's about the team. It's not about who is right. It's about what is right. And so that team element, when everybody is focused on the same goal.
Like in sports...you win some, you lose some, right? But in both instances, you're with an amazing team. You're building relationships, and you're working on big problems to solve.“
Landon said the BestCompany.com and Snoball platforms are able to thrive and establish trust because of their internal, contribution-first foundation.
“We, in a contribution culture, hire for contributors. People who just want to contribute and then we try to give them the trust and autonomy to let their strengths flourish. So that's within the walls of our company. That's how we build trust. And then, when consumers come to our platform, the ethos/the impetus of why we even created BestCompany.com was to provide a transparent and trusted platform, not pay-to-play.”
When asked what makes him the proudest when he thinks of his companies, Landon mentioned that he’s proud of the work BestCompany.com and Snoball have been doing and how they have been bootstrapped for the past six years.
“We're starting to see some really, really exciting parting in the clouds of product-market fit with our platform and what we're doing for brands and what we're doing for consumers. So, knowing that we've stuck with it and we didn't give up at mile.
We're just gonna keep going. That's what I'm most proud of, and those who have been here for so many years on the team, those who (have) bought into the mission and the vision, I just feel really grateful.”
In the early days of BestCompany.com, Landon had a client who was used to working with other review sites that worked off of a pay-to-play model, which allowed businesses to pay for the top-ranking spot on their sites.
This client approached Landon and his team and offered them $1 million for the top spot in their category on BestCompany.com.
“A million dollars was a big thing for us, at that point in time, early in our stage as a company…We said, ‘No, this is our core ethos that we have to have a transparent scoring algorithm.’ We turned it down. They said, ‘Okay, how about $1.5 million?’
(We) didn't blink and turned it down. So, from the very early days, we've held to this ethos and, we feel that, if we compromise that, we lose the very fabric of what our platform means.”
Landon explained that BestCompany.com continues to avoid the popular pay-to-play model and strives to be as transparent as possible with both consumers and businesses.
“Now, we compete in Google Ads, we compete in Facebook, and other marketing channels where we have to acquire traffic, so we have sponsored listings, but we make it very clear and disclose on those sponsored listings that they are such. In terms of the scoring, how we score, (it’s) completely algorithm-based, (and) cannot be manipulated by anybody in the company.”
Landon explained that he envisions word-of-mouth marketing as the following three separate pillars:
- Reviews and Testimonials: Gathering user-generated content
- Reputation Marketing: Social proofing and building brand trust
- Referrals: Grow your business
He explained that Snoball’s mission is “to systematize word-of-mouth marketing for brands to help them grow their business” and recommended the first steps for brands that want to start working on their word-of-mouth marketing strategies now.
“Your profile on BestCompany.com is a home base and something that will just build your presence. Then get reviews. We have a plug-and-play service and platform to help you get positive reviews and video testimonials.
Once you have those raw assets, (we have) one-click tools to turn those into reputation marketing collateral. So, pull a snippet, and put it on your website to show reviews. So, really it starts with getting your profile on BestCompany.com and (starting to get) reviews.”
Landon added that word-of-mouth marketing is meant to help businesses get the most from their happy customers and become less reliant on competitive, more traditional marketing channels.
“It's getting more and more difficult to acquire customers through the traditional channels of Google Ads (and) Facebook. Those who are listening to this, who dealt with the Facebook iOS change, they know exactly what I'm talking about. Or a Google algorithm change. You're at the desk and you're at the mercy of those platforms.
Now, by all means, those are always going to be fruitful channels for acquiring new customers. But why not control your own destiny when it comes to generating new business? And that's through your happy customers.
If you're already going to great lengths to do right by your customers and provide a good service, then word-of-mouth marketing has got to be a core strategy within your business because that's something you can control.”
Landon Taylor is the CEO and co-founder of Best Company and Snoball. He loves to see others thrive and feel empowered. That motivation is at the core of Landon's experiences in playing and coaching sports, building businesses, and leading and contributing to teams on and off the field. It's also at the core of both companies' missions to empower consumers to make confident purchases for their homes and families and help companies unlock the power of word-of-mouth marketing for their brands.
Since graduating from BYU in 2005, Landon has been a bootstrapped entrepreneur. He and his wife, Kelsi, have five kids and live in Alpine, Utah. He feels blessed to have worked with amazing people and has learned many valuable lessons from the last 16 years of failures and successes.
About BestCompany.com and Snoball
BestCompany.com is a third-party consumer review platform that empowers consumers to make the best decisions and connect confidently with companies that deserve their business.
Snoball is also a word-of-mouth marketing engine that empowers businesses to maximize their brand's reputation, gain competitive insights, and convert prospects into loyal customers.
Word-of-mouth marketing (WOMM) is the most effective form of marketing, yet few brands in the home and family service realm have mastered it. If a company provides a good quality service to their customers and plugs into the Snoball platform, Snoball will help them shine a light on the good they do and in turn grow their business.