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February 19-20, 2020
San Jose Convention Center

That's a wrap! Join us at our next SMX event.

That's a wrap! Join us at our next SMX event.

The Future Of Social Commerce? Look To The Past: A Cyber Sit-Down With Duane Brown

History repeats itself as users return to smaller, niche communities.

If you sell or promote products online, you know that the key to driving remarkable revenue growth is mastering digital commerce marketing. From stalwarts like Google Ads, Microsoft Ads, Facebook, and LinkedIn to younger platforms including Snapchat, Pinterest, and TikTok — they all have their own rules, and user expectations vary. If you want to win, you have to train.

Next month at SMX West, you’ll access two days of brand-new, expert-led digital commerce marketing sessions loaded with actionable tactics to help you design successful, profit-generating campaigns. One of the experts you’ll train with is Duane Brown, Founder & Head of Strategy at Take Some Risk Inc. I recently had the pleasure of sharing a candid Q&A with Duane — keep reading for a closer look at who he is, what he’s watching for in 2020, plus a sneak peek at his upcoming SMX West sessions… and a few goodies just for fun.

Lauren Donovan: Welcome, Duane! Tell the folks at home a bit about yourself! Where you’re based, what you do, how long you’ve been doing it…

Duane Brown
Duane Brown

Duane Brown: I’m currently based in Montreal, Canada on the East Coast. I have been here for almost a year now. Before this I was living in Vancouver, Canada for 4 years, London UK for 2 years and then I spent 7 months living between Sydney and Melbourne working for a telecom. I’m originally from Toronto and over the last decade I have been trying to work in interesting spots and see the world. I love what I do with data, paid ads and CRO but I also love to travel to see the world and eat some good food. I spent 10 weeks traveling solo around SE and North Asia after being in London and that was an eye opening experience as I had never been to Asia before. I have had my agency, Take Some Risk Inc, for 3 years now and 2020 marks the start of year 4 for us. We work mostly with ecom brands but sometimes we have a few tech and SaaS brands as well.

LD: Very cool. Bring us back before Take Some Risk Inc — when and how did you get specifically into the e-commerce side of things?

DB: I have been heavily focused on ecom since I worked on California Closets with their agency Proximity/BBDO in 2010. Before this I was doing a lot of brand marketing and spent a year doing PR and marketing for a video game company. Since 2010, I have gotten to work on ASOS, Jack Will, Walmart, and a lot of startup fashion and DTC brands across North America and Europe… either freelancing or as my main day job.

LD: Awesome stuff. Now, let’s shift to the future. What’s the big digital commerce trend, channel, or tactic you’re watching for in 2020?

DB: Beyond trying to make the mobile experience a lot better, we are seeing a lot more people circle back to 2007 – 2009 when we were apart of smaller online communities that shared deep connected interests with us. We are seeing people spend more time on Snap, Pinterest, TikTok and other up and coming platforms. That trend won’t slow down, and thus we have to figure out how we all fit into the pendulum swing back over to the small community.

LD: Wise words! Which leads us to your upcoming SMX West session at 1:30pm on Thursday, February 20 — Social Commerce Beyond Facebook: Drive Sales With Snap, Pinterest And Other Channels. Care to share a sneak peek?

DB: We are going to cover a lot about Pinterest and getting yourself up and running on the platform. Then I’ll try to cover Snap for a few minutes, as that platform is worth looking at if you have a customer base above 25 years old… as about 30% of the users of Snap are over 25.

LD: Very interesting. Looking forward to it! I also see on the agenda that you’ll be speaking at 11:30am that same day about Scaling Google’s Latest Discovery Ad Formats. Reader, if you’re at SMX West, mark these sessions on your calendar! Okay, we’re nearing the home stretch now… onto the supremely crucial stuff: Favorite food and vacation destination — GO!

DB: Burgers and pizza for a meal but I love cheese and eating peanut butter by the spoonful for a snack. I am a city guy and love London, UK and Laos in SE Asia. Plus I always say yes if someone asks me if I want to spend time in Chicago.

LD: Mmmmm, peanut butter by the spoonful. Yep, right there with you. And now – last but certainly not least, tell us a fun fact about you we might not know…

DB: I was born 3 months early and weighed 1 pound and 10 oz at birth…yeah I was that small. I should have been a June baby and not April.

LD: My goodness! Well you certainly have come a long way… founder of a successful agency, world traveler… so awesome, Duane. Thank you for sharing some time with us today! Safe travels to San Jose, I’ll see you there!


And I hope to see you at SMX West too, dear reader! Digital commerce marketing is just one of the topics you can train on February 19-20 — you’ll also get the tactic-rich SEO and SEM/PPC sessions SMX is known for: It’s three lanes with no limits.

Register now to secure your seat and lock in Early Bird Rates — up to $200 off on-site prices. But you have to move fast – these savings expire tomorrow at 11:59pm (Saturday, January 18). Don’t miss out – book now!

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