Ben Childs | From Comedy Writing, to Daily Deals, to Chatbot Marketing
Ben Childs
Smart Business Revolution

Ben Childs is the Founder and President of Digital Reach Agency, a digital demand generation agency focused on building pipeline revenue for B2B, SaaS, and tech companies using paid media, SEO, marketing automation, and chatbot development. He started his career writing and doing comedy in Los Angeles. He has a degree from Santa Clara University.

In this episode of the Smart Business Revolution Podcast, John Corcoran interviews Ben Childs, the Founder and President of Digital Reach Agency, about chatbot development and conversational marketing. Ben shares his journey from writing comedy to doing sales, how he started his digital agency, and how he built his firm’s core values.

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Here’s a Glimpse of What You’ll Hear:

  • Ben Childs’ background doing comedy in LA, what he learned from the experience, and how it influenced his current career
  • Similarities between doing comedy and doing sales
  • How Ben realized he was good at comedy — and how he got involved in the daily deals business
  • How has cold calling helped Ben in his digital agency?
  • Ben explains how he started a digital agency, how he found clients, and his experience building it beyond 30 employees
  • How Ben came up with his agency’s values and what they mean
  • What is conversational marketing, and what can it do for your business?
  • Ben’s connection with Larry Kim — and what Ben learned from him
  • How to get in touch with Ben Childs

Resources Mentioned In This Episode

Sponsor: Rise25

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Cofounders Dr. Jeremy Weisz and John Corcoran credit podcasting as the best thing they have ever done for their businesses. Podcasting connected them with the founders/CEOs of P90xAtariEinstein BagelsMattelRx BarsYPO, EO, Lending Tree, Freshdesk,  and many more.  

The relationships you form through podcasting run deep.  Jeremy and John became business partners through podcasting.  They have even gone on family vacations and attended weddings of guests who have been on the podcast.  

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Rise25 was co-founded by Dr. Jeremy Weisz and John Corcoran who have been podcasting and advising about podcasting since 2008.

Episode Transcript

Intro 0:14

Welcome to the revolution, the Smart Business Revolution Podcast where we ask today’s most successful entrepreneurs to share the tools and strategies they use to build relationships and connections to grow their revenue. Now, your host for the revolution, John Corcoran.

John Corcoran 0:40

All right. Welcome everyone. John Corcoran here. I’m the host of this show. I get such joy talking to intelligent CEOs, founders and entrepreneurs of all kinds of different companies. Go check out my recent interview with the original Co-founder and CEO of Netflix. I also interviewed founders or CEOs from Open Table, Lendingtree, Activision Blizzard, Ace Software, and so many more. I’m also the Co-founder of Rise25, where we help connect B2B business owners to their ideal prospects. And before I introduce today’s guest, I want to give a big thank you to Mike Sweeney from Right Source Marketing and Chris Dreyer of, to peers and contemporaries, I guess, I would say of today’s guests, who are just giving individuals, they belong to a community that we belong to as well and are always out there. Delivering with value, which I always like to salute when people do that. 

But my guest today is Ben Childs. He’s the President of Digital Reach Agency, the digital demand generation agency focused on building pipeline revenue for B2B, SaaS and tech companies using paid media, SEO, marketing, automation, and chatbot development. So if you’ve ever been on a website, it’s been really popular these days. They call it conversational marketing, where you get a little chat that pops up in the bottom right hand corner. But you come to depend on them because it is a quick way of getting a question answered whether you’re a customer or not. And so we’re going to talk a bit about that. He also started, Ben started his career in comedy and writing comedy in particular. So we’re going to talk a little bit about his experience doing that as well. 

And this episode, of course, is brought to you by Rise25 Media, where we help B2B businesses to get clients, referrals and strategic partnerships with podcasts and content marketing. If you’re listening to this podcast and you’ve ever thought, should I do a podcast? Well, I say, Yes, I’ve been doing it for 11 years. And I find it such a pleasure to talk to intelligent individuals like today’s guest, Ben. Ben, so such a pleasure to have you on here. And I love your story. You started out after college, got in the car, drove to Los Angeles, and to break into improv comedy. And obviously life found you coming down a different path. But what was that life like, that life like sleeping on friends couches, trying to break it into comedy. It’s such a tough world.

Ben Childs 2:56

It was great. It was very romantic. Looking back. I look back and I mentioned that I just sat in my car all day writing, I had a newspaper out. And my goal is to write 100 jokes just based on the stories of the day I rented a couch. Some of them were my friends. I rented a couch for $200 a month, down in the USC neighborhood. There were 14 people that lived there. And I was the only one that spoke English as their first language. And yeah, a lot of very romantic times. But it was amazing to just kind of explore what I know, I like most people in comedy, grew up wanting to be on Saturday Night Live, wanting to do sketch comedy, that type of stuff. And I got to take classes at the Groundlings and Upright Citizens Brigade and you know, it was awesome. $5 a show, just show up, and watch people do it.

John Corcoran 3:50

Yeah, I remember when I graduated from college, my first one of my first jobs after college was folding sweaters with a BA in English, like you at the Abercrombie and Fitch on Third Street promenade in Santa Monica. And a little bit of a kick to the ego. It’s kind of like what’s going on with my life? How do you manage to keep your spirits up and remain positive when you’re in that phase in your life and you’re struggling to make it?

Ben Childs 4:19

Well, you know, it’s a great question. I’m 33 now and I’m 23 then, and the real answer to your question is I didn’t. So la was not for me, it kind of sucked. I think a lot of people that live in LA will tell you the same no matter how long they’ve lived there.

John Corcoran 4:33

I’m from LA and I’ll tell you that Yeah.

Ben Childs 4:37

And so I look back now and I wish I had treated it like a business. I wish I had really set out to realize that I have to sell myself, make a network you know, network, make contacts, and you know, not sit there and be like, Man, I’m so great. Why isn’t it happening for me? You know, it’s the productivity you need to make things happen for yourself but also like you need to also treat whatever you do, whether you’re a hairstylist, whether you’re a florist, whether you’re a do improv, or whether you do digital marketing, you need to treat it like a business. And I never did that. And I look back. And I think I could tell myself a lot, you know, give myself a lot of lessons, but I packed up the stakes and 10 months later, a year later, moved up to San Francisco.

John Corcoran 5:23

At the same time, I have tremendous respect for anyone who gets on stage and puts themselves out there to try and make an audience laugh. That is not easy. It is hard at any level. And what did that experience mean? How does that influence the work that you do today in terms of persistence in terms of, you know, getting back up when you get knocked down?

Ben Childs 5:50

Yeah, I think in improv, just from a conversational standpoint, like you could put me in front of anybody, just a hardcore cmo, you know, with a Harvard degree who’s pissed off, or, you know, a random, lower level marketing associate who just graduated college or a board or anything, and I can just roll with the punches. You know, someone could pull a knife on me, sorry, I’ve seen it. I’ve seen it before. And so it’s made me pretty bulletproof in that way. And additionally, if you do stand up, you’re gonna bomb, you’re gonna write a joke, the only way to figure out if a joke is good, is to say it in front of someone. And the only way to figure it out for presentation is good is to present it to someone. And, you know, if it doesn’t work, I’m pretty good at just pivoting, pivoting, pivoting. And that doesn’t mean lying, or it doesn’t mean pulling the wool over someone’s eyes. But more saying like, okay, like, what were you really hoping to see? Or what can we really get to in terms of value here? And so yeah, it’s been rolled into a larger sense of just how to talk to enterprise companies, which is a far cry from a bunch of broke kids in LA, but not too different. Yeah.

John Corcoran 7:09

What are some of the similarities? Since you mentioned it?