Trevor Longino: Taming Ads for Everyone

Trevor has been a salaried employee for most of his working career, but that doesn't mean it's been a boring ride. He's been building toward having his own agency for well over a decade.

Trevor Longino runs a performance marketing agency. He didn’t start in marketing though, and when he got there, he was quickly thrust into a position far beyond his skills or experience. But this, like all other things he’s built, was simply a matter of sticking with it and learning what he needed to know.

Teen Years are for JOBS

Trevor has had a job in something since he was 14. He started off with design work for a local newspaper in Florida, USA, where he grew up. 

When that wasn’t enough, he took on another gig as a web developer. For $1,000, he designed an e-commerce website. In 1997, that meant creating methods to accept payments from scratch, doing the bank paperwork by hand, and generally writing a very poor excuse for a website. In all, Trevor estimates he did $60,000 worth of work that nobody should ever have to pay for. It was slow and poorly made, and had only one purpose: to sell poorly written CIA spy novels, downloadable as Microsoft Word files for $5.

It’s a Start. And then Another

Trevor soon graduated from high school and from web development. He went on to earn a college degree as well. While he was doing that, he took a job at the university’s marketing department. It was there that Trevor first learned that not everyone liked him, courtesy of his boss. Trevor decided to move along when the chance came.

After college, Trevor worked as a professional photographer. He worked weddings and big events. Parties that were out of control (read: there were drugs galore) convinced him to step it down, working tamer events like Quinceañeras and graduation photos.

Trevor soon hopped over to Electronic Arts (EA) as a video game tester. What sounded like a dream quickly wore on him though, as playing video games for 18 hours straight for weeks on end isn’t quite as fun as it sounds on paper. At 24, Trevor wanted to be able to do more with his life.

Next, Trevor worked as a copywriter for a startup accelerator. Two months in, he was the VP of Marketing, but not for good reason. All of the senior positions quit, and he was left to do the job without knowing how to do it. They launched a startup a month for 14 months and Trevor learned along the way, but it wasn’t easy. The first three they launched had no chance at all, but as time went, and as he learned more, he realized that he could do this. It was just a matter of figuring out what he didn’t know.

“I realized by the fourth or fifth startup that even if you don’t know what you’re doing, if you have enough money, and enough time, you’ll get there.”

At 26, Trevor knew what he wanted to do. He knew how to do it. He just had to apply what he learned at the accelerator and get to work.

Back on His Own

Trevor started teaching what he learned marketing startups to bigger companies all over Florida. He worked his way into Fortune500 companies too. Companies like Disney and Universal Studios, Cox Radio, and the Stratosphere Casino in Las Vegas.

Then the recession hit. By 2010, budgets had been cut, and Trevor along with them. He had to find another path. Again.

He traveled this time to Poland to work for a video game company called GOG.com. He joined as the head of marketing and was the 16th hire. By the time he left, there were 88 people on board. It was there that Trevor learned to manage a large team. 

After that, Trevor moved over to another Polish startup, kontakt.io. He was the head of marketing and product there, and it went well.

His time in Poland came to an abrupt end though, when his wife decided they were moving to Montreal, Canada, so she could work on her doctorate. Trevor happily agreed, and off they went.

To Montreal!

Trevor continued working for early stage companies, first as Chief Marketing Officer (CMO) for a startup and then briefly for a crypto company. That came to an end almost as quickly as it started though, thanks to a new CEO hire who wanted to bring on a CMO he knew already and told Trevor to hit the road.

Trevor was done working short-term jobs that could come and go without warning. He worked as a fractional CMO (fancy talk for part-time work), taking on clients for marketing. After a couple years, he decided to make it a full-time gig. 

Trevor made this decision very practically. He saw where marketing was heading. TikTok has become a hugely popular channel, and he is not an expert there. He didn’t want to be an expert there. So the options are to leave yourself open for obsolescence or to start managing people who do want to be experts in the space. 

Hence, CrowdTamers was born. Trevor now manages three full-time employees and a pair of part-time workers. Income ranges from $15,000-$38,000 in a given month, which doesn’t fit the “always upward” direction often expected of a company, but it’s going very well. 

The agency focuses on performance marketing, which means that they test approaches from a lot of directions before big investments in a certain type of ad. Trevor realizes that his first instinct is wrong as often as it’s right, and taking the time to be certain is well worth the cost.

He’s invested well with CrowdTamers.

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Trevor’s Advice

  • Make a hypothesis for what should work. Try it out. If it doesn’t work, you’ve learned something; if it does work, you’ve made money!

  • Start quickly, test your idea, and then move on if you find it doesn’t work

You can find Trevor on Twitter as @TrevorLongino

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Procrastineur’s Take

I first ran across Trevor almost by accident. I put out a request on Twitter early on in fatherhood for advice on how to be sure that I both invest in my family and be sure that I have time for myself. He quickly responded, not only in the thread but also by messaging me individually. Trevor has three kids of his own and knows that work can get in the way of that balance. I really appreciated his support and we’ve stayed in touch for months since then.

Trevor’s willingness to help others extends far beyond CrowdTamers and his goal to help 1,000 startups find success. His marketing tactics aren’t the ones you’ll find on a blog post, but they are effective. He’s helped build multiple companies to multi-million dollar revenues, proving that the system works. If you want to try this on your own, take a look at the Growth Marketing Command Center. He’s put his system into an easy-to-understand format there.

Build on.

Will