In this Prime Talk Podcast Sponsored by GETIDA – Mark Casey – Founder and CEO of House of AMZ talks about the benefits of listing optimization on Amazon SEO, also more information about his life’s journey. #markcasey #houseofamz
GETIDA YouTube Channel Subscribe: http://bit.ly/GETIDA-YouTube-Subscribe
About Mark Casey of House of AMZ – Mark dedicated himself to fully understanding the science behind where a product ranks on Amazon and how to optimize product listings for the highest rate of conversion. Working under a top 500 company, for example, he helped to enhance their Amazon business which contributed to their current nine-figure annual earnings and now being in retail stores nationwide.
For the past 7 years, Mark has studied the Amazon algorithm to understand how it works and how we can work along with it to rank products. He has traveled the world to speak and share these techniques with the largest sellers worldwide.
Mark’s personal background is marketing and branding having brands of his own and along with his Amazon knowledge working under the 9 figure brand. Combining those together is how the House of AMZ was born. Where Mark can help to optimize your products and brand not only for the outside world but mainly on Amazon which is its ecosystem in itself.
Find the Full Episode Below
Yoni Mazor 0:06
Everybody welcome to another episode of prime talk today I have a special guest and I’m having Mark Casey. Mark is the founder and CEO of House of AMC, which is a marketing and SEO agency for Amazon sellers. So Mark, welcome to the show.
Mark Casey 0:20
Thank you very much. How are you?
Yoni Mazor 0:22
Good. I’m good. Thank you so much for being with us today. And you know, thank you so much for your time. So today’s episode is gonna be the story of you the story of mark so you’re going to share with us everything Who are we where you are, where you’re from, where were you born, where you grew up, as you begin your professional career station decision until we get to where you are today, especially with the world of E-commerce. So without further ado, let’s jump right into it.
Mark Casey 0:45
Yoni Mazor 0:48
Okay, let’s start from the beginning.
Mark Casey 0:51
I was born in New York wondering if Long
Yoni Mazor 0:54
The island which town or which part of Long Island
Mark Casey 0:58
Nassau County in Great Neck is conspecific that’s where I grew up. It’s like a very you know, I would high class neighborhood I would say very high maintenance to was very nice very chill call it affluence
Yoni Mazor 1:10
And then an affluent community.
Mark Casey 1:11
Yeah, yeah. But it was very relaxed like you know, you have your everything you have your own though you’re four corners. Another very nice thing but you grew up in Reno very, very calm, not like the city, not hustle-bustle.
Yoni Mazor 1:25
So it’s not like Manhattan, full of skyscrapers and apartments. And
Mark Casey 1:30
You could see it from like, you know, your backyard or my house is like next to the waters. You could like see the skyline and Manhattan but you don’t hear you know.
Yoni Mazor 1:37
Got it. Got it. So we’ve got the good community and the outskirts of New York City and then Long Island. So I grew up your parents work in industries, where are they involved with?
Mark Casey 1:47
So my father owns clothing, like districts that get like manufacturing clothing and designing clothing? And my mother was like, more into like the health field.
Yoni Mazor 1:58
So no one’s father was is a business owner as well. Yeah. Business Owner. Yeah. Got it. Okay. And growing up, did you do anything that was an entrepreneurial spirit? Are you trying to make money in certain ways?
Mark Casey 2:09
Yeah. Oh, you bet. If you ask my parents, like, they will tell you stories beyond stories. When I was a little kid, literally, like, I’m not even kidding. A couple of years old, like I would say, like maybe even eight years old, had barely even spoken on the phone. I was always selling things online and doing everything I was doing drop-shipping before it was drop shipping. And what that means is that I used to, it’s very funny to think about it. I used to call companies who sold printers, and I and I used to sell them so meaning I would reach out to someone as a hey, do you guys need a printer it was back then when everyone trusted everything, you know when you call on the phone? Yes. And your printer, I would take my parent’s credit card, or even take their credit card, I’ll call up the company order it straight to their house. And then I would like to keep the in-between change, you know, or get it in cash and like, anybody knows what I was doing, but now they look yet it’s like, you know, olden day drop shipping.
Yoni Mazor 3:01
You just randomly call people or companies or both,
Mark Casey 3:04
Both. I like I was with my I would start with my, my, my parents, friends who owned businesses, I was like, You need a printer. And I was it was like a couple of under 13 years old, trying to do all this. And I was always hustling, selling things, and then doing graphics and anything you could think of I was a hustler when I was a kid.
Yoni Mazor 3:28
So that’s one example of doing dropshipping old school, not even offline, not even online. Give me another example or two, while growing up. Later years, when you’re already in the midst,
Mark Casey 3:42
okay, more later years, what I would do is, I would also be a hustler, I would design for like, let’s say menus for brochures for companies, and then go to them and show it to them. And then they’ll bite off me so many I’ll do the work from before. And like, Oh, dang, somebody already did all the work, someone did everything, it’s in front of me. I’m gonna buy it makes them much more inclined to buy it, or whether it was a risk upfront. But, you know, it worked. And then when
Yoni Mazor 4:07
You did what visual for them, like?
Mark Casey 4:10
No, I started doing graphic design when I was like 13 years old.
Yoni Mazor 4:14
When those were using like Adobe and stuff like that, but
Mark Casey 4:17
Adobe, the old Photoshop, and like sometimes when Microsoft Paint, like that, ‘s how basic it was, but I was able to pull it off. And you know, he likes to make menus and made brochures, I just presented them to them. They loved it. They paid me and like I was happy with like 75 bucks, you know, like, it was my time that they’re paying for but you know, honestly, that got my name out there because I put little like a watermark on the bottom and one person saw on the word spread from there.
Yoni Mazor 4:44
Nice. So that’s the second thing. It was that one less thing to do the brochure brochures which is great. Already. Give us another thing that’s I guess, you know, the variety wants to kind of the spectrum of a variety of your entrepreneurial skills when you’re growing up.
Mark Casey 4:57
I’m trying to think I don’t know I’m just always the hustler no matter what you could think of right? So like, make even, like different creations and stuff like that have crazy stories too because like, you know, based on, you know, it’s not always the fun and games, it’s a lot of risks involved in you know, people ask, like, what was it like I’ve been a podcast and that’s what was the most expensive thing you bought, I would say my education who will say, Oh, my car is the most expensive thing about but you know what, like, risks and challenges and stuff like that. That’s what cost me the most where I learned, you know, in the beginning, they used to take deposits from people so I would trust they’re gonna I would do a whole job and then they’ll come to me and like, Have a good day. And that’s like three grand in the garbage. But growing up, yeah. Oh my god, I
Yoni Mazor 5:40
Have a crazy one for sorry, have you kind of lost some money and you know, kind of
Mark Casey 5:44
Shorten this up, but people who know me know the story and they see me they make a joke out of it. But long story short, so I did so someone contacted me to do graphics for them. There was like some kind of like store local store who like does like catering and stuff like that. You say you’re welcome. Your 1617-year-olds can come do graphics for us, and we’ll pay you after the summer. Okay, you know, it sounds great. To three grand for a 16-year-old is amazing. So I said you will make up you pay me one time, one lump sum of money. And I’ll give you my cost price for printing and wherever it may be. So I started everything. I started working, I made like 10 different logos for them. I was going all-out making connections, the newspapers, catering, everything you could think of when she called me she’s like, can you please send me an invoice? I’m like, sure, but like a 16-year-old kid and like we didn’t do any work. Why didn’t the invoice so give me a detailed itemized invoice, send it over to her fine? The next day, she does come and speak with you.
Mark Casey 6:39
I go she said I went to someone here who’s your competitor? I’m 16 years old, no competitor? What’s your competitor? He said he’s willing to slash all your prices in half. Like you’re competing with a 16-year-old kid. How are you cutting your price in half? But he’s thought of as a business opportunity. I’m going to lose money in the first order. They’re going to be you know, reoccurring. Reoccurring client clients. Yeah. So she’s like, either you match it or I’m dropping you now. And this is after we did a whole bunch of work. Long story short, she didn’t want to end up paying me so I went I went back even my parents got to like you don’t feel bad like giving 300 bucks. I don’t feel happy. Accomplished. You work this whole summer free. So I went back after summer. I stood there. I’m like, give me some payment. So everyone knows the story. Just very funny. Not going to believe me when I tell you. So it was a catering shop. So she told the guy she was like Eddie make him a sandwich. So she takes the sandwich. She puts it on the counter and slides it over to me and she’s like, I hope we’re even now. And I’m like what does that even mean? I’m like what do you mean? Well, for even as she just walks away, I’m not just a BB golden this sandwich. We’re
Yoni Mazor 7:46
Not even the golden sandwich. Exactly.
Mark Casey 7:50
My father always told me they go take a deposit from him go take it apparently no, I trust them. Yeah, whatever ends up being I lost my three grand that summer? But you know what it taught me so well to you know, charge upfront or take a deposit, and ever since then, you know, I only benefited from it. But that
Yoni Mazor 8:08
Was yeah, that was expensive tuition for you to pay the real-life and um, you know, and doing business-wise. Make sure that you put some structures in place where, you know, there’s the security just in case things go sour and you know, you’re you don’t, you know, go to sour when things don’t end up well. Okay, great. So we had the printer story. We had the brochure story, we had the catering story where things kind of went sour, but it taught you great things. Alright, so let’s go into, you know, when he started, I guess, you know, graduating high school to take us to that station where he was that when you graduate high school?
Mark Casey 8:42
Yeah. Or graduate in high school. I was also hustling I started. I started working to do like graphics and more marketing. And that’s where I went basically to college, right? Graduated high school early, and went straight to college.
Yoni Mazor 8:56
While he was there when he started college. Where was what year 2000 what college when did he start college?
Mark Casey 9:05
Where he was going to start college in 2000 maybe 15 I don’t remember exactly.
Yoni Mazor 9:12
15 you will graduate high school early and you
Mark Casey 9:15
Went to college. I didn’t. And I started doing everything about marketing and branding. And I was even during college, I was hustling. I was doing work I was doing jobs on the side and everything. Then leaving college some of them it was crazy how things even like turned around on happen just you know you meet someone. A family friend with who I’m very close with happens to be like someone’s brother-in-law I was sitting down with them speaking and I had no idea who he was or what he was. He’s like, come work for me. I’m like, I don’t know what you do or anything. He’s like, look, we just have Amazon and at that time I’m like, what’s Amazon what’re Amazon reviews? What is this stuff? So he’s like, come work for me and I think you have the great potential I like
Yoni Mazor 9:56
2015 also know it’s a little
Mark Casey 9:59
Bit off Tonight a couple of years after doesn’t have to once they finish college
Yoni Mazor 10:03
16 1717 year-round then maybe two years into college fan of a friend or a friend. Yeah. And he brought eCommerce in Amazon knocking on your door and it sweeps you in, randomly says come work for me. I can like you.
Mark Casey 10:19
I’m like, Okay, this guy probably has like an office with like five employees and whatever. Like it’s like what? So he can mean I just ordered an Uber I walked in, and I almost fainted. I’m like, there’s an operation going on over here. Maybe like 5060 employees working in the house. That’s and then they’re just like in house. Like they’re not even the customer service. Nothing like the people who do sales, but people who do all kinds of stuff.
Yoni Mazor 10:43
Ecommerce or they’re doing e-commerce and brick and mortar. And also what was the business model.
Mark Casey 10:47
At that time when they came in? The main focus is E-commerce and then also getting into like retail and all the stores, big box stores.
Yoni Mazor 10:56
Categories, what kind of categories whether it’s beauty, health, and beauty. And they’re based in the New York area or California. So did you move to California?
Mark Casey 11:05
Yeah. So that’s the thing. So I went there for the summer. And then this guy dragged me over there. He’s like, let me just tell you, whenever he told me, I was laughing in this video. I was like, what are Amazon reviews? What is this and get out of here? Let me just stick to my marketing. So he’s like, just trust me stay here for a month. He ended up like you. So it’s very funny how that happens. So it’s me. And there’s another guy who’s kind of interning this guy was worked for two weeks ago. 1000 bucks. When I went there, I worked for a month I think I ended it was a commission-based whatever either making 700 bucks, I was so upset. I’m like, you know, I’m like, you know, respectfully like Screw this.
Yoni Mazor 11:41
So let me get this straight. This is you go to the summer to LA to California to intern for him after he saw you in what in East Coast saying come try this out.
Mark Casey 11:51
Yeah, he’s got and then I also Yeah, I was in LA. So he’s like, you know, you’re here. Ready? Just come. I might Okay, I’ll extend me you know, my everything. And
Yoni Mazor 11:58
then after a summer, two months, you ended up in commission, 700 bucks, and we offered you a blessing to continue or stay or
Mark Casey 12:05
Sorry, then so yeah, I was. To backtrack a second, I was really upset. I’m like, this guy’s 700 bucks. Like, it’s a joke. Looking at just fast running quickly. Now. That was the best $700 I would have been paid to be for that summer. And that kid, you know, I met him a couple of years later, the guy who was interning got $1,000 He’s doing like real estate or something random right now, you didn’t continue it at all. So this picked it up for me. So anyways,
Yoni Mazor 12:28
So I want to think that I want to dive into that so why is it so valuable? That said 100 bucks that you made? And you today? Well, you would pay for that? What was the value? What would you lose the
Mark Casey 12:36
Value? I didn’t realize the value at that time. He taught me everything I almost everything I know, he gave me the foundation of Amazon. He sat there sat down, or an authorized employee sat down, he explained to me, Amazon, how the algorithm works, what’s important, what are people looking for? And that’s kind of the basis I started, but he cared about me, he didn’t just want me like, okay to do a job on me. He wanted me to break my head and understand what do you do? Give me the basics. It was like, sit down, figure it out. So I would sit there every single day, a couple of hours a day trying to break my head and figure out what’s this? What’s Amazon, like? What’s working?
Yoni Mazor 13:10
What’s not working for your products online, Amazon and they know
Mark Casey 13:16
Exactly anything. Amazon had no idea what was going on. And like I was like, come on, I don’t want this anymore. After a time, maybe became interesting. And then whatever
Yoni Mazor 13:26
The value is, if I can get this grove it’s already Katrina there’s so today people pay 1000s of dollars to get all these masterclasses and courses to be able to layer after layer build their Amazon capabilities. You said you were able to do all that full-time for two months, and eventually get paid, which was valuable.
Mark Casey 13:41
Definitely, yeah, I mean, it goes more into that school kind of built my career, I would never think it would be in the Amazon world just because I was like, okay, like marketing design and stuff like that. But he opened up a whole new door for me that I never even knew about. And then looking back now this guy does nine figures on Amazon. I thought this guy’s running a small operation, you know, just selling a couple of health and beauty queens, but it’s not like that. This guy is doing nine figures. He’s doing well.
Mark Casey 14:05
And so basically, based on that, like I knew a couple of things here and there. And then so someone called me, Hey, do you do the service? I’m like, I still work from home as I could help you. I don’t know. And then that person told his other friends who were a friend and just started getting vegan. I started liking learning, you know, a lot of these things. And then I remember the first time I got asked to speak at an event. I was bugging out as I love you. I’m a bubbly person. I love speaking to people. Once I get in front of a crowd. I just don’t know. I know. I don’t know. He told me I asked him I’m like, what should I do? Should I go speak where he’s 100%? Go?
Yoni Mazor 14:40
Hello, are you ready with him and then work on MySpace? Because 17 you kind of started in the summer. And then 2019 you’re saying to
Mark Casey 14:49
Like a little bit earlier but no, no, because we had the agency for a little longer running in the background. I kind of had both going on he was okay with it.
Yoni Mazor 14:57
So the agency started when because you mentioned 2015. Are you already going to school?
Mark Casey 15:04
Yeah, so already around 2016 17, we started something small. And then it just kind of grew and got bigger from there. But I had a wall was working with him. And I told him I was like, look,
Yoni Mazor 15:14
In the end, it was all about design, right? More than designers.
Mark Casey 15:17
The design is all about, review optimization, like how to get more reviews, how to optimize your current reviews, and ranking. And then I didn’t even think about it like, yeah, my background is marketing and branding. That’s what I do every day. Like, let me implement that. So fast forward, everyone’s already asking me to do all these things. And I’m working with him. So you know, we parted ways.
Mark Casey 15:37
And in reverse, I still work with them, I still help them out with a lot of things. But, you know, we created this agency, and then, you know, like, I’ve been asked to speak. And then in between that time in two, I met a lot of different sellers, which also included the Chinese and everyone knows Chinese is like the biggest thing on Amazon, like, they’re the ones selling and everyone has Chinese competition. So I started making friends here and their referrals and everything. And like people who lived in China, people who were doing crazy things people were selling so much. And people just you know, became regular friends with them not having any interest of doing anything. And then I just started learning. Like, they just started teaching me things and telling me things, which I picked up that’s like where a lot of my knowledge came from just networking with people and just speaking with people and they teach me one thing another person teaches me another thing. I remember one time so one guy who I always speak to is in China, he told me all the things he was like a mensch like you said, he took his time just so like, you know, just to chill with me speak with me and teach me new things.
Yoni Mazor 16:38
What was he doing? Was it a factory selling on Amazon? Or
Mark Casey 16:42
Did he mainly sell on Amazon himself? But he was very well connected with all the Chinese people who do all these crazy services. And he was very knowledgeable. So you speak to me one time you said,
Yoni Mazor 16:53
All these crazy services give us a little taste of that world? What’s going on there? Just break it down for us.
Mark Casey 17:00
That’s more of like more awful podcast material, meaning just takes so long.
Yoni Mazor 17:04
It’s what they’re doing is I’m saying this is a file probably a few years ago, it’s probably obsolete outdated?
Mark Casey 17:09
Yeah, exactly. It’s outdated. All the things that they were doing to rank items or the Black hat things are due to attack people, how they’re getting, like hundreds of review reviews overnight to get the best seller, all that kind of juicy stuff. I’m like, what is this? So he knew he knew how they did it doesn’t mean he implemented it. He just knows. And the same thing with me. Like, doesn’t mean I implement all these things I learned just very cool to know like, you know, my opinion. So one time he told me he’s like, I have a stopover in Georgia. Keep in mind, I’m in New York, like, you know,
Yoni Mazor 17:38
What, in Georgia, sorry, what
Mark Casey 17:39
Did your stopover? He was like flying at a stop. He’s like, he’s like, I’m gonna be there. So I’m like, hold on a second. I got up like eight or nine, eight o’clock or nine o’clock in the morning, I booked a flight to Georgia, like the same hour, went straight to Newark flew to Georgia. Nothing with a backpack. I met him in the store. I still remember, Yes, I met him at a Starbucks with a notebook and a pen. I said, give me all you got. You know, we went out for lunch, everything. And this guy was spitting facts like you have no idea. Like, I thought whatever he taught me before is crazy. He was telling me, he told me like this year primary is going to be July 26 and 27th, something like that. Like how do you know it’s like December? You know you don’t know anything. Fast forward to July 26. And 27th exact dates a prime that like he knew real information. So I was like taking notes. What’s this? And what’s that? He created accounts for me like, like on like, basically, China has their own Helium 10 which they use, like is a whole mother you know, calculation. He created me an account he paid for it showed me he just wanted me to learn. I’m like, why? Who is this guy? You know, and I honestly I’m a lot of credit because he got me started in a whole mother sector, another part of my business. But it was very cool. And you know, very influential.
Yoni Mazor 18:53
So I want to get back to the moment he said where you know, you’re getting more knowledge and more experience and more reputation and more the business grows and you get more attention and then you’re asked to speak and then that puts you in a juncture where you should do it or not. So where you were at and what happened.
Mark Casey 19:09
You said I’m sorry. I was asked to speak and well,
Yoni Mazor 19:12
And then basically you’re an injunction or you have to decide to shoot Are you speaking in conventions and then you know, educational events or not or stay private?
Mark Casey 19:22
Yeah, I needed to make that decision if I wanted to be a speaker or not. And I said I’ll give it a try the first event I went to go speak it was like it was also their first event so wasn’t too organized. It’s on YouTube, you’ll see I had no idea what I was doing. I just knew some things I knew about Amazon but as a speaker, I could see I’m like holding a notepad. So provided they didn’t even give me a status speak on it didn’t give me a projector wasn’t anything professional. But I got they said there’s gonna be 40 people come to speak. So they advertise that I’m going to be there everyone heard my name, but never no one has ever seen my face before. No one ever met me before. So everyone’s like, Oh, Marcus is going to be where this event everyone just started going. So this was before Dubai, the speech was over 120 people packed in that room. And this was local, you had to fly somewhere? No, it was in New Jersey as local you know. So I’m like, Okay, I’ll go and like, what was 120? Are people all eyes on me? Judging like, what’s this guy gotta say, who is this guy? Do you know?
Mark Casey 20:16
So everyone knows, like some guy from Bangladesh? No, no. And I was like, who is this guy? So it’s like your first time speaking, making a reputation for myself. Like, this is me. This is like, why I am. And it was nerve-racking. Like, I didn’t know what has been doing myself. But I ended up giving a speech over fuel funds. So interesting. People loved it. And then, you know, I was like, come work with me, can we get my brand and everything. So from there, it was just kind of like it was a snowball effect, I had so many different offers. People give me job positions that I turned down, I went, I got flown out to London a couple of times in Vegas, I’ve been all over giving just random speeches about Amazon, just people are interested in knowing how the algorithm works.
Mark Casey 20:58
And you know, what’s what, like, what’s the actual juice, like, you’re in the now a lot of people I guess, understand that just understand the algorithm differently. So much so because also what I did back, you know, going back to whenever I was working on this nine-figure brand, one of the things they did for them was create a shopper network for them means like, whenever they want to do rebates, or promos or a sale or something, I started that myself from scratch. So that’s one of the assets I took out of there. Because now nowadays, we have over 20,000, or plus shoppers on that network, which we use for, you know, doing private launches and stuff like that. And that was a huge asset for me. And not only just because we do launches because I send the shopper behavior, I understand what shoppers look for. And if you’re able to replicate that, and you know, you kind of make it like you know what they’re doing organically, that’s beauty, that’s gold, that’s key to get real feedback on your product from real everyday shoppers, and implement on your product. And that’s been very beneficial. So that was a great asset.
Yoni Mazor 22:01
Got it. Got it. So yeah, we’re now we kind of spinning into nowadays, we’re, you know, we’re recording this at the end of 2021, this is gonna probably be post-2022. So you have established yourself as an SEO marketing agency and worked with big, big sellers, you got exposed to the Chinese side of things, and how they kind of workaround and all the hacks and tricks that they’re able to develop over time. So you’re kind of in the mud in the world, and instead of things done, so what’s kind of working, what’s not working? So I guess, let’s kind of try to dive into today’s world what’s going on? You know, this past few weeks, a few months, you know, last year, actually, in 2021, Amazon made a lot of changes with, you know, with ranking and search, find buy and things like that. Can you maybe share with us what happened here? To be honest, not my world, if you ask me about what happened with discrepancies in the auditing, I have a lot of answers. But when it comes to that, you know, I’m a little ignorant. So you know, share somebody with me and explain to me what happened in 2021? What is the meaning of all this and where does everything you think is going?
Mark Casey 22:58
Sounds good. Okay, so going fast forward to the beginning of 2021. Amazon was very, always very strict with reviews. Six years ago, you could pay someone to leave a review. And as 100% a lot. Nowadays, Amazon has been getting slammed with all these review allegations and stuff like that. So they’ve been very strict and removing reviews, even stricter, and suspending the old ones now. That’s how 2421 kind of started. We’re comfortable getting suspended for that. Fast forward to now they got even stricter with the search find byes, meaning whatever they came out with that message was very detailed. It wasn’t like, you just can’t do giveaways. And that’s it. You know, like the olden days, that Viral Launch, you could just do 100 coupons, and you rank the first page nowadays now like that people want to adapt to what’s working. So
Yoni Mazor 23:41
How does this work? So once again, because I assume that, you know, even though people might be listening to this, we have no idea what’s going on. So just to clarify, search by is one, there’s a link that consumers I go to a website, I’m a consumer, I go to a website, and I see this product, instead of being 4999, right? 50 bucks are gonna be like $4.99, like, it’s gonna be 90% off. So click that. And when I click it, there’s a link, or a special URL link that you’re a link inside it makes it Amazon think that somebody went into Amazon, the search the product if they find it, and they click on buy it, how does that work? That’s kind of the mechanics you said,
Mark Casey 24:19
You said it very well. So in short, that’s what it is basically, what you’re doing is you’re creating a steep discount for shoppers to purchase that product. But in exchange, what you’re doing is you’re giving them a link. So why is it worth giving away a product and 90% off, or 100% off is