Entrepreneur Addiction Podcast #8 — ‘Not Your Momma’s Marketing’
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Today’s episode is all about how to market a small business or startup. In the current business world, small companies have an opportunity to compete with the big boys, and do it effectively on a tight budget. Joining us to talk all things marketing is Cydni Tetro and Chris Knudsen, the founders of SocialPlayz, a consultancy that helps businesses acquire customers through mobile and social media marketing.
Highlights from today’s podcast:
- Frictionless customer acquisition and conversion
- Don’t make customers think
- Two-sided market place problems
- Bootstrapping your marketing
- Social media considerations
- Is SEO dying?
- Starting a brand from the ground up
- SMS (text message) marketing
- Facebook ads and targeted interests
- Targeting social media influencers
- Customer interaction is a company’s brand
- Thought leadership
- Banner advertising
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Go here to download on iTunes. Click to download the mp3
If you can’t listen, here’s the text:
Cool Voice Guy: Fueling your business success, this is the entrepreneur addiction podcast, breaking the small business loan news you need if you obsess about your company. Heard exclusively on Lendio.com. And now here are our your hosts: Brock Blake, Dan Bischoff and Patrick Wiscombe.
Patrick: This podcast is sponsored by Lendio.com, the online source you need to find the right business financing to grow your company. So, check them out: Lendio.com, to get your business growing right now. It’s the entrepreneur addiction podcast episode number eight. My name is Patrick Wiscombe. Joining us in studio, in the palatial studios that is PatrickWiscombe.com and Lendio.com. We got Dan Bischoff, director of communications here at Lendio.com. It’s always good to see you.
Dan: You too.
Patrick: And coming to us via Skype, it sounds like she’s right in studio with us, Cydni Tetro with SocialPlayz.com and her business partner Chris Knusden, who is also at socialplayz. Guys, it’s nice to meet you.
Chris: Nice to meet you. How are you doing?
Cydni: Yeah, it’s great to be here.
Patrick: Alright, let’s get right to it. I’m going to assume that there are people in our audience… by the way, we crossed thirty six thousand listeners.
Dan: That’s pretty good.
Cydni: That’s awesome.
Patrick: Yeah, just this past week I started adding up everything, and I was like, “Woa! Man! 36 thousand! That alright.”
Dan: That’s awesome.
Patrick: Anyway, let’s talk about SocialPlayz. Chris, let’s go to you first. What is SocialPlayz?
Chris: Yeah, sure. SocialPlayz is a consultancy that’s based right here in Salt Lake City and focuses mainly on helping companies, specifically we mainly really focus on technology companies, on issue related to user acquisitions. So, we have a lot of companies that are coming to us and saying, “Hey, we have a product. We need to develop it. Or, we need to validate it. Or we’re just taking it out to market right now. And we really don’t have a ‘go to market’ strategy. So, we need you to help us put together a go to market strategy and how we’re going to go out and reach our market. And then we need you to help us execute on those strategies.” So, that’s really what we’re about. It’s that simple. It’s mainly user acquisition. So, on the acquisition side, a lot of the different strategies we’re employing are mainly related to social, but also incorporate a lot of search, and then some traditional aspects as well.
Patrick: So, in translation: you guys are marketing geniuses?
Chris: Well, Cydni is. I don’t know about me.
Patrick: Hey, Cydni, where are you this morning? Cydni joining us from Skype and also from SocialPlayz, where are you this morning?
Cydni: That’s right. I’m actually back in Utah. I just flew in last night.
Patrick: Okay, so you’ve got a little, I won’t say jet lag, but you’re feeling… it’s probably nice to be back on the ground?
Cydni: It is nice. My travel has been a little crazy lately.
Dan: Were you at Disney?
Cydni: Yep. I was at Disney in Orlando. We had a big test that we’re running down in downtown Disney, that we’re taking guests through, so I’ve had to be in Orlando quite a few times recently.
Patrick: Alright, Cydni, tell us how you and Chris became business partners.
Cydni: Chris and I met each other in a start up probably five or six years ago now. Actually, when social media and all the new media rage was very, very early, it was a podcasting company. And we’ve kind of just stayed friends over the years, and about a year ago it kind of became the perfect storm, where both of us had been working on start ups, and we were also getting pinged very heavily to help companies figure out how to do customer acquisition, how to build product, how to get it to market. And so, we just decided to come together and start working on those projects. And it’s been a really great partnership. Lots of synergy between how we operate and our knowledge base. And it’s really allowed us to build a really great client base and provide lots of services. Because for us… lots of times for lots of marketers it’s just about branding, and at the core for us it’s about, it’s really about customer acquisition. We kind of evaluate everything in the marketing sphere, and I think that’s very applicable, which is, “Okay, who am I trying to go after? What are they doing? And how do I acquire customers? And how do I create a really frictionless path from beginning to end to get those customer, not only into us, into say, my product or application, but keep them continually engaged. And it’s a tough thing because lots of people have great ideas, but there’s so much friction that gets created when you think about customer acquisition and when you think about, you know, everyone talks about virality, but actually implementing it is really hard for lots of companies. So, it’s just worked really well for us to come together and focus on those and help companies in that vein.
Patrick: So, basically, your job is via social media to get customer to your clients’ doors?
Cydni: Yep, we do it a lot. You know, and it’s not, we don’t think about it just like, “Hey, here’s a Facebook fan page.” We have lots of methodologies where… so, we actually have a, say, even a sign up process, that we know exactly how to drive conversion. If I have a mobile app, and you want to think about, “How I start to reduce friction? Or how I get users in? Or how I get more users?” For us, I mean, social’s kind of starting to become the norm, but, or you just have to include it into your integrated marketing plan, for us it’s not about a Facebook fan page. It’s about all of these integrated touch points along the entire pipe of customer acquisition, including embedded into your product.
Patrick: What’s the most difficult thing about trying to acquire customers? The reason I’m asking that question is, I think there’s a lot of companies that do get it. But also think that the majority of companies just simply don’t get it, when it comes to social.
Cydni: Right. No. I completely agree. I think a lot of… I think there’s a couple of things. I think one thing is, people always create way to much friction when it comes to customer acquisition.
Patrick: Now, is that intentional?
Cyndi: Um, they just don’t know that they did it. You know, so you’re sitting in this room and you’re brainstorming your product. And everyone sits around and says, “Okay, I know. If the users did this and this and this, we would have all this great data, and we could do all of these amazing things.” And so, then they go build that, and they go launch that, and the problem is, customers, you have to remember, customers don’t think. If you do anything, especially in social and online, that requires customers to stop and pause and think deeply at your very first step, it almost always leads to failure. You haven’t created enough of a value exchange for them to know why to do it that they’re willing to spend time. It takes three seconds when someone looks at something for them to decide if they’re going to take action. So, when you go through and say, “Hey, let’s put these forms up and add all of these other steps and then get them to do this.” The user’s abandoned pretty quickly. And then I think the other thing people fail to remember is that, inside of social, things have to be shareable. I’ve worked with lots of companies who, even when they post on Twitter or Facebook, the tone and the direction and the message is wrong. I always say to people, “You have to remember: If I tell you and you think it’s cool enough that you pass it along, that means it was social. It means it was viral.” And so, you have to try and create that same language and cultural in your communications. If you look at me and roll your eyes and walk away and never think of it again, people are going to do the same thing online. And so, you have to come up with engaging-shareable, and it has to shareable. And it has to be easily shareable for them to engage.
Patrick: Okay, so when you talk about sharing, you’re talking about literally pressing a button, “Hey share it on Facebook, share it on Twitter…” Or, am I over simplifying it?
Cyndi: No. Yeah, it could be exactly that simple. Whatever it means to get that message to another person. Alright so, if that is, “Yep, I should Ping another friend.” I mean, it could even be as simple as text message, too, right? Or anything… but it just means that the content is something someone is willing to pass along.
Chris: And as simple as that sounds, there’s just either people who don’t know how to do it, or they’re over-thinking that process. I mean, we have a lot of companies that are showing up right now saying, “I’ve got to be into social,” and I don’t think they really know what that means. Right? “I know that everything is going through social, but I don’t know what that means to go to social.” Or, “I don’t know how to make content. I don’t know what my content strategy should be. I don’t understand what the means when you say ‘to share it’.” Right? And this is coming from people who are, in general, I mean, when you think about the world today, they’re heavy Facebook users. They’re utilizing Twitter. You know, those types of services, but they’re still coming along and saying, “Oh, well, I really don’t get this. How do I actually do it.” Because the actual use of those services is different than the implementation of those services.
Patrick: What’s the future of Facebook and Google+ when it comes to social? One of the good moves that Google did make was that they were trying to open up their platform, and they saw, you know, a trillion percent interest for about a week. And then it just seems like, “Oh, okay, that was kind of nice. Let’s go back to Facebook.” Does Google+ have a future?
Chris: Google+ has what is referred to as a two sided marketplace problem. Right? So, and that is, any marketplace or any place where you have people showing up for either the consumption of, you know, either purchase… So, take eBay. Right? Ebay is the perfect example of the two sided marketplace. You have people showing up to sell things, and you have people showing up to buy things. On a social media platform, you have people showing up to be there to consume information. Right? And so, if all of the people that I’m interested in are on a different platform, and I can’t get them to adopt to another platform, I’m just going to stay on the platform that I was on before. Because, I’m not getting the information or the interaction with those people that I was getting on that other platform. So, if we look at this in terms of Google+, and we look at it in terms of Facebook, “Yeah, Google+ came along and it was this shiny new object. It was very interesting. It had the circles in there. Ways to communicate that were actually different than what Facebook was doing.” But we see that there wasn’t a mass adoption of that, or a fast enough adoption of that, to get you interested enough to stay over there to consume information. Where on Facebook, I still have all that interaction going on, and then, in no time at all, Facebook comes along gives you (laughter) basically the same type of functionality. The circles functionality now exists on Facebook. Right?
Patrick: Well, and I would argue that competition is terrific for that reason alone. It made Facebook, kind of, sharpen up.
Patrick: So, I think it’s good from that standpoint.
Dan: One point I think that you bring up, too, is that there’s maybe not a mass adoption with Google+, but every person or company is probably going to be more successful at Facebook, or at Google+, or at Twitter, or some other niche social forum, or whatever it is. And it’s not always going to be Facebook for everybody. It’s not going to be Twitter for everybody. You know, it could be something completely different for your industry. And so from that point, I think what you’re talking about is fine whichever platform you’re at.
Patrick: Cydni, you mentioned texting specifically. I know that texting is huge because, you know, Dan was texting me this morning, not that that makes texting huge. (Laughter). Dan is such a huge texter. (More laughter) But I guess my point is…
Dan: Oh, thanks.
Patrick: Is texting undervalued at this point? I just… If someone could come up, or at least it’s my perception, if someone could come up with some kind of a texting, marketing plan, I just think that they would strike it rich. Or, am I just oversimplifying it?
Cydni: No. You know, I think in the right, depending on, it all goes back to making sure you understand who your demographic is, what channels they communicate on, but depending on that, text might be a very, very viable solution. Depending on your channel and your audience and your location, SMS might be the perfect choice. Because a lot of times people are trying to get, they’re in an offline world. It’s a billboard, “I’m sitting in a stadium. I’m doing some specific interaction, where I’m not in front of my computer and I have to remember to get online to do something.” And in some circumstances it’s actually not even practical for people to get onto a data service. So, like, for our sports client who are in stadiums, as soon as sixty thousand people show up in a stadium, no one can connect to the web. So, you have to move campaigns and product offerings to text in order to create engagement on those. And in some of those cases you’re then receiving literally tens of thousands of texts over the course of seconds in response to interactions. So, you know, I read an article on the plane last night that someone wanted to declare that SMS is dead.
Patrick: Oh, no way?
Cydni: SMS is our most common platform. I mean, in all those teenagers who are coming up, they’re getting into Smart Phones, more heavily Android than the iPhone, but they can all text. And until we end up with another, basically, standard that allows everyone to connect and the infrastructure is there, which is still years out, text messaging might be a very viable option because you can capture users in a moment, and they can absolutely engage, where there are other barriers. We’re still only just about, we should be fifty percent at end of year, with Smart Phone adoption. But still, you have fifty percent of your market, and depending on what you’re doing, you might have to engage a text campaign. It’s a great idea if it makes sense.
Dan: Let’s break this down a little bit to small business and start-ups and for a new company that comes out. Maybe they have some funding. Maybe they don’t. Maybe they have a tight budget. But how do they figure out which of these areas to market: put the most effort into? And so forth…
Chris: I think that’s a really good question. I taught a class this semester at Westminster College, a search and social marketing class, and this question came up a lot. I think small businesses have a problem, and that is, they have limited resources. And they have all this marketing stuff that they want to do. Right? And so, how do I take the limited resources I have and apply it to the most effective marketing campaign that I can do for my small business? So, that question that you ask, Dan, could be… it could be different depending on what the business is. Right? If it’s a start up that’s heavily funded that has millions of dollars, that can do things different than, say like a coffee shop down on the corner that’s trying to engage in a different way maybe than all the other different coffee shops that are local in town are trying to engage. So, I think it really comes down to, you know, your resources allocation. And I kind of had this interesting experience where, with my students, I had them actually do, create a search and social marketing plan for a business. There were six groups, and I kind of got through the first group and the second group. And the next four groups, I was started to kid of zero in on them and ask them, “So, what do you think is better for this business? Do you think search is better? Or do you think that social is better?”
Patrick: Now, when you say search, you’re talking about SEO type stuff?
Chris: Yeah, I’m talking about like search engine optimization, optimizing for Google, utilizing Google Locals, or those types of services or places or whatever to promote your business. And I found that the students, really in their marketing plans for these businesses, were gravitating to social opportunities more than they were search engine opportunities. And in a lot of cases, it would’ve been a lot cheaper to do social marketing for the businesses that they were looking at than it would’ve been to do search marketing. So…
Dan: Well, today a good social affects search at the same time.
Chris: Yeah, absolutely. Yeah, I want to make sure I’m clear on this. It’s not an either or. You can do both. You can do both of those things, but a lot of time businesses are faced with, they’re stretched too thing budgetarily, ans so they look at it and say, “Well, why don’t we actually push into the social strategy. Why don’t we push into the search strategy.” Or whatever it is. But Dan is right. Both those things together are very powerful. It’s just that a lot of businesses can’t afford to do, especially localized business, can afford to do those things.
Patrick: Dan, I’ll ask you this. You cam from SEO.com, and is SEO dying? Is it less relevant than it was, maybe two years ago?
Chris: No. NO. (laughter)
Dan: I mean, Cydni could probably answer this too, but when people are buying, they look, when they’re looking to buy, they search for something to buy, that’s probably, I mean, that’s your customer who’s going to buy right now. Right?
Chris: Search is bigger than it’s ever been, and it’s only going to get bigger. Especially as long as Google remains a ‘black box’ and does not share with businesses how to really, truly optimize for their index, they’re going to turn to search engine optimization companies to help them understand how to actually place in that index.
Patrick: Should companies just start there then? I mean, is that a good solid first step? Or, should they really consider the social stuff first?
Chris: I mean, I would do both. I mean, there’s issues of on page optimization, or making sure my website is optimized for the search engines, which is a pretty straight forward type of a thing. But like Dan said, you also do, you know, off a lot of social strategies, you do get a very good SEO effect off of them. It’s true. And so, the question of “Where do I start?” in terms of “Should I do SEO? Should I do social?” it really, really depends on the business. I mean, Cydni and I have sat in with clients and a lot of perspective clients where we’ve taken a really good close look at their marketing strategy, and there’s often times when we’ve walked out the office and said, “You know, that’s a perfect social opportunity there.” Or, there’s no social opportunity there , but there’s a perfect search opportunity there. Or there’s both, right? So, it really just depends on the business.
Patrick: What’s your take on the future of SEO and social stuff?
Cydni: I mean, all of those, both of those are here to stay. I mean, we’re now at a point where social’s been around long enough that it just has to be included as part of your integrated marketing campaign. And SEO is a critical factor. You have to be found, right? How do people find out about things? And especially if I’m going after a consumer brand they are searching. And I read a stat the other day: fifty nine percent of all consumers are now researching a purchase online, and even if they walk into a retail store and buy it in the store. And if that’s the case, if you’re not showing up above the fold, or in that first page of results, then you’re hurting your chances of conversions. I mean, we’ve seen entire companies built simply on the fact that they understand how to do search. And the companies that don’t, right then, that means they’re on the seventeenth page, and they have to work their way forward.
Patrick: Speaking of someone who was on the seventeenth page but go to the second and first page. (Laughter) Yeah, it’s pretty gratifying when you see yourself on that first page for the first time. It’s like, “Oh, man! I made it!”
Chris: Yeah, and it’s kind of funny. It’s interesting about that, too, because a lot of search engine optimization companies will brag about how they can get their clients on that first page, but…
Patrick: You can’t guarantee that.
Chris: You can’t guarantee it, number one. And number two, really the place…
Dan: Well, you can, but it might be a keyword like, “Your Momma’s Bakery Shop Down by the Corner.”
Chris: Or an exact match, right? But I mean, so, the (laughter), the reality is, if you’re not placed in the top three positions, in one of the top three positions, you’re not really getting found anyway.
Dan: How can you start to build your brand, you know, from the ground up?
Chris: Maybe, Cydni, do you want to address that first? I actually have some controversial commentary on that. (laughter) But Cydni is probably better on this topic than me.
Patrick: Well, go safe first. Then we’ll go controversial. (more laughter) Alright, Cydni.
Cydni: Okay, sounds fair. Okay, so the first and foremost thing you have to figure out, right, is who it is that you’re targeting and what they need to know about you. And then, how you’re going to communicate that. So, a lot of times as a small business, they’ll come in and they’ll say, “Okay, I need to target anyone who’s twenty-five to forty-five.” Or, even a start up does this, and the problem is, that’s not going to get you close enough to how to figure out how to target those people. So, let me give you and example: I was helping a health food company. They had a health product, and they wanted to start selling it online. So, this was about a year ago, a year last August. No transactions coming in on the web. And we said, “Okay, how are we going to target people who want to lose weight?” That’s a really broad category. And so, we came up with this idea to say, “Okay, well, let’s drill down on this. We don’t exactly know who they are or who’s going to convert best.” But we actually used Facebook to help us do filtering. So, we created ad campaigns, and we went after people who liked Weight Watchers, who liked Jenny Craig, who liked Biggest Loser, who liked Jillian Michaels, who liked Shape Magazine. And we came up with over twenty-five different segments. Then we actually ran ads at them.
Patrick: Now, are you talking about pay per click stuff?
Cydni: I’m not talking about pay per click. I’m talking about Facebook ads.
Patrick: Oh, okay.
Cydni: So, we ran Facebook ads, and because we didn’t know our demographic, and it’s really hard. If you don’t know, you know, not only do I need someone who is twenty-five to forty-five, but they like these things, and they like to hang out in these places, and they’re engaged in these activities. You have to start understanding that because otherwise you can spend a lot of money going after a really big demographic without understanding conversion. And in the case of the health food company, we actually found that, if you liked Jillian Michaels and Shape Magazine, you would convert for us into a customer. But if you liked Weight Watchers or the Biggest Loser, our conversion was much smaller. And so, what started to happen was, we could start to home our message and figure out, “Okay, what’s triggering in those people, and let’s find more people like them in order to do that.” And so, ultimately, the job of the marketing team is to figure out how to get to a target demographic, how to communicate, and how to convert. And brand then just comes with that. And you should always focus first on how I should get customers and how do I convert them. And then as you know that, you can get more things that create more community around you, and that make your brand bigger. But if you don’t understand that core, you’re never going to get profitable because you’ll spend money in the wrong place.
Patrick: Okay. Oh, sorry, go ahead, Dan.
Dan: I just… can a pizza shop, can they do the same thing? Or that coffee shop we were talking about?
Cydni: Okay, so, here’s an interesting thing. I know of two local restaurants who have done a fabulous job of figuring this game out and using it and being creative to stand out. So…
Patrick: Can we use their names? Or is that not a good idea?
Cydni: Yeah, and they’ve evolved since then. But a couple of years ago, I don’t know if you guys know the Pounders Grill guys?
Patrick: Oh, yeah, okay.
Cydni: Okay, so Sterling…
Dan: Aren’t they mobile now?
Cydni: They’re mobile now, yeah. They’re truck based. We should be having them come give us free lunch today. So, they, basically when Sterling started, I remember it was a big social media conference that the Women Tech Counsel was doing. And they, he had gotten on Twitter, and he started basically saying, “I’m going to get really smart about this, and I’m going tap all these tech people, who I know are going to lunch everyday and who might be interested, and who also might talk about me online.” And he didn’t do it, you know, he wasn’t like, “I’m marketing to you.” But he started creating relationships with key people, and in doing so it ended up that he said, “Hey, can I come provide (at our Chris Brogen event) lunch for you guys. We’ll sponsor lunch. We’ll just bring it down, etc…” Which was perfect for us because we needed lunch. And that got him introduced into forty more people who all Tweeted and Facebooked about the fact that, “Hey, these guys did lunch.” And then all those people started showing back up at his shop and have continued to use him and go back to those, whether it was truck based or store based. And he has done… he built all of that initial following based on Twitter. All of it!
Chris: And then he raised his prices. (Laughter)
Dan: I think what Cydni said, though, is that they created those key relationships with the tech people. And all social with business is… social is about having relationships with people. Right?
Chris: Yeah, it’s influence. So, he went to the influencers and created relationships there, and then the influencers talked about him. And then everybody started going and trying out his stuff. Right? And so…
Patrick: Okay, so it did work out. Now, let me ask you this: You mentioned Facebook ads. When you were doing the weight loss product, was it more effective to do Facebook ads because it was social or was it more effective to do Google pay per click?
Cydni: It was more effective to do Facebook ads. PPC is fairly expensive for big terms. Like if you’re into weight loss or some of those big topics, it’s very, very expensive. But not only that, what Facebook give me that PPC doesn’t is very focused interests, and that’s what I needed. I wanted to know… I can’t know in PPC, all of those people who claim that they like Jillian Michaels. I have no idea, no way to know that. So, what Facebook gives me is a very targeted demographic to evaluate and also the ability to very, very quickly, you know, change those messages and target new communities. So, I can go target twenty different demographics on Facebook and watch the conversion. And that’s how I can differentiate, and I can’t do it on PPC. There’s just no possible way. I can’t say, “Give me only the guys in New York City who like this.” I just can’t do it on PPC, and so we get much better targeted results when we run Facebook ads in these situations.
Patrick: Very interesting. No wonder Facebook is huge. I mean, not only do you have the social stuff, but the mere fact that you can drill down to a granular point, that’s amazing. No wonder Facebook is taking off.
Chris: I think one of the biggest Ah Ha moments that my students had last semester, when I was teaching my search and social class, was when I showed them the Facebook ad platform, and they were like, “Geez, we can get all sorts of demographic information here that we can not get inside of Google ad works. And you know…
Patrick: Is Google in trouble, or do you think they’ll just get better?
Chris: No, I think that they’re going to evolve. I mean, that platform has evolved quite a bit. It’s still a powerful platform, but it’s an expensive platform. But it’s expensive because it works. I mean, you still have to keep in mind that, when you’re looking at a search engine results page, 15% of the people are going to click on those paid ads. 85% are going to click on a natural search page. And, you know, Facebook does have its issues with conversion and how those ads are placed on a actually Facebook profile page. But they’re going to evolve that, and they’re going to come up with new things and test it. It reminds me a lot, as I look at right now, it reminds me a lot of PPC when it was in its infancy. So, I think it’s just going to get better. Eventually, I think, it’s going to be a better platform than ad works.
Cydni: And we’ve found that sometimes it works better in some instances and not as well in other instances. Like, I would not use Facebook ads if I’m in a business to business setting or for… You really just have to evaluate and see if your community is hanging out there. And is there, say, a community of interest you can target strong enough in order to draw conversion for you.
Patrick: I’m going to show a little bit of my experience here when I ask this question. That question is, does LinkedIn have ads? Because you’re right. You don’t want the business to business people hanging out on Facebook. In fact, if you’re at work, it probably doesn’t look so great being on Facebook. But does LinkedIn, do they have advertising platforms that you can your a, catch people in?
Cydni: They do.
Cydni: Yep, and it’s a great platform on the B to B side. Whenever you talked to someone who’s going after, you know… even if you’re looking to get to business professionals as individual consumers, it works sometimes that way. And if you’re looking for, business type infrastructure, anything you want to communicate in that type of context. We’ve seen good results on LinkedIn as far as the conversion goes.
Patrick: Okay, now, let’s go over to you Chris. Okay, now that we’ve had the safe approach with Cydni, (laughter) now let’s get into the controversy.
Chris: I agree with everything that she said, and I think that branding is very important for a business. I think the controversy comes down to, or maybe my controversial statement… I kind of pose this question out to the Facebook world probably about a month or two ago, when I said, “You know, when you’re a start up, what is your branding?” Is it just your logo. Or is it something deeper than that? And I think that it’s… there’s a lot of people that kind of error on this side of, “Oh, well, you know, when you’re a start up, you don’t have a lot of money, so your logo becomes your brand.” There’s a lot of people that talk about, “Well, your brand is really your interaction that you have and the experiences that you create with your customers.” And I think that, kind of, all of the above is true.
Patrick: I think you nailed it. I think it’s the experiences with the customer.
Patrick: That is your brand, and then I guess it’s just encapsulated in a logo. But it’s the interaction where your brand is formed.
Chris: If you create value for the customer in terms of experience and the interaction they have with you as a company and with your brand, then they’re going to adopt your brand. They’re going to adopt it. And so, it will grow from that, right? But I guess where the controversial statement that I have, or what I was going to make, and say this coming from the consulting world that Cydni and I are in, is, a lot of companies are coming in and hiring big consultants to come in and help them figure out a big brand strategy, kind of a very old school type of an agency, type of an approach. And it’s very expensive. Where, I look at it and say, “You can do something that, maybe, will be even more effective than that for a fraction of the price when you’re creating your brand. And you can spend a lot of other money or, I’m sorry, a lot of that other money that perhaps you’ve been looking to spend on, you know, creating this big massive brand strategy. You can actually spend that on your ‘go to market’ strategy, which is where you’re going to go out and get your customers, which I think is more important.” So, you are walking a fine line. There’s definitely a fine line that you’re walking there, and you don’t want to create a crappy brand. You don’t want to create a crappy logo. Right? But I really fall on the side of, “Let’s go spend our money on getting clients. Let’s go spend our money on getting customers. Let’s prove that someone will take a dollar out of their pocket and put it in our pocket.”
Dan: I think one thing, too, is providing a value upfront to people, no matter what thought leadership, too. One thing that you can do, I mean, it takes some time, but it’s free. You know, John Deere, when they started, what, in the early 1900’s, they came out with a newsletter that helped farmers know how to farm better.
Chris: It was a magazine, wasn’t it?
Dan: Yeah. It was like a free magazine, yeah. I mean, that’s something that a lot of people are doing now with their blog and with, you know, different type of content that helps people without, you know, whatever it is… They’re kind of a utility type of marketing in a lot of ways, too.
Chris: Yeah, be the expert. I mean, what Dan is talking about is a very powerful strategy, and it’s thought leadership. And you can be a thought leader whether you’re a Fortune 500 company… I mean, you obviously have the resources to create the thought leadership, and you probably are the thought leader. Or if you’re the corner coffee shop in Salt Lake City. I mean, create a blog and a social media presence that makes you the thought leader on what is going on in the community, especially based on activities related to your coffee shop.
Dan: Or, different ways to make a good cappuccino, or something, you know.
Chris: Sure, yeah. Absolutely.
Dan: You know, talk about how to get better beans, or I don’t know.
Chris: Or post a YouTube video that someone’s posted around coffee that’s viral
Dan: That brings up one more point, too, and I know that we’re cutting to the end of it. I think also, maybe understanding where your strengths are. You can’t do everything. You probably can’t be on YouTube, Facebook, Twitter, Google+, LinkedIn, and every place, but find out what you’re good at and where your customers are getting some reaction, and just nail it every time, over and over. But…
Patrick: Cydni, anything else you want to throw in here?
Cydni: No, I think those are all exactly great points. I mean, you’re always making a tradeoff, and often times I say to people, “Do just like what Dan just said. You have to invest in the thing that you know you can do.” It’s like if your company’s never going to be able to have a voice on Twitter or something like that, don’t force it if it’s not who you are. But there is a social channel that you can embrace that will just extend a culture that you’ve already created, and you’re always best spending resources in something that you can be passionate about.
Dan: Once you put out that stuff that’s, and you have it, as we’ve talked about earlier, make sure it’s shareable and people like it, you’re going to find those customers that like you. And in today’s age of marketing that’s probably more important than just a big ad on some, some big magazine or whatever or some mass marketing technique.
Patrick: You know, let me ask you this just quickly. Are banner ads dead? While we’re talking about advertising. I won’t say dead, but are they less effective. Because, I think people just go to a web page, and they’re like, “Oh yeah, okay.” A little bit of color on the page. Are they even worth it anymore.
Chris: I mean, they’ve always been low converting types of advertising activities, but I definitely would not say that they’re dead. I mean, there’s… Like Dan was saying, it’s a mass advertising type of a strategy on the web. Right? And so, it may not be as effective as say, something that’s more targeted. In fact, I would guarantee it’s not as effective as something that’s more targeted. But it’s just another channel to be able to get your branding out there or your call to action out there or whatever it might be.
Patrick: So, multiple calls to action? Or multiple ways to market your company and see what sticks?
Chris: Yeah. I mean, what you’re talking about is channels. Right? Channels, traditional advertising, public relations, and the traditional advertising online in that bucket would be banner advertisements. Social, Twitter, or Twitter, Facebook, you know, search engine optimization, pay per click, these are all different channels or various channels. It’s important to decide, you know, kind of bringing it all together, this is, “What’s our resources? What should we go after? And test, test, test.” That’s the most important thing. Because one channel, you might test it, and it doesn’t work. So you go to another one, and it does work. And then you want to keep building on that channel.
Patrick: I can see why people need you guys, Cydni and Chris. If a particular company tried a type of marketing, and they were not successful, I could see that there could be a barrier of entry for you guys that maybe the advertising medium has changed and evolved to be more effective than it was the first time they tried it. Have you seen that?
Chris: Oh, yeah. Absolutely. I mean, people will come along who are like, “Well, we tried this. We’ve done that. We want to try this thing over here, whatever it is.” And it’s really coming and bring them back into a discussion of, “Let’s really figure out what the strategy is, and redefine, or actually define for you, what we think the implementation needs to be and what channels out of the gate.” And then, like I said, and this is something Cydni really likes to drill down on with our clients, is, “You’ve got to test it.” And that’s the most important aspect of it. If you don’t test it, you don’t have the analytics to back up the results from the test and you’re never going to know what’s most effective.
Patrick: Or it’s, you know, your brother’s wife’s half cousin’s sister’s baby, who started doing the marketing, and they, “It didn’t work.” “Well, yeah, you did it wrong.” (laughter) You know, something along those lines.
Dan: I think this is great stuff. I think each of these points we probably could’ve had a podcast for each of these.
Patrick: Oh, man. We could’ve gone thrity minutes on SEO alone, or the Facebook ads.
Chris: Yeah, I just went a whole semester on almost SEO alone, so…
Patrick: Did you really?
Chris: I mean, you can do hours and hours and hours on social, I think is even more interesting than that.
Patrick: Alright, great conversation today. Let’s go ahead and wrap it up there. What do you say?
Cydni: (laughter) Sounds good.
Chris: Thanks a lot.
Patrick: Alright, Cydni Tetro joining us via Skype with SocailPlayz.com. Is it SocialPlayz.com?
Chris: It is SocialPlayz.com, and if you go there, the playz is spelled p-l-a-y-Z.
Patrick: Oh, okay. So, SocialPlayz.com. So, check them out Cydni Tetro and Chris Knusden, both with SocialPlayz.com. Be sure to check them out. Dan Bischoff, director of communications at Lendio.com.
Dan: Yeah, great to have all of you today.
Patrick: Yeah, terrific conversation.
Dan: Thanks for calling in, too, Cydni.
Cydni: Oh, yeah, thanks for having us. It was great.
Patrick: My name is Patrick Wiscombe. Thanks for listening to the Entrepreneur Addiction Podcast. We’ll talk to you next week. See you.
Cool Voice Guy: Making business loans simple, this has been the entrepreneur addiction podcast, helping you secure the capital you need, with your host Brock Blake, Dan Bischoff, and Patrick Wiscombe. Heard exclusively at Lendio.com.