We discuss B2B marketing and why every business owner needs to break down what they are doing for marketing and measure, measure, measure! Jens’s best advice for an agency? “Listen to your clients”
We talk about the reasons why entrepreneurs need to hire a marketing agency some of the benefits and ROI they will get in return. This is a very informative episode for merchants and agencies. We also discuss how diversity helps us all be better business owners.
Brent: We have the pleasure of having Jennifer Roth here, Jennifer, go ahead and introduce yourself. Tell us about what you do and one of your passions.
Jen: My name is Jen Roth, as Brent said, I run growth mode marketing along with my business partner and we are a Twin Cities based women-owned full-service agency.
And we are super passionate about helping companies grow and hence our name growth mode. We love to align strategies and programs and marketing investments directly with our client’s goals, measure that and help them deliver the results and the outcomes that they desire. Passion, I guess I have. A couple, but I love going to really awesome restaurants. I actually got to go to a three Michelin star restaurant and a couple of weeks ago in Washington, DC with my entrepreneur’s organization forum. And it was super, super awesome. And I love going with my girlfriends to Napa. So that’s probably two of my favorite guilty pleasures is when I’m not a mom and a marketer and a wife.
Brent: We are lucky to be in Minneapolis / St. Paul to have some fantastic restaurants to go to. But today we’re not going to talk about restaurants. Let’s talk a little bit about marketing. I know that you focus on growth, but also on B2B and probably growth in B2B. So let’s start with B2B Tell us a little bit about what you do for B2B and in marketing.
Jen: B2B marketing is different than consumer-based marketing. Primarily because in the B2B world it’s a considered purchase. Multi-step, complex buying process where you will often start your journey of driving awareness with not only the decision-maker but also the influencer or the champion. It’s really common in B2B to have a C-Suite person sign off on an actual purchase. The people who will be using the solutions that you’re selling are often different. They’re often managers, directors, VPs, et cetera. And so you see it’s just a different world because the evaluation process is considerable, brand loyalty is very important, but the way that people buy in the B2B world is just different. We focus on that and for those of you who don’t know, B2B is business to business. Any business that sells a product to another business falls in that B2B category, it’s super common for B2B companies to also have a B2C component where they might be selling things like benefits, healthcare benefits, for example, or software directly to consumers, as well as the benefit for something that they use.
Brent: Do you develop strategies, not only for new B2B, but you also do then develop strategies for an existing client? You want them then tell them about new products that you as a company are marketing and selling. I’m assuming that you come up with strategies for them as well.
Jen: We do. In fact most often when clients come to growth mode, we have a model, we have a model that includes three phases. We call it a growth marketing model and we implement it with almost every client that we serve. The first phase is really around setting your foundation. The second phase is really around building your presence. And the third phase is really around fielding predictable growth, which is where most people want to get to because that’s really where you start to see your marketing investment materialized in the form of conversions and leads, and sales.
But most often a client does come to us and they come to us for a variety of different reasons, but it’s often something like. We are growing really fast and we don’t have the marketing resources and capabilities in-house that we need. We need an extension of our team to help us strategize and think through the right way to bring our business and our products to market. And, or. We need to want a new product and we’ve never launched a product before. And or we don’t plan on hiring a bunch of people internally. We don’t want to hire a bunch of people internally. We just need an agency that can serve as our partner and our arms and our legs and provide the exact types of marketing expertise that we need when we need them, dialing them up when we need them and dialing them down when we don’t. So that’s often where people start is in coming to us and we’ll build-out. It might be a whole business marketing plan. It might be a roadmap, a marketing roadmap with more concrete, specific deliverables, or it might be a very targeted plan for a big event that you’re launching or a big product that you’re launching.
But that’s typically where we start. And then we actually do a series of different programs and activities based on what the client needs. And so most often we focus on that foundation. Not always because there are times when folks totally have their foundation set, but in twenty-some years of experience working in marketing, I can tell you that if you don’t know who you are, what you stand for, why you’re unique, and what your customers care about. All the marketing in the world is not going to work. So we spend a lot of time upfront working on helping people figure it out. What is unique to them, important to their customer, and provable. And we do that through stakeholder sessions. We do it through the voice of customer interviews. We do it through competitive audits. And then from that, what often comes out is personas buyer journeys messaging, brand identity works again, not always, but often we end up helping clients really evolve and think through that. And then that turns into a website where they’re able to showcase their story and their brand and who they are in the form of relevant messaging, compelling information, optimized sites with words, and buying experiences that we know their buyers have.
And then from there, you get into the next two phases, which is now that you know who you are and what you stand for and you’re inside matches your outside. You can start to build a presence. You can start to establish yourself as a leader in your space, or get people to the targeted people that you really want to know who you are.
Know what you stand for. And that really comes into play with social media and video and public relations and sometimes investor relations. Getting involved in trade media advertising, all that stuff, there, product launches. And then the last phase is really all about fielding predictable growth and that’s what we all know is demand generation. That’s all about it. Multi-component super smart, super-targeted email marketing, paid digital marketing, paid social marketing, organic digital really strong calls to action, and lead magnets that drive your buyers to the site. And get them to convert and experience and interact with you.
Really thinking through that in the metrics and how you actually start to drive a top of the funnel, middle of the funnel, bottom of funnel strategy to fill your pipeline so that as you move forward and you continue to grow, it’s predictable, it’s scalable and it’s systemic. A long answer, but that’s our model.
Brent: As a small business owner how would you tell them to start out in getting their marketing plan going?
Jen: I would still start, I follow the same three steps. I just do it in a scrappier way. I can tell you, even as growth mode, we’re about six years old or we’ll have our birthday here in September and we drank our own Kool-Aid if you will. We did the same exact exercise for ourselves so that we could figure out why we were important to our customers, unique to us and our differentiators were provable. And we did it by just simply talking to some of our customers and just asking questions.
I do recommend that if you have the resources to have a marketing expert, do it to start there, but if not, take your clients out to coffee and don’t just take the ones that love you. Take the ones that don’t like you and say, what are we doing? Why did you choose us? What can we do differently? Have you ever talked to anybody as a competitor? And what did they bring that you thought was interesting? What’s the last article you read online? Ask the questions because it’s amazing the information and the insights you can glean. About what makes you, and what is your authentic story?
So if I were a small business, that’s what I would do. And I am a small business so I understand, and I am an entrepreneur. And then from there once you have that in place, identify your target audience. Some companies make the mistake of trying to let the whole world know who they are when really they only went up 10 clients this year.
If you only want 10 clients, you probably know which 10 you want. Think long and hard about who you really want to add to your client base in the next year and focus your marketing energy there, instead of all over the place. That’s probably the biggest piece of advice that I can give to small businesses that are just starting, or that have been around for a while and are struggling with sales.
Brent: In the EO world, we have a concept called the shiny object. What would you say to an entrepreneur who would tell their team doesn’t say no to anybody? How do you get around the fact that sometimes saying no is the best thing you can do in the marketing world?
Jen: I have had the, I don’t know if luxury is the right word, but I have seen the consequences of following the shiny object in my own businesses, but also the clients.
And I can tell you irrefutably that if you have a targeted approach and you have a business model in mind, It will pay ten times over to stay focused on what it is that you do best. And here’s why, because let’s say I’ll just use my own agency and my own experiences. And example, if we try to service a business or a client who needs an in-depth public relations program.
And we love the client and they’re super nice and they fit in all of our other criteria and all they want is public relations. So we really just want to give it a try anyway, guess what? We’re not the best PR agency in the world. We partner with PR people. We do a lot of PR, but that’s not what we do best.
And then what happens is they don’t feel like they got what they wanted. They’re not a referenceable customer. We’re not happy with the services we delivered. And my employees aren’t happy because they got stuck doing something they weren’t competent in delivering and they couldn’t do their best work. So stay the course because, in the end, it will be worth it.
You’ll fill that slot with someone else. And the better you do at what you do best, the more referenceable customers you’ll have, and the more customers will refer you to the next set of.
Brent: Earlier you had mentioned something around building a website for somebody. I can recall a conversation that I had with a marketing person and I had brought up this topic of partnering with us because we’re Magento, we’re a Magento shop. And they said our clients don’t really sell things online. They only market things. And no, we’re not interested in partnering with you because we’re not doing e-commerce. And this was pre-pandemic.
What would you say to a small business owner that when they come to you and they say, yeah, we’d like to build up this marketing campaign, but no we’re not going to sell any?
Jen: Where do I start with? First of all, pre-pandemic was definitely different in the B2B world. And even in the consumer-based world for sure, but it was different because there was a belief that sales were primarily relationship-based and that feet on the street were the most effective mechanism for selling. But data will tell you, and you can go in and put this in your Google and look for it. And you’ll find all sorts of stats. Then 90 plus percent of B2B decision-makers are on your website prior to ever engaging a salesperson COVID happened and it became 100%. Because they had no other way to reach an organization to learn about solutions. And we saw over the course of 2020 and 2021 a huge uptick in people, investing in the overall infrastructure of their websites, adding e-commerce capabilities, and really thinking through those buyer journies, and who was actually going to their site, what they were experiencing and what type of information they wanted to provide. So it is probably true in some instances that very few instances that you may not sell something on your site, but it would never be true that somebody wouldn’t use your site as an important piece of information in the sales evaluation process and I believe that wholeheartedly.
Brent: I can comment on the fact that a lot of current business owners and salespeople are concerned that the buyer journey will disclude or we’ll cut out the salesperson. And I know that one way we’ve gotten over that is just giving the website as another tool to enable that salesperson to sell.
And then. I guess you have to say it selling the salespeople on this new tool and it’s not going to infringe on their ability to sell even more. And then I think it’s important to sell or to make it known to the owner or the entrepreneur of the organization, that this is a new tool. And don’t try to take the commissions away from the salespeople, because this is going to increase everybody’s business and having those tools online and the ability to purchase directly in the middle of the night on a Sunday or whatever time of the day is that buyer wants to purchase. It just enables them to do more with their products and to sell more.
Jen: I couldn’t agree more. And I’ve actually given presentations on the importance of the relationship between sales and marketing because I believe I say this often to people who know me, but I believe that marketing represents the voice of the customer, sales represent the voice of a customer and both are equally important. And so when you think about the marketing mix, the role of marketing is to enable sales. So sales can do their job and to understand what marketing needs and to provide the awareness and the ground cover that makes your buyer market, your industry, your marketplace, maybe potential employees aware of who you are and what you stand for and what makes you, you. The rest of your job in marketing is to help those sales folk shine and to be able to do what they do best, which is sales. And to be able to meet the needs of the voice of a customer. And so to your point, like the website is a critical role because it’s where people go first for that top of the funnel stuff, trying to find people and have them be aware of you. It also is where people stay to get to the middle of the funnel. So as they’re cranking through kind of their gear and their priorities and their initiatives, Eventually, there comes a time when they need your product. You want to be top of mind. That is marketing’s job.
When it gets in the middle of the funnel, sales and marketing need to hold hands and work through that together to get that person to convert from being aware of you to be interested in talking to you. And then at that point, Sales comes in and they lead the conversations. They lead the processes, they lead the actual sale in terms of taking your solutions and turning them into what is the most beneficial for the client’s needs and meeting them where they’re at. That’s my philosophy on the importance of making sure sales and marketing work together.
Brent: I want to just continue down this road of buyer journey and really having an entrepreneur dive into their buyer journey and find out places that are resistant and going back to the website and what you talked about, this is where the top level, this is where they’re going to get their information.
Their traditional buyer journey was they’d go to the website. They would look at that information. They would call the salesperson that salesperson would talk to them. Then they would put the order in salesperson would either put the order directly into their ERP system, or they would call some customer service person who then put it into an ERP system.
I guess one message that I had been always trying to tell. Business owners who are in this B2B space are, even if you don’t want your client to put in their orders directly, to think about the resistance that’s in that buyer’s journey and examine that buyer journey to enable more sales to happen without any resistance in that sales process.
Jen: I could not agree more. And that’s another thing we’ve actually seen a big uptick in, in terms of investments is really rethinking and re-understanding and recalibrating that buyer journey because you’re right it’s changing before our very eyes in the B2B world because of COVID and the number of things that happen online, both before and after a salesperson is engaged, it’s shifting and it’s becoming maybe not circular, but not linear. It’s maybe like an up and down or a wavy or a little bit of a loop, where people are in engaging in enacting interacting in both. The only other thing I would add to what you said is we have seen clients very interested in segmentation.
So a lot of industry, vertical kind of stuff. Maybe buyer types and ideal client and customer profiles. And even company profiles. You might be doing like a C-suite persona with a buyer journey map for C-level decision-makers or purchasing folks. But now you’re also seeing. C-level buyer in the manufacturing space.
What does that buyer journey look like? What does that persona look like? And so there could, they’re like almost there they’re there’s growing so much in importance to a business. And I remember when I kinda first started in marketing, I wasn’t so sure about whether or not buyer journeys were worth all the time they took and all the money they took, but I have become a believer as I’ve watched, it worked for companies where I’ve led marketing, but also with the clients that we work with. It’s crazy when you know who you’re serving, why you’re serving them, what matters most to them, how much more effective everything you do after that can be.
Brent: In the e-commerce world, we see a lot of inbound sales growth through marketing, and there isn’t a lot of KPIs needed on the sales side. It’s more on the marketing side. When there’s a B2B journey or a B2B marketing, there are some sales KPIs. And then there’s some marketing KPIs. Maybe you could talk a little bit about how to mix those and how to put those together. So the sales team is understanding what the marketing team is delivering to them, and even more important, the marketing team understands what the sales team needs and those KPIs that are maybe important to both.
Jen: Now you touched on one of my favorite topics because even though I’m not a numbers person, I love metrics because they tell you what’s working, what’s not working, and where people are going and it helps you fine-tune your marketing dollars and your investment. So that it’s going exactly where you want it to. That’s a super exciting question. Now, I will say it’s, it can be very difficult. So for our clients specifically, We tend to build out metrics, dashboards in Google data studio sometimes Tablo sometimes systems that they already own. Sometimes we just looked through HubSpot because they already own HubSpot and they have their CRM, their Salesforce, et cetera.
There are lots of different tools that you can use. What we do. And what I recommend anybody does is when you write your marketing plan, identify your KPIs for each of the things that you’re doing when it comes to marketing and sales specifically one strategy that we’ve seen work really well in B2B.
I don’t think would apply to B2C, but is that you would have something called a marketing qualified lead. So you’d have an opportunity which is any kind of inquiry or contact that comes into your fold. And they either meet the criteria as a prospect, or they don’t, if they don’t meet the criteria, you need to boot them out of the system and say, thanks, you can listen to us, but we know we know you’re not a client or a prospective client.
If they are a prospective client and they meet your criteria, doesn’t even have to be banned. It doesn’t have to be their writing right now. It can just be that they’re, they fit the right profile. Then what you want to do is you want to work them through lead scoring. And so what lead scoring will do is it will help you think it’ll help based on the behaviors that each of these prospects and users are taking, how interested they really are.
So they might start by visiting your website, but if they go to the careers page, then maybe get negative five points. If they go to the product page and they watch a demo, they might get 25 points and you work your way through these points. And then when it gets to a point where most often we have one, two and three marketing qualified leads and a one, two, and three-phase when it reaches three.
It reaches a certain point threshold where a salesperson will get an email or an alert within their CRM that says, Hey, This person’s done enough marketing activity that it’s probably worth reaching out. And I always liken it to the MQL three is are the kids in the classroom that are going pick me?
The MQL twos are the ones that are in the back of the room that is super curious but don’t want to raise their hand. And the MQL ones are the kids that didn’t even want to come to class in the first place. So don’t send the kids that didn’t want to come to the class, the sales team they’re busy.
They don’t need those guys. And they don’t want to talk to you. So wait until they’re raising their hand or they won’t raise their hand and then get those sales folks and their skillsets involved.
Brent: That’s a great analogy. And I love that picture. You’ve painted. Putting on putting on my entrepreneur hat. You had mentioned earlier that you are an extension of somebody’s marketing team. What would you tell an entrepreneur who believes that they should just hire everybody in-house? And they don’t, they want to have internal resources and don’t depend on anything from a marketing agency.
Jen: That’s a great question. So I have a couple of things there and I’m actually going to answer this. I also was a VP and a senior VP of marketing in the B2B world. So I know what it’s like to sit on. Both sides. Granted, they were bigger companies. One was really big. The other one was midsize, but, the advice that I would give entrepreneurs is if you are not an expert in marketing, you really need to think about hiring somebody who is just like you hire an accountant, just like you hire a lawyer.
If you’re not if it’s not your expertise and your core competence, Then be okay with investing in that and building that as part of kind of your growth infrastructure. Most often when we end up with retainer type of clients, which we have a lot of it’s because they need the world of marketing has so many areas of expertise you have a strategy from a marketing perspective, do you have a strategy from a content perspective? You have graphic design, you have video, you have web development, you have social media, you have there is our paid digital, you’ve got organic. You’ve got the number of skills that are needed to truly run marketing from the top to the bottom and everything in between is just, there’s a lot to it.
And so the clients that we work with love being able to bring in an agency that can literally dial-up and down like today we’re doing a rebrand. So I need a lot of heavy lifting around how we tell our story and what we look like to the market. Okay. I’m done with that. Now, what I really want is digital.
So then those people go away and you spent, you bring in your digital experts. If you hire all those people, you better have a lot of marketing to do because you’re going to spend a fortune, trying to get all the right skillsets. And every once in a while, you’ll find a unicorn that can do a lot of things, but it’s pretty much impossible to find a unicorn that can do everything.
And it’s very common, especially for business owners to come to me and say, I hired a marketing coordinator and him, or she’s really good at writing strategies, but I don’t see any tactics. Or vice versa, really good at doing what I ask, but there’s no strategic thinking. It’s very difficult to find somebody that can do it all. I don’t even know if you can. And so that’s, to me if I were running a small business, it wasn’t marketing, we obviously do our own. I would take the time and I would invest in it because it’s a serious lever of growth and you don’t want to spend all that money on all those people. You’d rather just use people that already know what they’re doing.
The one other benefit that I see a lot. And I always tell my friends that are still on the client-side, one thing I’ve learned has been on both sides of the fences is that when you work with an agency, they get the opportunity to see how lots of people work, versus just themselves. And I never realized that until I was on the agency side. And so if you’re trying to think about something differently, engage in the agency, because you’ll get the benefit of all of these ideas that they get to share with other clients that you will never see.
Brent: So two points of that last your last statement there.
The first one is that agencies need to be always talking to their clients and sharing those stories with your other clients that are the value that you get out as a client. And that’s the value you give as an agency. The next part is about hiring. And the unicorn, especially we’re a development house.
And I can say that we have a few unicorns, a lot some people that can do everything, but the part that’s the hardest is managing a team. And I have repeatedly said to some of our unicorns. That’s great, but now let’s talk about times 12 times, 15 times 20, how. How are you going to get that done? If a certain task or a certain project takes three months?
Hey, that’s great. That means four projects a year, but we actually wouldn’t get done 20 projects a year. So how are we going to make this work as a team? So you as a business owner, you as an entrepreneur need to pick that same. And think. Okay. Yes, having internal resources is great. And our job climate in the, especially in the Adobe space you’re going to look at six figures on a developer salary.
And that developer salary needs to be specialized in our space in the Adobe space, but you really need to have a front-end developer needed a brand person. You need to have, you need to design, or then you need a UX person. Okay. Suddenly now you say your six-figure budget is turning into nearly a seven-figure budget that you need for your small, not small brand medium-sized brand, even that will bring in Maybe six figures in revenue.
So you have to, as an entrepreneur, you have to make that hard decision and look at that. And really, I think, one good point you made about is really let’s look at the numbers, analyze the numbers and come up with some ROI.
Jen: To your point, like you might say I don’t want to pay an agency a hundred thousand dollars to develop my website because I’ll probably only make a hundred thousand dollars in sales or attribute a hundred thousand dollars of sales in the first year.
I can hire somebody for a hundred thousand dollars. One person, you can hire one person for that, and you’re going to need about eight. So it’s not that you’re spending a hundred thousand dollars with an agency versus a hundred thousand dollars internally. You’re spending $800,000 internally versus a hundred thousand dollars internally.
And I think people who don’t understand the marketing discipline and the complexity of building a website that actually works, don’t always see that, that piece of it.
Brent: The small part about being an entrepreneur as well as it’s a lot easier to fire an agency than it is to fire a group of eight people.
Jen: Oh, true. And the other part too is, and I’ll be completely honest and I love this and it makes me sad at the same time, but because we’re specialized in growth marketing, we get to work with all these great clients who start small and get big. And then they do hire internal teams because they’ve gotten significantly bigger and it’s very sad for us cause we miss them, but we’re very happy because our kids are grown and gone.
And it’s okay. Because oftentimes like bring us in for project-based things, but things change. But yeah you’re right. Like it’s a lot easier in, in COVID, especially this happened a lot where you could contract. And increase as you need to do versus having that payroll sitting there all the time needing to be used.
Brent: I think the message to an agency because we do get that too, where people get bigger and then they started hiring an internal development team and suddenly we’re not doing so much work, but having that quarterly strategy session with that client, just to see what they’re doing it’s easy when you’re focused on your team and you’re in a silo. It’s easy to stay in your silo and always just go in that same direction. But I think that what we’ve seen and especially in this world with so many new platforms coming out, there are so many different routes you can take and there’s places and things you should test, not only for development but especially in marketing, you need to test those things and make sure that you’re doing or trying them at least.
I know that one, I heard a comment I think was Gary V or something like that. That social media is like your advertising. You don’t advertise on a show, a hit TV show thinking, is this show going to be around for a year? No, it’s here now and it’s popular. So try that platform. See how it works.
And if it’s around in a year, great. If it’s not move on to the next one, but at least test them to see how well they’re working.
Jen: That’s the very premise of growth marketing. It is hypothesizing. Create build or develop implement test refine, and just keep doing it iterative improvements.
And it’s really cool too because marketers have more numbers than they ever have before and we’re metrics to work with. So for example, you can test lead magnets, but a high value. Assets that you put on your home page sales, a demo for a software company, or a free trial for a gym or whatever.
And you pick and you play with those and you do AB tests. And it is amazing how, as you continue to refine it, one always comes to the top, so I think that is a really good perspective and good insight.
Brent: At the beginning of our conversation, you had mentioned a couple of inbound things that people could be doing. You had mentioned paid media. Paid social. Maybe we could just take a little bit of time towards the end of our conversation here to talk about a few of those things merchants should be looking at, or even not merchants to anybody’s trying to market something. And I just want to keep saying, if you’re marketing something, you’re not doing it for free, you’re doing it because you’d like to sell it.
So I’d like to dispel this idea that. Commerce isn’t part of marketing is to sell something that’s the basis. And so anyways you’re doing social media, you’re doing paid ads, you’re doing organic ads. What if we were to take the top five things or top seven or eight things, but what will be those things you would, we would recommend?
Jen: Yeah, so I, what I always recommend is starting with what your desired outcome is, and then doing some kind of. Back of the napkin math to determine if you need a million dollars in sales and each product is worth X amount, how many opportunities do you need? You close half of them.
And then what do you need from my elite perspective. So I always recommend starting with that. You know what you actually need, but in terms of the types of programs, it truly does depend on who you are. Who you’re targeting what you’re positioning. So for example, if you’re selling to a CIO or it decision-maker or an engineer, they are very driven and guided by peer review.
By NPS, by Reddit they have they’re, they’re super smart people who rely on him, meaningful credible information to help them make decisions, and colleagues who recommend. So the strategy you would use if that’s your audience is going to be different, that said. From a digital perspective, you would absolutely still want to invest in organic social media for LinkedIn and for Twitter in any B2B audience.
If you’re interested in the talent side of things, make sure you’re on Facebook. And make sure and start to think about an Instagram strategy. If you haven’t peopled think I’m crazy, but I’m not because take just five minutes. If you’ve got teenagers anywhere near you or young adults anywhere near you in the workforce, 25, 30 years old, they’re on Instagram. They’re on Snapchat. They’re on TikTok. They are absorbing information differently than we are and meaning us old people like me and they are making they’re going. There are future decisions. There are future decision-makers. So start thinking about how you’re going to build awareness and influence within those channels and those worlds as those people start to make decisions.
I’m not doing a super good job of answering your question in a pointed way, but I think. Any foundational demand generation program with, or without commerce or e-commerce needs to have a strong social media footprint in your basic channels, it needs to have strong and consistent organic content.
It needs to have high-value information. That helps the folks that you are selling to understand your product better, do their jobs better. Having an emotional appeal, whatever the situation is, but high-value content, rock-solid content, marketing strategy, organic social, and then paid digital through SEO.
Pay-per-click and display are probably where I would start. I will say that in certain areas, email marketing is definitely not dead. There are a lot of places where email marketing works really well. The only thing I’ll say about that is it absolutely depends on a database that is in good shape.
And so it’s not uncommon for us to work with clients where they want to do email marketing, but they don’t have the database. And so if you’re in that situation, Know that you’re going to have to invest in your database before any of that email marketing stuff will work, which means you should turn to social and paid digital because that does not require you to spend money on a database.
The other thing that’s really interesting is intent data. So if you haven’t, I don’t know if you’ve used intent data yet, Brent, but. It’s actually fascinating. And it’s the thing that makes people so mad, right? When they say Alexa is listening, because there are, there’s the ability to actually be able to detect patterns around buying behaviors and influences and place advertising in front of folks who are actually interested in actually fit your profile.
And while you might say that’s spooky because they’re listening to me, on the flip side, It’s relevant. Wouldn’t you rather have relevant content and relevant ads than things that you don’t care about at all? So there’s, I always think there’s two, two sides to that point.
Brent: I think intent data is an easy one to see too, is if you click on something and suddenly you start seeing ads for that, something everywhere you’re browsing, that’s just targeted ads.
Jen: That’s targeted ads using intent data. So they took your cookie and they said, this guy likes golf clubs and then you see golf clubs everywhere, and then you might see golf apparel, and then you may see golf vacations, and that’s intent data.
Brent: Intent data is best seen on Facebook. When all I get in my feed are bike apparel stuff, and I don’t even bike that much. All right. So we have a little bit of time left. Just, I want to change a little bit directions here. We’ve been talking a lot about diversity in our community.
You had mentioned earlier that you’re a women-owned, woman-founded company, maybe from an entrepreneur’s standpoint. How maybe some advice for women who want to start or. From a diverse background. What would you how, maybe you could comment a little bit about that?
Jen: Yeah, that’s interesting. I don’t get asked that often. If you, for women people of color any ma I actually also have a greatest, so I actually have a disability. And my advice to people is. Who might feel like they can’t do it or feel like maybe they’re in a minority situation is if you want to do it and you believe you can, you will.
And reach out if you have a good idea, put it on paper, talk to people about it. Draw inspiration from those who you trust and respect use your friends and your networks. To make you stronger and better and pay it forward, make other people stronger and better. And honestly, this is a shameless plug for EO, but join organizations like EO, because I find that my forum is like my own little advisory board and I can draw on all of these super-smart folks who can give me advice where maybe I don’t have the strengths yet, or the skillset or the know-how. And there’s a lot of grants and resources, especially for women-owned businesses that to get to get you started. So you can look for, I believe it’s WBENC I could be wrong, but if you search for women-owned businesses are women own business resources. You’d be amazed at what you can find in a way of grants and just resources to help write a business plan, to help fill the budget.
They offer a lot of help and I always tell people who call me, who say, I’m thinking about leaving corporate America and starting my own business. What advice would you give me? I always say. Make sure you have a great CPA, make sure that you have a lawyer because you’re gonna wanna make sure you have all your articles of incorporation and all that stuff set up.
And make sure that you have a really solid network because the best way to get started is to rely on the people around you who know a lot who know best and who can help you.
Brent: One last question then, what would you say to it? How would you say, what would you say to a bald white male who typifies the non-diverse aspect and we’re in Minnesota. The bald white male is the person in the entrepreneur community that’s most represented. Unfortunately, maybe sometimes they have hair, but who knows? Sometimes they don’t. What advice would you give them to help enable people of color, people of diverse backgrounds, women who whomever it is that would like to get into the entrepreneur community. How could you give them some advice and enable them to be advocates for them?
Jen: If I were a white male, what advice would I give me? Is that what you’re asking?
Brent: What would you, and I asked this question a lot and I think making noise around it is the first thing, but a lot of bald white males don’t feel like they should be on any committees or be part of a diversity program because I’m not diverse. So what do I have to offer?
Jen: What you, that is a first of all, really insightful and great that you’re asking it, but Your skills and your knowledge and your connections. Everybody who starts at the very beginning needs to some they need strength. They need grit. They need intelligence, but they also need a running start and a lucky break.
So I think helping people, connecting people to resources and potential clients and information is what you can do most and to just remove the barrier I’ll get, I don’t know if this is even a fair example. Your right, EO is definitely comprised primarily of white men. But there is a conscientious effort to increase the diversity within the group.
And I have seen that happen and I do learn from all of the folks, whether they’re white men or they’re other women or they’re people who have come here from other countries. So I think just the more you open yourself up to a conversation with somebody who is a minority and you let them in and you share what that barrier starts to just go away. You don’t even, you don’t even see it anymore. Does that make sense?
Brent: I think I’ll add on just that you should be aware of the fact that maybe you’re in a privileged person and I’ll just say that to myself, that be aware that, and then invite people to that and start the conversations.
And I think the most important thing is don’t be afraid to have that difficult conversation and it may feel uncomfortable and. You know me as a mid-west Lutheran we would tend to look at our own shoelaces before we’d look at the person. So maybe looking up and seeing that there’s somebody different and that, Hey, they have something to offer and it makes this community even better when there’s more diverse.
Jen: Yep. I agree. And I think sometimes the answers can be found in our children. I think about my kids that are teenagers and young adults now, but when they were little, they didn’t think twice about where a person came from or how much money they had or what color their skin was, or what gender they were, because they just didn’t know to.
And if all humans could be like that, we live in a wonderful.
Brent: We absolutely would be great. This we’ve really chewed up this hour and so just as we’re closing out what kind of nugget could you give a person that wants to sell something? They don’t have to sell it online, but they’d have something to sell.
What would be something good that you could tell them to do?
Jen: Yeah, I would say make sure you know who you want to sell it. Make sure. You know why they want to buy it and meet them where they’re at in their buying process. If you do those things, you will succeed.
Brent: Great. Thank you. So as we close out the show, I like to give everybody a chance to do a shameless plug about anything you’d like to plug and go ahead and give us a shameless.
Jen: My daughter is selling now I’m getting pizzas, burgers, her theme. I’m kidding. I guess I’m really proud of a growth mode and the agency that we have built for me and my business partner. And I guess what I’m most proud of is that we were named to inks were about six years old.
I think I mentioned that earlier, and we were named. Fastest growing companies. We’re actually in the top 25% and we are a certified WBENC company. And I attribute that to certainly setting the right stage and. Building the right kind of culture and the right vision for how marketing should be done with the businesses that we have the privilege to serve.
But I also attribute it to having an amazing team that makes every day fun and makes every client happier and makes the world a better place. And we, our secret sauce are absolutely the team that has allowed us to grow the way that we’ve grown. So I guess my plug is really around just growth mode as an agency, but also the great team and clients, honestly, that we get to work with.
Brent: That’s great. Thank you. I’ll I will give one small plug, both and being fully transparent. Jennifer is the marketing chair this year for EO, Minnesota. I am the membership chair for EO, Minnesota. If you are in the twin cities area, I would encourage you to reach out to us if you’re an entrepreneur. And learn about
Entrepreneurs Organization Minnesota.
It is a global chapter. There are 15,000 members. It’s a great organization. And as Jen mentioned earlier EO gives you a chance to talk to other entrepreneurs that you would never get the chance to do. You can’t tell your best friend who is working in a company in a corporate world about, Hey, I can’t make payroll this week or I can make payroll. And by the way, I just made an extra million dollars this year. Those are conversations you can have with your entrepreneur’s group that you can’t always have with your typical friends and family. So it is a great thing to join. At least learn about, and Minnesota is. For news organization in Minnesota is a great chapter.
And we are looking for members. So that’s my shameless plug. That’s awesome. All right. Jennifer Roth is the president and co-founder of growth mode marketing in the twin cities and all of our links and show notes will be available for you to get those Jennifer. Thank you.
Jen: It’s been a pleasure.