Steven Burkhart: Everybody, welcome to the Death to Vanilla, I am so excited to bring a good friend and a marketer, Steve, he has? Well, I’ll let him to his toot his own horn a little bit, but he has had his own marketing agency. And he’s been running marketing for company for a long time. A couple years now, right. And so, and they have really kind of like a more traditional way of getting clients, which I think is interesting, because we talked about digital marketing, and it’s kind of the shiny red ball. But actually, I don’t think you guys do any digital marketing at all, for the most part, at least not in the ways that I typically think of. And so that’ll be cool for us to dive into. So if you could give us a little deeper dive into your experience with marketing and where that’s gotten you to today. Sure, sure. So nice to meet you all. Steve Boehle. 

Steve Boehle: So I have been in marketing for probably almost 15 years now. kind of done everything right? I’ve done right out of right out of college started doing a lot of b2c marketing, I met some really large b2c companies got into running an agency for five years, worked with a lot of b2c, a lot of b2b, a lot of startups, a lot of just a lot of companies that needed help with branding, with digital marketing with, you know, marketing strategy, whatever the case is. And for the last two years, I’ve actually been working, I went back into the corporate world, and I’ve been working with a small tech company that has a very, very narrow focus and a very, very narrow niche, which is state agencies that serve new school nutrition meals. So you know, we go back and forth a lot of times with our strategy, like, what do we need to do? How do we need to do it? But will we continue to find is some of these old school marketing tactics actually tend to work a little bit better in our industry? So I think that’s kind of what we’ll talk about today. And kind of like, give you the other side, if you will, of how to look at marketing and in move things forward.

Steven: Sweet. So I think I think for me, the interesting part is because of the fact that you’ve had, well, let me just ask this was it weird to transition from having your own agency to working for the corporate comp company? And I don’t mean, just like, as far as like lifestyle difference, what I mean is like, you must have been doing Facebook ads and all these other things. And now you’re looking at doing conferences, right? And Ooh, wow, you know what I mean, but it but actually working? So was that like a difficult transition for you to go to more traditional? Or did you actually do a lot of traditional during the time you had your own agency?

Steve: So when I own my agency, we looked at, we try to coin a term called holistic marketing, right? holistic marketing was looking at everything right. So basically, what we did is we were your outsourced marketing agency we did, we helped with events, we wouldn’t go to events, but we’d help with your events, we would build your booth if you needed to. But then what we tried to do is help you connect the dots right connect the dots from a lot of companies what they do is they have like an event strategy, the event strategy is we go to all these events and then we just say See you later we are there we did our thing we did our sales. But how do we connect the dots from in person? Old School marketing into the digital realm? Right so how do you use Facebook ads from like a retargeting perspective? How do you lower your cost of acquisition? How do you do a lot of those different types of things but putting together a marketing strategy that one has a has a solid message to you can repurpose a lot of the content a lot of the strategies a lot of the things that you already put in place because that was another thing that we work with a lot with with a lot of our clients was it was like every week, new campaign every week, new new, new new blog posts every week something and they’re just turning and turning and turning and turning and not seeing the results because they’re not putting it together. So that’s a lot of what we did. 

Steve: So moving into back to the corporate world, one of the reasons why I did it was because like just burnout, right? And sometimes you have 40 you know, 40 clients, we’re up to 40 clients at one point and kind of just like there’s a lot going on here there’s a lot moving there’s a lot of churn, just just just going so there’s a little bit more stability right I have four kids so you try to get disability help coach the coach teams and stuff and whatnot so um you know, it’s a good transition into the the company that that I work for now because they didn’t have any marketing beforehand. They there are 25 year old company with zero marketing. And basically they just kind of relied on RFPs and other types of of, you know, sales channels by putting in a marketing channel and putting in some branding and somebody And some other things, it really helped kind of build out a pipeline, right? Being able to say, hey, here are some of the enhancements that we have, instead of kind of taking orders kind of pushing orders, if you will. So it was a really good transition for me and is really good thing to be able to kind of like, be pulled that whole holistic piece together. Because even when we first started, it was, hey, we need to do Facebook ads, we need to go straight to digital, we need to start really, really kind of focusing in on how do we get more more agencies in or more state agencies to to buy our products? How do we get more school districts to buy our products, those types of things. And what we found was that it works, right, it does work, but there’s other things that you have to put in place in order to really make your entire marketing system kind of work together. Right?

Steven: That That, to me is always the funny part. Like, you, you get a new platform, it’s like okay, like, you know, say for example, like tic tocs. Next Big Thing. It’s like, okay, so you build big audience. Okay, what’s next? Yeah, like, What are you planning on doing with that audience? Oh, you have a million subscribers on YouTube? Awesome. Where do they go next? How do they give you money? How do you funnel that into all the other platforms, where you could divert some of that attention flow into, that maybe are more profitable or have less friction between you and what you’re selling. Once you silo it, it kind of defeats the whole purpose, you spent all this big money, and then it’s like, okay, but what next? So, it’s, it’s funny how sometimes how many people don’t really have a plan of what they want to do with it. Like, they know, they want to build an audience. And they know they want to sell something to that audience, but they’re not really sure how to connect, you know, when I get someone’s email, how do I get them to buy, and there’s no plan, you know, obviously, like, logically, you can put it together pretty easily, like, oh, like, I just need to, like, email them a link to buying stuff, but like, there’s no nurturing, and all these other things that have to happen. And, like, conceptually, it’s simple. But people usually don’t have a plan on how that actually is gonna happen in real time.

Steve: Now, and it’s really hard to connect the dots a lot of times to like you’ll see in corporations, you know, they’ll come in and so previous previous life, you know, right out of college, I used to run email marketing, right for for a row, relatively large fortune 500 retailer. And basically, what we did was like, Hey, you have to send an email out, or two or three every day with a promo. And it’s like, Okay, well, there’s a whole lot more that goes into a purchase, right? Just because I send you an email doesn’t mean you’re going to, to buy something. But the thought process was kind of like, hey, if we send out a billion emails a year, somebody’s gonna buy something, you know, but it’s kind of, and it’s true, they will, right, you’ll get 1% of your, your audience to buy something, but it’s kind of pulling that together and starting to look at like buying cycles, right? So if you have like replenishment of something, if you know, like, hey, typically, it takes Steve 30 days to go through this product. Well, maybe at 28 days post purchase, that’s when you start kind of putting this messaging out there, that’s when you start maybe, and and you don’t even necessarily have to give them a coupon sometimes at that point versus in the past is like, well, we’ll just give you $5 off, coming by, we’ll give you $5 off. And it’s like, Okay, well, I don’t need this. So $5 off means nothing to me. But if you if you time, it correctly, put that whole strategy together, and you start kind of connecting the dots. It, you know, it just works better.

Steven: It’s like trying to try to give someone a meal who’s full, it’s like, I don’t care how good the steak is, if they hungry, but yeah, you’re right in what you’re talking about is just like that huge amount of intentionality, like for a company to know when you’re going to go to their product, and then have a plan of when you’re actually going to send that email is a level of intention that most people will honestly just never achieve. It’s that’s a lot of thinking through but at the same time, I mean, it’s got to be a lot cheaper to figure that out, then try to acquire new customers all the freaking time.


Much easier, right? And then what you end up doing, you do the add ons, right? So it’s like, oh, we know you’re buying this shaving cream every 30 days, because that’s just what you go through. And that’s your life cycle. But then you can put in the razors, you can put in the aftershave you can put in some other things. That’s how you expand your market because you, you know, you’re going to eventually continue to get that repeat customer. But you send them at the right time. And then it’s like, I’ll add that to my cart. Okay, cool, you know, and you can roll out with an extra 15 bucks, right? So that’s to thinking it through not just the the cycle, but then also the What else could they possibly need? What else can we introduce them to and and then you have a captive audience, right? The captive audience buys a whole lot better than a non captive audience. So Just just kind of, you know, make sense.

Steven: Absolutely. So needless to say, I was shocked when I found out how successful some of the things that you guys do are financially. And certainly we don’t need to talk like numbers specifically. But conferences are huge events are huge. And I guess I, to me, the dots, I’m trying to connect between what you were doing before and what you’re doing now is what you were doing for the food service programs, you probably knew the names of the people you had to reach, and there probably wasn’t that many of them, as opposed to someone who’s Well, you know, it would make a lot more sense for someone running a Facebook campaign, especially for a b2c, if they have no idea like who they’re gonna call, you know what I mean? Like, if you’re trying to sell things to like, you know, 100,000 people and you know, Phoenix or LA or New York or whatever else, like you don’t know their names, you can’t give them a call. But you can totally find, right then information for the people that you guys are trying to contact. So I guess that’s a pretty big game changer difference that depending on the business you have, would radically change that. Because you have probably what, like, a couple 100, maybe people that you can reach out to?

Steve: Yeah, yeah, total, we probably have about 250. So. So it’s a really good point that you bring up is one of the things that when I first started in my new role, it was a, you know, I kind of said like, we’re like, okay, we’re going to go and we’re going to do the traditional marketing stuff or not the non traditional, I guess, the digital marketing stuff, we’re going to go down these new paths, and we’re going to get the the CRM, we’re going to get the the lead nurturing emails, the drip campaigns, we’re going to start doing some Facebook advertising, we’re going to start doing all the things that, you know, all the companies that want to sell you their CRM tell you to do. So we started kind of going down that path, and we really started looking at, okay, well, what what’s driving sales? Right? So we started looking back and we start saying, Okay, well, when we get in front of our customers, that’s what drives sales. So how do we how do we do that? Right? So we have a industry, a lot of times you’ll talk about whitespace, right? The whitespace is kind of the gap between what your customer has, and what it would be if they had the full platform, if you will, right. So every one of our customers had this whitespace, they have this gap. So it’s a whole lot easier to your point, right? 

Steve: It’s a whole lot easier to call them, pick up the phone and say, Hey, did you know we have this enhanced? Did you know we have this add on whatever, you know, whatever the case is? And so what we really started looking at is, how do we get all of our customers right to your point, we only have 150, that would actually be making decisions 200 250 that we actually talked to. So it’s really easy to get them into a place, right and have a user conference, right? So that was one of the biggest things that we did. And one of the most successful marketing tactics that we did. You know, pre COVID, we brought everybody in and we had conversations, we had our salespeople, we showed them new things, and we had our customers do some of the selling for us, and a super, super successful. So then we’ve kind of roll it to the next year, and we started looking at, okay, we got to get a repeat. And we started planning, we started going and then you know, everything happens, right? everything kind of shuts down. There’s no travel, there’s no nobody’s coming. We’re local and Phoenix, nobody’s coming to Phoenix. So we have to kind of look at things differently. And that’s kind of where we started really looking at how do we, how do we change our tactic? And how do we change something? And how do we get away from kind of just the vanilla aspect of like webinars, right, so we can go and we can do a bunch of webinars, when you show our customers what we’re doing and have all these different things. So we wanted to not go down that path, we wanted to kind of look at something different and kind of, you know, make it worth their time. 

Steven: So if you want me to I can kind of go into where we went. And before you do that, what I love, what I love to hear is the meshing of the digital with the traditional marketing that you guys did so meaning Did you guys find? Did you guys use digital marketing to get better attendance for your events? Or was there just more advanced follow up after these events? Or a little bit of both? Like how did you guys combine those things together? Because obviously you guys weren’t driving revenue from digital marketing. Like there’s some companies that can literally like you’re like, no big, big reveal. You have a Hawaiian t shirt company, right? You can literally run an ad and make money immediately. Like that second with that ad. Obviously, you guys weren’t doing that. So how were you guys working those things together?

Steve: Yeah, so a lot of it was the follow up. Right? So a lot of it was it was pulling in the automated emails, pulling in some of the stuff after after the event, right? We again, we can go out and we could through our sales team, we could get any of our customers to show up to anything, right. So they would come through but Then it was kind of that nurturing process afterwards because it’s not like, especially with with the way that we sell, it’s not like you just go and you say, Hey, I’m selling a T shirt, it’s going to cost you 15 bucks. And then you buy it, right? We’re talking a couple $100,000 we’re talking, you know, 10s, you know, 100,000 to a million dollars a purchase, do you have to go get the money, you have to go and find the funds. So it’s one of those things where it comes through. And it’s that nurture, like, okay, you saw this, let’s not forget about it, right. So here’s some other things like some of the email content that we put together was no case studies, how the case study of how another customer this saved them time, money, you know, whatever it whatever the wanted to do explainer videos on how this works with their system, how this can make your staff more efficient, whatever the case was, right? So you put that that nurturing piece afterwards, just to kind of keep top of mind. And that’s kind of how we took this, like, in person event, we wouldn’t do any, like Facebook ads or anything like that, because it’s kind of a waste of money at that point. But we would put those, those nurturing campaigns in place and continue to kind of push people down the road to to purchase. Right. So.

Steven: So tactically, it was mostly just, I say, just, it was mostly email marketing. And it was, okay. So just like, yeah, more tactical. So just so give me Okay, so you You said you did the explainer videos. And so yeah, so it’s just the idea of just like you said, keeping keeping them top of mind making sure they didn’t forget about you guys. And that’s just because there was a sales cycle long enough that between like them finding out about you, and then getting the funding for that, is that the reason?

Steve: Yeah, so basically, we have like a six, six month purchase cycle.

Steven: Okay. So,

Steve: By the time a lot of times, by the time we would show it, by the time it actually gets funded, sometimes they forget about it. So it’s kind of just making sure like, Hey, this is why this is so important, sending them you know, the right amount of content, and making sure that we have it ready to go at all times.

Steven: Well, I think that’s like, for even for all kinds of marketing, really, you know, you spend all this money to get yourself in front of someone. And maybe you get like a little bit of a nibble, but the reality is, is like, it’s like what we were talking about earlier, you can’t feed someone who’s full, right? And so this idea of like, you send an ad or you run an email campaign, or do these other things, it’s not necessarily a no, maybe it’s just like a Not right now thing, like if you’re a realtor, trying to sell your services that only works if you’re trying to buy a house or sell one. And so the point is, is like, How do you stay on top of, you know, how do you keep Top of Mind between now and when that’s actually going to happen? And that’s no different than anything else, you know, I mean, like, even for Hawaiian t shirts, you know what I mean? Like, unless someone thinks they really need a T shirt, or they dislike having another Hawaiian t shirt, like they’re not gonna buy until they feel like they need one.

Steve: So, the biggest thing, so side hustle, right side hustles, I do have a company called wine, Island clothing, we we sell t shirts, we sell, you know, Hawaiian based kind of designs. We don’t, I don’t see a whole lot of revenue from Facebook ads, right? So we run, I constantly run Facebook ads. And what I’m really trying to do with it is I’m trying to get that email, right, I’m trying to establish somebody that I can, I can continue to have a conversation with. But what I do see is the after, right, so it’s that follow up, right? We get people into our funnel, it’s the newsletter, you know, the the monthly kind of update, here’s the new designs, here’s this, here’s this, here’s this, from the actual Facebook ad, we see, you know, we breakeven or breakeven on it, so I’ll keep running them all day. 

Steve: But it’s getting those leads afterwards. And so if you look at like lifetime value, this is something that I feel a lot of companies don’t look at. Because, and and to be completely honest with you, I’m a lot of like startups and stuff that I used to work with, in my, in my past with an agency, they didn’t have the opportunity or the timeframe to look at lifetime value. But if you look at lifetime value, what we see is we have a at for t shirts is our lifetime value. Right now, we’ve been running about a year. So if we say about a year, each of our customers buys three to four times. Right? So it’s it’s that initial, you know, post that initial Facebook ad that we run to get them into our, our kind of nurturing system, that’s where we make our money. That’s where we get a return on investment. That’s how we increase your return on advertising spend, right is, is that long term, it’s that long tail marketing piece that we put together. Because again, we we break even on Facebook ads, but we we make the money on the back end. So the bigger the list, I mean, they say it all the time, right? The bigger the list the the more the more revenue you get. But again, it’s one of those things that we send out, we get like a 10% bite rate. When we send an email out we get 10% of the people probably buy something we’re not you know It’s not a 5070, we send something out and make a million dollars, it’s a long term goal to kind of continue to develop that lifetime value build, build a brand that people trust, build a brand that people want to be part.

Steven: Of well, and you could make a million dollars, you would just have to figure out how many subscribers you’d have with the 10% engagement rate, you know, what I mean? or, or, you know, or whatever percentage of that 10%. Right, and it’s just so over time, yeah, if you, like you said, if you’re breaking even, then you know, it’s just, it’s just a numbers game, it’s just a matter of time. Just Yeah, and life, I love the idea of thinking about it as lifetime value, rather than right now value just because of the fact that I do feel like a lot of people are using digital marketing as like a quick fix for a revenue problem, which sometimes works, sometimes it doesn’t. But I remember even back to my grocery days, when, you know, we’d have little huddles and talk about how important was to keep customers coming through the door. And it was like, I think the lifetime value of a customer for a grocery store is like, it’s like half a million dollars. And some of them like or, or 100, whatever, it was a lot of money. And so it’s the idea of like, if someone comes in, and they get pissed off, because you screwed up, you know, some $5 purchase, actually $100,000 walked out the door, not five. And so you know, if you want to give them a free jar of something, or fresh, you know, bushel of lettuce or whatever, like, it’s 100% worth it, because there’s not a chance we can give away more than we would lose if they were unhappy. And so going back to like, like your email nurturing thing, it’s just like, yeah, it’s it’s effort. But at the end of the day, people buy five shirts, spending a couple bucks on a Facebook ads worth it, or whatever it ends up working out to be with the emails.

Steve: And we I’ve always looked at it like, like, and breakeven on my advertising spend, you know, right upfront, you know, I’m not losing anything, it’s a win for me, because it’s going to be, you know, a year down the road, that’s when I’m going to start actually seeing things come through. I mean, you’re talking a T shirt, right, a T shirt, you know, sale, you know, your profit margin on it, it’s not huge. So it’s repeat buyers, that’s the only way you’re gonna continue money and continue to kind of push things forward. 

Steven: So through that, so let’s go ahead and transition then to what you were talking about with kind of like the new direction you see events being able to go obviously, it’s, it’s so easy to talk about how terrible things were the last year, but not everyone has a lot of answers about what’s next. And so I’d love to hear your thoughts about what you feel events can be because there’s a lot more than just the company you’re working for, that are affected by this tremendously, some are events only, like, then have an event they got nothing to sell. So I’d love to hear what your thoughts are on like, what this looks like, this is going.

Steve: Yeah, so um, so I feel so I’m involved in a lot of events still, right? Through associations through, you know, vendors, that whatever, right, there’s, I mean, last week, I was involved in two events. And then they’re all virtual, nothing’s in person, everybody’s, oh, we’re getting together, we’re getting together, it’s going to happen. And then you know, last minute and we kind of shift just based off of times, in person events will will come back I believe in person events will always be something that is there. There’s a lot of money in in, in person events. I don’t think that in person events are something that you’re going to want to hang your hat on. Right as the as a marketing tactic. I think what you’re going to want to do is you’re going to want to definitely build an experience around a virtual and maybe a hybrid hybrid approach, right? So one of the things that we’ve been really trying to focus in on our our events is not just saying, Hey, we have another zoom webinar, oh, we have another, you know, place to come and see our new products, because that’s kind of being overdone. And I think what happened when when pandemic hit is everybody went to something that they knew everybody went to, well, we have a webinar strategy, let’s just scale it up. I don’t know if that’s the right approach. So kind of going back to to what we do, right? So it’s, I’ve sat through a lot of these virtual conferences, I’ve been bored and a lot of virtual conferences, a lot of times what we end up happening is, is we are even seeing some of these like, like platforms being built around how to have a in person event that is going to be or a virtual event that’s as close to an in person event as possible. Because now you can go to a table and you can sit there and you can talk to people. But then what will always say is nobody goes right so that big breakout exhibit hall experience, nobody goes to a virtually just because it’s tough.

Steven: Well, and because it’s no different than what they did at work all day. That’s right. You know what I mean? If If, if an in person event which is going and sitting around a conference table, no one would do that either. Because it’s like I literally do this all day at work. So now you’re at work all day doing zoom or teams or whatever program you use. And then you get back onto zoom later for a cool event that you spent $1,000 on, I don’t think so, that’s not worth it.

Steve: No. And what you end up seeing is you have these sales reps, kind of just sitting there, and they’re in their, you know, in their room doing nothing, right. So from a marketing perspective, we set this up, we spend a bunch of money, we send people out, we, you know, it’s not just necessarily the time and the cost, right, because like if it’s $1,000 15 $100 is probably worth it just for the exposure. So we can justify it. But it’s having those three sales reps sit there on a zoom call for three days, not making phone calls, not following up with leads not doing anything that’s costing us money, right. So it’s kind of like they’re just sitting there waiting, like I’m getting ready to do one next week. And it’s interesting, I’ll we’ll maybe we’ll have to come back and chat about it at some point. But it’s this, this events, you come in, and then you knock on the door, basically, and you go into your zoom. So we’ll see how it works. Because they’re forcing people to kind of go into this, like this, this this area with other things, but we’ll see. We’ll see. We’ll see how it goes.


But the biggest thing is in person, but on zoom.


Yeah. And that’s how they’re trying to do it. It’s like this platform. That basically, I think it’s built on top of zoom. And what they do is you have a table, you go into this like interactive map. And this interactive map has all the logos of all the people that are participating within the exhibit hall, right. And so you as a participant of this conference, you go in and you say, Oh, I want to go to this for this one, you click it and then it knocks on the door. And then as a salesperson, you you let them in and you have your conversation, you do your demos, you ever, whatever, whatever you want to do. Um, I’m really interested to see what the engagement is with it. Because again, it’s going to be one of those things that like when I go to an in person event, and I’m kind of forced to go up and down those aisles, and you have the salesperson that’s like able to engage with you, it’s much better because you can pull them in and say, Hey, we have this tchotchke we have this is something would you would you like to learn more? You can have those conversations? And this is like, hmm, do I want to click here? Now? I’m gonna go, I’m gonna log out. Right? So we’ll see how that goes. But what I think is really going to be the future of events and kind of where things end up going is, is how do you build the environments? How do you build something that that one builds? excitement, right, so the one thing that I know, all these virtual events that we go to, there’s no excitement around this, like, I’m gonna send you 5000 emails to sign up, then I’m gonna send you 5000 more to make sure that you get your you log in. And then what ends up happening, I go to your webinar, and I’m like this the whole time. I’m on the other screen, not listening to what’s going on. You know, I’m, I’m really multitasking, I’m not engaged with the content that we’re looking at. And it just kind of all for nothing. So how do you how do you build that engagement? How do you pre pre event? How do you start getting things in place? 

Steve: So one of the things that we’re working on is for our events is where we’re sending out, like care packages. Right? So this care package is something that it’s a box that we have, so like coffee, a T shirt, our sales material, everything’s in there. And when you register for the event, we send it out a week beforehand. Right, so now you get something huge, something tangible in your hands, you put the T shirt on, because you’re like, oh, now I’m excited, I’m gonna be be involved. It’s branded, everybody that you see is wearing the same t shirt. You know, it has some some cool motivational sayings on the back back of it. And then we push them into our events, and we push them into our speaking things in our demos and all those other things. But we continue to kind of go back to this piece and say, hey, there’s a piece of paper in there, something that you can actually hold with notes, right? So we make sure that they have the notes in place. And then afterwards, so you go through your event and you have them taking their notes. 

Steve: And what we’re doing afterwards is we’re having them if they want to win the raffle, they want to win the big prize, right? Just like in a normal, a normal event. You would put your your your business card in the Punchbowl, right and then at the end of it, you you pick one or two who whatever, and you give out the free iPad, right? So we’re kind of doing that same thing. But instead of putting the the card of the Punchbowl, we already have your card from your email address. We’re saying send us a copy of your notes. Send us a copy of kind of what you engaged with. That’s how we’re going to do a raffle. And so that way it kind of forces them to be engaged here versus seconds. Screen taking their notes if they want to win that iPad or whatever the giveaway is, right? So it’s building that experience differently. It’s kind of going out of because again, you know, the the entire premise of of your, your podcast here is to do something different, right? And everybody’s just doing the same old zoom call the same old GoToWebinar, the same old, you know, whatever the case is, I mean, I’ve gotten so many that you could tell they’re recorded. Right? Yeah, you log in, and it’s like, so polished. They’re like, yeah, they recorded and edited this beforehand. And they don’t even have the time to or want to do this thing live and mess up in front of me, because now we’re vulnerable.

So we kind of got to this, like, rinse and repeat, rinse and repeat automation piece. So what do we do? We tune it out, and we do other things. So I really challenge everybody that we kind of talked to, and even some of my other friends and things that are in marketing this these are the things that we’ve been talking about is how do we how do we do things different? How do we do things that are a little bit? their unique, right, we have to we have to get back to creativity as marketers, right. And so I think one of the things that we really, like focus in on is we have a playbook. Right? marketing usually has a playbook. It’s it’s landing pads, Facebook ads, Google ad, entry into funnel, landing page automation sequence, right? That’s, that’s our playbook. That’s, you know, very, very generic, but you know, it’s pulling back and saying, Okay, this is how marketing is done. 

Steve: This is what the marketing team actually needs to do in order to generate revenue and generate leads, is do something different, do something that’s bold, do something that’s hasn’t been seen before, because that’s how you get the attention of, and you look better than your competition, because if your competition is just throwing out webinar, after webinar, after webinar, what happens, you don’t show up, if I send you something and I say, hey, let’s let’s have this compensation, let’s build this, this, this event, and you know, you’re going to get value from it, it’s going to be a whole lot better, it’s going to be a whole lot, it’s going to be different, at least you’re going to get the attention of them, it’s going to be different.

Steven: Well, and I think the thing that I love about that is if you go to an event, the there’s still the you still get like a swag bag, right. And so there’s still the expense. And so, obviously, you’re adding the expensive shipping and some of the packaging and stuff like that, but like, you’re going to be making those kinds of things anyways, you’re going to be making the T shirts, making the pamphlets, you know, having, you know, sponsored content in there, depending on the event. And so, I mean, and that’s kind of the fun stuff, you know, you get your little baggie, check out, see if there’s anything cool in there, a couple pieces of candy, whatever. And so yeah, that’s like an essential part of having an in person, conference or event or whatever you have. And so to be able to send that people I think is super awesome, because like you said it, to be honest, it it really harkens to what it’s like to be in an event. And at the same time to, like you said, it gives people a sense of unity and community. And the fact that they’re like you said they’re all wearing the same t shirts, or goofy glasses or a hideous visor of some sort. You know, I mean, it’s like, and that that’s such a, it’s kind of fun, you know, I mean, give people a little opportunity to express themselves a little bit. And for the extroverts that are going to go to an event anyways, you know, that’s they’re gonna peacock a little anyways. And so might as well, you have something to work with a little bit?

Steve: Well, and I think a lot of it too, right is that’s why people go to events, right? They go for the experience, yeah. And then you get sales and get everything else afterwards. But it’s kind of like a badge of honor sometimes like, oh, man, I went to these events. So just kind of like side conversation here. We have a lot of our customers that they keep, you know how you get like a little badge when you show up to an in person event. And then there’s the lanyard, whatever the case is. One of them, one of our customers sent me one and she’s been going for like 10 years to all the different conferences, and she has them all kind of like lined up in her office. And she’s like, this is this is what we do. This is how we do it. And I’m hoping at some point when they get ours from this year, and it’s the virtual piece, and they they put it into the thing and it’s different, right? It’s it’s not the same old name tag. It’s not the same old name tag with the with the barcode or the QR code on it. Yeah, something like, Hey, we put the the QR code on the back of your shirt. That’s cool. And they’re wearing it right. I’m really hoping that like next year when in person events start coming, they’re wearing the shirts that we gave out they’re wearing because again, not not what is that dude, that’s just rebranding, that’s just free. Oh, yeah, people are walking the floors. So it’s looking at it, you know, again, we kind of talk short term long term. So it’s doing something different in the short term to get them excited because we know in the long term, we’re going to build brand advocates by doing some of this stuff and and if I can get Somebody’s wearing my T shirt for free. at an event that has 1000 people, that’s that’s just, you know, a free worker, if you will. 

Steven: So, right. Now, maybe you don’t have a brilliant idea for this yet, but I’m just gonna propose a question. When I think about like, the banter that goes into like the networking at an event, how do you replace that? Because it’s so easy to like talk over people. And then nobody gets heard and all that other jazz on a zoom call? It’s really hard to have some of that like natural because I feel like some, like someone’s always waiting for someone else to stop talking. How do you move past that? How do you make that happen? On an A hybrid or online online event?

Steve: So that is a great question. Because that’s the big the big Miss right now. Right? It’s like, okay, I can I can get a zoom call with 100 people, and 9999 of them are going to say nothing. Right? Because there’s that one person that dominates the room? Or? Or maybe I dominate the room? I don’t know, maybe maybe I have a problem as well. It’s a great question. So one of the things that we are, are looking to do is, so within our events in our virtual events that we have going on is we we have a the ability for you to do a one off one on one. Okay. Um, so again, love to talk in a couple months again, and see how that actually, when and how it actually worked, and if anybody took us up on it, but what we want to do is we want to at least promote it and say, Hey, if you’d like to have that one on one conversation with your sales rep, or whatever the case is, it’s kind of like when you come into the event, and you go into the big booth. And then like in the back of it, they have the table set up. So that way, you can have a one on one conversations. That’s kind of what we’re trying to get to. Again, you know, hopefully, it’s something like, Hey, here’s the link, schedule your time, we’ll have the people ready to go to jump on that zoom call, you know, that break breakout room, if you will, but it’s there, the opportunity is there to have a one on one, get your questions answered, learn more about the product, and then gives our sales opportunity, you know, to actually have a sales conversation, kind of push them down down the path. So, right, um, logistically, it’s tough. I’ll be, I’m trying to figure out logistically, how do you do that? And how do you build that something that is going to actually just like work? Because it’s not as easy as as, hey, we have this table, let’s just go over here. It’s not that easy. It’s, you have to actually do something to get there. So TBD on it, but that’s that’s kind of what we’re looking at, because that’s so valuable. Those one on one conversations that you have at the events, those are the things that actually make sales and actually push things down the road. So

Steven: Well, I think, you know, maybe it’s just a couple of things, right? It could be interface, because what we’re kind of talking about is, how do you navigate smoothly between the one on one conversations, the group conversations, the presentations, the kind of the natural surprise of, you know, you walk up to a booth and someone’s standing there, and maybe you didn’t want to talk to them specifically, but a conversation kind of happens naturally, all those things are really tough. And it makes me think about VR, you know, live streaming VR of what that might look like to have that an event where someone builds a virtual space, and then has some of those things like maybe it’s like a miss, you know, mix of like, maybe there’s avatars maybe there’s not, but then you can like, virtually walk up to the people and then have like, at least an audio conversation. It doesn’t necessarily have to be video, and just some of those like random things where like there’s a virtual booth and you virtually walk up to it and some of those things. And so I feel like maybe there’s just like a little bit of a disconnect right now just with like interface and technology to be able to manage some of those things. Because it seems like conceptually, that’s the next thing. But I don’t know practically what’s why that isn’t being done right now. Maybe it is, and I just don’t know about it.

Steve: So so that’s so disappointing that you brought that up, because that is something that I have been researching, like how to so the two weeks ago, three weeks ago, my daughter at school they had this like fundraiser and one of the the prizes that you got was like really cheap VR goggles, super cheap, right? You put your phone into it as they probably cost five bucks. I don’t know. Super flimsy, whatever the case is, right? So I’m sitting there thinking like, okay, these are kind of cool. So I think I’m the only one that’s used them, right? I wouldn’t put my phone in. It was like, how does this work? And there’s no really no content that you can use unless you want to spend like 20 bucks on this VR pack on your iPhone, and I’m not going to do that. But I’m here playing like, I started thinking about it like, Okay, how can you use these in an event? How could you send these these $5 goggles to everybody? Right? Because I think one of the problems that you have right now is nobody has, right? Or the people that do have them have the Oculus, super expensive ones. And they’re doing it to watch movies or play games or whatever, as well, that doesn’t really work for everybody. 

Steven: Right? Yeah. But how do you get these cheap ones, send them out and then say, Hey, this is how you log in. So I don’t know if there’s a platform out there. If not, we need to create one. Like now. put something out there. But then you have your booths. And everybody’s working guy i don’t i don’t know how VR works to be honest with you. I think it’s like this like black box, I think is really cool. But it would be a perfect opportunity for like these virtual conferences, because now you get that in person feeling. And again, then you mail out the stuff it with the VR goggles, you have all your your your pamphlets, you have your swag, you have all your things, and you have the interaction with people. Maybe it’s the same, maybe it’s not, you know, but but then you probably get a bunch of people like walking into walls, and they’re in their home office and getting hurt. And you know, I don’t know, but it is that way. It’s funny that you say that, because that’s one of the things if the school can do it, if the school can give these out, why can’t a fortune 500 fortune 100 and put something together and figure it out?

Steven: Right? Well, I definitely been looking like even because of the fact that my connection with the wedding industry, obviously, like live streaming, that has been huge. And then of course, like logically, the next step is like, Okay, well, like, how can we make this more interesting. So then looking into like the 360 cameras, and so yeah, there are so like, you can do like 360 VRS and, and all these other things. So it’d be interesting to see if I can like sit, you know, sit down when and kind of like piece some of these things together. Because that would be that’d be pretty, pretty interesting, I think. And it really that like works well into the hybrid model, where, you know, you could have a low impact event, you know, health wise, but then have all these cameras set up. And then of course, that begs the interface question again, well, how do you transition from this 360 camera to that 360 camera? And then you know, how smooth is that? Is there a platform that can even do that. But that certainly is interesting. And then if there was a clever way of doing VR, where you didn’t look like a Lego character, that would be kind of neat. But I think some of that stuff’s around the corner. But I don’t know how many people were playing around with it. So it’d be interesting to see. 

Steve: So for the people listening, if you know about it, send it to us, we will definitely look at it. As we plan out events, that is what we’re looking to do. So how do we do it differently?

Steven: Absolutely. So what would you say? So I guess that really answers the question, What are you guys doing right now that’s new and different. But maybe I can switch this a little bit differently, a little bit less about where you’re at now, what else do you see going on, maybe even outside of the event space that you think is an interesting thing for someone who’s looking to stand out in their business to explore.

Steve: So, um, the biggest thing that I see, like within the marketing world, is is creativity, right? And we kind of talked about it a little bit more. You know, and we have a lot of, we have two kind of different schools of thought, in my opinion, right? We have this kind of like tactical, you know, ROI driven, metrics, driven marketing. And then we also have branding, right? And then we have branding and brand guys are going to fight with the tactical marketing guys, because brand doesn’t have a true number to it. But it’s what drives everything versus the tactical, you know, oh, I can I can say I got this came through this pipeline and generated this much revenue. And, you know, so you kind of have that that next. So I think down the road, what you’re really going to start seeing, and depending on how long this this, this comes together, I think you’re going to start seeing these brand people and these market and these these metrics, tactical marketing people coming together. And I think what that’s going to do, I think there’s going to be this this renaissance of direct mail. And direct mail is not going to be it’s not going to be the what’s it called the clipper, right? You come together and you get, you know, 45 local businesses that say, Okay, I’ll give you my $100 we’re gonna put this thing together, I’m going to get my ad and then you send it out to a zip code. I don’t think that’s what it’s going to be. But I think there’s going to be this, this direct mail, kind of come back and but it’s going to take creativity, it’s going to take both of them coming together and say, Okay, here’s how we drive brand. Here’s how we drive metrics. Here’s how we use something that’s not being utilized right now because I think we’re gonna start seeing like email, email fatigue, like I get You know, 150 200 300 emails a day. And I consider continuing to see this thing ramping up, like, Hey, can I get 15 minutes with you? No, you can’t, I don’t even know who you are. 

Steve: But if you sent me something, if you took the time to kind of got to know me and sent me something of value, in my previous world, in my agency, we used to do these things called executive door openers, or the executive door opener was a kind of what we talked about with the events, but at a bigger scale, right? We’d go in and we’d find out okay, this is the CEO of this company, we want to have a conversation with them, or chief marketing officer or chief it what, you know, whoever the right, the right person is, we put these these boxes together, I remember we did this one for private jet companies, right. And what we did is we got some Ray Ban sunglasses, and we put their name on the inside of it, right? So super, super personalized. We put you know, some of our marketing stuff in there, some of like what we’re doing for the client and kind of, you know, our sales material. And then we put in a, a coupon for a bomber jacket. Right? So if they come back, they get the bomber jacket. So we were already doing like 250 into this. What’s the success rate was like 25% callbacks, right? So 25% callbacks on that, and we’re talking by 10,000 a year in potential revenue per customer lifetime value, we’re talking 50 to 100. Right? So super, super, super worth it. But I think you’re gonna start seeing some of that kind of stuff come back. And again, it comes back to being creative. One, the brand people going and saying, Hey, we need to build this brand. And here’s how we build a brand. It’s going to cost money. Right? And then the metrics driven people saying, Okay, well, here’s how we capitalize on it. Here’s how we actually make make this thing pay out. I think you’re gonna have that come together. And again, I think it’s going to be through direct mail. Could be completely wrong. Well, time will tell, but I think that’s a channel that’s super underutilized, especially in the b2b world.

Steven: Well, brand is what gives the marketing its credibility. Right? Yeah. Well, I think what I’m hearing you even if you’re wrong about direct mail, and I have no theories against or for it, but I think what I’m hearing is an reemergence of personalizing, just in general, right. So we have this, we’re in a world right now where we can reach just an absurd amount of people, but it’s not personal at all, you know, and sure, you could drop in little, you know, tokens, or whatever. They’re called in emails that you know, enter first name, blah, blah, blah. And those things are cool. And those are nice. And I can usually tell when that’s the case, but I also like it better than just like, Hey, you, but you’re not me, but it’s still not personal. And I think being able to be personal at scale, would be an interesting concept of like, as the creativity and marketing and technology develop, you know, how do you personalize a direct mailer? Or, you know, just simply just do the hard work? Like you were doing? Like, hey, these clients make us a lot of money? Well, we spend $250, to make $100,000. Absolutely. That that’s a pretty good percentage return. So, yeah, so I think yeah, that’s what I’m hearing from you is just this idea of like, making it more and more personal, because of the fact that it actually makes it more and more valuable to be personal, not only because it was already valuable, but because of the fact that so people, so few people are doing that people are trying to reach a million people, not 100 people really well. No.

Steve: So the other thing that so one of the other things that I do for for my clothing brand, is I do personalize thank you notes. Right. So again, that’s not scalable. I’m one person and I have terrible handwriting. So I don’t even know if people when they get it, they can actually read it. But I think that so the point is, is like there’s this whole consumer experience, there’s there’s customer experience that needs to kind of be looked at. And I think a lot of times too, what companies end up doing is they look at this front end marketing. Right. And and we kind of do it you know, and I see tons of companies that are like front end front end, demand driven lead gen, right. You see all these like job postings out there that are demand generation marketing, you know, growth, marketing, all these types of things, but what’s your need? Don’t Don’t get me wrong, they’re all completely needed. But I rarely see like a job description around the customer experience. Right? And whenever we talk about customer experience, we’re always talking about that person that the customer service agent. Right? And my biggest I don’t know I don’t want to say gripe with that is I feel that the customer experience if it’s if it’s led by marketing or if it’s led by a somebody that understands revenue, or it’s a revenue bucket, we’re going to do it differently. And I really feel that again, you know, I go and I have these little I’ll show them to you, right? These little

Steve: Thank you cards that I have those are beautiful,  beautiful. Look at those I have a pint

Steven: Is that gold gilded? Yeah. That’s all kinds of fancy. I love that.

Steve: All kinds of fancy. And it’s just blank, right? It’s blank on the inside. And I kind of go through here, I put a business card, I put a coupon codes, whatever cases in there, ship out the T shirts. But again, it’s kind of going to the next level for a $18 t shirt, somebody handwriting something saying thank you for purchasing something. Why can’t we do that at scale? And why? How can we do that and build that customer experience. Because what ends up happening, I have by sending these out 95% of people that I send something out to purchase again. And so and and I’ve had people contact me and say, the only reason I’m buying this again, is because you’re the only person that’s ever hand written something. You’re the only person that’s ever ever gotten to this point. So it builds brain advocates, they share stuff on social media, they they wish then gets that demand generation going again, right? So you see things on social media to push it back. But it’s taking customer experience with a marketing lens and getting crazy creative about it. There’s not nothing really creative about a thank you card. But the tactic to get there is something that I feel like more companies should be kind of investing in that, like, how cool would it be if you bought something? And the CEO said, Hey, thank you.

Steven: Right? It’d be very cool. Because it’s never happened.

Steve: This never happened, right? So, and I even go one step further. I say thank you, blah, blah, blah, blah, blah, really glad you bought this. But then I kind of tell them, like what our mission is like, this is what we’re trying to do. We’re not just selling clothes. So one of the things that I do with my clothing companies, we donate 51% of our profits, to charities, and I kind of tell them that like this is what we’re trying to do. We’re trying to do better, and become something that is big that is but is giving back. Right. And, and I think that messaging Yeah, you could put it up on your website, you could put it up on social media and people kind of just like gloss over it. But they read, they read the thank you card. They’re like, Okay, this guy’s sincere. This is really what we’re trying to do. We’re really trying to reach more people. So I think that customer experience, I think that customer being able to to actually show the customer that they actually mean something to you. And it’s not just good customer service, picking it up or putting a chat bot in your, on your website that you know automatically answers questions. I think that’s super impersonal. And personable. I think being able to actually get that customer experience going in, I am hoping that maybe more customer experience roles roll up through marketing, because it is something that can be super, super valuable.

Steven: That That reminds me of something I love to complain about, which is Starbucks and their freakin cups, man. So you know what I mean? Like I was in the golden era where the barista would check off the things that you want, would like put a little hard or say Have a great day, or a little smiley face like something. And at the end of the day, like it was kind of cool, because someone gave a little bit of effort on something. And then in the name of efficiency, understandably, but unfortunately, they went to the labels. Yeah, I think a lot of that had to do with probably the call in orders and stuff like that. But still, it was one of those things where something that was very personal and fun and exciting, especially since no one else does that for anything else. You know, it wasn’t like any, like, you know, somebody doesn’t write smiley faces on my sandwich wrapper, you know. So very few people were doing something personal. And then they stopped doing it because they grew and they didn’t want to scale that effort or, you know, deal with the inefficiencies of someone checking the wrong thing or something like that to save, you know, the dollar 50 It costs for them to make a coffee. You know, it’s just kind of sad. You know what I mean? And unfortunately, it’s small things like that, like you said, it’s literally, I’m making a case for the fact that builds brand loyalty, but you’re literally saying that’s exactly what it’s been doing, which is awesome. And so it’s like, when I felt like started feeling like a number. I started feeling like, maybe, maybe I can explore other places for coffee, because you know, at least, you know, and that’s part of it, too, is like that relationship, you know what I mean? Like I knew people there and you know, all that other jazz. So, anyway, so I commend you for what you’re doing. Because not only do I think it’s a good business sense, but I mean, like, that’s part of the joy of working with a smaller company is that you? You’re kind of expecting the experience to be more tailored to you. And if you can learn to scale that if a big business can learn to incorporate that. Yes, it costs more money. Yes, it’s more work. But at the same time, man, like that’s exactly why people pick small businesses over big businesses because they don’t want to feel like a number. 

Steve: When I was going to equal dollars, instead of even like doing it, this huge scale, right? Like, like I go through, and I have a couple paragraphs, right, but a couple paragraphs that takes time. But it could be something as easy as just like Thank you. It could be. I mean, to be honest with you, if it’s a big company like Starbucks or something, and you got something from the CEO that said, Thank you, even if it’s through the app, or through the mail, write something that actually has your name on it as a coupon, whatever, you know, Hey, thanks for being a loyal customer. It’s gonna go a little bit further than just, oh, you know, I’m gonna slap this label on your coffee now. Because, wow, that’s how we do things. I also think what that does, too, and you bring up a really good point is a lot of times people go into like a coffee shop or something because of the experience. And because they know the research, they know the person, or they get to know them over time, because they go three times a week, four times a week. And then by, by me, actually checking that box, I’m like, Hey, Steve, like, Steven, I know that you want XYZ, you want the normal? I know what it is because I’ve checked that box on that cup 40 times, and I know what you want. But now if I’m just throwing a label on, I don’t know, say, Hey, what do you want? 

Steven: So it takes that piece out of it to take that personalization, even at that that face to face level when you’re ordering something, so yep, it’s true. Cool, man, well, Hey, I got I gotta wrap it up here. So thank you so much for jumping on, I really appreciate it. Always refreshing to have someone who’s been on both sides of traditional and digital marketing and be able to bridge that gap. So that way, people don’t get too distracted with the shiny red ball of digital marketing and ads, and realize that there are so many different ways to reach out and make money with customers to engage with them to share your mission with them. Like you said, you do. So thank you so much for sharing. And if you could, I don’t know how much you promote your stuff on social media. I know you you post here and there, but if you wanted to share some places that people can connect with you, and maybe give a little shout out to your Hawaiian t shirt company, that would be lovely. Sure, yeah. Anything social media. It’s Steven. And then B O E H L E Boehle, one of the beautiful things about having a weird name is I can get a you can go to Stephen And go to Steven Boehle, Facebook, whatever you want. Twitter, and you can find me super, super easy. You just need to know how to spell my last name. So what we’re doing with hawaiianI sland clothing, so Hawaiian We try to put out new new designs every month. Anybody go over there and and hit me up Steven Boehle, anywhere. So sweet. 

Steven: Awesome, man. Thank you. Appreciate it. 

Steve: Yep, not a problem. Thanks for having me.