If You Suck at Marketing...You Can't Just Ignore It [Smarketing Talk Ep. 7]

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Smarketing Talk Podcast with Chris Heiler


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Remember, if you're interested in starting a podcast and want to learn more about what's involved, shoot me an email. Also, what are you listening to?

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Check out the Smarketing Talk Podcast. Candid marketing & sales insight for landscaping pros.


Welcome, everyone to episode seven of the Smarketing Talk Podcast. I'm your host Chris Heiler talking about sales and marketing for green industry companies. Thanks for joining us today. Halfway through May, just about. I'm recording this on May 12, a couple of days after Mother's Day. So hopefully you guys showed your moms out there a little bit of love on Sunday.

If you're a mom, a mother, hopefully you got shown a whole lot of love. So I want to talk about podcasting for a minute. Do you guys listen to podcasts? Because I actually listen to podcasts like this. So I want to know, how many do you listen to? Is it a regular thing? How often? And which podcasts would you say are your favorite?

So I want to know. I want you guys to e-mail me. If you listen to podcasts on a regular basis, even if it's just for fun, I'm not necessarily talking about podcasts for business, business-related podcasts. I just want to know if you guys listen to podcasts and which ones you guys listen to the most. Tell me some of your favorites. So shoot me an e-mail.

I want to hear about that. E-mail is, chris.heiler@landscapeleadership.com. Heiler is H-E-I-L-E-R, chris.heiler@landscapeleadership.com. Tell me what you listen to. I want to know. I'll give you some of my favorites because I've been listening to podcasts a lot more lately.

Actually I listen to podcasts. I don't use iTunes. I use an app called Sticher. Some of you guys might be familiar with Sonos. So that's my music system that I have at my place and Stitcher is an app that works with Sonos. So I can listen to podcasts through the Sonos system. Anyway, highly recommended. So some of the podcasts that I've been listening to lately, there's two that are marketing-related.

One is the Hubcast, which is relatively new, and that one is all about HubSpot, not just HubSpot, but about inbound marketing in general. So if you get into inbound marketing, and for a lot of the stuff that I talk about resonates with you, you'd probably like the Hubcast.

It's a good one. It is short. It's usually 25 to 30 minutes once a week. So I listen to that one. I also listen to Mad Marketing. Mad Marketing is produced by Marcus Sheridan, The Sales Lion. Some of you guys might know Marcus. I like that one because Marcus is super practical and he has a similar background that I have and that you guys have in that he owned his own swimming pool company, and he's still a part owner of it.

He grew up in the swimming pool industry and then he learned content marketing and inbound marketing pretty much on his own. He cut his teeth on this and now he has an agency and he's doing consulting and speaking around the world, which is really cool.

So he has his own podcast and he shares really practical insights and advice with small to medium-sized businesses. So that's a good one. That's Mad Marketing. He hosts the Hubcast too. So those are the two that I listen to more marketing-related. There's a couple that I listen to that I guess I would call business podcasts or more for entrepreneurs. I don't know.

They've got very random topics. The first is the James Altucher Show. Altucher is A-L-T-U-C-H-E-R. He's an author and he's also a venture capitalist out in Silicon Valley. He's invested in a lot of companies, he's had a lot of his own companies, but he has really interesting guests on that he interviews, and they talk about all sorts of random things, just like how to live a different life.

It's just really interesting, just really interesting topics that appeal to me. He and his guests just think differently. That's what I like. Then another one that I listen to is the Tim Ferriss show. Tim Ferriss has random guests as well. It's very similar. It's all about just leading a different kind of lifestyle.

It's really cool, really interesting topics. You could almost call it life hacking. Not a big fan of that word, but that's how some people would describe it. That's Tim Ferriss. His last name is F-E-R-R-I-S-S. So those are two really interesting ones you might want to listen to for a little different take on some random subjects. Another I listen to, Freakonomics.

If you guys know the book Freakonomics, that was written, I think it was about 10 years ago. Super popular. They turned that into a regular podcast. It's really interesting. Again, they cover some really random topics. So I listen to that one. Some of you know I'm a huge Notre Dame fan, Notre Dame Football fan. So of course, they've got to have a podcast for that, right?

So I've got to get my Notre Dame Football news every week. I do that with the Irish Illustrated podcast. So that's awesome. Let's see. The last one I listen to occasionally, maybe once a week, is Fareed Zakaria GPS. Fareed Zakaria is on CNN on a regular basis, so he has his own podcast. I think he might do it daily.

So I listen to that one occasionally. And honestly, I really don't keep up with world news or any politics, anything like that. I just don't like spending time on it. But occasionally, I will listen to his podcast, and just listening to that pretty much just brings me up to speed on what's happening around us, in the world and in politics. I like it because it's very unbiased.

So I listen to that one occasionally, once a week, every other week. So I'm pretty random with the stuff that I listen to, a lot of variety. So again, tell me, I want to know what you guys are listening to. So shoot me an e-mail. Also, have you guys ever thought about having a podcast, producing a podcast for your own company as part of your marketing strategy just like we're doing?

Have you guys ever thought about doing that? I've given this a little bit of thought as far as how it could be applied in our industry because I do think podcasting is very powerful. It's a very powerful channel for content marketing just like your blog. It's just a little different, just a different medium. But companies, I think, podcasting can really work for are those that are more B2B.

So you're selling business to business. So I think the software companies that are focused on our industry, there's a lot of them. One of our clients, Structure Studios, they create 3D landscape design software and pool design software.

I think a company like that would do really well adding a podcast to their content marketing strategy, where they're educating people just like you about various topics in the industry. So software companies like that. Manufacturers, I think, could do a great job with podcasting. To someone like a John Deere, Caterpillar, Steele, they could create great content that's educational for you guys.

Consultants are another one. I don't know why more consultants in our industry. . . There's tons of them. I don't know why more consultants don't do podcasts. Hardly any consultant I know even have a blog. It's crazy. I don't really understand that.

But there's so many consultants in our industry. One that comes to mind, a friend of mine, Jeffrey Scott. Some of you guys probably know Jeffrey. He's a great consultant. He's a really good writer, he's a really good speaker. So for someone like Jeffrey, sharing his insights and sharing his experience and advice and stuff like that through podcasting would be fantastic for him. He'd come up with some great topics and some great subject matter.

But anyway, have you ever thought about that? Have you ever thought about starting a podcast?

If you have and if you're interested in doing it and you want to learn more as far as like how to do it, how to get it going, because honestly, it's not that difficult and it's not expensive at all, zero expense really. So if you want to learn more, shoot me an e-mail and I can walk you through the steps that are involved with it. So it's chris.heiler@landscapeleadership.com.

Shoot me an e-mail and I'll help you with that. Now, of course, I don't expect all of you guys to embrace podcasting. I get it. There's plenty of companies who haven't embraced marketing yet. Period. They haven't embraced marketing. I want to share a little story with you from back in March.

There was a small group of business owners. I was speaking to this group about marketing and sales. These were all large multimillion dollar landscape companies. So these weren't small companies. These were big companies. I was about halfway into my talk and one of the business owners raised his hand, spoke up, and said, "What is marketing anyway?" He asked me that question.

Now, I didn't bristle at all getting that question because honestly I've been asked that many times when I've been doing a talk. "What is marketing?" The first time I heard someone ask me that, I was taken aback. I was like, "What?" I figured everybody knew what marketing was or what marketing meant. But that's not true. That's not true. So he asked me this question.

I don't want to spend time getting into what marketing is exactly, but I just want to make the point that marketing has always been undervalued in our industry. I've said that before. Marketing has always been undervalued in our industry.

You can see that when you look at exactly how companies hire in our industry. For example, with this group of companies that I was meeting with, that we were talking to, I went around the room and I asked them. I said, "How many people in your organization are involved with marketing and how many people in your organization are involved with sales?"

So we went around the room and they answered that. And probably 20% of the companies in there had one person who had marketing responsibilities. That person that did some of their marketing had other responsibilities too, like they were an office manager or they were involved with administrative tasks. So they weren't solely focused on marketing. That was only 20% of the companies.

The other 80% didn't have anyone helping with marketing, and these are multimillion dollar companies I'm talking about here. On average, those companies, if I recall right, I bet they had on average probably 10 people in their company that were involved in sales in some way.

So they all had on average about 10 people involved in sales, pretty much no one helping with marketing. So again, marketing in our industry has been undervalued. Guys, it's not like that in every other industry. So that's why I point that out. So I think our industry is a little extreme with that.

Anyway, so this business owner who asked me what marketing is, we talked about that a little bit and then he said, "Chris, we suck at marketing. We just don't know anything about it." That was his comment.

I said, "Okay. Now here's the thing. If you suck at marketing, you can't just ignore it."

If you don't understand it, you don't know why it's important, you don't know what to do about it, you can't ignore it. It's like, what if you suck at installing pavers? What if you had a salesperson who suck at sales, at presenting? What if one of your employees suck at mowing lawns? Got on that back of that mower and ran through their client's bed of ground cover.

What would you do? Ignore it? No. You fire the person and then you'd hire someone better. You wouldn't just ignore it. So it's okay that this business owner doesn't really understand marketing. That's fine. That's totally fine. Everyone has strengths and everyone has weaknesses. It's okay that he doesn't understand marketing.

What's not okay is ignoring the importance of marketing and the role that it plays in your company and then doing nothing about it. That's what happens in our industry a lot. Business owners, people within the company, leadership teams, they don't have a good understanding of marketing, so they ignore it and do nothing about it. That's where the problem is. So that's what I want to talk a little bit about today.

I want to talk a little bit about staffing and your options for hiring marketing help. So when it comes to hiring marketing help, you've got a couple of different options here.

You can, of course, hire in-house. So bring in someone dedicated to marketing in-house or you can outsource that by hiring an agency. That's what a lot of companies do with us, with Landscape Leadership. So there's two approaches to this and I will get into the pros and cons of each here in a couple of minutes. But first, I want to focus on hiring in-house.

Now, I know the hesitation with a lot of companies to bring someone in-house, a new employee. A lot of companies hesitate because that adds a lot to your overhead. I get that. I get that. You make a new hire like that on the administrative side and you're adding a lot to your own overhead.

But that's how you grow. At some point, you have to make that move. At some point, we at Landscape Leadership, are going to need to hire some administrative help. We're going to get to that point and I'm going to need to hire someone on the administrative side and that's going to impact our overhead. I get that.

I'm not looking forward to that necessarily but I know, in order to grow in scale, we're going to need to make that hire. So it's the same thing on the marketing side. If you're going to grow and if you're going to really market your company the way you need to today, in 2015, you're going to need to make that hire.

Now, I've got a couple scenarios for you, or I guess mistakes that I want you guys to avoid if you're going to hire in-house. This is what I've seen companies do in the past. What you want to avoid is pushing the marketing responsibilities to someone else within your company, like an admin person, office staff.

You don't want to take someone, let's say an office manager that's already overwhelmed with tasks and doing tons of different things and then say, "By the way, Michelle, by the way, John, you're going to start doing our marketing for us, too." You can't do that. First of all, you're not going to be effective. That person is not going to be effective doing the marketing.

It's just going to keep getting pushed to the side. So don't just add marketing as another set of responsibilities to someone else in your company. You've got to hire someone. Now, when it comes to hiring someone, resist the temptation to promote from within.

A lot of companies do this. Sometimes, it can be good. Typically, when it comes to marketing, promoting from within is not good because the people within your company really don't have an understanding or a background in marketing. So what I see, what happens is companies will promote from within because it's easier. It's just easier.

It's easier to promote from within sometimes than going out and really taking a lot of time and looking for a good fit. I get it. But hiring from within when it comes to marketing just doesn't work. Typically that person just doesn't have experience or the background with marketing or the expertise.

And there's so much knowledge and expertise that a person has to have to really be able to do an effective job with your marketing. There's just so many different things, content marketing, SEO, how to update your website, how to do e-mail marketing the proper way, how to put together a direct mail piece.

There's just so many different parts or different ways you can market your business. So you've got to have someone with the background and experience and that expertise to really be able to do it well. So two things, hiring in-house. Let me reiterate here the two things. Don't push the responsibilities to someone else. You're just going to overwhelm them even more.

So hire someone, but don't promote from within. Go get someone with experience, really good experience in marketing. Probably someone outside of the industry is what you want to look for. Now, the next thing, if you don't want to hire someone within or you don't want to hire someone in-house, look to an agency, look to a marketing agency.

That's what Landscape Leadership is and that's what all of our clients do. So instead of hiring someone in-house, they're hiring our team to be their agency of record, it's typically called. So hiring an outside agency like us, an agency like Landscape Leadership, has a lot of advantages over hiring exclusively in-house. So I want to walk you through a few of these. A big one is cost.

Many times, I would say most of the time, hiring an agency can actually cost a company less than hiring someone in-house. The reality is that you're going to need to pay top dollar for elite in-house marketing talent. You can't hire an intern. Like I said, you can't hire or promote from within. You've got to get a super star and that's going to cost you top dollar.

So chances are, the salary that you're going to need to pay one of these super stars is going to be higher than what you would pay your marketing agency on an annual basis. So it's going to cost you a little less to hire a marketing agency.

Also, this is a big one, when you hire an agency, you're hiring an entire expert team of professionals, not just a single individual. You're getting a whole team, and that's important because one person is not going to have all of the expertise that you need.

You're not just going to find that person with the specialized knowledge that can implement a fully integrated program that includes things like social media, SEO, content marketing, advertising, all these things that we talked about.

So a digital marketing team like us will have all of these capabilities in-house and able to offer that to you. Now if you are able to find that in-house marketing super star, keeping them happy and on your team for the long haul is going to be extremely difficult.

The reality is that your top talent is going to move on to bigger and better opportunities. That's just how it is. So if you bring in the super star marketer and they have a lot of success, chances are, they're going to end up looking around and taking another opportunity somewhere else. It's just that endless cycle of recruiting and training.

So tons of time goes into that, into the hiring process, the training process. Then, obviously when you hire someone, you've got all these other things that come into play, payroll, paying benefits, taxes, all of this different stuff that's involved when you hire someone full-time.

You don't have a lot of that when you hire an agency. So there are a lot of advantages, lots of pros to hiring, to outsourcing this to an agency. So those are really the two options you have for staffing. If you want to start doing more and more marketing and want to start down the path of content marketing, inbound marketing, find someone in-house or look to an outside marketing agency.

We'll wrap it up here. I think you guys would agree that the way we shop and buy products and buy services today has changed considerably. It's different today than it was 10 years ago. So marketing has never been more important than now. If your prospects can't find you online, then you're in trouble big time.

So back to the main point. If you suck at marketing, you can't just ignore it anymore. If you guys have any comments on this, I'd love to hear them. If you have any questions about hiring for marketing, let me know. I'm happy to answer, whether you have questions about hiring someone in-house or working with an agency like us.

Shoot the questions my way, chris.heiler@lanscapeleadership.com. So thank you very much for listening to this episode of Smarketing Talk. We'll be coming back at you again next month, but really appreciate you guys listening.

Remember, if you want to help out, spread the word for us with this podcast, send this to your colleagues or send it to some of your peers. Get other people listening to it. We'd really appreciate that. It's finally in iTunes now.

So if you do listen to podcasts and you get them from iTunes, you can find this in there now. If you can leave a comment or a review in there, that would be super helpful as well. Anyway, thanks so much for listening and we'll catch up with you next time.

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