30Mar/17

Episode 11: Spencer X Smith of AmpliPhi, digital marketing expert

Tips from a digital marketing expert

In the latest episode of Marketing Tech Talk, Widen CEO Matthew Gonnering sits down with Spencer X Smith, co-founder of AmpliPhi, a Madison-based firm specializing in Business Generation Solutions for Modern Companies, and an instructor at the University of Wisconsin where he teaches classes on Social Media Strategy. Smith has been called a “Digital Marketing Expert” by Forbes, and is the winner of the 2016 InBusiness Magazine Executive Choice Award for Social Media Consulting Company. He has been featured and quoted in Money Magazine, Entrepreneur, Inc. Magazine, Costco Connection and dozens of other publications. He also writes columns for InBusiness Magazine, The Huffington Post, Law Journal Newsletters, and the American Bar Association.

At 0:15, Spencer explains his recent transition from strict consulting to tactical implementation with social media and digital marketing. He recognized that his clients gravitated towards his ideas, but lacked the capacity to execute.

At 7:39, Spencer talks about how to train LinkedIn’s algorithm to organically amplify people’s brands to targeted audiences. He explains how to post, tag, and teach LinkedIn to share more his content and less of other people’s.

At 9:36, Spencer and Matthew discuss co-branding and the issues of not being authentic in your messaging on social media. If you’re propagating some message that’s incongruent with what you want in the marketplace, somebody is gonna call you out and show that you’re not truly who you say you are.

At 13:10, Spencer explains how millennials are eventually going to control the capital. There are now more 26-year-olds in the country than any other age, and they are going to want to buy products that are consistent with their beliefs, so why not get ahead of that conversation now.

At 13:52, in response to Matthew’s request for an example of authenticity in PR, Spencer talks about McDonald’s and how they reacted to negative comments about their meat product. He explains how they were able to squash this issue by welcoming these conversations, even if people were criticizing.

At 18:08, Spencer gives a preview of his presentation at Content Marketing Conference called, “How to Secure Budget with Dubious Bosses.” He explains how to react to the ROI question from superiors, prioritizing which channels to invest in, and being transparent in whatever decisions are made.

At 27:09, Spencer shines light on the lifetime value of a customer, and how much money a company may have to spend to earn that customer. “I feel like companies really undervalue their relationships.” Don’t fall for this trap!

At 31:02, Spencer talks about his journey from early childhood, into chasing a career in social. One of the big epiphanies he experienced along this transition was how to use current events to stay top of mind for his prospects until they were ready to buy.

At 42:16, Spencer confesses a story about a lesson he learned regarding blindly following people on Twitter after they followed him. He explains how it’s not always about the numbers.

At 44:20, Spencer explains how it’s difficult for CEOs and Directors to stay current on digital trends due to excessive meetings. Because of this, it is the marketer’s job to bring salient points about what they should know. It’s our job as marketers to ascertain what that stuff is.

At 46:17, Spencer shares his interpretation of The LinkedIn Guide to Employee Advocacy and speaks to the strategy behind building up personal brands. “For every six shares an employee puts out, that leads three people to look at the company page, which leads to one follower.”

At 51:47, Spencer talks about the importance of trusting employees on social media. He references NASA and it’s culture as the reason for its major success on social media platforms.

At 54:38, Spencer talks about trends he sees in the social media industry. Three years ago, social media companies were interested in seeing our futures, or aspirations, based on the content we consumed. Today, it’s not just the future that companies want, it’s the present.

At 56:36, Spencer talks about the effects of Microsoft purchasing LinkedIn, and the changes we can expect to see in business intelligence and predictive analytics.

28Feb/17

Episode 10: John Kuehl, Hankr co-founder and entrepreneur

Balancing Martech to make your team successful

In the latest episode of Marketing Tech Talk Widen CEO Matthew Gonnering sits down with John Kuehl, Hankr co-founder and entrepreneur, and talks about balancing MarTech using marketing technology competencies, mobile technology, photography and content strategy. He has a great story about how he went from working in digital marketing for corporations to becoming an entrepreneur and starting his own company, Hankr.

At 1:00, John talks about his transition from working in digital marketing, advertising and PR for 15 years to becoming the president and one of the co-founders of Hankr. He says one day he realized he wanted to be doing his own thing.

At 3:02, John discusses how all his past experience in promotion, photography and app development had prepared him to build Hankr. He realized he had the experience to do it and the passion, so he decided to go ahead with it.

At 4:45, John gives his marketing philosophy. He says it’s ever-changing and it’s okay if he learns something that he used to think was totally true, just isn’t true anymore. He also likes to listen to the ‘How I Built This’ podcast from NPR and likes to take inspiration from other CEOs and leaders to tweak his own marketing philosophy. In general, he approaches marketing as ‘everything is a problem’. He believes you need to have a very clear understanding of the marketing problem and what the customer needs and then you can figure out how to solve it.

At 7:29, John talks about his love for marketing. He says what he loves most about marketing are the stories. He’s been really lucky to work with companies and brands that have had great stories to tell and has been happy to bring those stories to life.

At 8:39, John discusses his passion for analytics. He really enjoys figuring out the “why” in marketing because that’s the most difficult. He says if we as marketers understood the why, we would never get anything wrong. Which is the reason the why is almost impossible to know and a never-ending quest.

At 12:56, John shares a quote he heard from the founder of Southwest Airlines, “If you act small, you’ll grow bigger”. He likes to live by this quote with his own business. He says he still celebrates when he gains one single customer and will always continue to do that. He takes just as much pride in gaining one customer as gaining some major victory.

At 15:54, John talks about how he prioritizes marketing activities. He says that now that he is in a new role, as a head of a company, it’s been a little more difficult with a small team. He’s trying to stay true to his principles in his new company. A lot of things seem important when you’re new, which is also a challenge. He says he doesn’t have a good answer right now but he is focused on not doing anything before his team has agreed that it matters. And he enjoys having these conversations with his team.

At 20:56, John walks us through his agile marketing process and technologies he’s using to assist in that process. He starts by saying that agile is not one size fits all and his company is still figuring out what agile means to them. He uses ScrumDo to help himself and his team see their work in manageable chunks they can go get done. 

At 25:32, John talks about how he thinks it’s important to bring the technical mindset to the communication mindset — or how it’s important to bring marketers and developers together. He thinks developers should sit on marketing teams. He says he would rather have that level of connection between people that build things and those who have the strategy.

At 29:15, John shares how much competency he thinks marketers need in technology to be effective in the marketing landscape today. He says he really values a technical knowledge base in a marketer. But it also goes both ways and developers should understand marketing as well.

At 32:35, John reveals what he thinks teams lack in general, which is an agreed to framework for how to get things done. He thinks it’s important for leaders to communicate to their teams what they care about and what success means.

At 36:45, John expresses the need to keep communication consistent across different teams. He says it’s important to have a plan for how you’re going to talk about concepts and be committed to that plan.

At 39:00, John shines light on the COPE (Create Once Publish Everywhere) principle, how organizations can do it, and why it should be a guiding principle. He also discusses tools that can help with COPE and how the most important aspect is that users know how to use the tool.

At 44:40, John discusses how it’s not the tools, it’s the team. You have to put a lot of value into your team so they can be successful. For example, he says there are marketing principles that a person has to understand before they can use marketing automation software. One shouldn’t champion the tool, but the process or the strategy behind it.

At 48:10, John answers the audience’s questions on how to measure success, content strategy, and other marketing challenges.

26May/16

Episode 9: Jeff Coon of Stream Creative, inbound marketing expert

How to align sales and marketing effectively

In the latest episode of Marketing Tech Talk, Matthew Gonnering, Widen CEO sits down with Jeff Coon, Partner at Stream Creative, an inbound marketing agency in Milwaukee, WI. Stream started off as a graphic design firm, but quickly evolved into ad agency/marketing firm hybrid with Hubspot as the driving technology. They’re preachers of inbound marketing practices, and a Hubspot platinum partner helping marketing teams get up and running on the platform.

At 1:40, Jeff shares how his career evolved from being a graphic designer, to a data-driven marketer. Tools and technology have advanced to allow marketing decisions to be made from actual data rather than a guessing game. Stream’s strategy is to get content out there, then allow user behavior data to drive future advancements in an iterative process.

At 3:00, Jeff says “Marketing is not trickery. It’s not tricking you into buying something you didn’t need. It’s about what questions you have as a buyer, and how can I best answer them.” Neuromarketing is a new trend he’s actively monitoring. It helps to answer why the buyer did what they just did, and how you can prepare your marketing content for it.

At 3:30, Sales/Marketing alignment is one of the biggest challenges in marketing. Traditional salespeople don’t understand how marketing fits in. Since different people buy in different ways, marketing can help sales be more efficient.

At 7:30, Jeff says “none of us are sitting around watching reruns of Ellen thinking I wish I had more to do.” The question is how can we use technology to be more efficient. He suggests getting a non-technical person on the phone and record it. That can become the basis for a series of blog posts.

At 8:20, Matthew asks Jeff how technology is aiding the alignment between sales and marketing. Jeff states that if you can get salespeople to log an activity in a CRM, that can be the data trigger point for marketing to send out personalized communications on the salesperson’s behalf.

At 10:00, Jeff says that a CRM should be a core piece of technology in any organization’s marketing tech stack. Hubspot has a free one. It is basic and for small companies, but it gets the job done and can grow with you.

At 14:15, Jeff summarizes a part of his process as “growth driven design.” They release initial versions of content and then through an iterative process, let user feedback direct future revisions. It obviously needs to initially be high quality, but it does not need to be perfect.

At 16:20, Jeff discusses how the process of creating buyer personas can often be made to be too complicated. It can be as easy as interviewing a couple groups of people to find out the phrases buyers are using, where they hang out, basic demographic information, and what their pain points are. Then test that hypothesis, and make adjustments. It should be a living, breathing thing.

At 26:37, The content creation process is usually based around interviews. Interviews will end up as a written piece of content and a visual piece of content. The goal is to get a number of pieces of content out there, measure, and iterate.

28:48, Matthew asks Jeff how he feels about “gated content.” Jeff feels that whatever you’re offering has to be so good that people are willing to give you their information. They do offer un-gated content, and then use Hotjar to measure it’s effectiveness, which then informs future content decisions.

At 31:00, Jeff and Matthew discuss common issues with content creation. Jeff notes that there is so much content out there, it’s a challenge to get your content to stand out. It needs to be high value content that solves a problem, or answers a question for the buyer.

At 34:20, In the past, Stream would create a 12 month content campaign. Now, they know where they want to be in 12 months, but they only create a 3 month campaign and use data to drive changes in the content creation for the remaining 9 months.

At 35:40, Jeff says the next big challenge is promoting content after you get it out. For every hour they spend on strategy, they spend about 4-5 hours creating the content, and then (in theory) 5-10 hours promoting it. Scheduled social posts are not enough. Enlisting the support of a PR agency can help to draw more attention to the content.

At 40:29, Jeff talks about usability and how important it is for a technology to get “ease of use” right. He begs, “don’t make me learn something new. Integrating with apps that people are already using is imperative. If you know I’m spending the majority of my day in Hubspot, integrate with it, don’t make me download another app.” Hubspot has brought together a number of different tools, including CMS, CRM, social, blog, and analytics so the Stream team can login to one solution and find out how things are doing.

At 42:33, Matthew asks Jeff how a technology positions themselves. “How did Hubspot grow into a central command center?” Jeff outlined that Hubspot initially launched as a CMS, but then let data and feedback from their users drive their future growth and expansion. Their support is also amazing. They recognized that there is a lot of turnover in the agency world. Hubspot created a quick training library for onboarding new admins. They solved one of Jeff’s problems. They then went on to solve the sales/marketing alignment problem by adding CRM, marketing automation, and blog modules onto their CMS. Now the CRM module which is a focus of sales can talk to other modules that are more marketing focused.

At 49:45, Matthew asks Jeff what’s trending and who he follows. Of course he follows the big hitters like the Hubspot blog, Marketing Profs, and Social Media Examiner, but he also likes to follow people that are in the intellectual property space doing direct selling online like authors and consultants. People like Amy Porterfield, Michael Hyatt, James Wedmore, and Rick Mulready are in the trenches are taking people from all the way from “stranger” to a “customer” in an online environment. Not everyone of Jeff’s customers has a product or service that can be sold in an online environment, but he likes to study these people for the whole spectrum, and then repurpose applicable techniques at the proper stage for his customers. It’s especially helpful in figuring out how to get content to stand out and be agile.

At 51:53, Jeff starts to talk about a neuromarketing trend of establishing a higher value for content by strategically assigning a price. There’s so much free stuff out there now, that sometimes charging can establish a higher value or even a greater commitment to an event.

At 55:58, Jeff talks about how technologies can be better at selling to buyers by coming at them through channels and technologies they already trust. For example, GoToMeeting has a much better chance of getting my business as an integration through Hubspot, than they do direct.

Jeff Coon of Stream Creative. Inbound Marketing

20Apr/16

Episode 8: Liz Henry of J. Henry & Sons Bourbon

Wisconsin family farm pivots marketing strategy to raising premium Bourbon.

In the latest episode of Marketing Tech Talk, Matthew Gonnering, Widen CEO sits down with Liz Henry of J. Henry & Sons Bourbon Whiskey. Liz has an incredible story, from her upbringing in Racine, WI, to her reign as Alice in Dairyland, which she credits as a major influence in her marketing background. It is a very cool and home grown story of how her husband, a third generation farmer restored a strain of red corn his grandfather helped create decades ago, and grows it today on their family farm, along with the other inputs needed to distill bourbon. Bourbon is best shared in social situations, and Liz is a master of social interaction marketing.


At 3:23, Liz jokes that her college advisors mentioned that being a veterinarian was probably not a great choice for her, and directed her toward agriculture marketing. She laughs as she initially said no because “she wanted to be taken seriously.” But the advisor noted that she already showed signs of being good at more marketing based skills, so she heeded his advice.

At 8:27, Liz talks about applying for a job with the State Department of Ag Trading Consumer Protection, marketing ag products. The position was called Alice in Dairyland. You spend a year marketing and promoting Wisconsin agricultural production. She traveled internationally and was an exercise in networking and PR.

At 17:02, Matthew asks Liz how we got to making Bourbon, which let’s face it, is really cool. Liz’s husband is a third generation seed corn farmer. About ten years ago, Liz and Joe went down to the Bourbon trail. While it was a fun “grownups” trip, it also spurred them to rethink the purpose of their family farm. Bourbon is 100% American, and is an ag value add product. It is 51% corn, wheat and rye, which they raise on their farm. The red corn seed variety that they raise was created in the 1930’s at the University of Wisconsin. Her time as Alice in Dairyland helped her understand the importance of consumers wanting to know where their food and beverages comes from, how they were produced, and who was making them. Being able to put a face on a product is critical.

At 32:00, the ability to convey that story and provide that information to consumers has helped establish relationships with distributors. While J. Henry & Sons can’t compete with the big guys with big sales kick backs, they allow the distributors to share in the story and invite their customers out to the farm and visit the tasting room, allowing the consumers the ability to form an even stronger connection with the brand. It’s relationship based marketing, and it works amazingly well in the spirits industry.

37:40, Liz says the first thing people look at when they’re shopping for spirits is the price. Since they’re at a higher price point, they need to rely on their story, and relationship marketing to have distributors help them. The juice in the jar needs to be good as she says, but it’s not enough on it’s own.

At 47:00, J. Henry is starting to develop a “barrel club” where fans of the brand can buy into buying a barrel where you could come out to the farm and help bottle your bottle, apply the label, and sign it. It allows brand advocates to really be a part of the process.

After all of this talk about bourbon…..we’re all getting thirsty. Time to sample the product! 🙂

J.-Henry--Sons-Bourbon-bottles

J. Henry & Sons Bourbon Bottles

 

19Apr/16

Upcoming Episode: Liz Henry of J. Henry & Sons – 4/20/16

Episode 8 of Marketing Tech Talks will launch on Wednesday April 20th, and will feature Liz Henry of J. Henry and Sons, maker of fine Wisconsin Bourbon. J. Henry makes fine bourbon from a red corn variety created by Liz’s husband’s grandfather. They grow all of the inputs on their farm and age their bourbon in oak barrels for 5 years. Liz’s experience in marketing as a former Alice in Dairyland has helped her create and position the J. Henry Brand.

Marketing Tech Talk episode 8 featuring Liz Henry of J. Henry and Sons, and Matthew Gonnering, CEO of Widen.

Liz sits down with Matthew Gonnering, CEO of Widen, to discuss how a farming family pivoted to market and brand a spirits. Check back on Wednesday to watch the episode.

09Mar/16

Episode 7: Jim Scott, retired president of plumbing products at Elkay Manufacturing

In the latest episode of Marketing Tech Talk, Matthew Gonnering, Widen CEO sits down with Jim Scott. Jim worked for Elkay Manufacturing for 33 years before retiring. Elkay is an American-owned manufacturer of stainless steel sinks for residential and commercial use. Today, Elkay Plumbing Products delivers world class sinks, faucets, foodservice products, water coolers, drinking fountains and award winning rapid bottle filling stations. Jim’s position as product manager afforded him the ability to oversee more than just marketing operations for Elkay’s plumbing products, but make no mistake about it, he understands the power of marketing, he believes in it, and used it as not only as a tool, but as an overall philosophy to greatly increase sales over his presidency. We noticeably take a break from talking about the “technology” portion of martech in today’s episode, as Jim retired prior to the major boom in martech. But he brings us back home to the basics, including the 4 P’s of marketing. Sometimes you just have to go back a little bit before you look forward. Jim is a great one to learn from. 

At 3:30, Jim gives an overview of his career at Elkay. In his last 10 years, he became president of the plumbing products group and helped grow the business from $190 million to $400 million before his retirement in 2008. After retirement he continued to work in PR and advertising as a consultant, including working with Nielsen Expositions, currently Emerald Expositions, to get KBIS, the largest kitchen and bath trade show, back on track after the housing downturn in 2009.

At 8:54, Jim talks about how he looked for opportunities to change and grow the business. He did not want to maintain the status quo. He identified that “Designers” were the new influencers in the kitchen and bath industry, and Elkay was not talking to them. They were talking to wholesalers. Jim went back to Marketing 101 and adjusted the 4 P’s so Elkay could target these new influencers.

At 25:55, Matthew asks Jim what marketing’s role in this change over. Jim said Initially there was resistance because Elkay was doing “good.” Jim them quotes Jim Collins from his book Good to Great that “Being good is the enemy of being great.” They learned what marketing really was. All marketing starts with a great product…their job was to create great product and then tell the story. Marketing became less of a department, and more of a philosophy for everyone in the company. The entire organization became marketers.

At 36:08, Jim outlines how important it is that everyone in the organization was on the same page with understanding the marketing plan and the overarching marketing philosophy. Before they were on the same page, the manufacturing department didn’t know what they were planning when tooling would arrive and they had no idea what to do with it.

At 40:20, Jim outlines how they reorganized with more of a “product manager” focus, where product managers were responsible for understanding market opportunities. They later on switched to more of a market focus where people were assigned a market, and were responsible for understanding Elkay’s entire product line that applying the best products.

At 43:14, Jim focuses on two of the four P’s of marketing, the Product and Place, and outlines a four quadrant approach to supporting products and markets. Noting that new products in new markets also presented the most risk, Elkay focused their efforts on either taking existing products to new markets, or developing new products for their existing markets.

At 53:00, Matthew asks Jim about he aligned with the new influencers in their industry. Kitchen and bath designers became the big influencers for Elkay. They’re not the direct customer, but they significantly influence the homeowner or remodeler that would become the customer. Jim outlines many of the changes they made to their marketing materials to cater to the kitchen and bath designer vs their old catalogs that catered to wholesalers.

04Mar/16

Upcoming Episode: Jim Scott of Elkay Manufacturing – 2/9/16

Episode 7 of Marketing Tech Talks will launch on Wednesday March 9th, and will feature Jim Scott, retired president of plumbing products at Eklay Manufacturing, an American-owned manufacturer of stainless steel sinks for residential and commercial use. Today, Elkay Plumbing Products delivers world class sinks, faucets, foodservice products, water coolers, drinking fountains and award winning rapid bottle filling stations. Jim’s position as product manager afforded him the ability to oversee more than just marketing operations for Elkay’s plumbing products, but make no mistake about it, he understands the power of marketing.

Marketing Tech Talk - Jim Scott of Elkay Manufacturing

Jim sits down with Matthew Gonnering, CEO of Widen, to discuss how he used it as not only as a tool, but as an overall philosophy to greatly increase sales over his presidency. Check back on Wednesday to watch the episode.

13Jan/16

Episode 6: Josh Feyen, social media specialist with American Family Insurance

In the latest episode of Marketing Tech Talks’, Matthew Gonnering, Widen CEO sits down with Josh Feyen, social media specialist with American Family Insurance, a private mutual company that focuses on property, casualty and auto insurance. He works closely with over 2500 of AmFam’s field representatives that have opted in and want to use some form of social media to advance their business.

At 3:25, Josh talks about how he loves training, and that as early as 2009, AmFam realized the future importance of social media for their field reps, and hired him to focus on that transition.

At 4:55, Josh explains that his customers are the field reps, and his deliverable to those reps is training on how to use social media, and content that is repurposable. He gives us a glimpse into his daily troubleshooting, and the different buckets of content types that he creates. Fac

At 8:43, he talks about the challenges in creating content for different channels like Twitter, Linkedin and Facebook. Most of his agents are using Facebook, and he promotes posts about their personal lives. It helps them to connect with their customers on an emotional level. Conversely, Linkedin is not the place to post pictures of cats.

At 12:18, Matthew asks Josh how they manage creating and distributing their content. Josh explains how they use a platform called Hearsay Social. He spends 50% of his day in the platform creating and monitoring content, so it is the most critical piece of technology he uses. Every week, he has a standing call with a rep from Hearsay Social to talk about Josh’s user adoption, and any UI changes that Josh suggests.

At 18:18, Josh talks about his team that manages all of this. His immediate team is two people. Himself and another technical person, but he has relationships with other areas of the organization which help him develop new content and repurpose content originally created for other areas for use on social channels.

At 21:20, Josh talks about how the corporate advertising calendar (the stuff we see on tv for example) drives themes for content he creates and pushes for social. Social can help amplify the overall message of the brand. He wants to be able to offer two to three options for his customers. Anything more, and it’s overwhelming, like going down the breakfast cereal isle.

At 33:32, Josh answers a question about how he manages dealing with agents that don’t want to use the content that he creates. He suggests that a third of the content they post to be something that AmFam provides, a third to be content about something that is very local, like letting people know you’re at a local festival or event, and the last third should be content about themselves like where they volunteer. The third that AmFam provides is customizable.

At 36:20, Josh talks about Google+. Josh tells his agents, “Google cares, so we care.”

At 39:45, Josh talks about how the importance of engagement, and how it is changing quickly. He jokes about how he has professional photographers and writers….but a simple pic from the agent’s phone that is about them personally will always get better engagement.

At 42:34, Josh explains how he uses metrics and how he shares that with his agents. He sends out an email monthly with a scorecard he created which rates the agents by walk, run and fly.

at 46:00, Matthew asks Josh of how he is special in the world of Facebook. Since he has admin rights to all of his agents pages, he officially has admin rights to more pages than anyone in the world. Facebook reminds him of that when he breaks it.

At 48:06, Matthew asks Josh how he stays sharp on the topic of social media. Josh says he belongs to an organization called socialmedia.org, and there is a lot of great articles on their site. He subscribes to Social Media Examner, and he also attends Social Media Breakfast, a local group that focuses on trends in social media. He also follows influencers such as Jay Baer, and Andrew Foxwell.

At 53:00, Josh answers a question about how they utilize video as a media file type. Agents are not able to have Youtube channels. They can post videos to Facebook natively because those are archived by the Hearsay tool which is a legal requirement for the insurance industry. They also require that video are not about insurance at all because it creates a compliance nightmare. But non-insurance related video works great for the the personal and local third portions of Josh’s suggested content mix.

At 57:51, Josh shares his opinion on the future of social media, including an assurance that millennials are not abandoning social or facebook, and that google+ still has value. He also sees big advancements in control of privacy.

11Jan/16

Upcoming Episode: Josh Feyen of American Family Insurance – 1/13/16

Episode 6 of Marketing Tech Talks will launch on Tuesday December 8th, and will feature Josh Feyen, social media specialist at American Family Insurance, a private mutual company that focuses on property, casualty and auto insurance, but also offers commercial insurance, life, health, and homeowners coverage, as well as investment and retirement-planning products.

Josh Feyen episode of Marketing Tech Talks

Josh sits down with Matthew Gonnering, CEO of Widen, to discuss how AmFam uses social media to allow its field reps to advance their business.  Check back on Wednesday to watch the episode.

08Dec/15

Episode 5: Jen Mauerman of Wisconsin Distributors

In the latest episode of Marketing Tech Talks, Matthew Gonnering, Widen CEO sits down with Jen Mauerman, digital media manager at Wisconsin Distributors, a distributor of craft and import beers, water and energy drinks in over 22 counties in Southern Wisconsin with 2 warehouses located in Sun Prairie, Wisconsin and Appleton, Wisconsin. Their most popular brands include Bud Light, Busch Light, Stella Artois, New Belgium, Labatt Blue, Goose Island, Wisconsin Brewing Company and Monster Energy Drinks. So this is one of our favorite episodes, because…Beer!

At 0:35, Jen gives us a brief recap of her background in marketing and how she got here, and also a little background on Wisconsin Distributors (WD)

At 2:40, Jen talks about how they are both B2B and B2C, which is a unique situation. They sell to both retailers and direct to customers. They use the “Wisconsin Distributors” brand to market to retailers. They created a second brand called “Beer Society of Wisconsin” and use that market to consumers.

At 6:20, Jen says “A Brand is a product, or line of products that the consumer feels a connection with.” They use analytics to gauge people’s connections to different brands and a promotions that they run.

8:40, Jen talks about how starting the “Beer Society of Wisconsin” brand to talk directly to consumers was an “experiment that went right.” They created a platform to speak directly to consumers and showcase their brands. They saw big jumps in engagement on social media.

At 11:50, Jen talks about how they use social media to flow visitors over to their website. They look at the numbers in google analytics on a weekly basis, and they use the data to justify marketing spend. Increased brand awareness is reflected in website traffic and helps them prove their ROI.

At 14:00, She talks about using Buffer to schedule social media posts, amongst other analytic apps contained within social media platforms.

At 15:00 Matthew asked Jen about story-based content. Jen says that people feel good when they can connect with a brand, and stories do that better than most other tactics.

At 16:30, Jen talks about the technology they use for their event-based marketing. They use Eventbrite for their monthly social hours. They are usually branded as the Beer Society of Wisconsin.

At 20:55, Jen is asked how their utilizing the Beer Society brand to create brand awareness vs. directly selling. She talks about how she would would sell a brand that makes you prettier.

At 23:45, Jen talks about how most of their brands have sales portals to funnel stories and content to their distributors to then reuse on their own channels.

At 28:45, Jen talks about the make up for their marketing team. Matthew noted that the 21 year old version of himself would have been a great beer brand ambassador. She also give us her “Starting 5” of her marketing basketball team. Number 1 is the sprinter marketer. They get the word out quickly. Number 2 is the marathon marketer. They take their time and plan for the long term. Number 3 is the Michael Jordan marketer. They’re well rounded and can help anyone, and takes chances. Number 4 is the creative. They create fun content that grabs attention. FInally, number 5 is the analytic marketing. They dig deep in the numbers to analyze what is working and what is not.

At 39:17, Matthew asks Jen to explain the marketing technology stack they use in all their marketing operations. Jen quotes popular social media platforms like Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter, Buffer for social media scheduling, Mailchimp for email marketing, Google analytics, and WordPress as their web CMS. They also use The Sales Marketer app from Redtwine, which allowed them to go green by eliminating a lot of paper, and also gives all their sales reps all of the necessary sales materials directly on iPads that they can carry with them out in the field.

At 46:00, Matthew asks specifically about Internal communications between sales and marketing. Jen says that marketing and sales go hand in hand. It’s a constant struggle to make it better and more efficient.

At 48:45, Jen cites using blogs and webinars to keep her marketing skills sharp. Social Media Today, and Business to Community are her favorite blogs. She also likes to attend events like Social Media Breakfast, and Social Media Week in Chicago.

At 102:40, we learn that Widen employees know a lot about beer.