Marketing Panel at 100 State

Episode 3: Marketing Panel at 100state

In the latest episode of Marketing Tech Talks, Matthew Gonnering, Widen CEO sat down with a panel of marketers at 100 State, a co-working environment across from the Wisconsin State Capitol building in downtown Madison, WI. Joining the discussion is Taylar Barrington, owner and creative director at, Rachel Keranen, independent marketing strategist at, and Matt Nelson of MadtownSEO at These three marketing pros share a number of marketing and martech strategies and marketing technology solutions they use for their own businesses and for their customers.


At 1:30, we get to meet each of the marketing pros, and learn about their businesses and services.

At 5:05, Rachel talks about the importance of the “story.” She is a reporter by training and loves to figure out who the audience, what they care about, and what is unique about your business,
which helps her be more effective.

At 6:50, Matt shares information about his WordPress bootcamps and social media bootcamps through his latest company Grow Madison. Bootcamps allow professionals a chance to continue their education on new martech trends without going back to college.

At 8:27, Matthew dives back into the topic of storytelling. Rachel views herself as a journalist when she meets a new potential customer. The first question she asks is “why are you unique.” The main challenge is that there are lot of companies that do a lot of similar things. She tries to help her customer really dig in to be able to communicate their uniqueness.

At 9:54, Rachel defines “The 5 whys.” When you interview someone and ask them a question, you keep asking them “why” 5 times to get past the idealism that is contained in most of the initial answer. By the time you get to the fifth why, you’re closer to the real answer to the question.

At 11:00, Taylar talks about how she uses visuals to tell a story verses written content.

At 13:50, as a web designer, Matt looks to be able to tell a whole “story” on his customer’s homepage.

At 14:36, Rachel’s first step with working with new customers is to go over the personas of their customers. She wants to know what are their pain points, what do they do on a daily basis, and what keywords to they look for.

At 17:18, Matthew quotes the famous marketing joke “Some people claim that only half of marketing’s budget works, they just don’t know what half.” Matt quickly explains how that is not true and he can show his customers advanced keyword analytics to show where their strategies work, and where they need adjustments. Businesses focus on their solutions, but people search for their problems.

At 22:11, Matthew asks the panel on what reliable marketing technologies they use. For Matt, the answer is quick. WordPress! It has very low upkeep, it is open source, it has many plugins to extend it’s functionality, basically it levels the playing field between large businesses and smbs. As you can imagine, Google Analytics is mentioned often.

At 24:49, the topic shifts to analytics. Shopify is the ecommerce platform that Taylor uses. The analytics of the platform gives her visibility into the click path of her customers. She can see where they click, where they click off. She tries to impersonate her customers when she follows the analytics. This helps her understand what parts of the site she needs to change to increase conversion

At 27:32, Matt mentions cart abandonment being huge for ecommerce customers. He monitors those analytics closely, trying to identify what things need to be fixed.

At 33:40, Taylar encourages her customers to take original imagery rather than buying stock photos that your competitors are possibly using as well.

At 35:59, Taylar says it’s very hard to get people to connect with you. Video is the most powerful tool to help you make your audience feel like they’re present.

At 37:17, Rachel shares her opinion on some popular videos that are very successful with engagement because they tap into people’s emotions and values.

At 38:25, Matt says SEO is like an arms race. Whoever has more better guns, wins. Video is hugely important.

At 39:36, Matthew asks about finding the balance between visual and non visual content on your site and how that affects searchability. Matt talks about a photographer wanting a clean simple site that features his images, but how do you tell google what is there since google can’t read context in an image.

At 41:23, Rachel quotes famous philosopher Pascal who said, “if I had more time, I’d write you a shorter letter” to illustrate the complexities in being thorough, yet brief.

47:38, Rachel says that to be a good writer, you need to be a good actor. You have to “be” a person that is interested in the article you’re hired to write.

At 52:13, Rachel walks the group through how she would distribute a video proposed by an audience member. She walks through the different channels she’d publish the video to in order to get the most return.

At 55:55, the entire panel shares their views on how to handle situations when customers ask them for things that they know are wrong. A customer asks them to add a menu to their site, but when you ask why, it reveals that a menu is not needed.

At 1:00:35, Taylar and Rachel share stories of how they have actually worked themselves out of a job after going through a SWOT analysis with a new potential customer.

1:04:45, Influencers will vary for different industries. For her own book writing project, she is monitoring author Neil Patel as an influencer for the specific topic she’s writing about. She wants to look at what they’re writing about, and try to engage with them.

1:07:11, Matt pays attention to what Google’s plans are. He follows Barry Schwartz of Search Engine Land, Rand Fishkin of Moz, John Mueller at Google. They all do weekly webinars and podcasts that keeps Matt up to date on how SEO rankings will change.

At 1:10:14, Taylar sites product placement with key influencers as her top trend in marketing. Consumers are going to trust the influencer before you trust the company.

Side note: We apologize for the lack of a fake fire. 🙁

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