A Three-Step Manufacturing Marketing Process

In this week’s Manufacturing Ecommerce Success Series, our guest speaker was Joe Sullivan. Joe is the Founder and Thinker at Gorilla 76. Aside from this, he is also the host of the Manufacturing Executive Podcast.  Gorilla 76 helps manufacturers create marketing content and executions strategies that drive engagement and sales.

How does the manufacturing marketing process works was explained by our guest today.

In this week’s Manufacturing Ecommerce Success Series, our guest speaker was Joe Sullivan. Joe is the Founder and Thinker at Gorilla 76. Aside from this, he is also the host of the Manufacturing Executive Podcast.  Gorilla 76 helps manufacturers create marketing content and executions strategies that drive engagement and sales.

The conversation of this episode started with Joe sharing about his company. He said that he and his partner were interns together when they started this company. Joe said that both of these partners worked at a big marketing agency and later on they both started freelancing with their skillset.

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This is when they decided to start their own company as well. By now their company has 23 employees in total and some of them are not based in St. Louis. Moreover, when they wanted to rebrand their company, they decided to choose the B2B niche.

Moving on, Curt asked Jon about the culture at Gorilla 76. He said that at his company, he says that there are five core values that they live by. These values are results, improvement, relationship, kindness, and inclusivity.

Additionally, Joe addressed the entire manufacturing marketing process. He said that the first step is to focus, the next one is creating and the third one is distributing. Talking more about the same manufacturing marketing process, Jon said that you have to have an astronomical budget before getting into the actual marketing of your company.

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Moving, Joe said that when it comes to the manufacturing marketing process, you actually have to make a conscious decision about who your target audience is. Moreover, when you find that target audience, you have to work with them accordingly.

Adding to this, Joe also said that when you find the right people, you have to have an influential presence over them to get the right message across. After this, Joe talked about the focus relating to this strategy. He said that once you have everything, you need the right focus in your manufacturing marketing process.

Joe also said that for the right focus, you have to look into the right time and place. This is where LinkedIn and social media marketing comes into play. According to him, when a person is scrolling through their LinkedIn or Facebook at 10 pm while watching TV, that is a great time for the manufacturing marketing process.

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Not only is the audience focused at that time but they are also probably looking for something.

The conversation ended with Damon and Curt thanking Joe for his time.

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Damon Pistulka, Curt Anderson, Joe Sullivan


Damon Pistulka  00:00

I’m going to actually get us live on LinkedIn. And I am doing this with one monitor today so hopefully I can do it right Happy Friday,


Curt Anderson  00:11

Damon guy. She looked so refresh, man, you got to get the tan. You got the shirt going. Are you on vacation or something? What’s going on down there?


Damon Pistulka  00:21

Yeah, Kurt, it’s it. I’m just not doing this from home. I’ll say that.


Curt Anderson  00:24

How’s that? Working out of town? I guess we’re working out


Damon Pistulka  00:28

of town this week. All right, but we’re live on LinkedIn. Now. If you’re on LinkedIn listening to us, hey, drop a comment in the chat. Let us know where you’re watching from. And if you’ve got any questions for us, or the guests today, Joe, but Welcome to the manufacturing ecommerce Success Series. I’m your co host Damon Pistulka. With me, I’ve got my partner in crime my brother from another mother, Kurt Anderson. How’s it going, man?


Curt Anderson  00:53

God, dude. Hi, I’m so fired up for today, Damon, you know, I’ve been looking forward to this for weeks. So Happy Friday, everybody, Kurt Anderson heroes, my my brother from the other mother, Damon Pistulka. So Damon, thank you for putting us on today. Guys. I’m just such It’s such an honor and thrill. I want to introduce Joe Sullivan. Joe. Happy Friday, my friend. Thank you for joining us today. Yeah, thrilled to be here.

Thanks for having me. Yes, absolutely. So guys, I’m going to share a little insight on our dear friend Joe. And so Damon, you remember our good buddy Chris lukey. Joe’s kind of the he’s the opposite here. So Joe is originally from Milwaukee and finds himself in St. Louis, our dear friend, Chris Luke.

He was on the program last month. He’s from St. Louis and finds himself in Milwaukee. So little interesting twist. Oh, yeah. But Joe is an amazing industrial marketer for manufacturers. Great, dad. I think Joe what, three? You’ve just had one right, Grace? Yeah. JACK, do I have that correctly? Maybe not in the right order. But it’s something like that. Right? You got the names, right. So that’s pretty good. Well, hey, congratulations. super thrilled for you and your wife. I believe Julie, had you just you guys just had a baby this year? Correct?


Joe Sullivan  02:01

We did. Yeah. 10 weeks ago, so


Curt Anderson  02:03

10 weeks ago, man Boy, you are courageous having a baby through COVID. So God bless you. So again, so we’ve got Joe who’s originally from Wisconsin, we’ve got Aaron in the house. She’s from Wisconsin Vale I’m still mad Damon I we got together avail in person yesterday.

So got a little tour for manufacturing operation and minor fracture. Nice indoor, gal. Happy Friday, everybody. Anyone on LinkedIn. So Joe, let’s talk a little bit about gorilla 76. So you’re you’re fresh out of college, you’ve again, you’re from Milwaukee, you find yourself in St. Louis, going to college. I don’t know if maybe you fell in love or some reason you stayed in St. Louis, but you and your partner john, who started a business at just two young men share a little bit about that.


Joe Sullivan  02:46

Yeah, sure. Yeah, we, my business partner, john and I, we met as interns way back in the summer of 2004, which was before our senior years of college. We were you know, my background was like visual communications kind of grew up as an art kid, graphic design was my thing and knew I was kind of headed into that sort of career path in some way. But we wound up working at a big marketing agency in St. Louis that summer called zip atony, which no longer exists, but it’s like a 250 person firm and worked on Miller beer that summer, which was kind of fun. That’s, you know, college guys, we drank enough of that ourselves.

So, but we, we became buddies after after college, and we were towards the end we were looking for, you know, trying to find jobs and advertising we had complementary skill sets him as a writer, me as a designer.

And so we kind of put our brains together and help build each other’s portfolios. And then that turned into us doing some freelance work together, we both found jobs at agencies in St. Louis. But we we kind of started doing freelance work and turned into you know, before we knew it, we were doing as much work outside of our day jobs as we were inside and and so we started writing a business plan and kind of had, you know, making plans to start our own agency.

And so it really only took a couple years before we started my first job in the summer of oh six and in by oh eight, we had quit our jobs and we’re doing running guerilla full time, we looked a lot different than than we do now. But we were the two of us taking taking checks from anybody willing to write one and yeah, and everything from designing and writing websites to you know, doing advert more traditional advertising work and figuring out you know, like Google Analytics had just hit the market in 2005. Like it was the early days of modern digital marketing.

So we kind of came up with that and followed all you know, all along and learned a ton along the way. And so, you know, 15 years later, we celebrated our 15th anniversary this summer. oh six was technically when we started the firm but so we celebrate our 15 year anniversary this summer. We’re 23 person agency now based in St. Louis 17 of us are here six Are elsewhere and, and it was about 10 years ago where we, we kind of looked at our client base and said, you know, our best clients are what we at the time called Blue Collar brands, which was really construction and manufacturing.

It was like, you know, people who made stuff with their hands is really what we’d like to do in where we were finding a niche. b2b companies that had you know, sold something complex, dealt with technical buyers, engineers and plant managers and you know, people who are really experienced in a problem and needed help and so we just decided to go all in and own that.

So it was probably about 10 years ago, where we kind of almost rebranded ourselves as an industrial marketing agency and everything is snowballed. Since then we’ve gotten smarter. We’ve learned a lot from being niched down and talking to so many different companies and seeing patterns and figuring out what works in that sector. So that’s us today.


Curt Anderson  05:51

That is awesome. Well Happy 15th anniversary absolutely sure the folks Where did gorilla 76 come from? I think it might have something to do with a date if I’m not mistaken is that yeah,


Joe Sullivan  06:01

that name was you know, the 76 comes from seventh month of oh six which is when we founded the firm and gorilla comes from sort of the other spelling a gorilla like guerilla marketing and yeah, our inspiration was that in our earliest days we were dealing with you know, taking no budget and figuring out how to do something out of the box and make it work and so you know, the real answer is we were a couple 24 year old guys we didn’t know what the hell we were doing and you know 15 years later that’s still our name so that’s


Curt Anderson  06:28

exactly why I absolutely love that and so you know two dudes fresh out of college and when I absolutely love guys, I dropped Joe’s LinkedIn profile on his website you have to check out their website absolutely love your website Joe and I love when you go to your team and you see you know 23 strong What an amazing accomplishment such an inspiration again two young guys and when you go I checked out some of the bio videos and you check out john your partner What a great guy he is.

And he’s like you know what he was we were two guys that wanted to bet on ourselves. Like how cool is that at 2324 years old fresh out of college and you had a dream aspiration to start the company I mean what was going through your mind of family members like you know talk a little bit about that entrepreneurial plunge that you took there


Joe Sullivan  07:13

sure yeah. You know we I think it was anybody else who’s in the room right now that has come up through marketing like you’re not exactly making a ton of money as an as an entry level marketer and like it didn’t take very long before we realized we could make a lot more money on our own and have a lot more flexibility and control over our lives then you know, getting paid entry level salaries and slowly climbing up the ladder inside of the agency world that we were in and so and frankly that’s just what excited us like we had a lot more fun doing our freelance work sitting you know, anybody knows St Louis like we’d sit out

on the Del Mar loop or I lived and you know drink pbrs and like come up with ideas for what you know for our for our clients as we call them at the time you know that the hair salon down the street and Julian’s cousin who was a dentist and like those were our clients the earliest days but we you know I think that really we just wanted to do our own thing we kind of knew that from the beginning and

I don’t know if we actually believed it was realistic but at one point we you know, a couple years in we landed a job that was enough to pay us for probably three or four months and like sir pay our rent and which was like this and you know we had no responsibilities and lot in life I’m married now with three kids and it’s a lot different situation but um and so we we just kind of saw that window and decided to go for it and in retrospect, we’re probably stupid but we did some things right along the way and enough so that we survived the first year and then just kind of kept going. So


Damon Pistulka  08:45

that’s really I think when you talk to business people it’s so interesting that nine out of 10 people it’s they just took a chance and then when they look back they say the same thing that you’d said it’s like I probably didn’t make the best decision at that point and we figured it out said yeah,


Curt Anderson  09:05

yeah, totally. And I would never do that again But hey, God bless guys you and john great inspiration I saw john brand across the state of Ohio Do I have that correct, man


Joe Sullivan  09:16

Yeah, pretty much he he so john is he will openly talk about he was diagnosed with MS about what’s happened about five years ago at this point. low point in his life, you know, just kind of didn’t know what his future was going to be and and he just used it as a jumping off point for him personally and for him, he spent a huge inspiration to me and to you know, everybody who knows him really, but he kind of went from you know, one of the guys who’d like you know, this year he’d be working out regularly in good shape.

And then next year, he’s put on 25 pounds and it’s been worked out in a year and he went from being the like that back and forth guy to being like, the best athlete. I know, frankly, and yeah, so he went Six marathons in seven days I believe it was across Ohio he he was on a relay team for and it was all people with MS or with loved ones who had ms that for that cause there was a relay that went from I think one from LA to New York and they had you know X amount of people each take a leg of it and he ran has just happened to be somewhere in the middle of Ohio on that route so it was it was unbelievable


Curt Anderson  10:24

Tad hats off to john and you know and it’s just a two true credit of like the two of you you know it’s just such an inspiration of the to you coming together you know buddies PBR buddies and have a dream and a vision Now what I’d like to segue and everybody on here Aaron Vail indoor gal, you guys are gonna love this part of the conversation man the culture that you guys you know not and again I love your humility, your modesty averages to cut you know to dude starting up a business, the culture that you’ve created, in my opinion is off the charts at gorilla 76 I’d like to dig into that for a little bit.

Talk about like, you know, where did you if you go to their website you have you know, everybody is a thinker. You know, when you look at your entire team, it starts with thinker. You have bio videos, you had an incredible post last night I just want to share this real quick. I know you’re you’re hiring right now. Is that correct? We are Yeah, you’re hiring somebody for your client success team and I hopefully, if I’m pronouncing her name correctly, Sultana.

Yep, she said and she goes when when you asked about describing her job, and she’s a success, the clients have said success director if I’m not mistaken, right high level of tenacity with a thick skin for tough conversations to create focus for our clients success, man. I thought that was phenomenal. Annie comes on She goes, we are trusted advisors. And Peyton says we’re accountability partners, man I like you guys if you get a chance go on Joe’s profile. Check out that quick little video you did last night. But I mean, please share like how have you created such a vibrant robust culture at gorilla 76?


Joe Sullivan  12:01

Sure well I appreciate all the kind words first of all we work hard at it. It’s not easy but yeah, you know I give a lot of credit to john again here he’s you know, I I run the my accountabilities at the company are really sales and marketing. For gorilla, it’s where I spend probably 80% of my time, John’s are mostly on the people side, recruiting retention building culture.

So we’re in it together, of course, but I got to, you know, give him a nod because he’s really the brains behind a lot of it. But you know, we we’ve just learned over the years that we’re big core value guys, like we it’s, it’s for companies that have actually, you know, taken the time to establish core values and truly hire and fire around it and try to you know, live by that and work with customers who, who you know, align with those things,

I think they know the value of that maybe people who haven’t been in a company where that matters, it might sound like fluff, we’re kind of BS, which, frankly, is what it was to me until we really kind of did that. But we’ve we and we’ve got five core values of guerrilla results, improvement, relationships, kindness, and inclusivity. And we just make all our decisions around these things.

And we evaluate our people around those things. We’re an EOS are the attraction company if anybody knows that. And and you know that, that sort of getting onto that operating system sort of even reinforced what we’re already doing with core values and made it that much more important but but we can make our decisions around that. And And honestly, what it comes down to is hiring people who fit these things. And we, we’ve got a pretty diverse group of people in terms of backgrounds, where they came from, and some from inside marketing, some from inside manufacturing and some from nowhere near it. But I think bringing different perspectives to the table.

It really living by those things and evaluating people on that and when when the times come because we have to do it sometimes letting people go when there’s just not a core value alignment, and we can’t get it fixed. And so a lot of tough decisions come along with that as well. But But really, I think it’s got to have some kind of Northstar that you’re trying to, you know, trying to follow and just make the most important decisions around that.


Curt Anderson  14:22

Man, dude, that is so good. Aaron, Aaron led to our Twitter, the manufacturing Twitter chat yesterday. Aaron, you did an amazing job talking about, you know, generational divides and recruiting and so kudos to you and I’m so glad you’re here to hear Joe. I really would love for the two of you to connect and again, Joe hats off to you man. I just I love the culture that you’ve been built, you know, on your website code of ethics. You know, you have a tag you know, you have a link right there. Here’s our code of ethics. Here’s who we are.

I mean like you guys completely put yourselves out there. And what I love what you’re doing and we’re going to talk about and I know we got a lot to talk about with marketing. We want to dig into this But you know, you know, one of the top journal journalism schools in the country is right in your backyard, I believe you have multiple graduates from University of Missouri, I think john might be, you know, so again, like you’re recruiting the top of the top. And so when you come into a client project, they have the trust, the faith and peace of mind that when they partner with 76, man, you guys are together, you’re moving as a team, I just I absolutely love.

And again, we could, we’ll come back, and we’ll have yet another time, or we might need to have your your client success team on that demon. And that’d be good, or that you guys have created. So Joe, let’s dig right into what we want to talk about today. So you have a three step marketing process for folks. Let’s just plow right in and, man, I’m ready to learn. let’s let’s let’s do this.


Joe Sullivan  15:47

Yeah, that sounds great. You know, I think sometimes having a, you know, kind of just creating a simple framework to when people ask about, you know, advice for marketing strategies a manufacturer, it helps to just simplify it down into a few things and and explain it that way.

And so I wrote an article, it was about a year ago, late, late, late last year, where I kind of did that I spent some time thinking about and saying, How can we simplify what a for a, you know, for manufacturing organization in general, like what is a framework that makes sense from a marketing standpoint, and so I’ll talk through that. So there are kind of three things. First step is focus, the second step is create. And the third step is distribute. And so I’ll go into what each of those mean. First one, so number one focus.

Really, what we’re talking about here is, is making a conscious decision about where you’re going to direct your marketing energy, in terms of, you know, who you’re targeting, it’s really about, about tight targeting, and making conscious decisions there. Almost any manufacturing organization that we have ever talked to, whether it’s an OEM, or a contract manufacturer, or some custom manufacturer, or a distributor, whatever it is, they’ll all tell me they’ve got a well, we’ve got 10, different industry verticals, we serve, we’ve got, you know, 15 different clients, and they’re all important, and


Damon Pistulka  17:17

we’re different. We’re different. We serve everyone. Yeah,


Joe Sullivan  17:21

exactly. Right. And so this is a common thing. And not just in manufacturing, but probably with a lot of businesses and, and I’m not here to try to transform a company’s the operational decisions they’re making about how to run their business, and their product lines and everything.

But what I will say is, when it comes to marketing, and marketing strategy, you’ve got to have some focus, if you really serve 10, different industry verticals, and they’re all important to you. And there’s internal politics, where you know, the salesperson selling in each of those verticals, all needs equal attention, you’re just not going to get anywhere, that’s just the reality, you’re not going to get anywhere, unless you just have an astronomical budget.

And if there are manufacturers out there, who do please point them my way, but I haven’t seen it yet. So um, so I think the, the idea is whether it means making a conscious decision for you know, the next nine to, you know, 15 months or whatever about it, we are going to, you know, heavily target medical device manufacturers or, you know, tier two automotive or whatever it is, right, we got to make a decision, and it doesn’t have to be vertical based targeting either it could be, you know, focused on a product line, and maybe there are buyers that that, you know, that’s applicable to, you know, cross vertical, it could be a persona based targeting,

where you’re targeting, you know, process engineers, from companies that are of this size in this geography and have these characteristics or whatever, right, but you got to make some conscious decision about who you’re trying to reach, and then channel sufficient marketing resources into that if you if you expect to get anywhere. So I’ll talk a little bit to go a little bit deeper here, then I’ll stop and let you guys yeah. So when this first bucket of the three focus, what we’re really talking about is make a conscious decision about who you are going to be targeting deeply understand those people. And what I mean there is what are these companies look like?

In terms of you know, firma graphic information, like what how big are they where are they located? You know, what are what are common characteristics, but then you got to go deeper and say, who are the buying process influencers inside of those organizations who we need to reach and in most cases from for the companies we consult, there’s there’s almost always an engineer, there’s there’s somebody who’s a technical professional who is experiencing a problem that our client can solve or trying to achieve an outcome that our client can help them get to.

And that’s often the first person you need to reach because if you’re targeting procurement, it’s way too late. They’re they’re too far down the buying path. So we got to get we got to be a consultant and advisor to the the people who are going to influence that buying process.

And that becomes more true the more complex your sale is the more complex your product or services are consultative your sale tends to be. You got to get in there early and be influential though so understand who you’re targeting understand those people deeply we’re huge advocates of customer interviews The first thing we do with any of our clients is say we need to talk to 10 year customers and we get in there and we interview them we got a framework for doing that make sure we understand what their buying process looks like what matters to them in their job, how they evaluate partners like our client.

So gather that information and and now you can start to formulate a content strategy and frankly an overarching marketing strategy around those things the thing that the people you’re trying to reach actually care about that’s what your marketing strategy needs to stem from so that’s bucket one focus I’ll stop there


Curt Anderson  21:01

moment of silence Damon just a moment let’s do let’s just let’s just savor this for you know, he’s in St. Louis some of the best barbecue in the world you know, like let’s just savor this like a good barbecue right now. Guys, let’s unpack this real quick, Joe?

Yeah, first so yesterday I again My dear friend Valle Valle how we just talked about this yesterday we had an awesome meeting minor fracks is 100 plus manufacturer met with Val and the president of company and exactly and they’re doing an amazing job exactly what you’re describing Joe just getting laser focus trimming things down some legacy processes or you know like you said you know some resistance type situations. I have a moment for me right now a little Damon, I don’t know about you.

If you get to procurement. It’s late all my dude like that has to be your next blog post I love So guys, yeah, have to sign up for Joe’s newsletters they are I learned something new every time we’re going to talk. And hopefully Joe will save time for pricing. Got to eke out on our pricing conversation. But tons of information. I’m going to stop on this because I know you have so much more to unpack. I think if I found this on either your newsletter or on your website strategy must must precede implementation. Strategy must precede implementation. Dude, let’s blow us away with number two. Let’s keep this rolling. Sure.


Joe Sullivan  22:18

Yeah, that sounds great. So we’ve talked about focus, dialing on the right people from the right companies understanding deeply what matters to them, formulating a strategy around that. So the next thing is bucket two is create. And what I’m talking about there is content. So if we have uncovered what, you know, these engineers and these plant managers and these CFOs all care about what are different things inside the same company. In a complex buying process, especially, we understand that deeply.

You’ve heard from the mouths of people who are them what what they actually care about. Now we need to demonstrate thought leadership around that stuff. So so we’re going to take, we’re going to take the words that we’ve heard from them and we’re going to formulate a content strategy and we’re going to figure out the right medium to produce content in what you’re doing right now is an example of it Damon and Kurt, like running a webinar series, right, you’re new, you choose your audience and you understand what they what matters them, you bring in guests that can speak to that and facilitate great conversations.

I love webinars Personally, I think it’s really underutilized. You know, most people do it wrong, but we won’t go there now. You guys do a nice job with it. But so alright, so content, create content around the things that matter. You know, what, what can content be, it can mean a lot of things, it can be a webinar like this, it could be a podcast that’s very targeted at your audience and provides value to them in some way.

It can be written content, blog content, that’s educational in nature. It could be, you know, visual stuff, infographics, it could be, you know, putting a videographer on site for two days. And, and, you know, like, if you’re a manufacturing organization, bring a videographer in and and have, you know, the technical experts inside your company, talk on camera, maybe to have them talk together, because it’s more natural than and you’ve got very specific topics that they’re gonna teach about and educate on that resemble their sales conversations and produce, you know, some great content that way.

I mean, there’s so many ways to do content. And I think you have to play to your own strengths. You got people who can write then do some content that’s written if you’re comfortable on camera. You know, I think videos even better way better, actually, in this point in time, but you kind of play to your strengths, use the resources you’ve got, the most important thing is that you’re producing content that addresses the stuff your audience cares about, like we were just talking about that focus influences creating, right?

We got to be focused on making the right kinds of content assets. Now, okay, so that that kind of sums up create and I think the day difference here between now and and if you were talking to me five years ago is like we’re talking about creating content that you know probably filling your website and your learning center Resource Center blog with with all this content and I still think that’s great but I think you also need to be thinking of the platforms you’re creating it for you guys are broadcasting this on LinkedIn live people are consuming this inside of LinkedIn right?

Like there’s right I used to write blog content, I’d write a 1500 word blog post and it take me 10 hours to write and then I break out four pieces of that and publish them as LinkedIn posts now I do it the opposite way now I publish first and I see what gets engagement and what people respond to and then I go reinvest more time into the stuff that actually matters.

So I think when you’re talking about creating content it’s not only what assets matter but it’s what medium in what medium can I reach my audience where they are already consuming information and then you have to create content for that platform in the in the format that matter like you can’t write a 1500 word piece for LinkedIn and you can you can publish articles there but you’re better off writing short form stuff or short videos you’re not going to post a 20 minute video in your LinkedIn feed because nobody’s gonna see it LinkedIn said downplay that with their algorithm so I guess that’s that’s sort of where I’m going here you got to think about the medium as well.


Curt Anderson  26:26

Not good and I go ahead Damon,


Damon Pistulka  26:30

you dropped some real bombs here I just you know, educate on topics brought up in the sales process I think we forget that and is to really to understand because we’re sitting there most most companies we talked with they go oh we don’t know what we should talk about once we talk about you just you just drop the nugget of the day on that is just think back to your sales conversations what are the What do your customers want to know

what are they asking you and just educate people on that is the simplest and easiest thing to do if you understand that the second thing you said and then I’m done is try a LinkedIn post to see what’s what’s popular with your audience or what resonates with them and then build content around that I think right to great nuggets right there.


Curt Anderson  27:20

It was phenomenal and I think and again on your website, create exceptional experiences you know educate I just I can’t get over when you get to procurement You’re too late so Joe take it away man we’re gonna stop being hit just blows away number three, man let’s What do you got now? Yeah,


Joe Sullivan  27:38

sure. Well, I appreciate it guys. So Alright, so we’re focused, we’re focused on the right people, we understand what matters to them, because we’ve done the research then talk to them and heard from you know, your your sales team, what they’re hearing from them. Second hand, you’ve made amazing content that addresses that exact stuff, you figure out what platforms to publish it in where you can actually reach your audience. Okay, now we’re going to talk about distribution.

So that’s the third of the three buckets is now we have to proactively get this content in front of people where they consume information. And, and again, I’ll come back to what I said a few minutes ago, like if this was five years ago, I would have been talking a lot about content for SEO or search engine optimization. I’m still a big advocate of SEO, I know you are too Curt. And, and I, you need a good SEO strategy.

But at the same time, I think it’s a mistake to sit back and wait for people to show up at your doorstep. It’s becoming harder and harder to win that game is was the saturation of content picks up. And the other the other trend that I’ve seen happen over the last year or two that I saw an article recently that summed it up so well written by Rand Fishkin, if you guys know him, he’s kind of the godfather of SEO of modern SEO from modern Moz yet, so original SEO Moz. And I’ve just called Moz.

And he’s since exited. But But Rand Fishkin, his article he wrote, which I can send you guys a link to, but he essentially, as one of the biggest advocates for SEO out there, where he has essentially identified that we fully agree with is that the big media companies, Google, LinkedIn, Facebook, they have started catering. They started adjusting their algorithms to get you to consume content, right?

They’re on their platform. And a perfect example of this. Anybody who’s super active on LinkedIn knows that if you write a post, and you put a link to something in that post, LinkedIn is going to shut down the distribution of that post, not gonna shut it down. But if you didn’t put that link there to your blog post that you just talked about, you probably get, you know, five to 10 times as much exposure for it. And the reason for that is because LinkedIn wants you to stay on their platform. It makes sense, right?

The more people are on their platform, they want you they’re on their path. Farming is seeing their sponsored contacts that’s how they make money. And so you know and that’s why you see a lot of people I do it myself like the hack is you know, see the first comment and I’ll drop a link in there to the article I referenced or or whatever but but it’s a microcosm of the bigger thing that’s going on out there, which is the big media companies want you to stay on their platform.

And it’s for that reason whether we want to or not, if we want exposure, we have to go create content that is meant to be consumed inside of those platforms, we can’t write a blog post and link to it in LinkedIn and expect that you know, we’re gonna get you know, all this visibility on our site, we have to right bits of content meant to be consumed right there on LinkedIn and then the other side of the coin there that is, is the human element of it, not just what how to get around with the big media companies are doing but the other side of it is that think about your own mindset when you are on when you’re sitting there you know,

I always say like you’re sitting there 10 o’clock watching sports center, and you’ve got your phone and you know, you got your phone in your hand and you’re just scrolling through LinkedIn or Facebook just to you know, because that’s just what you do, right? Like, looking at what your friends or family are posting and you’re you know, scrolling through your LinkedIn feed or Facebook feed or whatever. Well, the thing is, like, you you’re you’re there. You’re there doing that. And sorry, I’m totally losing my train of thought here. But the content that that is being distributed is you have to have stuff that’s created right there for that platform right you’re gonna capture people’s attention well


Curt Anderson  31:39

that’s that’s good and so if I can share a little in maybe please might be a guy analogy. I’m sorry Did you guys know we’ve been busters you guys ever go? busters? So this is my SEO analogy for you Dave and Busters is an awesome, awesome success story is I if I haven’t correctly, Texas, maybe Dallas, maybe somebody could correct me if I’m wrong. There was a bar next to a game room, and a bar owner notice that like his, the guys would come over, they would drink and then they’d run next door to play games.

Then they get they play games, like hey, we need more drinks, then they go back next door, they kept going back and forth. They’re like, hey, Dave and Busters Davis, you know, whoever was who they combine it, my SEO cotton would tie in with what you’re saying. It’s like the Create a Dave and Busters like you just said create the exceptional experience.

Let them come into your facility where they don’t have to leave, where they don’t have to go next sort of play the arcade games where they don’t have to go next door to get a drink or sandwich or whatever, create that wonderful engaging experience. So again, like so veil, they do an incredible man. Oh, my God demon, I if you could have taken this tour with me yesterday, you know, the experience of seeing that in, you know, like Dave and Busters for me. But that’s exactly what Joe what you’re describing is like, how can you bring that experience to their home on my mobile? I mean, you know, I’m 3000 demons 3000 miles away from us?

How can we bring that experience to them? Whether it’s through content through mobile, or whatever, when they have a problem? How can we be there at that moment to help them like, Hey, dude, I have your back, you know, so like, Aaron has an amazing firm, they do e commerce solutions. So if I have, I need an e commerce provider, she’s doing an incredible job putting out tons just a wealth of information that I can establish relationship with Aaron way before we ever get on a call, zoom, or whatever, you know, so I love what you’re saying. So to recap, focus, create distribution, right? These are our three. Those are the three.


Joe Sullivan  33:34

Yeah, and I want to hit one more thing there on that third bucket. You know, where I was kind of going with this? Is you need an SEO strategy. Yes, absolutely. But you also have to proactively go out there and figure out how to get content in front of people that fit your ideal customer profile, but may not be in buying mode right now. And think about it this way. Like for any company out there, that you know, especially in the more the higher price, your your your product is or services and the more complex and longer sales cycle it is that the more this is true, but think about what percentage of your audience is actually in a bicycle at this moment in time, it’s probably very small, right?

actively buying at this exact moment in time. Like for me targeting mid size manufacturers, how many of you know the 1000s of companies in my potential audience are actually seeking an agency or a consult or something right now probably like one to 3% of them, Max.

And so for me to rely on Google is is a mistake. Because you go to Google when you have a need and you’re looking for a solution. Right? And most agency people are not or most manufacturing people are not out there looking for an agency right now. So I can’t just rely on Google. I need to figure out how to go out to CEOs and presidents and VPS of sales who’s My audience at midsize manufacturing companies and create value for them when they’re not looking, and not deliver a sales message to them, but deliver value around the things that I know they care about, because we’ve been working with them for the last 10 plus years.

And because we interview people who look like me, because I run a podcast with 74 episodes behind me where I interview manufacturing leaders, and I hear what’s going on in their brains. And so it’s all those insights that help us craft content, that we then go out there and proactively distribute, and we put paid budget behind it.

We say LinkedIn show this short video of me talking about why manufacturers need to shift their market, their mindset about the role marketing needs to play, it’s not a promotional grill, it’s just talking about that. And we’re going to LinkedIn, go show that to people who fit this job description with these three job titles in the United States and companies of this size. And but when they see that again, and again, and other pieces of content that relate to it, and then case studies that tie back to it, all of a sudden, the consultation request form started happening, right?

And that’s exactly and that is, in a nutshell, what we do is you focus on the right people, you create amazing content, and then you proactively go out there and you figure out how are we going to get this stuff in front of them to build brand affinity to build trust, to create a position of thought leader so that when they do enter a bicycle, those 97 to 99% who aren’t right now, they get and they go to Google and they see gorilla 76 alongside nine other companies. We they recognize us immediately and we’re the first ones they call so yeah,


Curt Anderson  36:28

no, that was fantastic. And so So two things got I’m glad you mentioned that. So the manufacturing executive awesome podcast, Joe, thank I was a guest just recently, we had so much fun, appreciate it. little hint, hint, there might be a couple people in our crowd today that might be phenomenal guests for you. Speaking of potential guests, my dear friend, Aaron, my buddy, my bestie in what’s in your home state, Wisconsin, she has a question for you, Joe, was the takeaway from the Fishkin article that you got to pay to play to attract audience to your hosted content?


Joe Sullivan  37:01

Great question, Aaron. And in short, yes, that’s a piece of it. But I think the the most important takeaway was that you need to figure out how to use these platforms and, and create content that’s meant to be consumed inside of those platforms, as opposed to making your website, the only like, the home base where, where everything lives. And you know, the probably my best illustration of that is, I think, in 2019, I wrote close to 50,000 words of blog content, on our website, which is almost a book, I just got sick. Last year, that was probably 10,000 words, and this year, I don’t know, maybe 2000.

And the reason for that is, I’m producing all my content inside of LinkedIn, because on my website, that blog posts that 1500 words that you know, I publish and head gets some play in SEO and get some play after we distributed via email. And maybe over the course of a year gets, you know, read 50 or 100 times, well, when I publish something on LinkedIn, and it’s one of the better performing posts that took me 25 minutes to write as opposed to 10 hours, I get more exposure for that one post than

I did for something I took 10 to 20 times as long to produce and so you got to play you got to figure out how you can get to your audience and how you can create content that’s meant to be consumed inside of these platforms and you’re gonna you’re gonna see a lot a lot more reward from that in my opinion, and and that’s kind of what it was great to see somebody who really knows what he’s talking about in Rand Fishkin sort of validate this thing that we’ve been seeing happening over the last year or two


Curt Anderson  38:45

well phenomenal point that’s going to tie into I know timewise Joel we could go all day dude but I know we’re I want to get back to the tables because I know people are dying to talk to you but again, you have a fantastic newsletter love Oh my gosh, you’ve dropped so many phenomenal bombs here just to help us as entrepreneurs as business owners,

your newsletter you have um if you’re not seeing ROI if you recall you said here’s your top five reasons why you remember that post came out you know, just real quick you’re doing things wrong, you know that it’s hard to you know, Damon, how often we man what you know what went right, what went wrong, what, you know, how can we get better, right? You know, success, you know, ineffective strategies, not the right measurements, unwritten, unrealistic timelines, measuring tactics, not the entire marketing effort, man, I love that. So I’m going to tie in I wanted to save a couple minutes for this.

You and I are huge advocates. I feel we’re bond brothers here on pricing. If you guys again, please connect with Joe on LinkedIn. Go to Joe’s website, gorilla 76. Joe, if I go to your website, and I’m, I’m a manufacturer, and I’m like, I’ve seen these blog posts, I’ve heard your wonderful, amazing podcast. I’m catching all this content as you just described right steps one, two, Three, I go to your website and my good fit. Well, I would have to call customer service or like sales, you know, what’s your pricing when you go on your website, your pricing is front and center.

And what I love about this, and I’m eager to hear your response here for manufacturers. If you’re if my budget is here, and you’re here, you just did yourself a favor because now I didn’t wait. We didn’t waste each other’s time because I’m not a good fit. I love that you did that. Please talk about we hear a lot of manufacturers. We can put pricing on a website, you strongly encourage it. It was in one of your recent email, email newsletters, you talk to talk in you put it right on your website, please share your philosophy on pricing on websites.


Joe Sullivan  40:42

Yeah, we’d love to and we had fun talking about this current year on my podcast. Anybody any we got lots of current fans Yeah, I’m sure so you go listen, my mother, my mother. So in a I know we have we realign on our thinking on this largely but you know, the thing you hear all the time is is it when we talk about this topic with manufacturers is we can’t we can’t put our pricing on our website, we sell you know, capex equipment, that’s super custom and every every, you know, sales different and there’s so many different variables and and i think they’re thinking of it the wrong way.

What I’m not recommending necessarily is that you you put on your website that you’re you know, the food packaging machinery you sell costs $456,217.18 what I am talking about is saying that, for example, our solutions typically cost between two and $500,000. And here are some of the variables that may may make it a $200,000 solution versus a $500,000 solution, break that stuff down, talk about ROI,

talk about total cost of ownership talk about, you know, most of our competitors sell this thing, and it lasts about five years or 10 years, and maintenance costs tend to be this with our solution, you’re gonna pay twice as much, but it’s the last 30 years and you know, blah, blah, blah, you know, talk about timeline to ROI and what you know, you have more how much more efficiently your your your, your production line is going to run because you’re implementing this thing here and break down those those savings over time that offset the cost of the capital investment.

You know, I’m just, I’m kind of just spitballing here but the idea is there your audience cares about the price they just do. And it doesn’t matter It doesn’t matter whether you know whether you’re selling a commodity or if you’re selling something super complex and custom money always always matters and at some point in the conversation is going to happen. So just be as transparent as you can up front.

And it makes it makes the content in your website so much more valuable to somebody in their buying process can keep them engaged, get them to move on to the next page and keep reading get them to pick up the phone and realize I can have a conversation about money without feeling so awkward. So that’s kind of my general take is you have a lot more to gain than to lose and you need to stop being scared about what you’re that your competitors are going to see it because they already know what you charge anyway you just are trying to pretend they don’t so I don’t know that’s my


Curt Anderson  43:28

gosh you know what and Joe we got to have you back as we could have a whole session just on this Damon you know you are huge proponent of this. You know, we do ecommerce training Joe and like we could go on and on about how we try to encourage our custom manufacturers You know, there are so many advantages you get you now can put product on Amazon. Amazon is attacking the search engines and we show very specific examples on how you know you can own a search page.

folk, your buyers, those personas are going on Amazon, sometimes they’re not going to Google so if you’re not if you don’t have a presence in some capacity on Amazon, you’re just not in the game. What do we like to say you are the best kept secret so man, we could go on and on. Joe, I want to get back to the table so the folks can can talk to you know, I have a burning question. I’m dying to ask you the entire podcast. I don’t know if we would see this one common baseball season Playoffs are in the in the air, right? Milwaukee St. Louis, who would you refer dude? Are you a fan? Where are you there?


Joe Sullivan  44:27

That’s a great question. And it’s very sensitive subject because I can imagine you know I grew up in Milwaukee. I lived there until I came down here to go to wash u in St. Louis for college. I was 18 Yep. And I’m 39 now so I’ve now officially lived more than half my life in St. Louis. Yep. I have two kids running around with Cardinals gear on my wife’s a lot lifelong Cardinals fan. Yeah, um, but I grew up going to you know, we split season tickets for the Brewers with like eight other families.

I’d go to, you know, seven, eight games a year or whatever it was and, and they were horribly finished in last place. Every single When I was a kid but but you know it’s hard to let go of like what’s in your blood kind of yeah and plus I’ve got my little brother who’s like hardcore sports fanatic in every way and if he ever got any wind of me cheering for the Cardinals i’d you know he’d have my head so so I’m kind of we’re gonna we’re gonna let the kids be Cardinals fans as we should we let Louis but you know it’s kind of still the Brewers are kind of my so


Curt Anderson  45:24

they’re still doing their blood well I have to say so I’ve been every stadium and to the most phenomenal baseball environments are hands down St Louis and Milwaukee man nobody want to do baseball like they do in Milwaukee and St. Louis so two great amazing cities Joe I want to give a huge thank I’m going to close out with this so I saw that you’re so let’s change gears a football I saw you’re a Packers fan right so you’re staying true to the Packers is that oh yeah


Joe Sullivan  45:50

i mean that’s that’s I can’t let go that one Damon


Curt Anderson  45:53

David Knight we’re older dudes were way way way past you but I’m Let’s close things out with a Lombardi quote. How’s that? Oh, yeah, like okay, football is perseverance. And I’ll tell you when I am pleased Annie Payton and Sultana I hope I’m saying that correctly. Please give her Please give the three of them kudos from from your buddy Kurt. So when you listen to her video, and he they talked about that tenacity and relentless attitude and so on, so forth, and accountability.

This quote I felt came into came to mind for for gorilla 76. Vince Lombardi says football is perseverance, self denial, hard work, sacrifice, dedication and respect for authority. So dude, kudos to you and john, You are such an inspiration and what you’ve done for gorilla 76 what you’ve done for your community and just think about this job. 23 people call your place on not just a work, they call it a career, you are providing careers for folks.

They’re going on building their families, their kids are going to dance lessons, Little League, so and so forth. And you guys have been rocking it for 15 years. So man, we salute you for what you’ve done for the manufacturing community as well. So awesome work. Awesome job. Thank you for taking time with us today. Guys, we’re gonna close out head back to the tables. wish everybody an amazing, awesome weekend, go out and just keep crushing it for manufacturing. daymond my brother. Take it away, dude.


Damon Pistulka  47:16

All right, well, thanks, Kurt. Thanks, Joe. Awesome. You dropped some nuggets for people, I hope they listen, we’re taking notes. If they didn’t get the notes down, they can always go back to my profile or visit my website next week. And we’ll be ready to go there. I’m going to drop us off on LinkedIn live and then we’re going to go back to the tables and remail if you’re listening to us on LinkedIn live, you can always join us here in remote and talk to our speakers after so remember that but we’re going off LinkedIn and go back to remember the tables. Thanks everyone.


Joe Sullivan  47:48

Thanks, guys. Thanks, Joe.


Damon Pistulka  47:51

All right.

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