Helping Buyers Make Good Decisions

In this, The Faces of Business episode, Nicole Donnelly, Founder, President, Donnelly Marketing Group LLC, discusses how Helping Buyers Make Good Decisions not only helps the buyers improve their judgment and save their time and money but also allows the companies to educate these buyers to grow revenues by leaps and bounds.

In this, The Faces of Business episode, Nicole Donnelly, Founder, President, Donnelly Marketing Group LLC, discusses how Helping Buyers Make Good Decisions not only helps the buyers improve their judgment and save their time and money but also allows the companies to educate these buyers to grow revenues by leaps and bounds.

Nicole Donnelly is a fourth-generation business owner and a certified HubSpot Partner. Nicole has been helping businesses she worked for and clients grow their brands and profitability using the right sales and marketing for over 15 years.

Nicole helps industrial companies move beyond conventional marketing techniques by installing inbound marketing strategies and mechanisms that educate customers and support company sales goals.

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Before founding Donnelly Marketing Group LLC, Nicole was Marketing Manager at U.S. Air Filtration, Inc.

Damon is pleased to welcome Nicole, a fourth-generation entrepreneur, to this Livestream. The guest has a BS degree in psychology but is pursuing a career in marketing. Damon asks her about the transition she made into marketing. Nicole replies that entrepreneurship runs through her veins. “I would say it starts from when I was a little girl,” she continues, “sitting on my dad’s knee, him telling me stories.” So, she was destined to become a business owner.

Similarly, she views her father, a solopreneur, as a role model. She considers herself fortunate to have been born into a family of business owners and entrepreneurs. Her grandfather used his savings to purchase a motel near Disneyland.

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She adds that she “studied psychology because I was fascinated by human behavior. When she came out to work, she found prospects in marketing. But, back then, she worked at a place where women carried out the whole business operations. Moreover, there were no support models like CRM, Salesforce, and HubSpot. She had to create systems manually.

Today, she’s delighted with her growth and performance as a business owner.

Damon asks Nicole about her experience “in a woman-owned business.” She thinks the most important lesson she learned was staying close to customers. “Great marketing is staying as close as possible to them.” She saw the founder do direct marketing. The owner worked on the floor and talked directly to customers. “That was really inspiring,” exclaims Nicole.

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The guest acknowledges that, over time, marketing has become so complex. There are so many new channels to follow and so many different ways that we can market our business. There are, however, some fundamental parts of marketing that never change. Staying close to customers and ensuring that we understand them is the first step to successful marketing. “There is gold in feedback,” says she. Moreover, she thinks that paying attention to customer feedback can make or break a company.

At Damon’s request, Nicole compares 2022 with 2012. She says 2012 was the era of content marketing and blogging. In addition, HubSpot rolled out marketing automation.

Damon invites the guest’s comments on ways to start marketing, especially in the presence of so many channels.

“It can become so complicated and so complex,” warns Nicole. Marketing methods are constantly evolving. To her, despite this hyper advancement, the core remains the same: understanding the customer. These tools are to help us devise “a solid marketing strategy.”

She talks about the stages of effective marketing. The first step is customer research. We talk to our customers on the phone and survey them. It is the most effective way to obtain qualitative and quantitative data to build a marketing strategy.

The second stage is data processing. During and after implementation, the target audience becomes clear to us.

The third critical stage is to stay focused. “Like our friend, Curt Anderson always says, ‘You got to niche down till it hurts.'” In short, a winning marketing strategy is all about laser focusing on an ideal customer. So once we know who our ideal customer is, we craft an appealing message that will “resonate with them.”

Fourth, we must determine how to disseminate our message after identifying our target audience. We can choose these channels to consume content. Whether our customers are on LinkedIn or Instagram, we can effectively target them.

The fifth stage is using the information to create our objectives and tactics. These tactics include the marketing channels that we use.

Nicole advises small manufacturing businesses “who are starting with marketing.” She recommends starting with one or two channels because they get overwhelmed with omnichannel. And, getting overwhelming for a small business is highly inadvisable. She thinks, “One of the things that we like to do with small businesses is to go in.”

The guest gives a glimpse of client expectations and how her company serves them.

She guides her new clients on methods to generate ideas and relevant content. “This just seems so overwhelming,” she adds. Then they keep coming up with topics and ideas. She reveals the shyness of her clients. “None of the clients I’ve ever worked with are like dying to get in front of a camera.”

Once they start facing the camera, a fire lights up in them. They want to do it again. Nicole suggests them other great topic ideas they can shoot. She thinks Damon is absolutely right when he says once people get started, “it becomes a lot easier for them.”

Similarly, her techniques also put her clients on the road to success. They can build a framework and a system “where it becomes a consistent process for the business.” Consistency is the key to success. Likewise, marketing is the same thing. We have to publish valuable and informative content to our customers consistently.

While talking about FAQs, Nicole opines that we publish FAQs when we delve deeper into product details. However, when she interviews her, they end up “going down a rabbit hole” because there is a lot of information. So, she accommodates that information in the FAQ section of the client’s website.

The guest sheds light on intelligent pricing as well. She advises clients to display the prices of their products on their websites. Similarly, she asks them to be transparent about the price because it builds trust. Manufacturers are sometimes reluctant to display prices. They argue that their competitors will find out and undercut their prices. She counters them by asking if they know what their competitors charge for similar products. So, in the same manner, her clients can undercut the price preemptively. Very wisely, she maintains that nobody should be competing on price alone.

Damon questions how difficult it is to convince clients to generate their content. Nicole says it depends on the client, but “it takes a little time.” She also thinks that the process has gotten easier over the last few years. One possible factor could be the COVID-19 Pandemic. People are purchasing more online.

Furthermore, Nicole believes that with B-to-B e-commerce, there’s an opportunity to ensure digital transformation.

With rising prices, Damon is curious to know whether or not the industrial marketing strategy has become more content-based.

She answers that “content marketing is absolutely a long-term play.” We must “consistently publish it for at least six months to start seeing some uptake.” Moreover, to succeed, we need to combine content writing and videos. Paid search helps us get that much-needed traction, but content marketing kicks things into high gear. She confirms that rising costs are becoming more challenging. Content marketing is durable, long-term, and somewhat low-cost.

Damon asks her about her future ventures. Nicole answers that she is exploring new services for her brand. It is a type of digital self-serve transformation. “So I’m super excited about that.” She concludes the conversation with these remarks.

The discussion ends with Damon thanking Nicole for her time.

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Damon Pistulka, Nicole Donnelly


Damon Pistulka  00:00

All right, everyone, we’re back with the faces of business. I’m your host, Damon Pistulka. And with me today, I have none other than Nicole. Donnelly. Nicole, awesome having you here today.


Nicole Donnelly  00:14

Oh my gosh Damon Pistulka I am so ecstatic to be on stage I’m so used to being on stage with you and Kirk so it’s a little disorienting that it’s just me and you but so fun. I’m super excited. Super excited. We’re gonna have to talk all kinds of stuff about Kurt on the show. Yeah,


Damon Pistulka  00:31

we’ll bring up Kurt Well good, I’m sure. And in a good way, maybe not so good. I don’t know. But today we’re gonna have some fun today we’re gonna be talking about helping buyers make good decisions now Nicole, you help industrial companies with inbound marketing you do the you do the HubSpot thing you’re helping them help them really Figure Figure their their deal out. So let’s let’s start back a little bit before this. And you know you want to you want to school BYU for psychology?


Nicole Donnelly  01:07

Go Cougs


Damon Pistulka  01:08

There you go. So you back there. Yep. How did you make that transition into marketing? You go to school for psychology? Yeah. Go into marketing.


Nicole Donnelly  01:21

I started earlier than that. Let’s go back. Let’s go back. Okay. When I was just a little girl, sitting on my dad’s knee, him telling me stories. So I would say it starts from when I was a little girl. So my dad, my grandfather, my great grandfather, I think you already know this there. They were all owned, built successful businesses all separate. So my dad’s generation entrepreneur generation, yes.

And so I remember growing up as a little girl and going to my dad’s little office, he was a solopreneur. Okay, he had this little tiny office down the street. We grew up in Ontario, California, which is like, dairy farm country. Okay, this up, not up Ontario. I have no kidding. Okay, so we grew up right by the dairy farm. So anytime people would come to visit, they’d get out the car. And they’d be like, it stinks here. And we were so used to it. We couldn’t even smell it. Right.

So anyway, so my dad solopreneur, we were poor, we didn’t have a lot of money. And I remember going to his office. And like he was just working there. And I remember going and he had this big booming voice. And I just remember him talking to customers all the time. It’s just such energy and enthusiasm. So like love of customers started with that I’ll never forget, when I was a kid, he always used to say all the time on the phone to people, let’s make it happen.

Let’s make it happen. So that’s like this mantra that I’ve taken from him. So and then my  grandfather owned a motel across the street from Disneyland. So my first job in high school was working at the front desk at his motel, literally half a block from the main gate. Yeah, so I loved that experience so much because I love seeing people’s faces when they would walk in the door of the motel. It’s like they’ve been planning for this trip for like their whole lives, you know, saving up.

And they were just super excited. And so that was my first real like, experience really getting to be part of like the customer experience and really trying to like serve and delight the customer and seeing like the joy that that brought to them. And so that like really lit a fire in me as my 16 year old self just like really, very started then just being really passionate about customers and already had like the entrepreneurial like love small business from the time I was little kid.

Yeah. So at BYU, I did I studied psychology because I was just like, fascinated with human behavior. And then when I got out of college, I took a job working for a research company for a couple years really big company. And then I started working, I got I landed a job working for a small woman owned business. And I’ll never forget, like, the first one I went in to interview for this this job. It was a company that did direct to consumer marketing programs.

And it was like my dream job. And I go into the interview, and I’m right away, I sit down and I see the CEO is a woman, the chief operating officers, a woman and the CFO is a woman. And these women were just like, vibrant dynamic. I remember sitting at the table and before we even came out of the CEOs mouth, I was like, I gotta work for this woman, like I love I would love to like it was just like, it hit me like a lightning bolt. You know, it’s like, I need to I want to work here. I just wanted that job. And luckily enough, they I was under qualified, no question.

They hired me for that job. And I just loved it. It was hugely, hugely wonderful to be able to work and see a founder and, you know, work directly with the founder in that way. Because it was at that time, I think they maybe had 1520 employees. So I had to work directly with the founder. And that was an incredible, incredible experience. I mean, so much. I learned from that about like, just the grit and tenacity and just innovation and the ability that small businesses owners have to just pivot quickly.

Right in crisis, and I saw that firsthand with her and just loved every minute of it. It was so cool. She was super and still is incredibly inspiring. Nice. So that that just like continue to feed this like entrepreneurial like love of the customer love Have you no small business. And then I, I ended up taking a job getting a call one day from my dad. And he said, Nicole, I really need help with marketing. Will you come? And will you help?

Will you help us build out our our marketing department here. So I went into his business and they literally had no marketing whatsoever. Nothing to speak of this was like maybe 11 years ago or so. And literally built out the entire marketing infrastructure from scratch scratch, they had no CRM we got on Salesforce, we got them on HubSpot implemented content marketing, blogging, you know, video marketing, you know, all of the workflows that go into like nurturing customers.

And I gotta tell you, it was absolutely thrilling to be part of that to be able to build that from scratch for a small business and, and actually see the impact that it had on the business, but also for customers, because we were really creating this awesome customer experience for the customers, you know, just creating so much more efficiency for them, providing them with really valuable content information that they needed to help them make purchasing decisions, good purchasing decisions. So that was absolutely thrilling and exciting.

And just also it was really thrilling as it was just, you know, I know, I’m not supposed to say this, but I just loved watching the revenue numbers go up every month. And I just Yeah, watching all the leads come in. It was like, I got it, I really got a kick out of that part of it was like, Oh, look at what’s happening. This is so cool. So that’s kind of that’s my that’s been my journey. And so what ended up happening then, so we had massive, huge success was really great.

And then I was approached by my previous employer, the company that I worked for before. And they said, Nicole, we want you to come and help us with marketing. And I said to myself, Oh my gosh, the stars are all aligning. I’ve always always wanted to be an entrepreneur, I really want to help as many small businesses as I possibly can. Because I’m super passionate about that. Like, I’ve deliberately consciously made a choice that I want to stay small business, I don’t want to move mid market.

I love small businesses. So I was like, This is it. This is like the opportunities in front of me, it’s time for me to start my business. And now I can go out and help other small businesses too. So that’s how I started my company that I have now. And we’ve been in business now for two years, two and a half years. We started a month before COVID. So that’s how I ended up here. That’s my that’s my story. And I’m sticking to it.


Damon Pistulka  07:45

There we go. So I’ve got to ask, you know, interesting story about growing up 16 year old girl, we’re gonna have your grandfather’s grandfather’s hotel right across from Disney. Are you a big Disney fan?


Nicole Donnelly  07:59

You know what’s funny about that? I’m really not. Yeah, I like Disney. But I’m not like a hardcore fan. In fact, when I worked there I don’t think I went to Disneyland one time


Damon Pistulka  08:10

as well as the one are you like getting off work and yeah, this season pass rolling in there every day after work kind of thing? No, I


Nicole Donnelly  08:17

didn’t I mean, we did have like our senior you know, you have that like big senior party when your high school we did have our big senior party there and I go there like maybe once a year or two but now it wasn’t a big hardcore Disney person. So and even to this day, you know, I’m taking my kids to Disney, but I’ve been there done that. Oh, and I know there are people are gonna be like, Wow, you’re crazy. I’m crazy.


Damon Pistulka  08:40

Yeah. Yeah. Well, you know, it is it is or it isn’t really, I mean, it’s a nice place. We’ve enjoyed it with our kids a lot and I’m sure our grandkids are gonna see it a lot. And those kinds of things when they come around but it’s it’s cool how you talk about when you start to work in a hotel you really serving in delighting customers?

Because I think that firsthand experience when you see the impact you make and those people are generally you know at least happy going out in the morning to the to the park, but go back maybe but that that’s cool. They’ve you’re able to see that part before you went out. So in the in the woman owned business, I mean, this this is really your first marketing gig there. What do you think you learned with them the first time around?


Nicole Donnelly  09:32

Oh, what did I learn with them the first time around? Really great question. There’s so many things, but I think I think like what I said before, I just learned how important it is to stay really close to your customers. That is what great marketing is, is really staying as close as you possibly can to them. And I saw the founder Do that she would actually get out to the we did direct to consumer marketing programs.

And she was never too big to actually get out there and work the events and work directly on the floor and talk to customers. And that was really inspiring. So I think like, at the end of the day, like, marketing has become so complex over time, right? There’s so many new channels to follow, and so many different ways that you can market your business.

But there’s these core fundamental parts of marketing that never ever change. And I think the first and foremost, most important, you know, key to successful marketing is to always stay close to your customers and making sure that you’re really trying to understand them, you know, and it’s surprising, like even today, so I send out, like, I’m a survey junkie, okay, all my clients will tell you, they’re like, oh, my gosh, Nicole, in the survey, she always wants to send surveys, but I’m telling you, there is gold in that feedback.

So I even send that out for my own business for my to my clients, you know, in addition to having conversations, I’m just to level set, see how things are going. And I even just today, I got feedback from a client that I was completely surprised by. And I was like, Oh, my gosh, I would have never even thought that they that was their experience, right.

So like, the sometimes I think we make assumptions about our customers that we just really have to, because when you ask your customers you got to be it’s this humility thing, you know, yeah, you really have to be humble about it and just accept that you don’t know everything you don’t know until you ask. I think that really like can make or break a company some especially just starting out if they don’t pay attention to what the market is telling them and what customers are telling them, then, you know, that’s a problem.


Damon Pistulka  11:39

I think, I think it’s huge. And it’s, it’s the best, the best business people, I think, can recognize that I may have a great idea, we may have a wonderful product. But if my customers don’t buy it, it’s worse. It’s worse. Squanto. Right. Nothing squats, I love that. And we we really need to go to where our customers are with our products and services. Absolutely. Great.

You know, so many people, whether they think they’re a visionary, or whatever it is, they’re they’re off and go right into the ground like that in a ball of flames. But that is that feedback is is critical, because we don’t know. We don’t know until we ask. But so as we’re as we’re moving along now, we were talking a little bit before we got on because you know, 10 years ago, this is a 10 years ago, slicked back has turned this this time machine back a little bit.


Nicole Donnelly  12:44

Let’s do it. I’d rather I’d gladly go back in time.


Damon Pistulka  12:47

Yeah, we’re back 10 years, 10 years back 10 years. It is what is that? What the heck is that? 2012 2012. And, and we’re talking about marketing then compared to marketing now.


Nicole Donnelly  13:05

Big difference?


Damon Pistulka  13:07

Yeah. So you know, in the good old days,


Nicole Donnelly  13:11

crypto in the good old days, that was really when content marketing was just starting to be that those days, 2012 was all about blogging, right. Like that was when blogging started to become a thing. HubSpot was had just been starting to become this like marketing automation, kind of superstar. They that was when the whole inbound, you know, I didn’t you know, methodology really started. And it started with just like, literally, blogging was the start. And now look at how it’s evolved. You know, it’s crazy to think over time. What’s changed?


Damon Pistulka  13:43

Yeah, it really has. It really has. And when you look back at it, it was the fundamentals really haven’t changed. I don’t think no. In that. Do you see? Oh, I gotta I gotta put this up here. Kurt Anderson’s in the house.


Nicole Donnelly  14:09

Can we miss you on the stage? Yeah.


Damon Pistulka  14:13

Yeah, he’s traveling. He’s traveling today, I think. Yeah, they are tomorrow. Traveling.


Nicole Donnelly  14:19

It’s always traveling. He’s always wheeling and dealing with schedule.


Damon Pistulka  14:24

Yeah. Yeah. He could travel for all of us. Thank you. But the but you know, so when you look, look back and look at today, and we fast forward today, you know, went from blogging, and then it was like video, and then it was live stream and now it’s like, super hyper video, live stream, whatever. I mean, I How the heck does someone know where to start today?


Nicole Donnelly  14:52

Oh, such a great question. Yeah. There’s it can become so complicated and so complex to your point, and it’s just You know, and there’s, you know, ebooks used to be the thing, right. And now that’s like a dead, not a dead. I mean, there’s still place for ebooks, but gated, this whole gated content versus undated content is, it’s always shifting.

But I would say like all like starting back with understanding your customer, you got to make sure that you have a solid marketing strategy before you go and do anything. So the first step is to do that customer research to talk to your customers on the phone and survey them. So you’re getting that qual and that quant data, and using that, to really build out a marketing strategy.

And that marketing strategy will tell you, it’ll become very clear to you, when you actually look at the data that’s coming back. Who specifically which audiences specifically you should be targeting, right? Because good marketing and good strategy is all about like, saying no to some things, and really staying focused, like our friend Kurt always says, You got to niche down till it hurts, right? So good marketing strategy is all about really laser focusing in on that ideal customer. And that data will tell that to you becomes very clear.

So once you know who your ideal customer is, then you know exactly what message that you need to create, that’s gonna resonate with them, then you then it becomes clear to you, where they’re at what channels they’re on how they like to consume content, how they like to, you know, whether they’re on LinkedIn, or whether they’re on Instagram, or all of those things. And so that can help you guide the marketing channels that you use, use that information to create your objectives, and then create your your tactics, right.

And the tactics are really what tell you, which marketing channels that you need to be using, where you need to be playing, you know, in that sort of thing, so but you know, for small manufacturing businesses who are really just starting out with marketing, I always like to recommend that you start out with like one or two channels, and you don’t get too overwhelmed with trying to be like omni channel and everywhere, because that can be overwhelming for a small business.

So I think like one of the things that we like to do with small businesses is just really go in. And once we understand their customer, just try to put together like a content marketing strategy, that’s going to be as low of a lift as possible for them. Because there’s so busy, every small business is does never has enough time, or resources, right. And so marketing usually ends up being the last thing.

So if we can go in there and say to them, Look, you commit an hour a month, to marketing, right? We’re going to, we’re going to interview you, we’re going to gather all of that wonderful intelligence from your brain and get it out, you know, through this interview process, and we can create a month’s worth of content for you, which includes blogs and video content and social posts. And that’s all you have to do. I mean, to me, that’s we’ve seen really great success with that model.


Damon Pistulka  17:50

Yeah. Yeah. Because it is it is. I mean, when you when you’re sitting here today as a small business owner, looking at all the demands of the business, and, and we all know that marketing is? Well, I don’t know, I’m gonna say, a lot of people think that marketing is a necessary part of the business, but they have no idea how they’re going to do it, because they’re trying to do sales and whatever their business needs to do, and then everything else that they need to do. And I think that there, there just is, it’s just a matter of time for so many.


Nicole Donnelly  18:27

Yes, it is. Apps time is the biggest roadblock. They don’t have the time. So you know, if we can solve that for them by just making the left as little as possible them for them that make the output like really valuable. That’s a huge, huge selling point for them.


Damon Pistulka  18:47

So that once people start the ones people are starting to get going down the road, do you do you think that it becomes a lot easier for them? Like they Yes, yes. It’s kind of like, it’s like, oh, man, I could never do that. And then once you do it, you go, that’s not so bad. I guess,


Nicole Donnelly  19:06

every single time I can’t tell you like how many times I’ve walked into, you know, a new client and they’re like, how are we going to do this content thing, this just seems so overwhelming, I get resistance, I get pushed back and I’m like, let’s just take you down the path we’re gonna get there. We do it like one time, and then they start getting excited about it. And then they start coming up with topics and ideas and things and then it just becomes this ongoing, just pattern where they’re actually like, all geared up to do it.

You know, I’ve seen it happen with video like, I none of the clients I’ve ever worked with are like dying to get in front of a camera. I don’t know. They just none, you know? Yeah, yeah, they’re like anatomically opposed to being in front of the camera. And so I really have to like kind of gear them up for it. But then once they do it was actually getting from the camera. It’s like, most of the time a fire lights up in them and they’re like after we do a video shoot, they’re like, we want to do this again.

This was awesome. I have all these other great topic ideas we can talk about on camera So you’re absolutely right. And that’s also the key to success is really building a framework, a system, if you will, where it becomes a consistent process for the business, because, you know, marketing is like, it’s like going to the gym, you’re not going to get that six pack, just if you go for a week, and then you stop going, you have to go consistently, every single, you know, day if you can.

But with marketing is the same thing, you have to be consistently publishing really valuable, informative content, to your customers to really start to get that traction and to build that relationship. You know, we were just talking before the call about how it takes time to build that momentum, you’re planting those seeds, and you have to keep watering and nurturing those seeds over time. So that they can grow. So


Damon Pistulka  20:47

yeah, yeah. And I think, you know, some of the things that I’ve realized that marketing is some of the most effective marketing is just answering questions. How? It is amazing to me, and I start off my sentence around, it’s amazing to me how much content you can derive off of an FAQ page. Oh, it’s


Nicole Donnelly  21:15

incredible. Absolutely. And you’re absolutely right. I mean, and really, when you go into it, and you try to ask those answer those FAQ questions. It’s amazing how much deeper that you can go. When you’re interviewing someone who’s a subject matter expert on you’re asking them questions about one frequently, frequently asked questions, I tell you, every single time I do an interview, we end up going down a rabbit hole, because there’s just so much more information. So much more like meat, if you will, that you can get off the bone that just you can, you can drill down.

So and that’s actually something we really like to do when we go into a new client is to talk to the sales team and just ask them like, what are the top questions that you’re hearing from customers? Because we want to scale that for the sales team, right? Like, what can we do to remove as much as possible that from the sales teams plate so that we’re building the scalable system online?

Because you know, Gartner just came out with a study, that’s some of the what 83% of b2b buyers, they want to have, you know, digital ecommerce experience, and they’re only spending 5% of the purchasing process actually talking to a sales rep. So how can we help and show up for the sales team by creating a digital self serve experience through the website? Yeah, it’s, I think, a really big opportunity. Right now for especially for manufacturers. So


Damon Pistulka  22:32

yeah, it is and and when you step back and take a look at how a digital sales process is compared to a completely human based sales process, you begin to realize there’s a lot of steps in the human based process that if I don’t, if I’m not desiring that, which a lot of buyers aren’t as their studies, just study, it’s I make it tougher and tougher for people to buy, and more challenging. It’s just, it’s amazing when you start to refine. So do you? Do you find that people say, well, we can’t, we can’t sell like that. And then they realize that they can,


Nicole Donnelly  23:17

all the time, especially in manufacturing, they always say our product is too custom. Yeah, yeah. It’s too custom. They need to talk to a sales rep, because there’s too much customization. Well, I think there’s certainly like, you know, creating a configurator on their website, or a pricing calculator on your website is something that we’ve created for some of our clients that solves that problem, right.

So you’re, it’s absolutely true that there are some products that require a lot of customization. And you will need to talk to a rep at some point in the process. But there are certain things that you can do before that point to really help themselves select what they need. And you can do that, like we have a client where we, you know, they were selling these industrial air filtration systems.

And the top two questions that the sales reps were getting all the time was how much does it cost? And what size system do I need? So why don’t we create a pricing calculator right there, where they can basically get a ballpark price? And yeah, you know, recommended system that is emailed to them, and then that helps prep the salesperson. So a lot of that happens early. So by the time they get to the salesperson, they’re like way qualified. And the conversation can start at a later point.


Damon Pistulka  24:28

Yeah, you know, I was I was reading. I was reading a book the other day, and it was talking about, it’s called, they ask you answers, I think,


Nicole Donnelly  24:36

Marcus Sheridan, oh, my gosh, I met him at the inbound marketing conference this year. He is a gem,


Damon Pistulka  24:44

no doubt, no doubt. I mean, because they’re talking about talking about one of the big you know, no no’s and that’s talking about price. And, you know, I’m sure when you when you broach the subject with manufacturers, they just start to shrivel up and go, there is no way we can do that every single


Nicole Donnelly  25:06

time. Here’s what I hear from them, because I’m always like, we’ve got to, we’ve got to talk about pricing on your website. Yeah. And if they say they have custom products, and like we can at least talk about and arrange a price range, we can create a blog post about what goes into the cost of your products.

There’s a ways around that. But the more that you’re transparent about the price, the more builds trust, but yeah, every single time I talk to manufacturers, I get pushback. The things they tell me are, oh, well, if I publish my pricing, my competitors gonna find out what I’m charging, and then they’re going to undercut my price. And so then I always ask them, I say, Well, let me ask you this.

Do you know what your competitors are charging for similar products? Well, yeah. Is there pricing? Publish? No, but you know what they’re charging. Yeah. Of like juice. Do you think they don’t already know what you’re charging? Like, why are we playing this dance this this game? Like so silly. To me, it’s like, just get it out there. Everybody already knows around what you’re charging. And the second question, the second thing I always say to them is, are you competing on price alone?

Like nobody should be competing on price alone? Every time they’re like, No, we’re not competing on price alone? Well, then, if you’re not competing on price alone, then it doesn’t matter. Because you’re offering more than just low the low the lowest price possible, you know, so usually, not all the time, but usually that that gets them on board usually.


Damon Pistulka  26:27

Yeah, yeah. Well, it’s


Nicole Donnelly  26:28

an interesting thing. It takes some wrangling, you know, but


Damon Pistulka  26:31

yeah, what’s an interesting thought, but when you start to look, I mean, all the way through this process, when you start to look at pricing, from a customer standpoint, digital standpoint, when you drop on the website, Marcus makes a really good point in his books.

And in his in his talks, it’s like, what do you think if you don’t see price on a website, you naturally think expensive. Because if you take time to build a great website, and everything looks good, you got good content, and people come to it, and you don’t have a price, you’re gonna naturally think it’s expensive,


Nicole Donnelly  27:05

and that you’re hiding something like, what do you have to hide?


Damon Pistulka  27:08

Yeah. It’s good stuff. But I mean, this is, this is really, I mean, when, when you’re, as we talking with a title day, when you’re telling helping buyers make good decisions, they want to be able to, as you said, 80% of the way they want to get down the sales process a lot. They want to be comfortable, not just with you, but they want to be comfortable. They’re making a good decision by going with you.



Yes, exactly. Yes, you’re absolutely right. So


Damon Pistulka  27:43

how many? How difficult is that, to get across to clients and start generating content around?


Nicole Donnelly  27:50

Ah, it depends on the client, to be honest. Um, but you know, what you usually is, you know, it takes a little bit of time, but, you know, I feel, honestly, I’ve noticed over the last maybe year, it’s gotten easier, I think, with COVID. And just the way that the world is changing, and with more purchasing happening online, manufacturing, manufacturers are starting to come around easier than they used to, but I gotta tell you, it’s getting easier.

They’re kind of like, at this position now, where they’re, like, the old ways aren’t working anymore. You know, our, our, our business is basically telling us we’ve got to try this because, you know, so I would say lately that’s been shifting and there hasn’t been like an openness from


Damon Pistulka  28:36

wonder because, you know, you know, manufacturers, well, you know, you me, lots of people Curt others, you know, this is the lifeblood of the US and we just, it’s time for, for manufacturers to rise and thrive, you know, and


Nicole Donnelly  28:52

thrive. I love it rise and thrive,


Damon Pistulka  28:55

just the opportunity. I mean, there’s there, there’s business out there, there’s business are out there from the world, and we just have to, you know, help people make good decisions. And yeah,


Nicole Donnelly  29:06

with E commerce, b2b e commerce, it’s just, it’s just ripe for the taking. There’s so much opportunity to to create a, you know, digital transformation with you right now.


Damon Pistulka  29:19

So it’s getting so much easier to and I don’t even know him, right? No, this specific things, but the technology is getting so much easier, even if you have more customer difficult products. It’s still easy to develop e commerce easy or to develop your E commerce solutions around him.


Nicole Donnelly  29:37

Yeah, definitely easier than it used to be. You know, we’re working on a big E commerce project right now that we’re, you’ve just got to phase it out, you know, so you don’t have to eat the whole elephant all at once. Definitely. So you know, I think that’s one way to look at it is like how can you create a phased approach to building that out so,


Damon Pistulka  29:59

so what do you what do Do you see that that’s working for clients? Now you’re like, Man, this is this is cool. This is starting to make things home.


Nicole Donnelly  30:05

Oh, definitely what I was talking about earlier, the creating content in an hour. So you know, getting the subject matter experts at the company to come and we interview them, it takes an hour of their time, we come prepared with specific topics that we’ve gathered based on FAQs, and customer research. These are the things that customers want to know about. So you know, we’ll put together a content calendar, and then we interview them, we take an hour of their time interview them, we record it on video.

And so now from that one interview, we get written content and video content that we can publish out for. And that’s, we’re getting a lot of traction with that, specifically. And that seems to be something that’s really working well for these small businesses that are really just trying to like dip their toe in, right, like they’re really just getting started with content marketing, they don’t have anything, no presence at all. So it’s a great way for them to get started.


Damon Pistulka  30:59

Yeah, yeah. And are you seeing that with the rise in like adverts online advertising cost? And is that still as big a piece of the overall marketing pyre as it used to be? Or are we really trying to see more its content base now and industrial companies are what are we seeing?


Nicole Donnelly  31:21

I would say it’s a mix. So content marketing is absolutely a long term play, you’re not getting results from content marketing in three, four months, you have to consistently be doing it for at least six months to start to see some some uptake.

So I think, in order for us to be really successful, you need to combine both, right? So doing the paid social, you know, the paid search really helps you to try to get that traction as early as possible as you can, but then leveraging the content marketing that you’re doing, and using that in your paid advertising is really when it starts to start humming. Right.

So I think there’s still a place for both. But you know, it’s getting harder and harder with paid search really to get, it’s getting more expensive, you know, the cost per clicks going up?

And so, you know, you gotta get, we already saw he’s getting more challenging markers. Figure out an easier way. Well, one thing I’m really like, curious, interested in and and curious to see how how to kind of leverage this for my clients is, is this whole idea of community led growth? Right, like, so content marketing has been huge for the last 10 plus years, right.

And there’s just so much saturation. Now, there’s so much content out there, that now it’s I’m just really interested to see like, How can companies more and more companies start to create this community led growth where they’re leveraging their existing customers, and creating a place for them to build community with each other?

And then having those relationships like they’re teaching each other and having that relates to creating a space for them? can lead to community lead growth for the company? Over time? That’s something I’m, I’m interested in, trying to learn more about it.


Damon Pistulka  33:12

Yeah, I think there, I think there is opportunity in that. And, you know, because at the end of the day, it’s about as John but vino says it’s hunting those relationships and building those relationships.


Nicole Donnelly  33:26

Yes. He’s so good at that.


Damon Pistulka  33:30

Oh, yeah. Yeah. And when you when, when, as a company, when you can start to do that, and you can, you know, there’s, there’s fans about whatever you want to do, you know, five axis CNC machining of titanium or some other crazy metal that you can think or, you know, it’s just there, there’s communities or people that are, are interested in those kinds of things. If that’s what your business is doing. Maybe it’s best that you reach out to a lot of people that are interested in that.


Nicole Donnelly  34:03

Yes, I think you’re right, like it’s all about niching down that way. Yeah, to a football game this last weekend. Go Cougs we lost terribly, it was a terrible game. But we went to this awesome tailgate party and it was super fun because like all the alumni were there all the fans and it’s like this little tiny microcosm of people who all we all went to the same school, we all have that shared sense of community, right?

And it’s like, this totally niche group. And that’s where the magic is. Nearly wouldn’t have been nearly as special or fun if it was a much larger group. And, you know, you don’t have that light. Same really tight connection holding you together. So I totally agree.


Damon Pistulka  34:43

Oh, and you can ask you can ask questions you can get you get better advice. That’s from people I know. You know, I really was almost at Curtin. I interviewed Polly Polly rose.


Nicole Donnelly  34:56

I love Paulie. Oh my goodness.


Damon Pistulka  35:00

Look at her profile and the company that she’s working with, you know, and they’re doing. It’s some plastic kind of substance. Sick. Yeah.


Nicole Donnelly  35:10

gaskets for the aerospace and yeah, yeah,


Damon Pistulka  35:12

it’s like the electrode stop, select current going through or something. And but you read you read and you go, wow, there really are people that probably are out there searching for that exact thing every day. Oh, yeah,


Nicole Donnelly  35:28

absolutely. It’s like, it’s like my client sells dust collectors. Like nobody thinks about a dust collector. Or knows that like your Apple Watch your Apple phone that’s manufactured would not exist if you didn’t have a dust collector in the plant sucking up all that dust. You know, like there’s so many things that you just don’t realize and manufacturing that make it all work and it’s it’s kind of fun all that behind the scenes stuff.


Damon Pistulka  35:51

Yeah, it is. It really is. And then here’s a guy that walks the walk talks a talk James, James, what he’s some about coatings, coatings, different coatings, just coatings like coatings on anything. He’s read the American Association of coatings he was when I first met him. These things and and there are specialties that that, that if you really niche down and and know your customers that you can you can create this community, which I think is is very, a it’s fun. But B I think over time, it really is good for your business.


Nicole Donnelly  36:31

Yes. Good for your business and good for the world. Yeah. Yeah, we need community, especially coming out of COVID people feeling so disconnected. People are craving it like if we can, if businesses can really find a way to create that. It’s just so great for their long for them long term, but also for their customers. And that’s, you know, ultimately, that’s what we’re here for. Right? We’re here to serve our customers. Yeah, well, yeah, we all want to make $1. But we want to do it making them happy. Right. So


Damon Pistulka  37:01

definitely. Well, and you said it right. I think I think really understanding your ideal customer. We talked about that a long time ago, knowing who your ideal customer is. And good marketing to me, is just means that I’m going to connect with my ideal customers more often. Yes. And if I’m doing that, then I can say no, it’s easier for me to say no, because every entrepreneur gets nervous saying no, we can say no. Good.


Nicole Donnelly  37:32

I’m glad I’m not the only one who gets nervous saying no, Damon, I get so nervous saying no, it’s terrible. Like I gotta I’m getting better at it every every month. Yeah,


Damon Pistulka  37:42

I’ll get an upset stomach over it once in a while. It’s like, you know, well, because it’s right. It’s, you know, I don’t care if you’re just pick a product, pick a service, we’ve all done it. And you know, you can you can be a lawyer and get yourself in the wrong case, you can be in marketing, you can get in the wrong type of company. It’s so easy to do, because we want to do it, but we want to help people.

But at the end of the day, nobody comes out winning when that happens. Yeah, a lot of times anyway. So that’s, that’s cool. So going forward. Now, what? So talking about community talking about that? What are you looking forward to in the next year? What’s gonna be fun? What’s going on?


Nicole Donnelly  38:28

What am I looking forward to? Okay. I am super excited. I’ve got some things under wraps happening, but I’m in the process of, yes, I’m excited about it. So for my brand. I’m looking, I’m exploring some new services that I’m excited about all around like, digital self serve transformation. So I’m excited about that. Cool. Yeah. And yeah, so that’s what I’ve got going on. I’m super stoked about it. And I’m exploring, possibly starting my own podcast in the new year. So I think that nice for fun. So those are some exciting things I’m looking forward to.


Damon Pistulka  39:11

Nice. Yeah,


Nicole Donnelly  39:12

but you What are you looking forward to Damon? I get to be the question or now I get to ask you the questions.


Damon Pistulka  39:21

I’m really thinking about the community thing. I’ve always enjoyed that. I’ve always enjoyed talking. I love talking to people one on one like we are today. Yeah. And I really enjoy seeing groups of people come together, and then watching the interactions between individuals in the group where they’re helping each other. I just think that is so cool.

You know, because if you just said what, what am I excited for for the next year? It’s really about amping up the impact I can make and that’s what it is. It’s about how can we educate more people? How can we help more people and and just continue to do that?


Nicole Donnelly  40:01

I’m so inspired by that Daymond that is so like servant leadership inspiring. Can I be like you when I grow up? I want to be like you don’t want to be. That’s awesome. What was reading something from someone on LinkedIn don’t remember. And they were saying like the key to be to creating a good community is to not be the star of the community. Yeah, it’s all about letting the people in the community be the star. And I was just really intrigued by that. I was like, wow, that’s really wise.


Damon Pistulka  40:37

Yes. Awesome. Awesome. Awesome. Getting to talk to you today the Call, man, I just want to say thank you. And today, everyone, so if you didn’t hear it before, we have Nicole Donnelly from the Donnelly marketing group, where should people reach out to you if they want to talk to you,


Nicole Donnelly  40:59

Nicole, come and connect with me. I love meeting new people. I love learning about who you are and what you do and how I can support you with whatever it is that you are trying to accomplish. You can reach me at Nicole at Donnelly, m That’s my email. It’s d o n n e ll y m group. Or you can find me on LinkedIn. And my LinkedIn profile is just Nicole dash Donnelly, dash d m g.


Damon Pistulka  41:28

Awesome. Awesome. Well, Nicole, great to talk to you as always.


Nicole Donnelly  41:34

Thank you. I’m honored to be on your show. Thanks, Damon.


Damon Pistulka  41:37

We didn’t even make fun of Kurt too much. Oh, man. But


Nicole Donnelly  41:44

next time next time. Next time.


Damon Pistulka  41:46

Thanks, everyone for being here. Have a great rest of your week. We will talk again soon. Hang around. Nicole. We’ll talk all right.

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