Make Your Customer the Hero of Their Story

While running a business, you need to make the customer the hero of their story. But how to do so? To get the answer to this question, we had our talk today. In this week’s Manufacturing Ecommerce Sales Series, our guest speaker was Allison DeFord. Allison is the Founder and Trailblazer of FELT Marketing for Manufacturers. Apart from this, she is also the Executive Director of the North America Forest Foundation and the co-host of the MFG OutLoud Podcast.

While running a business, you need to make the customer the hero of their story. But how to do so? To get the answer to this question, we had our talk today.

In this week’s Manufacturing Ecommerce Sales Series, our guest speaker was Allison DeFord. Allison is the Founder and Trailblazer of FELT Marketing for Manufacturers. Apart from this, she is also the Executive Director of the North America Forest Foundation and the co-host of the MFG OutLoud Podcast.

The conversation started with Damon Pistulka and Curt Anderson introducing Allison and welcoming her to the show. After this, Allison got straight to the point and shared a presentation with the audience.

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In her presentation, Allison shared about the art of making the customer the hero of their story. According to her, this may sound confusing at first, but it is much easier done. Allison said that there are four to six ways in which making the customer the hero of their story gets easier.

According to Allison making the customer, the hero of their story is not that difficult. She says that if one gets out of we-we-we syndrome, they can easily do this. We-we-we syndrome is what Allison metaphorically calls young boys looking at their own naval all the time. This means that we as sellers are always talking about ourselves and our customers don’t care about us.

Moreover, Allison said that once we get out of this “we” syndrome and focus on our customers’ point of view more, we can succeed. Later in the conversation, Allison talked about the 30 Days Challenge that her company offers.

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She says that this challenge is like a masterclass about marketing. It makes you learn about the right kind of marketing strategies. After this, Allison shared a few other tips on making the customer the hero of their story. She said that we need to clear out our whys in order to communicate with the customers properly.

For Allison, once the why is clear, they can go to the how as well. Furthermore, she says that the questions keep adding up and you can keep finding the answers.

By the end of the conversation, Allison gives examples of a few brands that are actually making the customer the hero of their story. Her examples included the brand Duke Cannon that actually creates marketing lines like “you will smell like accomplishments.”

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Finally, the conversation ends with Damon and Curt thanking the guest for her time.

Check out the entire video by clicking on the link below.

Thanks to Allison for sharing her time and knowledge with the group.

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Damon Pistulka, Curt Anderson, Allison DeFord


Damon Pistulka  00:00

On the stage here, yeah, Alison is here the camera house. Live on LinkedIn. All right.


Curt Anderson  00:24

Yeah, that was that was our theme song for 2020. I will survive.


Damon Pistulka  00:28

I will survive. That’s for sure. Well, thanks everyone for coming. coming again today to another awesome episode of the manufacturing ecommerce Success Series with Kurt Anderson and myself Damon Pistulka. We’re hosting Alison defore. Today she’s going to be talking about how to make your customers the hero of their story. And so glad to have you today Kurt, take it from here and I’m gonna start talking to the people that are on LinkedIn.


Curt Anderson  00:59

Awesome. Well, Damon Thank you so everybody our dear host with the most Damon Pistulka from exit your way he is a growth and exit strategy specialist. So want to thank everybody we are on LinkedIn live Twitter live Facebook Live. We’re here on Remo. So this is my honor, my privilege to introduce my dear friend Allison afford so Alison, I have to I have since the title of our program is stopped being the best kept secret. I did it last time I’m going to do it again. So ready. So everybody, here’s a great quote from a dear friend of mine from this wonderful, amazing, incredible, best selling book in the Anderson family.

Here’s the quote staying relevant and profitable today requires three things continuous self disruption, reorganization, strategic communications, continuously innovating and keeping pace with how customers research, purchase and share. To avoid falling into the abyss of mediocrity is the abyss of mediocrity, or God forbid, extinction. Manufacturers must must do something they’ve always resisted in the past. That’s from none other than aka our Trailblazer, the founder of Thought Marketing, the podcast, phenomenon of manufacturing out loud. Wonder Woman, Allison afford Ellison. Thank you for joining us today.


Allison DeFord  02:30

Oh, well, I can’t thank you guys enough. I’m happy to be back. Feels like I was just on how the time flies. And yeah, you guys, what you’re doing this entire last year has been incredible. For anybody who’s new, you want to be part of this group. This is an amazing tribe of trailblazers. And I am just grateful to be part of it. So I’m going to jump right in, I’m going to share my screen. And I want to make this value packed for anybody who took their time today to jump on and hang out with us. So let’s start talking about how to make the customer the hero of your story. So let’s see here.





Damon Pistulka  03:21

Okay. So


Allison DeFord  03:27

why do you want to make the customer the hero of your story? The symbol? Can you see okay,


Damon Pistulka  03:36

now? Yeah, I did. I do now.


Allison DeFord  03:39

Okay. So why in the heck would you want to do this? Well, people make decisions based on emotions, nearly 90% of the time. And most of the time when I tell manufacturers this, they look at me with this blank stare like, What? Really? And, you know, then people back the decision up with rational thinking. So traditionally, I feel like many manufacturers and brands have done this bass ackwards.

Right, and I myself have been guilty of this in the past, where we try to market to somebody rationally with features and benefits and pictures of our fleets of trucks and piles of lumber and you know, our big staff and our big building. And then we sort of forget about that emotional part. And effectively, you’re making it harder, harder to choose you to trust you. And harder to repeat the experience. So by making your hero or sorry, your customer, the hero of your story, you do three things, you engage 90% of the decision making brain instead of only 10.

So Wow, that sounds easier. And you make it easier to trust you faster. We all want that right? Because it’s it’s challenging and people We’ll have to trust you before they buy from you. And then you demonstrate that by choosing you, they will transform in some way, they’re going to become faster, smarter, stronger, cooler, more profitable. And who doesn’t want that? So, how in the hell do we do this? Well, there’s four ways. And it doesn’t have to be complicated or difficult. One, we’re going to invite them into the story to we’re going to describe their hero state, we’re going to guide them with a plan, you’re going to become their Sherpa.

And then we’re going to close the story loop. It’s think of this like, foreshadowing in a movie. Right? You get really excited when you know that Luke Skywalker is probably going to walk out of this movie alive at the end, he’s going to conquer the bad guys. And so you want to close the story loop and show people their in state. So okay, this is all fine and dandy, but you might be thinking, I’m not a marketer. I’m a one man show, or I’m a one woman operation. And I’ve got to do this on my own. So where do I start, and I divided this up into six sections, really, this is very abbreviated.

But you’ve got to start from the inside out, then you got to strengthen your brand, your brand Foundation, you got to have a clear strategy that you can actually follow and measure. And that’s fun. And you’ve got to have some better content. That’s your substance. That’s what fills your amplifiers, right, your website, your social media, your print, your advertising, those are merely amplifiers. So we want to help you create better substance so that when you turn up the volume, people dig what they’re hearing. And then six, what is that overall journey look like for your customers? Because that’s the overall experience.


Curt Anderson  07:07

Allison? Yeah. And the question for you go back one, if you don’t mind, go back real quick. I know, a number one inside out like how when you’re talking with a manufacturer, like, you know, can you touch on that a little bit? Like, where do you Where do you go with them? If they’re a little struggling a little challenging? Maybe marketing hasn’t been a top priority over the past? Where do you Where do you Where do you start with number one?


Allison DeFord  07:29

Well, we start with stop, we went all the way home.


Curt Anderson  07:38

And so for our attendees, today, we’ve got a great group. Today, we’ve got a J, my dear friend, Jane is with us. Again. Jodi, Leila Penny Ray, of course. And Val, let’s so for anybody that’s new to the V syndrome, please enlighten our, our loyal audience, what is we?


Allison DeFord  07:57

Well, we we syndrome is when everything about your messaging and your marketing is filled with Wi Fi, instead of you and your So a quick assessment is to take a look at your website. And, and take a look at how many times is in social media too, because I see this this is rampant in social media. Are you talking about you all the time? Or are you leading with you and why that a customer or prospective customer should care about what you’re talking about? So and we’ve all done this, I have to so I’m not above the


Damon Pistulka  08:39

law in this. We’re guilty.


Allison DeFord  08:43

And and this is when you make you the hero, right? And I I felt like this way in the beginning, for sure. And I’d love to know in the comments if anybody else feels like they did this, say yes. When you feel like I’m the hero, I’ve got this special process, or this special system, or we do this special thing. And we’re super smart, smarter than you. And we’re going to lead you to Nirvana. And that is not, you know, inspiring to people. So stop worrying all the way home. That’s what I tell my manufacturing clients, and stop looking at your own navel. And I’m using this picture again, because I think it’s perfect.

And it really illustrates what you should stop doing again. I have been so guilty of this in the comments say yes. If you have as well. Right. This picture is reminds me of my cousins when I was a kid. I said this last time so I hate to be redundant, but it’s so true. We’re growing up in Indiana. It’s hot and humid. They’re always running around with their shirt off and they’re always like so fascinated with their own neighbor like right making it talk and do things. And you’re like, Oh my god, get over yourself. Well, I think we all do that. brands and we need to stop it.

We need to pay attention to what’s in it for them. They don’t care about you. And this is hard for brands to hear. They don’t care about you, they care about them. And the most important thing you can do is stop weeding all the way home. And always try to answer the three questions. If you take nothing else from what I say today. Take this, always try to answer what’s in it for them. Why should they buy this thing? Whatever it is, and why should they buy it from you? And if those three questions can be answered in every bit of content that you put out on your website, it will make it so much easier to trust you and to choose you.


Curt Anderson  10:52

That is, that’s phenomenal. So I guess I mean, real quick. So Damon, we had the honor privilege for the last month of 2020 to go through this little 30 Day Challenge. And I’m almost I think Val who’s with us today, I thought I saw her drop a comment that I don’t she might have gone through it or she was she made a comment about your challenge. So what a privilege, what an honor. Can you talk a little bit about I loved it. So what it was folks, Ellison sent out a daily message, a guide, so kind of what you’re getting here. We had the privilege of going through the whole month. Can you talk like that with them?

You know, we always think about what’s in it for me what’s in it as a consumer, or as a business owner, we should be thinking what’s in it for me for our survival. But when we’re talking about our customers, I am this is absolutely brilliant. laser focused on what’s in it for them. And this ties in with the whole hero story. Can you just chime a little bit like your 30 Day Challenge? And like how you did those step by steps for us? You know, we don’t need to go deep, but just talk a little bit because it was just so fulfilling. I know, Damon, I just loved it. Can you talk about just for a quick minute there? Absolutely.


Allison DeFord  11:59

Thank you for mentioning that. Yes, the breakthrough bootcamp 30 Day Challenge, we are going to be opening it up again, for people to take advantage of it. And what it is, is really to take you through it’s like a marketing masterclass in 30 days, and it gives you all the tools and resources for you. It’s like teaching a man or woman to fish. Right. And and so that you can help yourself and take yourself through this process. It’s the same process that we take our clients through, and we charge five figures to do this, this is a way for us to give back and give you the tools so that you know you can effectively help yourself if you’re a smaller company.

And I get what that feels like I have been in the position where I couldn’t afford to hire any help. And I had to do it all on my own. And so this was the whole point is to really help you go from men to mind blowing 30 days to really put these things to use. It’s not there’s no fluff, there’s no smoke and mirrors, as Mark Roberts always says, it’s, it’s the real deal.

And it’s real tools that you can use to help yourself to make your customer the hero of your story to create a playbook so that you can have a better strategy for next year and then actually produce content and improve your your channels. Right. And really to improve shorten the buying cycle is really what this is about, and to really help you nurture customers before, during and after they purchase. Because that’s where a lot of people fall down. Right. And that’s that’s what this particular slide two talks about. Hopefully, the boot camp two will help you become a realized that you’re a specialty versus a commodity.

Yeah. I can’t tell you how many of we work with a lot of building materials companies. And you know, when you start working with them, you say, well, what’s special and different about you? And they say, Well, you know, really this thing that we produce, it’s it’s pretty much a commodity. And I stopped them right there. And I say, Whoa, hold the phone. If you’re a commodity, you know, why are you going to stand out to anybody that’s out there. Coffee used to be a commodity until it wasn’t water used to be a commodity.

So I try to use these examples from you know, not people in building materials to demonstrate this is possible. And it’s about the experience that you create for customers. And the place that you want to start is by looking at how do you want them to feel and the best. My favorite thing is when I say this in a strategy meeting With a client, and they all look at me like, say what it’s like? Well think about it, this strategy, this your brand Foundation, although you want it, you know, you want it to be all about you. If you decide your intention, you’re in business for people, right?

If you sell drywall, or if you sell an exit strategy to help businesses exit their business the way they want to, right, you have a process? Well, if you think about this, in terms of how they’re going to feel, at every stage of this buying cycle, so you know, when they’re in awareness, the first stages, and they’re coming into contact with your customer touch points, like print or direct mail, or, you know, they click in Google, and then they come find you, how do you want them to feel. And this is a very different way to approach your messaging. And it really, it really puts the customer center stage. You know, for years, we’ve talked about being customer centric, this will make it so


Curt Anderson  16:09

I’m sorry, that’s what I loved about the 30 day challenge is that I felt like I had an accountability partner. It’s almost like you know, you can go to the gym and get a decent workout. But boy, if you have a trainer over your shoulder, you know, yelling at you, you know, do an extra set or going extra mile or what have you. And plus you get this wonderful little book here. So I strongly encourage and Val chimed in, she said, she’s on day six of the challenge. I even told Allison, I feel like I need to go through it a second time.

It’s so high level, how and you know, now that I know what I’m getting into. But it’s learning these catchphrases. It’s being laser focused on the customer, not deviating from that path. And focusing on the with him. How do you say that with with? With him? Yep. So you know, it’s focusing on customer make him the hero, and then I know you have this journey laid out. And so everything that you do, focusing on the persona, focusing on your message, focusing on the, and again, not being married to your solution, but being married to your customers victory, you know, is what I’ve learned from you in that boot camp.


Allison DeFord  17:13

Absolutely. Well, and think about it, especially with 2020, their hero state has, you know, may have changed totally, totally. And I love what you just said, if we and I’ve again, I’ve been so guilty of this, when we’re so focused on our solution. We forget to see what’s transforming, right?


Curt Anderson  17:37

Because, you know, Kodak was very focused on a great solution until it wasn’t, you know, Blockbuster Video borders bookstore. So I mean, we could go on with the graveyard of I was calling the e commerce graveyard victims, you know, but when you get so focused on Hey, this is, you know, when those words, those tragic words come out of your mouth, this is how we’ve always done it, you know, night, you need to revisit or you need to sign up for Ellison’s boot camp. So


Damon Pistulka  18:02

yeah. And I think you know, it all comes back again, to, to me, this is spent a tremendous amount of time on this with after the boot camp. And before trying to figure this out with the three questions. I mean, if people just answer this three questions, what’s in it for them? Why should I buy? Why should I buy from you? Those are so key. And if you can’t, like hit your homepage above the fold, first thing you do if those three things aren’t answered in a few seconds, you’re probably not done or not where you want to be. Yeah, right.


Allison DeFord  18:34

Yeah, for sure, though. All right, I’m going to keep going because I don’t want to go out of time here. And the most important thing that we have found that you can do when you are strengthening your brand foundation is create a really compelling, unique value proposition that transcends the customer into their hero state. I’ll give you a super quick example from felt.

If you and I don’t feel like our websites perfect, we’re in the in the midst of overhauling it. But what I am proud of is our very simple, unique value proposition and that is less marketing, more sales. And the reason that we arrived at that was really understanding our customers that although they are VPS of marketing, and CEOs, they don’t really want more marketing. Nobody does because we’re being marketed to death, right? How easy 5000 ads a day, whether it’s social or online or on your phone or on TV.

And, and plus I think marketing kind of needs a rebrand because it’s a lot different, better and wholehearted than it used to be. And so the fact that we know our customers don’t want more marketing, they want more sales. So if we speak their language right upfront, and say, Hey, by working with us, we’re going to help you market less meaning, do less of what is effective, and has impact and value, do less of it, but it’s going to be really high quality, and it’s going to be connected.

And you’re going to end up getting more sales. So right up front, we’re speaking their language. And, you know, a unique value proposition that’s your promise to help your customer transform. So I think if you’ve got nothing more again from and this is completely condensed, but if you get nothing more from the brand, strengthening your brand Foundation, arrive at a unique value proposition and put that above the fold on your website.


Curt Anderson  20:51

That’s real real quick Ellison so like, our dear friend Lila is on a on a call today. She’s with a company Weber Napa incredible, amazing company, founded I believe in 1909. And they do ergonomic products and metal fabrication and just do incredible things. And they went through the they work with Josh Kersey on that protocol at our dear friends. And they talk their persona is engineering Chucky. And you know, they have like this deep dedication on how do we make Chucky that hero?

How do we solve Chucky cheese problems? How do we have Chucky shine with his boss with his customer data died. So that’s a no meet when you the way you simplify things, for all of us, it just makes it so much easier. Like it’s like the clouds clear. And then like okay, now we can just laser focus, get rid of the clutter of what we shouldn’t be doing. And just like, Okay, this is how we create, keep instituting these competitive advantages for us with our message with our delivery in that customer relationship?


Allison DeFord  21:53

Absolutely. Absolutely. And, and, and so to keep going to the you know, the next thing that you want to focus on is your strategy. Once you’ve got your brand squared away, you know who you are, you know, why you’re doing what you’re doing, and who your ideal customer is, and how you know what their hero state looks like. You want to focus on a tighter strategy, you and and this is going to set you up to be planned versus haphazard, which is how a lot of companies operate. They say they have a strategy. But it’s one of those things and again, been guilty of this. By the time you get to the end of the year, you’re like, what was our strategy?

It was really good, I recall. But I’m not I don’t really remember. So we want strategy to become something that is clear and easy to follow. And the way that you decide what should our strategy be? It’s shared values. So again, if you know what your values are, and you know what their values are, it’s that sweet spot in the middle. And so if you decide, hey, our shared values are x, x and x, then that is going to drive your strategy, right, how you communicate with them, Why you communicate.

And I had a mentor once that said, when the Why is clear, the house will appear all around you. And I have learned this firsthand. So why in the hell are we doing this? First of all? And once you’re clear on that, how to do it? Yeah, start showing up all around you. And then you got to figure out okay, well, we know how now, where are we going to be? What are we going to say? What are we going to do? How are we going to behave? And then how often? So that’s that consistency, right? consistency breeds familiarity, familiarity builds


Damon Pistulka  23:50



Allison DeFord  23:50

So we, you know, you want to create an experience that appeals to your customers sense of what, what’s important to them, safety, efficiency, maybe its legacy. I know, Damon can relate to that. That’s most of his clients, right? their sense of freedom, or profitability. So once you laser in on that, again, creating these marketing things, these tools, your strategy, your content, it all becomes so much easier. I’m going to throw in like an end state here. This is an example of some campaign we did for accuride. But actually, we helped them build this brand. It was brand new since young. And this is just to show you an overview.

So see when everything is clear, clearly developed, clearly defined. The customer is the hero at every stage of the buying cycle. And you’ve got this consistency with look, feel voice tone, and you’re emotionally engaging at every opportunity. And then I’m only going to do one slide on content because we could do a whole masterclass. But You really want to have a content strategy? A lot of people go will content strategy, what I how do I do that? Can’t we just start talking? And I say not recommended? Right? This is going to help you be proactive versus reactive, which so many of us, how many years have we spent being reactive?

It’s really hard and it’s exhausting. And if you’re constantly just reacting, you know, on social media, or eventually you run out of things to say, I’ve run into so many manufacturers and again, in the comments, if you’re listening in on this, you know, put Yes, if you feel like you’ve hit that plateau, where you’re like, we don’t know what to talk about this week. It’s really frustrating. So this is a content strategy that we did for zabba. tat. And they’re building products company. And if you take anything from all these slides, because this can look, you know, like, Whoa, I have to create a whole document like that, no, if you’re a one man show, or a one woman show, a small operation.

That’s why I highlighted the things on the left, if you did nothing more than decide what are our core messages, like, for example, His habitat, we believe in the philosophy of enlightened living, and encourage it by removing obstacles, like things like that, like your overarching, you know, what are your core messages to your customers, helping them to be the hero of your story, too, if you create a voice in a tone, how do you speak? Is it friendly? Is it more with authority? is you know, how are you coming across so that you can create this, this consistent voice so that no matter if people in or interact with you on social media, or on your website, or in person, you sound the same?

Because then that helps them know you and trust you? Also, what’s your personality? You know, are you a big ass fan company where you can be fun and a little irreverent? You joke around a lot you speak your customers language you use their jargon? Or is your business a little more serious? And maybe you don’t feel comfortable with that? But again, how will this resonate with your customers? How’s it going to make them feel? Are they you know, a casual bunch? Or are they very white collar, you know, three piece suit kind of folks. So that will help you decide how you’re going to talk to them. And then the topics that you’re going to be known for.

So if you even came up with three, three topics that we’re going to be known for, and you did like a mind map, and I should have created a slide for that. But you can use a tool like simple mind, I believe it’s just simple, mind calm, it’s fantastic. And if you just start in the middle with the customer, and then you and then you pull out three bubbles, three main things that they care about. And then you start pulling out bubbles from each one of those, you will never run out of things to talk about. It makes it incredibly easy.


Curt Anderson  28:15

And Elson can take one second because you do you The great thing with you, you talk to talk, you walk the walk. So you practice what you preach. So you’re very consistent with your messaging for felt very consistent with your messaging on LinkedIn, you have a snarky edge. It’s absolutely hysterical. If you’re not connected with Allison, I invite you welcome you beg you to follow Alison.

She’s absolutely hysterical. Now, there is one warning, please don’t drink anything when you’re reading one of Alison’s posts, because your your drink will end up on your keyboard and it will damage your keyboard. But, you know, like I talked about your messaging, how you you know, you’re dedicated to solving the manufacturers problem, marketing, talk about how you’re in very consistent How can you just talk enough for a minute?


Allison DeFord  29:04

Yes, absolutely. And thank you. We put ourselves through this process a number of years ago, and it was really all about creating alignment. We used to feel like we were way different than our than our customers. We felt smarter. We felt like we were we knew how to market and they didn’t we were gonna be their Savior.


Curt Anderson  29:29

Who everybody’s been there Come on, yeses in the chat box. Right. We’ve part of that maturity process that we all painfully go through.


Allison DeFord  29:37

Absolutely. And and and if we took ourselves through this process, and we literally sat back in the conference room, and I said, we took ourselves through our own origin story, and our values and their values and what the shared values were and I literally sat back in the chair and I said, holy shit. We are our customers. We’re building something from nothing. we’ve struggled. We know what it’s the beginning, you know, and it was this revelation. And I was so grateful. It was really like a brick to the head. And so what that did to answer your question is, we followed this process that I teach.

And that felt, promotes and helps our clients with we used it, we use it today. And what it helped us do was start creating content that was consistent to schedule ahead of time to create foundational pieces, like on our blog, or LinkedIn articles or articles and get them published. And then to break those down into like, 15 smaller conversations. So a lot like Gary Vaynerchuk, I honestly follow his model, when it comes to that. It’s like start with these larger pieces. And then, you know, break it down. So if you are not good with content, you can work with someone like Phil, ah, can work with somebody to help you create content.

And what happens is you start creating these consistent vehicyou can work with someone like why am I Greg? Greg? mushu? Yep. Yeah, yeah. When bound, you’re oh my gosh, yeles. So for example, we started with hashtag tgim. Think got him in manufacturing, we started putting those out on Mondays, right? Instead of TGF two, we started hashtag dear customer, and we put those out every Tuesday, Friday, hashtag felt f bomb. So on Fridays, it’s a little more edgy, it’s a little more brick to the head. Each one of these has a different purpose.

But it’s really to help our customers help their customers. So it’s not about us being clever, or being liked, you know, or, or whatnot on social media. It’s really about how can we continuously refuel our customers, our potential customers, and help them help themselves and inspire them? You know, it’s that constant. And then also, another thing you’ve got to do is you’ve got to engage social media, for example, is a it’s a two way conversation. So some brands, unfortunately, treat it like a megaphone. And it’s constantly like, that’s the way we write, we’re doing this we’re doing this we won an award aren’t, don’t you think we’re cool? Do you want us to tell you more about us? And it’s like, God, no,



please. It’s a bad date. Right?


Allison DeFord  32:53

Yeah, yeah. It’s like being the person at the party. And you guys have heard me say this before you show up and every single time you only talk about yourself. And eventually, nobody wants to hang out with you. I think we’ve all made that mistake. So you know, the point with content is have a plan. You want to be proactive. And you want to have this consistency. And so if you start building these little consistent vehicles for every single week, or another great one is every two weeks, we put out our email newsletter wt Mfg.

So, what the heck’s going on in manufacturing? You know, what the heck’s a new idea this week, and every two weeks, people can count on it, then what we do is we take the content from that. And we’ll create an article on our blog. And then you take that and you break it down into your social media posts. So as you can see, it’s all connected. And it doesn’t have to be difficult. This makes it easier. It also makes it easier for your customers to consume. And again, to trust you and choose you and then to share the experience because that’s what everybody wants.


Curt Anderson  34:07

And your newsletter is fantastic. I look forward so if you’re not signed up for Allison’s newsletter, it is absolutely hysterical. It’s witty, it’s funny, charming. And again, her boot camp she sings to us. I you know, when it when boot camp came to an end, I like I missed your voice. I’m gonna start calling you every morning. So, but yes, folks sign up for Allison’s newsletter. It is. If you’re in manufacturing, it’s funny. It’s engaging it’s value. It’s it’s wonder if you do it. I don’t know how you have the time. You do an excellent job with that.


Allison DeFord  34:40

Well, thank you. I appreciate that. Yeah, the newsletter is always for me, I make a point that there isn’t anybody else that could write that for me has to come from my heart. And, and I wanted to make it more like a personal letter to you, the reader instead of, you know, an overview, kind of a newsletter. I wanted it to feel a little bit old school in that way.


Damon Pistulka  35:04

Yeah, it’s good. It’s good.


Allison DeFord  35:06

Um, yeah. Okay, so I want to be mindful of time. Do we have just like a little bit more time?



Yep. Yeah.


Allison DeFord  35:13

So here’s something that most brands do when they come to us and say, Hey, we need a new website. And we say, Okay, cool. Why do you think you need a new website? Well, we need you know, it hasn’t been updated in a while, and we want to make it look better. Okay, so do you want it to convert better than it’s converting now? And they kind of look at me. Because right now, you know, it looks like you’re interrupting people, or you’re not connecting emotionally, on an emotional level. And you’re, they’re not the hero. So let’s take a look at the rest of your content and all your other touchpoints.

So what Anyway, my point in saying this is, everybody wants to jump into the amplifiers, like your website, like your social media, we want to do digital marketing. Okay, great. What are you going to say? What is your unique value proposition? You know, everything stems from the roots. So if your roots aren’t being watered, if your roots aren’t strong, then the likelihood of the tree above ground being strong enough and sustainable to last for, you know, years, decades, generations is unlikely.

So that’s why we like to look at, I want to show you two quick examples of brands that I think are absolutely crushing it. And the reason I like to use brands outside of manufacturing, even though this is a manufacturer, they’re also excuse me, a consumer brand. And I think we can learn a lot from them. So if you’ve never purchased anything from Duke cannon, I recommend that you do at least look at their packaging. Yeah. They’re now in target. Yeah. So this is really exciting. And they benefit veterans. So I love this.

And one of the things that they say and so Kurt Damon, this is my this is where I got this from, I didn’t make it up. When I say in my boot camp. Hey, you smell like accomplishment? It’s time to get in the habit. Right on the bar of soap. Yep. And I’m here to tell you, I bought this for my husband a couple years ago. And we still have this joke. Okay, so this is a brand that sells body care products. You’re like s news. We all use deodorant, soap, or you know, whatever. Well, it’s so powerful. And it’s so fun. That, number one, they’re cause oriented. So I like that. So I am more likely to buy from them. Because they’re cause oriented. Secondly, they make you the guy, the hero.

I mean, look at their name. Who would want to have the name Duke cannon, right? Like, you’re the you’re the dude. So they even started with the name. And then they say things like not, you’re gonna smell like accomplishment. You smell like accomplishment. It’s happening right now. So I wanted to point that out. I wanted people to pay attention to that. And then just their content, the way that they speak. It’s not just top sellers for January, its top sellers. So simple, but hilarious. Yeah, in a world of weak handshakes. Here’s a finger crushing introduction. Like they’re totally capitalizing on how men think and behave.

I love this. And they have this fantastic little tab on the side of their homepage that says, I think it says first time here. And I thought, oh my god, I love that. And I clicked on it. And you get this little box down in the right hand corner that I showed you. And it says, Hey, we hate spam, too. So they just address right up front, what could be some of your reservations? What could be some of your concerns? Let’s Let’s hit that head on. And then get you right into, you know, our club, if you will. You’re you’re part of us now. And I just think they’re their marketing their content. Their strategy is absolutely brilliant.

Content too, by the way isn’t just words, it’s pictures. It’s video. It’s every way that you visually show up to your audience. This is another example of a building materials company, right? which typically are I think, can be really boring. It’s it’s, it’s not super exciting, unless you’re a builder, or contractor. I work with clients like this. So I think it’s really exciting. But I know the majority of people are like, oh, building products, okay. But I wanted to show you Lansing They created this different approach several years ago, and they just continue to knock it out of the park. So they don’t start by showing you pictures of their building products.

They start by showing you a picture of you out on the job site. Right right there with like the handshake, well, what does that mean to you? Right? This is a common experience. They’re delivering excellence from the inside out. And so are you. They also have a marketing department to help you. Like, what, how many people offer a resource like that, because contractors are notoriously bad about marketing. And they need help with it. So Lansing did something above and beyond, and they created a vehicle to help them. They also work on recruiting on this site, Hey, are you looking for a new opportunity? I think that’s brilliant.

And it’s really people focused. I think that’s the other thing that I am consistently encouraging my clients to do. And I encourage you listening to do the same thing is, you know, make it about people, because that’s really what all of our businesses are about. Bottom line, no matter what we sell. And if you the viewer can see yourself there in you know, on the website, or they’re in the social media post, and you’re having, you know, you’re having a feeling, you’re happy, you’re confident, you’re excited.

That is a huge, huge driver. And so, and unfortunately, I just realized my graphics didn’t show up, right? customers, heroes should just have this nice, soft drop shadow under it. But anyway, the whole point of this is the journey. So it’s a guided transformation. You’re helping them go from Steve Rogers, to Captain America. And maybe they’re like, somewhere in between, you know, not everybody is the skinny, scrawny dude, or gal who’s, you know, really struggling, like it might be somebody who’s like semi Captain America.

But the whole point of helping them become the hero is you just look at these two pictures. And you which one do you want to be? Right? You want to be in the transformed state, you want to be in the hero state. And so I encourage you wholeheartedly with everything in my being from all the experiences that I’ve had. All the failures, all the successes, is anything you can do to become not just seen and heard, but felt by your ideal customer will help you make sales easier and more profitable and grow.


Damon Pistulka  42:46

Right? Yeah,


Curt Anderson  42:50

I need a cigarette after that one. Wow, standing ovation. Yeah, everybody’s standing ovation. Again, we could go on and on Allison. As always, this is just phenomenal. I feel compelled. And I know you know, we’re we snuck over on time, my dear friend Amy is with us today. She’s in Ohio, and she’s starting up to super cool. Um, she’s a super cool, it’s kind of a flavored water. I believe it’s a new it’s a drink that she does. And just kind of starting out from scratch. We had a little exchange this week was in so very, very rough kind of put you on the spot.

Somebody just starting out, trying to crack the beverage market. You know, what? Is there anybody on the planet doesn’t drink? Of course, you know, is there much competition in her space? Of course, what just kind of real quickly kind of puts you out putting you on the spot? What would you tell somebody like me that’s just kind of getting started out? trying to you know, organic grassroots trying to bootstrap her operation? What would you tell her kind of on a first engagement?


Allison DeFord  43:52

I would encourage her first to really listen. really listen, like on social media platforms to how people are talking about the product that she’s selling? how people are, you know, is it like, Who’s the ideal customer is in an athlete? like is this is this geared towards sports drinks? My guess is it’s for a specific someone. Right? It’s not for everyone. So if you start out as with a new product, like I’ll give you a real quick example. And this will tie into Amy. We had a client approached us and they were creating a all natural deodorant. And they quickly you know, figured out there are a whole lot of people in that space right now.

So how are they going to stand out on a shelf or on their Amazon store? What was different about them and what we helped them get to and Amy you can do this for yourself as well. The boot camp would help you do this also is really focused in on Will what kind of person am I trying to be of service to Excuse me? And what we found out with them was it was outdoor people. Right? It wasn’t the the yuppie Mom, you know, driving around in her Tesla, and she wants to healthy deodorant.

That’s fine. That’s one market. But that wasn’t their market. And so the more we kept whittling away at the marble, you know, like when the statue of David was being chiseled, keep chiseling away, and drill down to think of one, one persona, and then start listening to how they’re talking and where they’re talking. And that will help you create something that matters to those people who will care. And when you’re trying to speak to one person. Think of it like Warren Buffett, he writes his annual letter every year, right? How many hundreds of 1000s of people read it?



Right? Millions? Right, right. Yeah.


Allison DeFord  45:57

thinks of one person when he writes it. Yeah. And that’s it. Sister Doris.



Yeah. Oh, is it really


Allison DeFord  46:04

Doris could understand it, and it would have meaning for her, then he feels like it’s a win.


Curt Anderson  46:10

That is awesome. That’s a


Damon Pistulka  46:12

it’s great stuff. We’re gonna go we’re gonna shut down on LinkedIn here. So we can go back to the tables. And sorry about the thing bouncing up there on the screen. But we’re going to do that. And we’re going to continue going here on Remo. If you’re listening to us on LinkedIn, you can see it in our posts. And we post an event every week about this but the topic and everything. It’s on my profile. It’s Kurt talks about it, others talk about it. So you can get you can find the link, the link stays the same every week. So you can get get here to read more every week like that. Or you can look at my profile on LinkedIn. But thanks, Alison so much for having me. Kurt, take it away.


Curt Anderson  46:50

Hey, if you guys didn’t get enough of Allison and I don’t know who on the planet does get enough of Alison so we are doing a group of us are doing an e commerce bootcamp for the MEP. So that’s a manufacturing extension partnership in Illinois. So we’re super thrilled. We’re honored. If you caught Alison, she was part of the Alibaba boot camp in December. We’re now we’re honored and privileged to do one with Illinois start in.

I’m kicking things off on January 26. Allison is, I believe on February 9, and so we’ll be promoting that but you’ll get a full hour of Allison, at that webinar. I strongly encourage you guys to check out that webinar series. Allison, thank you. God bless you. She’s on her way up to Nebraska. She lives she’s in Orange County, Southern California. She’s leaving to go see her mother with her 13 year old daughter tomorrow. So Safe travels, Allison, thank


Damon Pistulka  47:41

you for having me


Curt Anderson  47:42

Thank you, everybody. wish everyone a great weekend. Thank you for taking your time with us.


Damon Pistulka  47:47

You bet we’ll be heading back to the tails

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