Revenue Focused Manufacturing Marketing

In this episode of The Faces of Business, Damon Pistulka and Joe Sullivan discuss focused manufacturing marketing. Joe Sullivan is the owner of Gorilla 76, a manufacturing marketing agency. Joe helps manufacturers develop and implement marketing strategies that enable sales and turn into revenue. 

Focused Manufacturing Marketing

If You’re Not Visible, They’re Looking At Somebody Else.

In this episode of The Faces of Business, Damon Pistulka and Joe Sullivan discuss focused manufacturing marketing. Joe Sullivan is the owner of Gorilla 76, a manufacturing marketing agency. Joe helps manufacturers develop and implement marketing strategies that enable sales and turn into revenue.  According to Joe, the most significant challenge is that many manufacturing companies are sales-driven rather than marketing-driven.

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Damon continued the conversation by asking Joe what he had seen in recent years in terms of companies that had seemingly appeared out of nowhere and were doing good marketing? He explained You know, it’s the companies that are recognizing what we just discussed, which is that there is this shift, right?

Damon appreciates his opinion about the types of content, as well as the fact that it’s just so good in there.

Following that, Joe shared his thoughts. When you’re going to a trade show, you send out an email saying, We’ll be at booth 67 next week, make sure you stop by, and but email is a really underutilized platform for what I’ve described as content distribution.

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Furthermore, regardless of what you commit to in terms of your content pillar, there are always ways to break out pieces of it, use it in social channels, and use it for paid distribution by creating micro-content with it.

Finally, Joe concluded his discussion by stating that he believes they covered a lot of ground. He’s on a mission to help manufacturers shift their perspective on marketing from a necessary evil, an expense on the balance sheet, to something that should be a part of their revenue engine, something that comes before sales to create opportunities with the right people from the right company. And that mindset shift simply must begin to occur in more places.

Damon thanks Joe at the end of the conversation, telling them he really knows what he is doing.

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Damon Pistulka, Joe Sullivan


Damon Pistulka  00:04

All right, everyone, welcome once again, the faces of business. I’m your host, Damon Pistulka. And I am excited for our guest today. I’ve got Joe Sullivan, with Gorilla 76. Hey, Joe. Welcome, David, thanks for having me. This is gonna be fun today, Joe, because I think it’s it’s goes without saying what people know, you seen you around what you’re doing in manufacturing in the marketing there.

It’s an interesting space, I think. I think it’s a it’s a space that so many people are really trying to figure out their way. And I think it’s going to be fun for us to talk about it today. So let’s start about talking about with you, excuse me, I can talk I’m so excited. I’m just stumbling over words. I can’t talk this talk about your background. Let’s kind of talk about that a little bit. And in how you really kind of got where you’re at today.


Joe Sullivan  01:02

Yeah, sure. So, um, my, you know, my background? Well, I mean, first of all, I’m, I’m an agency marketing agency owner, my company, gorilla 76. We’ve been in business for oh, about 15 Coming up on 16 years this summer. Um, and, you know, my business partner, John, and I founded the agency. You know, it was just I graduated college and you know, five, undergrad, started the agency and you know, six is kind of a nights and weekends gig took a couple years before we were able to quit our jobs and take this thing full time after we were working in marketing agencies.

simultaneously to kind of start this this thing up, but in my background has really been in, you know, I kind of I was an art kid growing up, I did, like, I went to school for graphic design and kind of figured out that I wanted to be able to apply that in a setting where I could actually make a career and went, you know, went into marketing as a result. So, so really, that’s that’s kind of my background, you know, the first agency I worked in was more focused on consumer products. Like I worked on Miller beer, I worked on a pharmacy brand.

I was kind of bored, frankly, and we in our work early on, we started we are some of our first clients with Gorilla. We’re construction companies. And we we thought of our audiences, like blue collar brands, early on, people made stuff with their hands. And that was kind of our foray into manufacturing, which is really kind of where we found our home and probably 1011 years ago, where we kind of looked around our client base and said, you know, our, our best customers are mid sized b2b manufacturers. And we’re just going to go own this. And everything’s kind of snowballed since then.


Damon Pistulka  02:42

Oh, cool. Cool. Yeah. So it’s probably a lot different when you think back and look at how you would approach a miller beer type advertising effort compared to what you’re doing with manufacturers today.


Joe Sullivan  02:56

Oh, yeah. I mean, night and day, it’s yeah, you can even kind of put them on the same page on this. Yeah.


Damon Pistulka  03:00

Yeah. That’s for sure. So when you’re looking at the, the manufacturing sector, or you’re working in these in the b2b, mid size manufacturers? What really do you think is the biggest challenge that you see with their marketing today?


Joe Sullivan  03:17

Well, I think the biggest challenge is this, this common thread I see across a lot of manufacturing organizations, and it’s that they’re not marketing driven organizations, they’re sales driven organizations and and to them, marketing means we go to trade shows, maybe we run some print ads, maybe do a little pay per click, we’ve got somebody who makes the website look nice and update SKUs, and our product catalog and, and it’s a big expense on the p&l ultimately.

And so I think that probably the biggest hurdle for us and we were honestly warned against the against working with manufacturers along the way by some agency advisors, they said, I’ve seen companies go down this route. And yeah, there’s a lot of opportunity there. But But manufacturers tend to be, you know, this is not meant to be an insult that unsophisticated as marketers like, because sales driven organizations and their, their, what they think of as marketing is just different. And so it’s, it’s, there’s an education curve there.

And honestly, it was a lot harder five to 10 years ago than it is now I see a lot of companies coming around and seeing people realize, like, we need to be visible online, we need to be, you know, expert, we need to be portrayed as experts in our space. We can’t just rely on referrals and repeat business to grow. And so I’m seeing a lot more companies start to take it seriously but it’s still an uphill battle and it’s hard to help obviously hard to get manufacturers to think of marketing as a revenue engine for the company as opposed to just a sort of a necessary evil.


Damon Pistulka  04:51

Yeah, yeah. And that’s that’s a great point, though, because manufacturers for decades before us, and many decades before us. boots were boots. On the ground sales organizations, that’s why they did it. And as, and we really, if you think about it, the millennials coming into the workforce, as leaders in these organizations, now, decision makers and things like that, we really haven’t had that kind of a buyer. Process shift compared to previous generations. And I think this, this is one of the things where the marketing comes into play a lot more often than a lot more prevalently now than it did before.


Joe Sullivan  05:35

Yeah, I think I think you’re absolutely right, I think part of it is you have a more tech savvy generation who’s come up with, you know, Google, and Facebook and Instagram, and, you know, social media. And so it’s just a, you know, a more tech savvy, you know, group of people entering the workforce, and I think, and then you pair that with just the accessibility of technology and the way in from publishing information online. Yeah. And


Damon Pistulka  06:08

yeah, finding data, it’s just you grew up in Google, they can, you know, if you grew up with it, from the time you’re in grade school, or middle school, being able to find the data you want, that carries on into your professional career, and your decision making process to buy even very expensive items.

And I think that’s that shift is, is much different than it’s ever has been, because look at the generation, my generation generation before me generation before that, yeah, there were changes, and it went from maybe print to more there was radio and television, other things like that, but it never has been, as much as it is, is and continues to develop into i the buyer can find the information I want without talking to a salesperson.


Joe Sullivan  06:53

That’s exactly right. It’s it is a complete power shift in terms of, you know, the buyer is now kind of in charge, like, they don’t, yeah, they don’t need that conversation to start the process. And I’m not an AI, unbelieving, I haven’t, I am all about in person conversation and human interaction playing a role.

But the reality is, in the majority buying situations, now that process is starting before it’s out of your hands, the beginning of that process is out of your hands. And that’s that, that’s the place where marketing needs to needs to play, the biggest role is, is when you think about, especially when you have you know, if you’re a company that’s selling capex equipment, or even any kind of product that has a, you know, some complexities to it, it’s not just a commodity.

You know, people are out there looking for information, they’re comparing options. They’re trying to understand ROI, they’re trying to understand total cost of ownership. And, you know, if you’re not visible, they’re looking at somebody else. That’s just the reality. So you want to have that sales conversation. It needs to start with marketing in a digital setting, and you need to earn the right to that sales conversation.


Damon Pistulka  08:05

Yes, yes. I think you said it. Well, there too. It’s you need to earn that right to that conversation, because that buyer is can is in control from finding that data moving down that that buying process much farther before any conversation will be had with with any supplier? Sure. And if you’re not part of that conversation, the beginning, you’re not there at the end. Right. Yeah. So have you seen in in the recent years, have you seen some companies kind of come out of the woodwork that were that really, that were doing good marketing? Quite honestly pass some other people


Joe Sullivan  08:39

up? Oh, yeah. I mean, it’s it’s absolutely happening. I mean, it’s, you know, without promoting my business, it’s, you know, that’s kind of what we’re helping our clients. Yeah. But yeah. But, you know, it’s the companies who are the recognizing what we just talked about it, which is that there’s this shift, right?

And so it’s, it’s okay, well, who are those people who we’re trying to reach for a lot of companies we can solve, it’s, they’re trying to reach some kind of engineer or technical professional who is experiencing some problem, or maybe it’s a plant manager or a maintenance person, like somebody who has an issue on the job floor, or, you know, in their role that they’re trying to solve, or there’s some objective they’re trying to achieve. And so, you know, the way you win is you dial in on who are those buying process influencers, what matters to them that overlaps with your expertise? And then you figure out, you know, how can we be the educator here?

How can we, how can we create assets and messaging that will actually be helpful and relevant to them and get it in front of them where they already consume information online, so you can earn attention and trust and so it’s a companies that are doing this that that are winning because In the meantime, everybody in in in more of a traditional approach is out there, you know, just knocking on doors. And I’m not saying you shouldn’t be doing that. But they’re, you’re they’re kind of approaching their whole audience as if they’re in buying mode. And they’re treating everybody the same. They’re blasting sales messaging. And it’s not helpful, right?


Damon Pistulka  10:19

Yes, yes. That’s, this is awesome. I just want to say hello to Gail, thanks for stopping by today, Gail Robertson, she works with injection molding companies, and helps them and she’s up in Windsor Canada, but that’s a an industry where I came out of quite honestly, and that that’s one of those that it’s as you’re talking, you know, it’s, it’s a little different than the and we’ll talk about this later, like a big dollar product, it’s more like a big dollar customer. When you look at those kinds of it’s a different deal.

But you’re exactly right. And I think about the manufacturers that don’t understand how marketing is is kind of like a tool in the toolbox to help you at various stages throughout the sales process.

Like you said at the beginning, it could be just awareness, it could be this is our company, these are the kinds of things we do or moves down the line a little could be more specific problems that you’re educating someone on, and then how your your products or services, you know, solve those problems. But I also think to the traditional I’m on I’m on the road I’m selling, they don’t consider how this all works together. Because man what I found with with content and marketing materials that is so nice as as a salesperson, second, and part of my my normal day is that I have all this when people have questions.

It’s not like I have to say, well, this is what you go, well look at this video of me talking to somebody or this video, I know that we did with a subject matter expert, and they were explaining this and blah, blah, blah, blah, blah, this this content just gives you this arsenal of information where you can solve problems. And then even if you don’t have the right solution, you might be able to get them to somebody else that does if you’re not the right source, because of the the marketing work you’re doing. It’s just it. The traditional salespeople, I think that have embraced marketing are stronger salespeople for it.


Joe Sullivan  12:25

Oh, 100% agree, I love a lot of what you’re talking about there. And you think of like you, you get out of a sales conversation. And if you can say, you know, think of that as your follow up strategy, like, you know, yeah, great, great call yesterday or earlier today, I was thinking about something we talked about, here’s an article that one of our engineers published on that goes deep on that topic.

And that or this video, even better this video and now. And now what it’s doing is one, it’s showing them your thinking of them not just trying to sell them something, you’re creating some value for them by sending that along. You’re putting a spotlight on somebody in your organization who is a deep expert, as opposed to you who’s just sell this in the sales role. Yeah.

And, and. And in addition to that, it gives you a reason to be able to follow up with something more, you know, a week later, hey, just checking in on that proposal we sent or whatever. Like, how many of those emails have you sent in your career? Right? I’ve done yeah. Yeah, you can pair that with. Curious if you guys would have thought any more about this, by the way. Thinking back to our conversation, we have a couple case studies that are pretty similar to the scenario you described here. I just want to drop links to those in and now it’s, it becomes a nurturing process, not just, you know, kind of this hard sell and being that, you know, checking in all the time. Yeah, you’re


Damon Pistulka  13:41

ready to buy now ready to buy now, instead of ready to buy now cause question, you’re going, Hey, here’s some more information that might might help you. No matter who you decide to do, or how you decide to solve your problem, I just think that, seeing it, seeing it change in the way that you can use it now is so exciting, because it gives it just gives you these extra differentiators and sets you up as a salesperson. whereas years ago, you used to have to be you had to be more of a knowledge expert if you didn’t have marketing materials, or you know, a flyer really didn’t do any good.

But now with all the resources you have available, like you said your engineers can be doing videos, you could have other technical videos or solution type video or, or blogs or whatever that does it. But you can be the source of information.


Joe Sullivan  14:31

That’s right. Think of yourself as a media company, your your you should be a resource producing the best content possible for your niche audience, or the people you’re trying to reach. And how can you be the most helpful resource out there for them? Like,


Damon Pistulka  14:47

yeah, that’s awesome. You’re immediately here a media company and you’re the best resource for your niche audience. That’s awesome.


Joe Sullivan  14:57

That’s exactly what we try to be in the industrial marketing space like You go to our Learning Center and is just filled with video content and written content long and short form. We have 90 some podcast episodes, but it is just there is no sales material in there is purely educational. Some of its tactical for marketing people, some of it’s more for CEOs and people who are thinking more about, like overarching strategy. But it’s, you got to do the same thing for yourself, for your audience be their best. Yes.


Damon Pistulka  15:28

Yeah, that’s all Yeah, that’s great. Because that’s, it’s about teaching people because then they can make an informed decision. Because you I’m sure, it’s with me, I’d rather someone make an informed decision and pick me or make an informed decision and go someplace else. If I’m not right fit, then pick me in air.


Joe Sullivan  15:46

Exactly. I mean, that’s the you’re right on with that. I mean, how many? How many? How many bad sales calls? Have you taken your life where you’ve the wrong person, you know, it can be a qualifier for you too, it can raise the bar in terms of, you know, the standard of work you do or the, you know, the level of of customer you want to be working with? So, like there’s a valid to that, too. Yeah.


Damon Pistulka  16:08

Yeah. Yeah. That’s good. That’s good. So the, one of the things that I was wondering, as you as you’re going along, you talked about it a couple of times, I’m looking over some notes here that I wrote before this. So what what’s one thing that’s surprising you in in manufacturing, marketing right now that you’re going man, I would have never thought?


Joe Sullivan  16:31

Hmm, yeah. Interesting. That’s a good question. I think I’m starting to see more in the podcasting world, which is interesting to me. I, you know, when I launched our podcast a couple of years ago, I wasn’t quite sure how people would respond to it. There weren’t a lot of manufacturing podcasts out there. And certainly not many that had kind of a marketing tilt to them.

But they’ve, I’ve seen a lot more popping up, I see people. And I think, honestly, some of this is product of the pandemic. It’s some of these multimedia channels are what you’re doing here. Damon with a video based live streaming platform, like I’ve been a little surprised at how much traction, some of these multimedia platforms have gained inside of manufacturing over the last few years. So yeah, that may be one thing.


Damon Pistulka  17:23

Yeah. Yeah. Yeah, it is. And I see, like you said, there’s a lot of podcasts that you see springing up and I think there’s there’s some that that come and go and there’s some that are actually pretty good that are that you’re seeing around a lot more around it. So got a couple of people stopped by Chris Young. I know it’s him because thanks, Gail, for commenting and let me know that but and Gail talked about educational in info she’s big on that does a great job with with her work as well. Yeah.

So as as you’re going along with with this, and you’re talking about your manufacturing with clients, one of the things you said that I it comes up in my mind a lot. How much of your time is, is teaching executives and manufacturing enough about marketing? So they can make an informed decision?


Joe Sullivan  18:14

Yeah, it’s a good question. You know, I think, is it kind of mentioned to you 510 years ago, I think it was there, there was a lot more of that happening, like talking about, you know, being visible online and publishing your insights. And we’d get pushback on that, like, well, we’re not gonna give away our secret sauce, our competitors are gonna see that right. I remember writing a blog post few years back, like, called, I’m afraid my competitors are gonna see it. Right. And, I mean, you know, well, you kind of have a couple choices here.

It’s, you cannot publish anything, because you’re afraid your competitors are going to see it. Yeah, we’re gonna publish something, and all and the right people are gonna see it, and so are your competitors. So which one would you rather have? You know, so I think, you know, I think that’s one thing. I’m kind of losing my train of thought here. I forgot what you even asked me. Well, but


Damon Pistulka  19:03

you know, I mean, how much time is really spent just educating can educating executives so they can make a decision? Because I think sitting in the in the executive seat guy did dumb before I put myself in that spot. When I look at marketing, and I go, my biggest question would be, am I really spending the money the right way?


Joe Sullivan  19:22

Yeah, yeah. No, you’re right. And I think, you know, I think I have a newsletter going out tomorrow morning that touches on this exact topic. Nice. A lot of manufacturing leaders who have not have not really done marketing seriously, which is probably most of them. They don’t really know the difference between what marketing and sales should do you know, if their perception of marketing is you know, it’s either like what I described earlier, it’s trade shows, it’s print ads, it’s maybe pay per click, it’s making the website look nice etc.

Or if they are in making an investment in marketing, as As a growth vehicle for the company, their expectation is that marketing’s job is going to be generating opportunities that close as fast as you know, if you’re doing kind of same thing that sales is out there knocking on doors and cold calling people, and it’s like, no, that’s that’s sales, marketing’s job is to, first of all figure out who or what what things, the right people from the right companies that you want to reach, care about.

It’s figuring out where can we target them? Where do they consume information where we can actually reach them and deliver messaging, it’s testing that messaging to make sure it actually resonates, before you build a whole marketing strategy around it. It’s developing content for those people, it’s figuring out how we’re going to get that content in front of people, whether that means through SEO through some kind of paid distribution. And, and it’s building awareness.

It’s capturing demand, I’ll get into this in a second, maybe, but it’s capturing demand where it already exists, people are out there looking for a solution. But then it’s creating demand among the rest of your audience. So that you’re building attention, and you’re earning trust. So when people enter a buy cycle, you’re the first one they think of. And, and I think that that’s kind of one of the biggest mistakes I think a lot of companies make is they say, we’re putting all our eggs in the basket of like, pushing this this bottom of funnel messaging at people as if they all have a need, and they all need what we’re selling. Right?

Yeah. Yeah, read, the reality is probably for most of you, one to 3% of your total addressable market is actually in buying mode today or even this week. I mean, think about that for a second, how many of the people you’re trying to reach are probably actually in Google right now, or calling on the referral network as they need to buy something right now. Small amount. And yet, most companies when they launch a marketing initiative, that’s all they’re focused on is we need to sell product now, sell push products sell product.

And in the meantime, 97 to 99% of your audience who fits your ideal customer profile, who is exactly who you need to reach an influence you’re ignoring, just because they’re not buying at this moment. So that’s actually where a majority of your marketing effort needs to be focused, is reaching those people understanding what they care about crafting messaging that’s going to resonate with them surrounding you with amazing content, and success stories and product information that they can access. You know, regardless of what regardless of where they are in the buying cycle, we want to be putting content in front of them that’s going to resonate with them.

And so yeah, that’s where you need to be, you need to be building awareness and trust. And like I said, like a minute ago, when they enter a buy cycle, whether that’s tomorrow, or in a week or a year, they already know your name. They have positive associations with it when they go to Google and they see you alongside nine other companies. They you’re the one they click on because they already know you Right? Or better yet, they pick up the phone and call you first and like that.


Damon Pistulka  23:06

Yeah. That is an awesome way to explain it. I was sitting here just getting getting goosebumps, because I was like he is laying it down right here. It did, because it is passionate about that at all. Yeah, I know, this is awesome. This is awesome. Because I love to hear that when, when and when you’re talking because the 97%, like you said, or 98 or 99%, even those are the people that you need to reach. And you need to reach them when they’re not in buying mode when they’re just this consuming content.

They’re reading, they’re learning, there’s all kinds of things. Yeah, but Oh, that’s awesome. That’s awesome. So and you’ve talked about the types of content too, you know, just so good in there. One of the things so I was gonna ask you about how much of your time in the marketing is spent creating what I would say or Andrew Deutsch, a friend of mine would say voracious advocates for your brand once they bought from you?


Joe Sullivan  24:03

Oh, that’s a good question. Honestly, probably not enough time, but I think it’s it’s a probably an underutilized strategy. Everybody’s focused on new customer acquisition, which, which, of course, is super important, but yeah, I think I think for a lot of companies, it’s it’s probably, frankly, a missed opportunity.

I mean, a lot of a lot of our clients, you know, they they may work with, you know, some enterprise organization, whether it’s, you know, automotive manufacturer or some big pharmaceutical company or whoever and, or oil and gas and they, they may be working with with one plant. Yeah, yeah, whatever. I’m in the southeast us and there’s 10 other plants and they all operate kind of like separate companies.

But when you’re inside the organization like that’s, you already have Assuming the door there, and you can leverage that to probably show other, you know, in maybe an Account Based Marketing way show other, you know, people with the same job roles that you’re working with there, what is happening, what kind of impact you’re having there because, you know, there’s you’ve already built in credibility when you’re working with somebody inside the company. So I think there’s that I think there’s a missed nurturing play, probably a lot of you listening have an email list of anywhere from two to 20,000 people.

And probably the way a lot of you use it is when you’re going to a trade show, you send out an email that says we’re going to be at booth, you know, 67, next week, make sure you stopped by and but email is a really is an underutilized platform for what I’ve described as content distribution. If you’re publishing amazing content in your blog, maybe for SEO purposes, you’re using it in social channels, if you got a paid social media, like distribution strategy for your content, but email is low hanging fruit, they’re like, you have a list of people who already know you, probably a large percentage of them, like and trust you.

And as opposed to using it as a vehicle to just, you know, blast out messaging about, you know, we were gonna be at this trade show, or we have a new product released, or you know, about to be released. Can you use it as a distribution shouldn’t vehicle to get insights out for new content, you’ve published your videos you’ve recorded, and the more segmented you can, you can do it, the better. But I mean, that’s, that’s, it’s been one of the best plays we’ve ever had for ourselves. We’ve been publishing a newsletter for probably 12 years now that, wow, it goes out every Wednesday at this point, one’s going out tomorrow morning.

I just hit schedule on it about an hour ago. And I can’t tell you how many people over time have said, Hey, we’ve been reading your content for the last year or the last three years, one of my best clients that we have, we have more revenue attributed to them than anybody but probably three companies we’ve ever worked with, like, Yeah, those were their words, we’ve been reading your content for two years, we’re in the search for an agency, you’re the only ones we’re talking to right now.

Perfect, right? Like this? Is it? Do it? Yeah, it’s right. And your existing customers like it, rather than just thinking of it as a way to upsell? Can you make it just purely helpful, or maybe 95%? Helpful. And at the bottom, you talk about your product, your new product release or whatever, but you’re creating value every two weeks, or at least every month. And it’s just making you look smart. It’s exposing them to other people on your team who are smart that they don’t know yet. It’s helping them solve problems they have. So, you know, I think that’s one one really good way to use it.


Damon Pistulka  27:41

Yeah, yeah, that’s, that’s, that’s awesome. Because it is, again, like you said, people will look at some of these, some of these newsletters written, read them, maybe not read them all course, but they’re gonna read some of them over years before they make the decision to buy. And then you’ve built that kind of friendship, relationship, whatever you want to call it over time, and awareness and all that. And you’re just the natural choice. It’s not like, it’s not like so I, this brings me to another question.

But that natural choice, brings it to, I want to ask you this. Have you been some of the clients that you’ve worked with? Have they when you’re marketing with them for a while? Do they ever remark about the fact that they get people that call him up and act like they know them almost when they when they you know, because of the marketing because I It freaked me out the first time it happened? Because I’ve been not been a marketing for lots of years like you. Yeah, and and with our own company, it’s pretty is pretty freaky when people call you up and act like, you know, yeah,


Joe Sullivan  28:45

yeah. Well, I certainly got it, get it for myself. And but yeah, and I see why you get it, because you put your face on camera, and you get out there in the world in front of your audience, and you talk and you create content that people want to consume.

And I think that’s kind of the difference I think. I think doing video is a great, that’s a great example of why that matters is because you like you build people, you know, they become attracted to you. they gravitate to your personality and the human element of content creation. I think that’s hard to replicate with written content with with words. Yeah, yeah. But when you see a face and you hear a voice, and you start to trust that person and you feel like they’re an expert, then that becomes a really powerful thing for sure.


Damon Pistulka  29:32

Yeah. Yeah. doubt. No doubt. So now, when you talk about that, we talked about video a little bit. And now do you think that video is the power of video is getting diluted because it’s, you know, five years ago, we didn’t have the live streaming options that we do on LinkedIn and Instagram and Twitter, I don’t think and a lot of YouTube that was it. Do you think and then tick tock, of course. So do you think that the power of video is getting diluted some with the with the addition to the other channels? Or do you think it’s just getting it to people that are there anyway?


Joe Sullivan  30:10

I think it’s forcing people to make better content. And I think all marketing channels go through this at some point, you know, like I think about, I’ve been in this marketing game for 15 years. And the thought of a manufacturing organization, publishing a blog post 15 years ago was almost unheard of blog posts, what’s, you know, what, what’s that? Like? That’s, isn’t that something that like, you know, my, my cousin does to show pictures of her baby or something, you know, it’s, it’s, but you know, and then you are years later.

And it’s like, if you’re not publishing expert insights in a learning center on your site, you’re probably missing one of the biggest opportunities possible. And, and so what happens is, while now, everybody’s more people start doing it, and there’s more noise out there. And so as the companies that are actually producing high quality stuff, like the bar just has to get raised, you can’t just be doing you have to be doing it way better than everybody else out there who you’re competing with.

Because there’s, you know, there’s only so much mindshare, you can capture and yeah, so I think yes, the answer your question? Sure. It’s getting diluted, but I think it it also is just forcing people to, to say I can’t just make video content, I have to make really good video content. So I’m, I love it when this this sort of thing starts to happen, frankly, because yeah, it gives you the opportunity to just shine that much more, if what you have to say is really, you know, that that much more valuable?


Damon Pistulka  31:42

Yeah, yeah, that’s awesome. It just raises the bar. So you got to see that you have to just get get hired to stand out better.


Joe Sullivan  31:49

And you have to be more creative to like, you know, I, I’ve been publishing podcast episodes for two years. And it’s often in interview format. And like, I’m starting to think about, Okay, I’ve seen a lot more side by side videos, with a headline above them and captions underneath thumb format on LinkedIn, I see about 20 times as many of those now that as than I did two years ago, when I started my podcast, and I’m starting to think about like, Okay, well, I probably need to start doing something a little bit different here, because it’s just gonna be another person doing that same thing. So it forces you to be creative, in addition to just upping the level of quality of your content. Yeah,


Damon Pistulka  32:28

yeah, that is, it is it’s a big deal. And I think that if you’re not, if you’re not, if you’re doing this, and you’re not looking at, okay, what are we doing next? You know, I’m going through a big, big upgrade again, too. And it’s yeah, it’s just you, you have to keep upgrading the way your show works, the podcast, whatever it is that and the value of the the content you’re producing, it’s got to get better, for sure. Because you have less time. So the one thing that I was gonna ask you, this is a little bit good, maybe off? I don’t know. But in, in marketing now, how critical is the solid CRM behind your manufacturing marketing?


Joe Sullivan  33:09

I think it’s super critical. Because if you want to do any level of full funnel reporting, yeah, from first marketing, touch point, all the way through to revenue, and you don’t have the software tools to report on that. I mean, you can’t do it. I mean, it’s so I think, you know, that I see a lot of, well, we’re, you know, we’ve got, we’ve got Salesforce, we got a bunch of licenses, and this guy uses it a little bit. And most of our team doesn’t and, and, you know, there’s no marketing automation software in place that’s connecting to it, or the CRM is not even synced up with the forms on the website.

And yet, I have conversations with leaders, these organizations about like, alright, if we make a marketing investment, I need to understand what the ROI is. And those things are need to be completely interconnected, you can’t do you can’t do full funnel reporting. If you don’t have a database, that shows shows me, this is where this lead originated. This is the content that person consume, these are the actions they took, this is what happens when they when they came back to the site.

And eventually, we quoted them at this much, and then business closed. And this was the dollar value of that, like when you when you have all of that information all across, you know, across your entire funnel, you can start to not, you know, not only be able to report on it, but you can start to see trends you can say, alright, you know, yeah, we may have generated 90% of our leads out of organic search or whatever channel and if you don’t have that connected to your CRM and you don’t see the end what that actually lead to, then you’re probably just going to keep doing more organic search.

But the story that you really may, you know, the real story, there may be that the other 10% of your leads are coming through LinkedIn or whatever, some paid social channel. And those are the ones that are converting at 75% versus 2%. Yeah. And you would never know that if you don’t have, you know, if you don’t have the software in place that’s going to help you be able to connect those dots. Does that make sense?


Damon Pistulka  35:26

Oh, yeah, it does. It does. complete sense. And I’m glad you explained it the way you did, because I think that’s one of the questions that that leaders have is, you know, so now we’re gonna do this marketing, and they’re going to talk about a CRM, and they probably already have one that they’re not using, or they’re using partially like you said, and, and to really deploy it and understand and get your, your value from the work you’re doing in marketing or sales.

I think that CRM is is one of the key or the foundational pieces that you really need to have in place, because sales isn’t a one dimensional thing anymore, where I’m going out and talking to an individual and doing it and like you said, you have to know where you’re, where your business is coming from, where your leads are coming from, and which ones are closing and what rates and so you put your efforts in the right area.


Joe Sullivan  36:19

Yeah, and it’s not just, you know, a few things here, it’s, the CRM matters, because your executives need to, they want to understand that if we’re making a marketing investment, we need to understand what kind of impact is having. And if you don’t have that, it’s gonna be very hard to, to make that determination.

That’s one thing. Second thing is that, without that data, your marketing is not going to be informed enough to know where to double down what things to stop doing, how to shift around energy, like we have standing calls with our clients, you know, at least every other week, where we are in the CRM with them. And two way dialogue happening.

So we can identify trends, we can say, Okay, it looks like these, these leads of the generated through this channel, how do they look, they look great on paper, and the client says, No, these are horrible. And here’s why. They our sales team gets on a call with them, we wind up quoting business and it sucks all this time from us.

And then they wind up, you know, buying some low margin solution or whatever. But over here, these ones, this is perfect. And here’s why. And we say okay, I see what’s going on there now. And let’s let’s go double down on that and do more of that. So that’s the second thing. The third thing is, when your salesperson is not inputting all their information and managing the relationship inside of CRM, what happens when that salesperson goes and takes another job, and walks away with all of that information?

And how are you supposed to get the person who’s replacing that person up to speed? How are you supposed to pick up that customer relationship where were left off, when none of those conversations are logged, there are no notes in there, any documents associated with that relationship aren’t logged there. So that’s, that’s kind of another one that I think is is, you know, really needs to be considered is just the information loss, if you’re not, you know, if you’re not, you don’t have that central database,


Damon Pistulka  38:11

that the last point was was awesome, I’m gonna back up to where he talked about lead quality. And I think that is that is so cool to be able to go, okay, you know, if you, if you got your CRM set up, right and go, these are the leads that came from pay per click, and they were great, or they were not, and you can see what they ended up doing or how it ended up playing out those because there are definitely quality differences in the, the way people are coming.

Like you can get some some, some companies, if you do pay per click, you can get a lot of leads. But it’s like you said they’re, they’re not that great Eleazer looking for a low margin product, they’re in just boom, boom, they want to go in and out.

And you look at some other ways that may take you a little more effort, maybe a little different, like a, you know, some other kind of platform marketing or content creation, that brings you a differently, but that could be a really good lead, that’s a good long term, high value customer, then that bit of data is huge. Because like you said, if you’re working with your clients, as you being in an agency working with your clients, and you can see that you shift your resources into the best highest value customers.


Joe Sullivan  39:22

That’s right. That’s absolutely right. Here’s, here’s a quick example, on our own website, we there’s a page on our website, it’s you know, if you google search marketing for manufacturers or manufacturer marketing or you know, whatever it thinks things related to that we’re going to rank in the top three or four spots for most places to see gorillas 76. There it is, like it’s an article title, you know, eight, a key strategies for 2022 or something like that. I can’t remember Yeah, sprays. That page, I can attribute hundreds of 1000s of dollars of revenue to that page. Three of my very best clients I’ve ever had, I know originated through a good organic Google search through that page.

Last year, I, I kind of I just conducted one of the searches who kind of hadn’t hadn’t really been focused on search engine optimization. Last year, we’d been working on some other strategies. And like, Well, we had fallen to page three or something in those, those, so I rewrote it, I took 10 hours, you know, on like, some Sunday morning, slash the next day on Monday. And I rewrote that as a 3000. word article, purely educational in nature. And I built a few internal links to it. And the next week, we’re back to ranking like fourth.

And all of our organic traffic is backup, because I know how important that particular pages and if I didn’t have HubSpot installed as my marketing automation CRM, I would never have been able to trace, you know, those clients back to that particular page where they originated on our site three plus years ago. So yeah, it’s a it’s a microcosm of the bigger picture here. But you need to understand what things are actually contributing not to just lead generation, because frankly, a lot of lead generation that happens out there is a bunch of garbage, it’s Yeah, generating contacts that either waste your sales team’s time or are never going to close.

You need to understand what leads you converting that you’re actually quoting business for that are buying from you. Yeah. And you need to identify how can we? What are the common threads that we can identify among those types of individuals? And how do we do more of the things that have produced those people and nurtured those people and lead them through their buying process? To actually becoming customers?


Damon Pistulka  41:41

Yeah, yeah, that’s a great point. Leads are not just li quantity is not the


Joe Sullivan  41:46

marketing, KPI tracking pressions traffic leads, these are KPIs that should show you if you’re going in the right direction or not. Marketing source pipeline should be your Northstar metric is marketing producing business that you are quoting with the right people from the right companies. At some point sales has to be responsible for closing the deal. But and that’s why we kind of hang our hat on marketing source pipeline like that should be your marketing. Awesome.


Damon Pistulka  42:11

Yeah. That’s that’s a great one marketing source pipeline. Yep. Yeah. Because if you can attribute it back to your marketing efforts and turns into you know, good quoting opportunities, and then business, that’s, that’s what you want. Yeah. Awesome. Awesome.

That’s so good. Actually forgot my next question. We’ll get by that. We’ll get to that. So I’m going to go back to because that, that this is great. I’m glad we got to talk about this a little bit. Because you’re you’re you’re helping the manufacturing leader here, the owner that I level executives in the business really understand this better, because, again, to them, it’s about, you know, putting resources in the right place. And then understanding are we getting our value from that?

Yeah, and a lot of these places, quite honestly, even in the the mid size manufacturers don’t have huge marketing teams don’t have a lot of things, like you said, they have salespeople, they have sales managers, they have that. And a lot of time, they’re tasked with, you know, looking at the marketing as well, or managing the marketing as well. And they don’t know that much about it. That’s right. Oh, it’s, it’s great to be able to educate them a bit here and talk about that. So one of the other things I was thinking about, and I see this a lot is that some companies still rely on one dimensional marketing.

And I mean, they’re they’ve got an email list, they’re got a blog, they’ve got whatever it is, how important do you think the marketing in multiple forms of content, multiple ways to get it out to people? So you know, if I’m, if I’m a blog, I’m doing blogs, I need to do videos, I need to hit by my email, I got to do social text, whatever the right way is to get to those people. How important is it to really look at that multi faceted approach compared to I’ve got a really good email list. And I use that.


Joe Sullivan  44:08

Sure. Yeah, that’s a complex question. And I but I do have pretty strong opinions about it. I think that I think that, you know, there are a lot of variables that play into that. And the probably the two biggest ones are what resources do you have at your disposal to execute first of all, and how does your audience consume information?

And, and understanding that so, you know, talking about the first one, I think, I do think a lot of companies make mistakes by thinking, Oh, geez, we need to be here. And we need to be here and doing this thing, and this and this, and they and they, they don’t have enough resources to do any of that. Well, if they tried to do it all. And so you wind up finding yourself out and so I’m probably in, in a lot of cases, I’m a bigger advocate of figuring out you know, how do we who are the people we’re trying to reach?

Who are the people we need to reach and influence and earn that the The attention and trust of on our on the end of our audience we’re trying to get in front of where do they consume information. And then what is at least one thing we can do really well. And so you know, a few different pillar platforms that you could, you could, you know, potentially us, you could do a webinar series, you could say we are going to do, we’re going to do amazing educational webinars, not the ones where we get down there and show our products and try to sell stuff, but like, teach about the stuff that matters to your audience.

And we’re going to do them once a month or something like you’re doing here. Daymond is another great example of that it’s more of a live, you know, streaming session, a podcast or something like that, where if you can do that really well, that becomes something you can then repurpose, you can take the video, it’s a live event, and then you record it, and you clip out the highlights and use that stuff.

And you write blog posts around the highlights and publish them on your website. And you can use that content in LinkedIn, publish content, or you could put a paid budget behind it to distribute it in front of the exact people you want to reach with a, you know, on LinkedIn or elsewhere. So like that could be one way to look at it is let’s pick a pillar where we feel like we’ve got the right people to do it, not everybody, that’s gonna be right for every company to get on camera and like conduct line.

That’s, it’s a, it can be a heavy lift. But you know, another way you could do it is to say, our content, our content pillar is going to be written content from our thought leaders, like we’re going to, we’re going to, you know, tap into the brains of these three engineers or technical professionals, because they are the deep SMEs. And either, you know, I don’t know a lot of engineers, I love to write blog content. It’s, it’s, it’s, you know, whether you’re using an agency or a consultant or a freelance writer, and somebody’s got to be quarterbacking the strategy of it, but, you know, we always talk about like, marketers need to be the facilitators of content generation.

And so if you know who the SMEs are inside your company that can address the things that that audience is trying to that matters to that audience, the marketer can be the facilitator to help interview SMEs pull its output, pull the insights out of their brain, right content. And so that could be, you know, that could be where you start. And then I think, regardless of what you commit to in terms of your content pillar, there’s always ways to create micro content from that to break out pieces of it, use it in social channels, use it for paid distribution.

So I just think like, there’s there’s content creation, and there’s content distribution. And so you make assets for your audience. And then you have to distribute them, you have to figure out now how are we going to get the stuff in front of people, because I’m not an advocate of just sitting back and waiting for people to show up and consume? Yeah, like SEO matters, it’s important, but it’s a long term strategy. And a lot of you aren’t going to win in the short term on that, if at all. So you have to find a way to proactively get that stuff in front of the people that you’re trying to reach email is a vehicle for that paid social is a vehicle for that, and there’s a lot of ways to


Damon Pistulka  48:11

do it. But that’s, I’m glad I asked a question because you said a couple things there, you know, create that pillar, kind of content, whether it what’s your deal, the like to write deed, like to do videos, a combination is webinars, and then you’re just distribution methods and, and breaking it down into little snippets, whatever you got to do, and then just concentrate on getting it out in front of the right people. So


Joe Sullivan  48:35

yeah, there’s a lot of efficiencies that you can sort of deploy there. If you’ve got a 3000 word article, you’ve written, nothing could you know, each chapter of that could get used as, as LinkedIn posts. Yeah, a budget behind it, you can just turn that like I, I take my best performing LinkedIn posts, the ones that you know, get 100 likes and 50 comments, and those just become my newsletters. I said, Okay, this people responded well, to this, versus this one that’s kind of flopped.

Like clearly this has this concept is resonating with my audience. So where can I repurpose that in my every, like my newsletter that goes out? That will go out tomorrow morning, is is pretty much a copy and paste from a LinkedIn post from a couple weeks ago that performed well, I made some modifications to it, so it fits better in an email format. But I think that’s probably a missed opportunity to think about how can we repurpose Yeah, different types of content for different channels and then the works mostly done for you already? Yeah. Yeah.


Damon Pistulka  49:37

That’s an awesome idea. I just didn’t thinking about that. That’s great. That’s great. Well, Joe it’s it’s a we could sit here and talk for hours because so much fun talking to you about this and your passion shows through. And you know, so what you got coming up on the manufacturing executive podcast, people were talking you’re talking to excited about I know you excited about everybody because it’s just fun talking about it. What’s happening there?


Joe Sullivan  50:01

Yeah. So yeah, the manufacturing executive is we’re coming up on episode 100 here and in a couple months, nice accorded number 95. And then I’m always working ahead a little a little bit. But yeah, on the show we, you know, we have, I bring on a combination of, you know, CEOs and presidents and manufacturing organizations as well as people who would be helpful to them.

I’ve had, you know, sales and marketing experts, I’ve had a lot of people in industry 4.0 technology and robotics and people who kind of kind of lend their expertise inside of manufacturing, but I’m trying to think of who’s who’s slated here on the horizon. I’ve got Chris Granger coming up soon, if you know, Chris, is he’s a eco distribution company, electrical distribution company. He’s he I’m excited about his episode, because Chris is an engineer, like he comes from an engineering background. And he has found his way into being the content marketer for his company.

And he’s produced 200, some podcast episodes, the video content, like he is doing exactly what we are advocating for. But I love that he is perspective on it, because you’re not just some marketing guy telling people like you got to go do this stuff. He came from that engineering background. And he’s, he’s kind of living that. So I’m excited about his episode coming up. I just we just published one a few weeks ago with Jack maileg, who is the president of Phoenix Contact. Jack talked all about this move to an all electric society on the horizon, sort of being driven by certain forces going on in, you know, our economy right now.

And that was just fascinating to me. And is, is amazing. So yeah, it’s there’s always I, my favorite thing about podcasting, honestly, has been the, like, interviewing people who I would otherwise have never had the chance to talk to who would never want to give me some marketing guys, you know, the time of day, and you wind up getting a half hour an hour with these really smart people. It’s the best market research I’ve ever done. So it’s been a lot of fun. But yeah, you can check out the manufacturing If you’re interested.


Damon Pistulka  52:11

Well, I’m sure we’ll we’ll get some people to do that. Because it is it is good. I enjoy the guests that you’ve got on there. And it’s been a lot of fun listening to him. And so if people want to reach out to you, LinkedIn, I’m sure a good place Joel Sullivan, gorilla 76, the manufacturer, the manufacturing executive podcast, just want to make sure it wasn’t say manufacturer, honestly, manufacturing executive podcast, and any other any other parting thoughts, Joe?


Joe Sullivan  52:45

Uh, no, I don’t think so. I think we kind of covered a lot here. I think I just my mission, I think is to help manufacturers change their perspective on what marketing should be and shift from this, you know, necessary evil, this expense on the p&l to it should be the it should be a piece of your revenue engine, it should be the thing that precedes sales to create opportunities with the right people from the right company. And that mindset shift just just really needs to start happening in more places. So


Damon Pistulka  53:18

that’s awesome, man. Well, I want to thank you for being here. It’s just been a it’s just been a while Joe and and learning from you, man, I can tell you’re passionate about it first, but then you get into the details. You really know what you’re doing and look at some of your case studies. Awesome results there. So thanks for being here today,


Joe Sullivan  53:38

man. Thanks for having me, David. It was a pleasure and happy to come back anytime.


Damon Pistulka  53:41

All right. Well, thanks everyone for listening to us today. If you want to get a hold of Joe just reach out on LinkedIn. You can find him there or at gorilla 70 and go from there, and we’ll be back again later this week. Thanks, everyone.

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