The Importance of Clear and Effective Marketing

In this, The Faces of Business, Priscilla McKinney, CEO, Little Bird Marketing, talks about the importance of clear and effective marketing. Priscilla leads Little Bird Marketing, an award-winning digital agency using design and marketing to position its clients as industry experts. They collaborate with the client's team and company goals through transparency in work process, creating the ultimate link between marketing and sales.

In this, The Faces of Business, Priscilla McKinney, CEO, Little Bird Marketing, talks about the importance of clear and effective marketing. Priscilla leads Little Bird Marketing, an award-winning digital agency using design and marketing to position its clients as industry experts. They collaborate with the client’s team and company goals through transparency in work process, creating the ultimate link between marketing and sales.

Priscilla, Momma Bird, is best known for her proactive initiatives in the digital marketing industry, serving as President of the American Advertising Federation Heartland, and receiving numerous design, entrepreneurship, and industry awards. Priscilla co-created the SOAR System with her expert team. SOAR is a proprietary process designed to generate feasible lead generation for C-Suite leadership, so they don’t have to worry about the growth of their organization and can put more focus on other important responsibilities. Priscilla is also prolific blogger, podcast host, techpreneur, and diversity champion.

Priscilla expresses her gratitude to be on the Livestream as Damon welcomes her. He is interested to know about her background and how she came into marketing. She says that she is a cultural anthropologist. She has studied humans, their psyche, habits, culture and social agreement.

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No matter how explicit we are, we have hidden stories and motivations. When we look at marketing, a business has to win a customer’s trust. The costumer’s personal beliefs and preferences affect a brand. People standing in front of a brand’s outlet may be in a fix to decide sustainability over something their “grandma uses and it smells like her.” She believes “this is the cultural soup that we’re swimming in.”

Similarly, she says that if Artificial Intelligence could understand human feelings, it could “orchestrate a clear path for a marketing message to get through.” Today, nobody wants to hear like some “stupid claims.” A company has to tailor its marketing message, build understanding of the culture and the society that we are living in.

Our guest believes that social change is the biggest factor that influences business marketing. Digital ads and social media marketing are forming a new reality. Fundamentally, humans are social beings. The way live and operate in society dictates innovation and upgradation. The telegram was social media. “We modernized it.”

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When asked if business can survive long term without marketing anymore, she replies that it is all marketing, everywhere. “There is no ends, it’s all means anymore.” She believes in “word of mouth.” Okay. While explaining “word of mouth,” she says it is not only marketing but also a medium to enhance brand awareness. The only task remains is to influence a buyer to speak about the company. When people talk about a business, they pass their testimonial about this company, or share their experience. “It all starts with strategy,” she opines.

While talking about some faults in the marketing strategy, the guest analyzes that “Everybody sits and talks about marketing about this vehicle and that.” She thinks that we do not hire Uber or Lyft just for the sake of hiring. We need to get to a destination. That is where a vehicle serves us. Otherwise, the vehicle is “really irrelevant.” Strategy is about being so clear about the ultimate destination.

Stephen, one of the participants of this Livestream, asks if marketing could change a person’s opinion. Priscilla, very concisely wraps it up, saying marketing brushes up people’s informed perspectives. Marketers look for people’s needs to tap into. It does not “replace” people’s opinions. It just keeps them informed.

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She argues that all marketing is influencer marketing. “If it was your mom who shared that she loves this product, she just has the ability to influence you.” She says that if she has plans of post-retirement life, the marketers who market similar stuff tap into these desires. So, “I’m influencing myself, because of the way I project who I will be in the future.”

Damon turns the course of conversation and asks Priscilla’s to talk about her family background. Priscilla says that she grew up cross culturally. Travelling extensively from one country to another, has its effects on her personality. She is not fully Spaniard, nor an American, nor a German but a “vagrant coming through.” So, it gives her a lot of “empathy for people.” She doesn’t expect people to think the same way as she thinks.

Marketers “can’t develop a solid marketing plan” if they are “not necessarily interacting with the client.” Since she is fifth of five girls, which means that everywhere she went, she belonged, she had her “own gang”. “And so it for me, it gave me a lot of confidence.” We all want to belong, but she has already belonged somewhere. And “that’s a very powerful way to approach your own career.”

Damon asks Priscilla what Little Bird Marketing specializes in. The biggest thing, according to Priscilla, they specialize in is Business-to-Business (B2B) marketing.

Her company further specializes in market research industry. It includes competitive business intelligence and surveying translation for global services. They have a lot of clients and she claims to “know that industry quite well” and has a lot of consumer insights. She has amazing colleagues that have consumer insights at Mars Wrigley, McDonald’s, Walgreens, Roku and Netflix. Occasionally, she gets to talk with them about what they looking at. These companies look at data to guide the marketing. They do not making guesses because these are billion dollar decisions. So, they need the market research to help inform what they’re doing.

Moreover, they are doing “some kind of ethnography, some kind of behavioral study.” They view the client’s history “or their stories,” that’s helping them get the data they need on the “development going the right way, or fix products and services, or what new flavor of chips should we come out with.”

She thinks that on the idea of timely and profitable exit Damon and she “really connect well.” It is primarily because here we are trying to help people carve out their own path, “and to really create their exit.” At some point, an owner will be selling their business if they are not making their plan about what really is going to happen. The reason we get called in for effective marketing is because we have clients and we have companies who have built something very successful on a wonderful CEO. And they may not even be an egotistical person. They’re just a successful person.

Similarly, when they are trying to exit, if they have an entire sales structure, and the sales mechanism built around the CEO’s personality, they have got a real problem. No amount of marketing is going to solve that. So what we do is we create those foundational systems underneath the CEO and somebody in the C-suite, who has a vested interest in this company succeeding without the CEO. And we want them to be very revenue minded.

The discussion closes with Damon thanking Priscilla for her time.

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Damon Pistulka, Priscilla McKinney


Damon Pistulka  00:00

All right, everyone, welcome once again, to the faces of business. I’m your host, Damon Pistulka. I’m excited today for our guest, Priscilla McKinney, LittleBird Marketing. Today we’re going to be talking about the importance of clear and effective marketing. Welcome, Priscilla.


Priscilla McKinney  00:20

Hi. I’m so glad to be here. Thanks for having me, Damon.


Damon Pistulka  00:23

Yeah, it’s awesome. It’s awesome. I love behind, you’ve got a picture of a bird behind you.


Priscilla McKinney  00:29

Yes, I’ve got birds all over. Are you kidding?


Damon Pistulka  00:31

Birds on the shelf or


Priscilla McKinney  00:33

a bird on it? Put a bird on it. Yeah. And you would appreciate the sign that’s behind me. It says today begin. And a girlfriend of mine gave that to me after I stood on the sidewalk and watch my entire creative studio burn to the ground. And that was my first gift she gave me when I put up in my brand new office. And you know, it’s just like, everything can be so overwhelming today. You know, all you have to do is begin. And I love it. And I know with the way that you talk with owners all the time, who sometimes feel very overwhelmed. I knew that you would love that story.


Damon Pistulka  01:04

Wow. Yeah. That’s powerful. That’s powerful. Because yeah, I read it. And I forgot the I didn’t put it in the notes. But you want your studio burned down that at the VA heck of a day.


Priscilla McKinney  01:17

Oh, yeah. That was very interesting. It was three weeks. Also after we had just gone through the f5 Tornado here in Joplin. And so we had lost about 30% of our town in about 20 minutes. And so we had already kind of been through it in town. And then waking up to that news and watching that it was quite an interesting year. Let me tell you that.


Damon Pistulka  01:39

Yeah. Yeah. Wow. But you know, as, as they say, sometimes the process of rebuilding we come up with better. And that’s it’s not necessarily a bad thing. It’s bad at the time, it’s hard to go through, but sometimes we build better. So yeah, so let’s, let’s start back at the beginning. Priscilla, tell us a bit about your background, and how the heck you got into marketing?


Priscilla McKinney  02:06

Well, I am actually a cultural anthropologist by trade. And so you know, that is really the study of humans and how we agree to get along? And what are the tacit agreements we have, sometimes we have explicit ones that we might be very, you know, forthcoming with, but we all have hidden stories, we have hidden motivations, we also have just social agreements, and all of these things come into play, when we’re looking at marketing, how do I agree that I’m going to believe your claim on your product, you know, am I going to have an aversion to walking into a, you know, used car lot, all of these things are cultural, right.

And there are stories that we have in either from Wayback Machine of our life, things that we have made vows about, I will never do this, or I will always do this. And so that really does affect brands, you think about, you know, standing in front of a brand and, and, you know, you think about, I want to choose something that’s more sustainable, or over here, I have something a brand that my grandma use, and it smells like her.

And so, you know, it’s like, I’m always trying to, I’m conflicted. But you know, this is the cultural soup that we’re swimming in. And so that’s really an interesting way to come at. If I were to understand what humans are thinking and feeling and how they go about making these decisions, then AI could help orchestrate a clear path for a marketing message to get through and be along on that journey in a very different way.

It’s not so overt and beat it over someone’s head, which we all know in this current environment. In this modern day and age, nobody wants to be sold to nobody wants to be screamed at nobody wants to hear like some stupid claims that are we all know, are completely bunk. You know, and so because of that, you have to really tailor your marketing message, understanding the culture and the society that we’re living in.


Damon Pistulka  03:59

This one, just sit there and take that in for a minute, because you said a lot in a very short timeframe. And if people didn’t listen to that, I think they should rewind and go back to that because it is something what you’re saying they’re really about understanding where we’re at today. And really the things that are affecting us today. Because even if you look back a year ago, two years ago, three years ago, certainly before COVID, that the situation’s and the way that marketing, the effective marketing, as we’re talking about today, the importance of clear and effective marketing, it has to change changes for the environment and what’s happening around us because our attitudes change.


Priscilla McKinney  04:40

Yeah. 100% And I think the biggest area where the attitudes have changed for businesses are is around social and you and I know you know, you’re looking at people’s p&l all day long. You know, the reality of you know, how powerful some whether it’s digital ads or social media, you know that there are companies that this Since their life was, you know, that they have been able to create very effective marketing systems through these platforms. But there are some industries out there who have not been able to crack the code, or think they’ve been exempted from it.

Like, for example, maybe manufacturing might think, oh, no, I’m outside the need to have any social influence. And yet, we know that they do not get the exemption card. And so, you know, I think, you know, when we think about how we live and operate in society, we are at the very foundation, social beings, you know, if you think about it, the telegram that was social media. So we constantly do it differently.

We modernize it. But we are very social. And I think that’s, you know, a very interesting element that I think people don’t really appreciate all when they’re looking at systems that we put into place, either for sales or revenue generation, or for clear marketing, we really looking at it from a social perspective.


Damon Pistulka  05:57

Yeah. Yeah. Because it’s, well, and how much of this do you think? Because, first of all, I’m going to ask one question. Do you think that a business can survive long term without marketing anymore? across the board, generally,


Priscilla McKinney  06:17

it’s all up. Nobody doesn’t have any marketing, it’s all marketing. There is no ends, it’s all means anymore. So just a claim that someone’s makes, oh, I do it without marketing, or my favorite, which people tell me? Oh, I don’t believe in marketing, I believe in word of mouth. Okay. Word of mouth is marketing, number one. Number two. The thing is, is that word of mouth what exactly does that mean? Because that, how aware is that quality? Like, there are some people out there who could open their mouths about my business?

And I don’t want them to, you know, and so the question becomes, you know, when people open their mouth, let’s, let’s, let’s go with that for a minute. Let’s say word of mouth is the best, okay, let’s listen to this be, you know, humorous here for a minute. If that’s the best, then when they open their mouth, what are they saying? Have you been able to load their lips with exactly what you need? You know, said? And then secondly, how do you trigger people to, to actually speak about your company, because we all know, I may love 12 companies that are here in town, and I must, I may love, love, love, love, love them.

But if nobody ever triggers me to say, Well, what do you think about XYZ company, I may never tell you. And so that marketing, if I just for example, I’m gonna use just a crazy example. So if I were with somebody, and we saw a billboard, and we were driving somewhere, we’re talking about, oh, yeah, I know, that guy, you know, I love that business, or I love that food, or I love, you know, something triggers me to open up my mouth.

And you know, and give my testimony, you know, my testimonial about this company, or share my experience, but what I’m about to share, you better hope you did a good job giving clear and effective marketing, because I’m about to talk about your business now.


Damon Pistulka  07:56

Yeah, yeah. And if you don’t have the right message marketing out there, they could reach saying something completely different.


Priscilla McKinney  08:03

Yeah. And then there’s all kinds of other problems, because then we have also, well, maybe there’s a great message out there. But is that getting to the right? You know, the right target market is that your most ideal buyer, because, you know, from looking at a lot of interesting p&l, that people may be, you know, selling, but it actually is doing more to hurt them in the long run, because they’re selling to the wrong person.

And so really clear and effective marketing does more than just creates a really great, you know, selling line and a winning strategy. The strategy starts with who the hell should you be selling to? Who do you help the best? You know, what do you have to offer? So there’s so much alignment that needs to happen in marketing. And in my opinion, it all starts with strategy.


Damon Pistulka  08:50

Let’s just take that in for a second. I think we should just take that in for a second because it does start with strategy. And you’re talking about marketing there. And I agree with you 1,000,000%. And I think one of the things that a lot of people that aren’t familiar with the marketing strategy process, forget is that one of the bigger things in marketing is really understanding your customers better. And at the heart of good marketing, and good marketing strategy is a deep, deep, deep understanding of your customers.

And I think people miss that because they think marketing well that’s getting on social media, or that’s ads or that’s this or writing blogs or whatever the heck, the content part of it is. The part that a lot of people overlook is that deep, deep, deep dive and really understanding customers and you set it the problems you solve where we provide the most value, all of that, because that drives the right words, to put in someone’s head in front of somebody in front of the right people to help them understand that you could be the right place to be talking to,


Priscilla McKinney  10:15

right. But a lot of people get hung up on that vehicle right on, well, are we going to do it on TV? Or we’re going to do it on it? And I’m like, I don’t even care at this point like for like, we I haven’t even gotten there yet. I need to know, what is keeping your most ideal client up on a Sunday night. I need to know what’s motivating them and getting them up on Monday morning, I need to know how they’re articulating their problem. I need to know what’s coming out of their mouth when they aren’t. They’re at their most frustrated, like, Oh, what, what’s coming out there, but I liken it to this. You know, some of us are big Uber fans, and some of us are lift all the way. Right.

So that is a matter of personal preference of vehicle, right? Maybe you even like Uber XL, I don’t know, I’m when I’m in London, I take a black cab, that doesn’t matter if that’s a vehicle. But everybody sits and talk about marketing about this vehicle, that vehicle and that vehicle. But let me ask you this, the last time you got in an Uber or Lyft, or black cab, or whatever it was, did you sit down in the seat and say to the driver, take me anywhere you want to go? No, you came in with a strategy and a destination.

And then the vehicle was really irrelevant. You know, maybe you want to be more comfortable. Maybe you want to get there quicker, you know, maybe you want to get there in style. That’s interesting. But that to me is not the point, you need to be the Director of it. And to me, that’s what being having a clear and effective marketing. You know, strategy is about being so clear about your ultimate destination, that when you get in whatever vehicle it is that you are the person giving the directions


Damon Pistulka  11:53

and help them people understand. You know, just that under that you understand them and you feel their pain.


Priscilla McKinney  12:01

Yeah. 100% because they won’t come along on the journey with you if they think that you don’t.


Damon Pistulka  12:07

Exactly. So we got a couple of people stopping by real quick we got Stephen, here or Stephen. Sorry, if I mispronounce it. He’s got a question. But Brandon, hey, Brandon, how you doing? Brandon’s brand is in Memphis. So yeah, guy there. Don’t freak out. It’s way too long. Man before my hair was gray. That’s just then so one week ago? Yeah. Last week, last week? That’s what it was. Does marketing replace a person’s opinion? We got a couple of questions here.


Priscilla McKinney  12:38

person’s opinion like can it does it maybe Steven, do you mean like it? Can it actually change your opinion about or does it like inform perspectives or something? I think, I think one interesting thing, if I understand where you’re coming out there is, I think that this idea that we can completely change what someone thinks or perceives about your brand, like full stop, I think is asking a bit too much of marketing, right? I think that people have their own their own issues, their own desires, we as marketers need to tap into that.

And if we tap into that, then maybe we can change their opinion about our brand, or our service or our product, if we basically put it in alignment with their need. So in terms of changing their opinion, like for example, I might think I’m never going to be in the market for let’s say, a banana clip. I’m never wearing those. And I, if you were to ask me 100% I don’t think that’s what’s going on. But then if you really take it, I thought of it more as if you really understood my hidden story is because I think they’re out of fashion.

But if I have a horrible problem with kinky, curly hair, and brunette, you can convince me that a banana clip is the only thing that is going to manage kinky, curly hair, and you show me I’ll also be like, You know what, I don’t really care about faster oh my gosh, I had no idea that this because you’ve actually changed your marketing made me see your product or service in the light, where it actually is important to me now. Now. It’s not that I’ve really changed the view of your product or service.

I’ve changed my view of how I could live. And so I maybe that seems like you know, splitting hairs with people. But I think that is a really different approach to things that puts the consumer at the center of the equation not I’m going to tell her 18 times and put a celebrity in a banana clip and convince her that she should try it because she needs to give up her idea. Yes. And I have no money coming in from a banana clip company for this. I’m not being paid in any way to promote them.


Damon Pistulka  14:43

Well, and it’s interesting too, because somebody’s talking about the vehicles of marketing. You know, a lot of people think influencer marketing is awesome, right? And for some it’s effective, but you made a made a comment there about putting the banana clip in the hands of somebody famous and expecting it to sell a billion of them. It doesn’t always work that way. I mean, it really, you have to have a lot more around it.

And it does need to connect me to something I want to solve a real problem, a perceived problem and an emotional thing I can be like you said, because that same, that same banana clip can be sold on an emotional level, because it’s cool, and I want to be cool, and everybody’s got them and I need to have one, it could be so on the need level is because my hair needs it. Otherwise, it’s just like, you know, it but I have it is great. And it’s just can come in so many different ways. And being able to connect, like God, I think is really a good example of that you were sharing of how the right marketing helps people connect a product or service to their need.


Priscilla McKinney  15:55

Right? And I have to say you’re right, people talk about influencer media, influencer marketing. And so that’s the only thing they think of as celebrity like this kind of like, or somebody who has a lot of following. But I would argue that all marketing is influencer marketing. If it was your mom who shared that she loves this product, she just has the ability to influence you, it matters who is influential to you as the consumer. And so the other thing is, is that we know that our past or our stories or our desires, the way that we project and see ourselves in our lives in the future, also can influence our decisions.

And so we need to be able to help people tap into, you know, understanding that or like, for example, I’m a sucker for lifestyle stuff, I buy resort, where all the time, I’m a CEO, a digital marketing company, I’m not out on vacation all the time. But I keep thinking I have just front and center in my mind retirement, right. And I’m going to wear resortwear, when I retire, that’s all I’m wearing. And so people, you know, people can constantly market that stuff to me, because they’re marketing and tapping into my desired state, you know, so it doesn’t even have to be, you know, you’re, I’m influencing myself, because of the way I project who I will be in the future.

And so there are so many layers here about what is really influencing a buyer in any given time. And that is why we come back to why marketing has to start with strategy. And I find so often that, you know, people come to me and they think, well, we’re not doing the right things, these things don’t work. And what’s interesting is, I’m not really interested in engaging in that conversation, because those things may or may not work, but they may not be doing them in the right way.

And they may not be doing them in the right order. And so when I tell people all the time, and anybody can cribbed this from me, you never have to work with us at LittleBird marketing to have this, but we have a system called sor S O A R. And what we tell people is first its strategy, you do not move on until you have your strategy clear. And that is 100% foundational to your ideal client persona. I want to see I don’t know, in your mind, on a piece of paper with all of the information, what makes them tick, what are they afraid of? What will they not admit to even their closest friend?

You know, how do they you know what keeps them up at night? What gets them going in the morning, what they’re frustrated, we talked about those things. So that’s the foundational thing, this is your most ideal client persona, I need to know my audience before I’m going to write anything, right? And then the next thing is organization. So who has the bandwidth? When is this going to get done? You know, what are the checklist items, when I say write a blog, that’s not one item, that’s 52 items, there’s 52 things that you need to do to write a blog.

And so please don’t just give it like, let’s organize it, who’s gonna get these things done, and in what order. And then the next thing is accountability. Okay, six days, six hours, you know, six weeks after we have all the strategy and we get it organized, someone pops up in a meeting goes, Hey, I think we should go to this show, you know, and do this, you know, trade show, because we really desperate for sales and but will? Is that accountable to the strategy? You know, is anybody even our is our ideal client persona, even at this show, like so let’s go. I’m interested in this idea.

Let me hear you out. But let’s go back and look, is it? Is it in alignment with the strategy? Can we organize it? Do we have the bandwidth we know exactly when it’s going to be done? And if so, yes, if no, absolutely not. And it gives people the freedom to start saying no to stuff in marketing, which is really key to a strategic journey.

And the last thing is our repeatability. At the end, when you’ve done these things, do you know which ones worked because you need to double down on the things that worked and you need to quit doing the things that are not generating revenue? So anybody can create that and I hope that helps anybody with their marketing, s o ar, I don’t care what you’re doing. If you take whatever system whatever little you know, whatever. tons, you know, and you put it in the right order like that you will have more success than you did a minute ago.


Damon Pistulka  19:58

Yeah, yes. Some very true, very true. So a couple of things that that I would have. I’m sorry, but I’m gonna double back a little bit. Yeah, go for it. You are the youngest of five girls. Yep. And you guys were singers you grew up as you with your family traveled and saying, yeah. That that is that that’s interesting. I mean, that’s that. So what do you think that showed you?


Priscilla McKinney  20:31

Well, I, first of all, I grew up cross culturally. So, you know, when I was living in Spain, I’m not a Spaniard, you’re an American, when you come back to the states, you’re not American, you’re someone who’s lived abroad, when I was in boarding school in Germany, you know, you’re just, you’re just a vagrant coming through, you know, it’s kind of this never belong, and yet feel like you can belong in a lot of places. And so I think that gives me a lot of empathy for people, it I didn’t grow up in the same house, I didn’t, you know, I don’t assume that everybody has my same values, my same perspective, my same worldview.

And so as a marketer, that I think makes me very sharp, you know, people do not even see the same symbol, right? You look, think about, you know, you know, even you know, icons and symbols, people don’t have the same reaction to colors to, to anything. And so it gives you a real empathy for, you know, people coming at whatever message or, or plan or whatever it is that you’re offering, from their own perspective. And if you can’t, at least open up your mind, to, you know, to understand that people are going to get maybe to the same destination, but maybe many different ways, then you really can’t develop a solid marketing plan.

And certainly, you know, when you then put digital on top of that, and you’re not necessarily interacting with the client, right, that makes it even harder. So you have to have digital steps that really also are very, are created with empathy for the consumer in mind. So I yeah, I mean, growing up overseas, and, and, you know, thinking for my supper, and all those kinds of things made me a hard worker, I’ll say that.

But I’m always also the fifth of five girls, which means that everywhere I went, I belonged, I had my own gang. And so it for me, it gave me a lot of confidence. And I didn’t need other people’s opinions. I didn’t need to, of course, we all want to fit in, we all want to belong, but I’ve already belonged somewhere. And that’s a very powerful way to approach your own career. I think.


Damon Pistulka  22:32

I came from a big family as well, that I’m on the other end. I’m the oldest of five.


Priscilla McKinney  22:38

Sorry, that’s let me tell you the last one, it’s really awesome.


Damon Pistulka  22:44

Yeah, it’s a lot different experience. Sorry. It’s all good. It’s all good. But I thought that was interesting. Because when you look at that, and you look at your decision to, you know, start down the road to being a cultural anthropologist, and how that helped you to be, you know, move into marketing, and really trying to understand people and understand it, because marketing is really about understanding people and, and what they’re thinking and how they’re feeling and helping to do that.

Because, you know, and someone else that I talked to a long time ago said, sales are emotional. every sale is emotional. Doesn’t matter what it is. It’s yes, there’s maybe some logic more or less logic behind the sale, but the decision to buy is emotional.


Priscilla McKinney  23:30

100%. And the person who thinks otherwise is actually making a far more emotional decision than they even know. Yeah, yeah. 100%


Damon Pistulka  23:42

Yeah. And I was listening to your talk. I was like, that’s that. There’s something that came to my head, then the Yeah. So as you’re going through this now, you had so little bird marketing? Do you guys specialize in a certain kind of industry or industry vertical? Or you’re a broad base? Or what do you


Priscilla McKinney  24:07

who Yeah, well, the biggest thing that we specialize in as b2b. So, you know, we do have a few clients that are b2c, but it’s rare for us. b2b is where we live, and then about 70% of our business is somehow of surrounding the market research industry. So whether that’s business intelligence, competitive business intelligence, you know, surveying translation, certainly for global services. We have a lot of clients around in that area, and I speak at those conferences all over the world. And so I know that industry quite well. But that also means that I’m with a usually a lot of consumer insights.

You know, I have amazing colleagues that you know, consumer insights at Mars Wrigley and McDonald’s and Walgreens and, you know, Roku and Netflix and things like this. So I get to talk with them about what we’re looking at. We’re looking at data in order to guide our marketing, we’re not making guesses, you know, these are billion dollar decisions these companies are making and so they need the market research to help inform what they’re doing. And typically, the clients who I work with are somehow serving those large brands, and helping them by doing kind of what I do with cultural anthropology.

They’re doing some kind of ethnography, some kind of behavioral, you know, view of, of, of the client’s history, or their storytelling that’s going on that narrative and helping them get the data that they need, in order to, you know, to either get research and development going the right way, or fix products and services, or, you know, what new flavor of chips should we come out with? Next year, whatever it is. But yeah, I’m in b2b. And it’s not just market research, it does expand out, but it’s really in that business intelligence and competitive intelligence area. But I do have clients that are in manufacturing, I have clients that, you know, are chiropractor, I do have some other ones.

To me, the system is what I believe in, I believe in getting the system right, what you input into the system, which vehicle so like, for example, if you’re b2c? Well, your vehicle, your Uber or Lyft is going to be Facebook, your b2b, your vehicle is going to be LinkedIn. So don’t get in the wrong car. Yeah, when you get in the car, make sure that you’re driving it, you know, where you need to go. And so for me, those, those are kind of once you have the basics down and the fundamentals down, you really could work for any company.

And I feel that way for a good salesperson, too. If you told me tomorrow, I’m a fire hydrant company, I’d be like, tell me four things. Okay, great. I don’t even need to know anything about fire hydrants, what I need to be good at is asking people about their pain about their needs. And you know, just getting to the bottom of like, what the result is, right? So in some ways, you know, I think like knowing all of the products, or knowing the what the customer is selling sometimes gets in the way of really good marketing.


Damon Pistulka  27:00

Yeah, yeah, it can. That’s certainly because you stop asking as many good questions, I believe, when she learned. So we were talking about this before we got on, on live here. But you do work with people. And we were talking about the fact that the face of the company, if that’s the founder, the owner, the CEO, you’re helping people kind of work beyond that, because that severely limits the company. So let’s talk about that a little bit, and how your how that makes a difference in the marketing. Yeah, and


Priscilla McKinney  27:37

I think this is where you and I really connect well, because here you’re trying to help people, you know, carve out their own path, and to really create their exit, because you and I do agree, if you don’t create your exit your way, someone will exit you for you. Right, you may get a notice at some point. And you may ignore it for a while. But at some point, you will exit if you are not making busy making your plan about what really is going to happen. And one of those things I think is very key. And why we get called in for really effective marketing is because we have clients and we have companies who have built something very successful on a wonderful CEO.

And they may not even be an egotistical person. That’s not it. They’re just a successful person. And you know, that’s great, that’s awesome. But then when you think about trying to exit and sell your business, if you have an entire sales structure, and the sales mechanism that’s going on, you know, in house is built around the CEOs personality, you’ve got a real problem, because no amount of marketing is going to solve that. Right. So people like throw money at Mark and be like, Okay, well, I’m still over here being the, you know, selling president.

And but then we I need someone else to start this other, you know, marketing, that’s without me that those are two, like really diametrically opposed approaches. And there is a lot of room in the middle. And so what we do is we do create those foundational systems underneath the CEO and say, look, the CEO is not my most ideal client, I don’t really want to talk to a CEO. I want to talk to somebody in the C suite or like a high manager, who is who has a vested interest in this company succeeding without the CEO. And I want them to be very revenue minded. They’re that kind of ideal person who thinks of the money as their own.

It’s not their own, but they think of it that way. And they are interested in revenue, they will do whatever it takes. And they also don’t feel like Oh, it’s my special baby, right? So they’re willing to let you, you know, call their baby ugly a little bit, and they’re willing to let you change a couple of things and have hard conversations because that’s hard for a CEO to do. I know I’m one. And so we need to have those kinds of important people to help us build systems around CEOs so that they can exit, that’s some way.

And one thing I do that really is an in between is we come in and we teach cohorts of, you know, typically 10 people at a time. And we teach teams how to really engage in social selling. And that’s about building their social influence. And for us in b2b, that’s happens largely on LinkedIn, it could be on Twitter, but it’s about individual people really becoming influencers, I want to be a thought leader, we know that b2b buyers are 57% of their way through their buyers journey before your company even knows they’re looking.

And we also know that b2b buyers are reading 14 pieces of content, trying to figure it out, because what do we do soon as we want to know something, we thumb it, right, we get on our phone, and we Google it, right? It doesn’t matter if you’re a CEO, if you’re a 12 year old girl, you’re gonna get on your phone, you’re gonna Google it. And so you when you find your 14 pieces of content, whether it’s because you want to find a banana clip, or say you want to buy a $350,000, market research study, you are going to Google something, and you’re going to read probably 14 pieces of content before you make a decision.

And those pieces of content are helping you define your requirements for what you’re about to buy. And so I always ask clients, like, have those 14 pieces of content? How many belong to you or your salespeople? And the answer is usually none. Right? And so we haven’t basically been kind to the buyer, and introduced ourselves early enough in the process. So we’re not able to influence the buying process.

And yeah, we’re an order taker, if they finally call us and be like, Yeah, I’m ready to buy that, you know, that backhoe? Sure, I’ll send it to you. But what company is going to thrive and really be able to be sold at a high multiple, when we’re they’re all order takers? Like, that’s just not, that’s not what people are looking for.


Damon Pistulka  31:58

And one of the things too, that if you are just that default choice or something or somebody they just found without going through the process of reading those 14 pieces of content. They’re going to be much more price conscious. Yeah. Like, I’m buying this pen. It’s a pen, right? Yeah.


Priscilla McKinney  32:25

It’s okay. Who cares? Yeah. But if they’re built on relationship, and they’re, you know, then that’s going to be very different. And I notice here, you know, Steve’s asking are the influencers always right? Well, no. And you know, what, if that influencer isn’t right for you, you don’t follow them, they don’t influence you very easily. But you do earn the right what we teach people is to lead with giving, and give their expertise, we show people how to be able to do that in the b2b world, and really help people like, hey, if I have this issue, which I think my ideal client has, these are the three ways I would think about it, think about it this way, this way, and this way.

And when I do, these are the kinds of outcomes Now we may not be right for you. But this is the way I would couch the question. And then I’d be helpful, and I don’t sell myself, right. So when people talk about our influencers, right or wrong, or whatever, you’re talking about, like celebrity influencers who are getting paid to push, you know, gut milk, okay, hey, of course, this is right for you, this is right for you this right. But if I were a true influencer, someone with integrity, and someone who is an expert in my b2b field, I wouldn’t be pushing a product, I would be curious. And I would be leading with value. And I would be building rapport. And I would be asking questions.

And to me that is true influence. And when that comes, this is exactly what you’re saying about the pin. At the time, when I have given given and you are ready to buy that you’re not going to ask me how much that pin is, you’re going to say Priscilla, I just cannot wait for you to come bring that pin over here. Yep, congratulate every I am like, I just have to have it. You know. And that’s, that’s really what we teach people at a high level, you know, to do, and that’s about not going out there and broadcasting features and benefits.

You know, this is these people who just bark things out online. Nobody wants to listen to that. And they’re just like, I’m always right. I’m always right. Here’s my ego, here’s my ego, you know, as opposed to, here’s something helpful, here’s something helpful, and you know, constantly showing people that they are interested in them and in their problem. And so it’s through that process. We teach people how to do that online, how to get visible, how to use the algorithms to their benefit, and how to just be a wonderful human that earns the report and makes the sale.


Damon Pistulka  34:42

That is it. I’m going to tell you because there’s there is, is that part of the thing that I really enjoy about social selling is it allows us to be human. And you know, we had for so many years that we were stuck Gone, you know, business, but it comes down to the human connection is why people do business with you. And that’s why you’re as Stephens asking, you know what makes you right? Nothing makes right. It’s everyone’s opinion whether you’re right or wrong, it’s like said, it’s like, it’s what it is.

But if you’re being, like you said, leading with giving, being a good human sharing information, this is the kind of thing that allows people to come inside of you inside of your business and get to see it, and go, Hey, I would like to be there, right? Or maybe not, I wouldn’t like to be there. And, you know, that’s really what, because, as we all know, we don’t want the wrong people in our business. That’s great. If you would like to have the best people there, everybody wins. I don’t


Priscilla McKinney  35:51

want someone who wants me to beat them over the head. And there are very few people who want that. But that’s not ideal for me, I want someone who wants to cultivate the long term relationship, and wants to rely on my expertise, but yet is knows that I’m going to come in and ask some key questions and knows that I’m gonna challenge some things pretty hard. But also, you know, I’m gonna listen.

And I think that’s, you know, that’s super, that’s super different. So we teach cohorts, you know how to do that. So for the effect of saying, Let’s build a successful sales team that is a firm and sustainable Lead Gen system that is outside of the influence that maybe just the CEO had at one time. How can we build the personal brands? How can we build the careers? How can we build the prowess online of other people in your aid in your firm, so that you can have a much better exit? Yep,


Damon Pistulka  36:44

yep. Well, I know Priscilla, we went over by two minutes, but we’re gonna get you out because you got an important date to go play golf. You’re so the sun is shining. Go have some fun, but I just want to say thank you so much for being here on the faces of business state was awesome. Talking to you about the importance clear and effective marketing. I learned a heck of a lot. And I just want to thank Stephen for being here, Brandon for being here. All the questions. The people that didn’t comment but are listening. Hey, appreciate you, Priscilla. Thanks so much.


Priscilla McKinney  37:18

You’re welcome. Have a great day, David. Yeah,


Damon Pistulka  37:20

we will be back again. Let’s see what I had to think what day of the weekend is that’s bad. We’ll be back again next week with more guests talking about things that are interesting for executives. Thanks, everyone.

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