Trailblazing Marketing Strategies to Smash Your Goals

Are you ready to revolutionize your manufacturing marketing? If so, join us for an enlightening episode of MFG eCommerce Success with Allison DeFord, the mastermind behind FELT Marketing for Manufacturers. Allison brings her unique perspective on retrofitting marketing systems to bolster sales and profitability in the manufacturing sector.

Are you ready to revolutionize your manufacturing marketing?

If so, join us for an enlightening episode of MFG eCommerce Success with Allison DeFord, the mastermind behind FELT Marketing for Manufacturers. Allison brings her unique perspective on retrofitting marketing systems to bolster sales and profitability in the manufacturing sector.

With her profound insights into the manufacturing world and a passion for heart-centered marketing, Allison is the go-to expert for transforming marketing efforts into real sales growth.

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Allison’s journey from creative beginnings to a leader in manufacturing marketing is nothing short of inspiring. Her personal story and the foundation of Felt Marketing resonate with the idea that powerful brands are not just seen or heard – they are deeply felt. Starting her agency in 1994, Allison has been redefining marketing strategies, proving that B2B businesses can indeed market with soul.

Damon and Curt—Manufacturing Trailblazers—wish their guest and audience a Happy New Year. Curt asks Allison to talk about her annual planning process. She says this process includes a mastermind group called the “Super Friends,” comprising two other agency owners. Over the past ten years, they have been strategizing for the year ahead.

When Curt asks her about the word of the year, Allison replies, “Vibrant.” This choice reflects a deliberate effort to focus on how she wants to feel and present herself. Being vibrant extends to every aspect of her life, from interactions and events to writing sessions, as a key element of her marketing strategy.

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Meanwhile, Curt teases a special gift at the end, referring to a unique holiday experience called the “12 Days of Feltness.” He encourages viewers to stick around.

Similarly, Allison discusses the origin and purpose of the “12 Days of Feltness.” She learned in the previous year that feltness is beyond conventional holiday greetings. Inspired by a 30-day breakthrough boot camp in 2020, Allison explains the idea of providing daily content for 12 days to create a playbook guiding participants toward success in the new year.

Curt delves deeper into the conversation with Allison and asks her to share the first point.

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Allison reveals that the first point is centered on her observation over the past year. The pervasive busyness in people’s lives, with constant engagement in numerous meetings and an excessive use of smartphones, leads to a lack of presence. “12 Days of Feltness” intends to liberate the readers and allow them to be present in the moment rather than be preoccupied with external distractions.

To clarify her point, Allison shares personal examples, expressing a desire to allocate more time to activities like learning a new language, exploring cooking, and continuing to play the ukulele. She challenges the audience to “stop running with scissors” and “start walking with pruning shears” instead.

Moreover, the guest introduces the concept of “stop, drop, and review,” encouraging individuals to take a moment to reflect on their wins, losses, “aha’s” (positive surprises), and fixes. She shares the practice of the Super Friends, who engage in this reflection weekly and exchange updates on their progress.

Curt prompts Allison to share any specific insights about time wasters or profit killers she has ever encountered.
Allison identifies “comparisonitis” as a significant time waster, expressing how they occasionally spend excessive time comparing their achievements or followers to others in the same space. This habit leads to self-doubt. However, Allison advises individuals to recognize their uniqueness and talents.

Both Damon and Curt remark that “comparison is a horrible disease.”

Curt then requests the guest to proceed to the second point.

Allison suggests moving away from traditional New Year’s resolutions and advocates adopting a 90-day sprint approach. Expressing the common tendency to forget about resolutions after the initial enthusiasm, she proposes focusing on smaller, more achievable milestones within a 90-day timeframe. She urges people to start with the first quarter, make adjustments, and refine their strategy throughout the year.

The third point revolves around how one wants to feel and how customers should feel at every touchpoint. She points out the typical absence of discussions about customer emotions in business settings and mentions the “crickets” she hears when posing this question to clients. Business owners can tackle it by focusing on their own feelings.

Citing some personal examples, Curt agrees that the emotional aspect is absent even in B2B transactions. In the same breath, he invites Allison’s comments on how customers discover, trust, and choose a great brand.

In response, Allison brings to light the role of diverse content formats, including videos, freebies, and live interactions, in allowing customers to get to know a brand before making contact. Allison credits digital marketing for providing abundant opportunities to establish trust, increased visibility, and brand recognition, compared to traditional methods where customers might only know a brand through a salesperson or phone conversations.

Inspired by Allison’s insights, Damon believes that a personal touch, where the customers can contact them freely, can improve brand image.

Agreeing with Damon, Allison expresses her preference for working with small to mid-sized manufacturers over large corporate ones due to the bureaucratic challenges and lack of personality in the latter. She relates a personal example of introducing engagement elements in emails for a trade show booth, facing pushback initially but ultimately achieving positive responses and increased interaction, creating a conversational and engaging approach in marketing strategies.

Curt appreciates Allison’s newsletter write-up as a labor of love, expressing how he eagerly anticipates and reads it. He asks the guest to move on to her next point.

The concept of targeting specific customers rather than casting a wide net is Allison’s fourth point. “I always thought of Forrest Gump.” She uses the analogy of Forrest Gump’s shrimp boat, where casting a wide net caught everything, including unnecessary items. Instead of trying to attract a large number of customers, manufacturers should think like using a butterfly net. The goal is to be specific and target a particular type of customer, similar to looking for a monarch butterfly, which can be achieved through serving before selling.

Concluding the discussion, the host asks Allison to share any final tips, tricks, or insights for helping people achieve their goals in 2024.

In Allison’s view, people must build a better system to make sales easier. She suggests that businesses assess their websites, ensuring they are user-friendly and have clear calls to action. Allison also advises creating a system for content generation, taking a big piece of information and breaking it down into various formats for different platforms. This includes turning newsletters into blog posts and social media posts and utilizing autoresponders to engage with subscribers.

Before parting, Allison encourages the viewers to adopt this mindset shift. It can positively improve personal and business aspects of life.

The conversation ends with Damon and Curt thanking Allison for her time.

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allison, year, newsletter, days, love, damon, stop, working, thought, talk, great, customers, learned, share, people, booth, today, marketing, feel, write
Allison DeFord, Curt Anderson, Damon Pistulka

Damon Pistulka 00:02
All right, everyone. It is the first Friday of 2024. I can’t believe it, Kurt. And I am incredibly excited for our guest today, because we have none other than Alison du Ford. AKA Wonder Woman, Curt Anderson. Are you as excited as I am for this day?

Curt Anderson 00:23
Dude, I haven’t slept in a week. Are you kidding me? What a way to kick off the new year this has become like a new year tradition. It’s almost like at Christmas time you and your family watch like you know a wonderful life or home alone or whatever it might be or maybe New Year’s. For us, Damon, it’s having Allison afford as our first guest always kick off the year. Felt marketing CEO extraordinaire Allison afford How are you my friend?

Allison DeFord 00:49
I’m fabulous. Fabulous. How are you?

Curt Anderson 00:54
We’re just leave it at that. Just what’s your word for the year Alison?

Allison DeFord 00:57

Curt Anderson 00:58
vibrant. Write that down. Damon, vibrant, vibrant, and any any backstory to being vibrant? Anything that you want to share there?

Allison DeFord 01:09
Yeah, you guys know and I don’t know if people that are here with us? No, but I, I have a mastermind group of two other agency owners. I call them the Super Friends. And we’ve been planning the year ahead every single year for 10 years. And so we always try to come up with our word. And it used to be our words, like we would have four. And then we I went down to three. And then last year, I said you know what, ladies, I need one. I need one word. Because three was was like a little too much. So vibrant. comes about because we take the time to figure out how do we want to feel? You know, I talk a lot about how do you want your customers to feel? I think it’s important. We learned this from Danielle Laporte and her Firestarter series desire mapping. I can’t take credit for this. But it’s really you hear people talk a lot about it right now. And I think a lot of people don’t really know, the purpose of finding that word. And so vibrant to me is how do I want to feel? How do I want to show up? And, you know, whether it’s what I’m wearing, whether it’s what I’m learning? How I’m being of service, if I can bring vibrance to every interaction, every event, every WT MFG. You know, every time I sit down to write, then that that’ll feel pretty good. So

Curt Anderson 02:45
I Damond speaking of word of the year, and she said what you’re wearing? What you’re wearing, right? So about manufacturing trailblazer for a word of the year. How about that one? So if anybody out there does not familiar, Allison the Ford is the authority on being an American manufacturing Trailblazer. This fine attire comes from our dear friend Allison. So Allison, thank you for the thank you for the swag. Yeah.

Damon Pistulka 03:18
And you know, the thing I gotta say, Allison, is you’d be strolling down the dark dog park and there’s some dog park in the summertime. And it’s funny the looks you get they look at your shirt, and they go,

Wow, it’s great.

Damon Pistulka 03:32
I love what you did. The next

Allison DeFord 03:34
I’m gonna send you is gonna say felt so nice.

Curt Anderson 03:39
Let’s get there. Well, exactly. So alright, so hey, let’s dive in. We’ve got a ton of covered. Now you mentioned. You know, I want to give a little teaser because you’re you’ve got a little gift at the end. And you I’ll tell you, I it was a very special holiday this season. I had a little little dose of Elson on a daily basis. Can you give everybody a little teaser? And they’ve got to stick around to the end to get the little package here. But can you just what is the 12 days of falseness? Can you please enlighten everyone?

Allison DeFord 04:07
Yeah, well, we started doing that, I think, last year, if not the year before, because we wanted to. It was like how can we give more than just a social post that says hey, you know, Merry Christmas, Happy New Year. And it’s really pretty challenging. I did a 30 day break through boot camp in 2020. I showed up every single day for 30 days with a recording and a downloadable PDF and a message to help guide you and I had actually forgotten that that was 30 whole days. Like it was a lot of work, but I thoroughly loved it.

Curt Anderson 04:47
Were Dave and I were both part of it. Right

Damon Pistulka 04:49
did it Yeah. And

Allison DeFord 04:51
so the 12 days of felt Miss was like, you know, why? What can we give for 12 days, that by the end you have Something like a playbook that sets you up for success in the next year in the new year. And so that’s what we did. And it really guides you through a lot of the, I think major foundational parts and pieces, which that’s what felt gift really is. It’s that foundational part of your brand to build it. I’m not Nicole Donnelly. Right? I’m not the DMG digital, that’s not our specialty. Like I’ve told her, if I could build, you know, we could build brand foundations for people, and then I will just hand them off to her. Yeah, her team. Like, that’s what our real sweet spot is. And so really just helping people figure out some of those things that may be missing. And also, you know, me, I always talk about heart, everything starts from the inside out, including marketing. So there’s a couple things in this particular PDF, that will help people, I think, get a little more in tune with what’s going on in here and in here, so that you can show up differently.

Curt Anderson 06:01
Absolutely. So connect with Allison, here on LinkedIn, and she’s got a little gift for you. And so we’ve got a ton to unpack, stick around with us to the end, and she will have that little little notice for you. Else and let’s dive in. Okay, and so you now, Damon, how many what a repeat offender we have here our times have you now you know that we’re live today? Right? You do know that? Yeah.

Allison DeFord 06:25
Yeah. Like I said before, at least I’m not being tricked this time. Yes. Do you want to jump on a call? Oh, sure. Oh, hi. We’re live. Yeah.

Damon Pistulka 06:33
So you do know today you’ve had preparation? I mean, I’ve kind of think about this. And it was my

Allison DeFord 06:39
grilling tools. And so today is a different? Yeah.

Damon Pistulka 06:44
Today, I had a little text and go, Hey, you want to get on the call?

Curt Anderson 06:50
Allison, what are you doing right now. So in for the record, that was a dynamic calls right in the heart of COVID. It was very So alright, we’re talking emotional, and what I learned, I’ve learned so much from you over the course of our friendship, and just super excited to kick off the new year, I learned more, we’ve got four points that we’re going to dive into today. Let’s, let’s just let’s go read it. Let’s what is number one?

Allison DeFord 07:14
Well, I’m gonna call this the precursor to number one is I want Hey, Ray,

Curt Anderson 07:22
grab into your array.

Allison DeFord 07:24
I want to encourage everybody to stop running with your hair on fire. And what well, beside you,

Curt Anderson 07:33
you’re gonna, you’ll end up looking like me for goodness gracious, right? It will be a quick fire for me.

Allison DeFord 07:40
Well, I was thinking about this. And I thought, you know, what’s the biggest observation that I had this last year? And it was? Why are we everybody’s so busy? Yeah, right. Everybody’s into way too many meetings. You got your nose and your phone, like, all the time. And you’re just not really present. Like one of the first days of felt Miss was presents, being here versus presents the gifts. And I think that’s really important. I’ve been thinking about this a lot. And I thought, God instead how much what if we flipped the script, you know, I love that phrase, and spent more time learning something new, or observing the person who’s right in front of us, then consuming other people’s lives, so called lives like, I mean, and I, there’s nothing wrong with social media, I’m not putting it down. But I’m saying we spent an exorbitant amount of time on it. And more than we do, I thought, God, I want to learn a new language I want to learn. I enjoy cooking, I want to learn more about cooking, I want to finish learning the ukulele which I started last year like and I thought, How much time do I spend on those things, right? Compared to how much time I spend on the other stuff. And I think it goes with our business too. And so I’ve decided I want to encourage everybody here, I want to I want to drop the challenge. Stop running with scissors. Okay. And start walking with pruning shears. They get the difference. Right. Nice. Thank you the difference. So I’m going to I’m going to start there with a challenge and then that will lead us into the place.

Curt Anderson 09:37
All right, let’s save her that one since we’re on a grilling cake right here. Daymond. So stop running with scissors and start using the pruning shears. And a great thing as you know, we think about pruning, right? Growth, right growth opportunity, the, you know, flowers that are going to bloom and just all that you know what a phenomenal analogy. Our buddy Ray says hey, presents versus presence. All right, let’s alright. You teed that up very well. And again, guys, Allison, if you go check out her website, go to her LinkedIn, follow her on LinkedIn, you have just amazing, one of the most creative minds of like, really simplifying these marketing strategies. So let’s dive in. Let’s keep it rolling.

Allison DeFord 10:19
Well, you know, everybody’s talking right now about what what are your goals, you know, for, for 2024. And God yesterday, Robin Sharma, I don’t know if you follow him or not, he’s been kind of one of my mentors, you know, in the periphery for a number of years. He says, It’s not about what you do annually. It’s about what you do daily. And I was like, Whoa, brick to the head, you know, I thought, that is so true. We, so what I’ve want to encourage people to do is instead of jumping into your goals, right, you’ve got to stop. And you got to I call it stop, drop and review. So take some time, if you haven’t already, to, and this is in the, the gift that I’m going to give. It’s like really take a look at your wins, losses, or Ha’s and fixes. That’s what the Superfriends and I do every single week, we do it on our own on Sunday, we send each other the update, which again, is one of the beauties of having a mastermind group, you know, whether it’s you and a colleague, or you know, you and a couple people or it’s larger, and you hold each other accountable, and you really take a look at what what I learned last year, like what was a real win? And it doesn’t have to be huge. You know, it could be something really, that’s, that seems small, but it had a big impact. And then what isn’t working anymore? What do I need to stop doing? That was a big one for me. I mean, I wrote a few things down and I went, Oh, I yeah, I need to stop doing those things. Because that’s permanent.

Curt Anderson 12:08
Is there anything, anything that you want to share? curious minds are longing to know? Is there any particular like, I call them time wasters? Profit killers, and unfortunately, I you know, even at my age, I’d like I’m constantly like, why am I doing this? Stop doing it? Did you? Were there any that you’ve come across sales that you want to share?

Allison DeFord 12:25
I would say comparison itis. Whoo, whoo. I waste time. Huge, right? spending minutes or out, you know, I don’t sit around for days like lamenting about this. But I see what other people are doing in our space. And I then like the self doubt sets in and I think, oh, gosh, they have 75,000 followers, Damon, and I have just over 6000 Like, I suck, and then I and then I go well hold up. You know, and that’s again, when I flipped the script and go, stop. I Damon is a different person than me. Kurt is a different person than me. Each of us is showing up and bringing our gifts, and each of us matters a great deal. So I want to spend less time feeling bad, or questioning my self worth because of what other people are doing.

Curt Anderson 13:26
Comparison itis it’s a horrible dreaded disease. And boy if you if you come up with a pill to conquer that one, Elson, you’ll make a fortune. So anyway, that’s no I need to work on that. Right? And it’s just it’s all here. Right? It’s all it’s all Yeah, all right here. All right, Damon, anything that you want to share on that?

Damon Pistulka 13:45
And I was a big one for me last year, it really was because same, same, same thing, you know, and but I want to tell you a surprising thing for me is I listened to a lot of music. And I listened to a lot of country music. And I was really thinking about the lyrics and country music and I enjoy I think are funny, I think it’s entertaining. But I also realized that country music, the lyrics in it really talks about a lot of dark stuff that really focuses on negative things. And I’m gonna listen to the less of it and replace it with other things that are that are put a different messages in my mind because one of the things and For Long Story Short, I’m feeding my mind better materials. They if there’s any way to say it, I’m feeding my bike I’m getting rid of and I’m feeding it better materials.

Allison DeFord 14:43
Well, and on that note, that’s another thing that I did recently is I unfollowed people on Instagram that I realized what every time I see one of their posts, and these aren’t even people I know this might be a celebrity or somebody that I admire, I realized what sets in at what do I feel every time I see a post from them. Oh my god, their life looks so perfect and beautiful. And they’re like, so skinny and their makeups perfect and I would feel bad about myself. And I thought, no, you’ve got to go. So unfollow

Curt Anderson 15:19
awesome some. Hey, we’ve got some great comments. Yeah, yeah, we got a manual paying attention to what works and what doesn’t complements the SWAT manual. Thank you happy new year. That’s a great comment. I love John’s comment every quarter. I seem to create three to four new shiny objects that dilute my efforts. Amen. Good. That’s stopping exercise is key. Love it. Matt just says hey, just follow up packers in life is Yeah, yeah. Go pack. And then I just want to be like Daymond. Just don’t replace. Yep. John, great advice here what we eat physically and naturally. So great conversation. So guys, just if you’re just joining us, we’ve got Allison afford the CEO of manufacturing, trailblazing extraordinaire from Thought Marketing. We just covered Stop, drop and review. Ellison, anything else you want to cover? Are we ready to dive into number two?

Allison DeFord 16:12
A, I think with stop drop and review. I think one other point that’s really important is Start Stop continue. So are there some things that are working well, or right that you really maybe conquered? Last year? Keep doing them? You know, I think that sometimes we think we have to like, let it all go and start fresh. Oh, it’s a new slate. It’s a clean white canvas. I’m thinking No, it’s not. It. You’ve got so many you’ve built a foundation and a system. So what are the things you’re going to keep doing? Stop doing? And what are some things you could start doing to get some different results? So I think that’s important. That’s

Curt Anderson 16:57
phenomenal, man. Dude, our first drop the mic for 2024? How’s that dropped the mic right there. Love it. All right. Awesome. Keep keep the fire burning while you please the man you guys can guys smell the grilling and smell it?

Allison DeFord 17:13
It’s gonna be time to flip the burgers soon in the steaks, but I’m prepared. So don’t worry. The other thing, I think we’re all tired already. It’s week one. Can I say the F word? Okay, I won’t Sure. Resolutions. Like, let’s stop doing that, you know, we make this, this big list. And, and then by the end of the first 30 days, you’ve not looked at it one more time. It’s in your computer somewhere in a PDF, or you taped it up and now it’s it’s already gotten coffee stain on it’s covered with some other stuff. And you know, it’s I think it makes more sense to do 90 day sprints. Let’s just do a 90 day sprint. And let’s take what we learned from the stop, drop and review. And let’s figure out, you know, what are these like, smaller milestones like, what would and then write yourself a letter like and of course, I didn’t make this up. You guys have heard other people say this, but write yourself a letter. I love the one where you say like, Hey, dear Alison, it’s the end of 2025 24. What What year are we in? It’s the end of 2024. I’m feeling this, I’m making this I’ve made this kind of an impact, blah, blah, blah. I think that’s super, because it sets you up for success. But what if you did a smaller note, for the end by the end of March, and I did this for myself, I kind of did it in my head, I need to write it down. I felt so excited. And like almost like this relief. You know, because I thought oh, it’s a smaller window. And the important thing with I think 90 day sprints is that you can adjust you you don’t have to maybe your goals change. You know, instead of these big bold resolutions, like maybe bring it down a notch. Like I saw somebody on Instagram oh my god, it was so funny. She had this little checklist and it was like you know, lose 20 pounds, earn $200,000 And she’s just crossed off a couple of zeros. And I was like, All right, I lost two pounds. I’m good. So I think if we maybe if we shrink those down a little bit, I think it’s a little more digestible and doable. And yeah, so start with q1 and then adjust. Same with your strategy. I think yearly you know, annual goals are very important. But what what’s your 90 day sprint look like? And then make adjustments before q2.

Damon Pistulka 19:56
And we do that in the businesses. We do that in the business we help we sell What are we doing this quarter? What are we? Yeah, we look at the year we kind of know what we’re doing for the year where we want to get to, but you got to look at it by quarter. Because otherwise you have too many different priorities.

Curt Anderson 20:12
Right? And I love it. Ray says here, Ray, thank you my friend resolution for 2024 do fewer things better. And somebody jobs a note, Happy New Year’s and Happy New Year to you, my friend. Allison, the fire is burning hot. Yeah.

Allison DeFord 20:29
Let’s see, let me check the grill. I think it’s important to know often think about how you want to feel and how you want your customers to feel. And I talk about this a lot. And people are probably so tired of me talking about this. Keep it common in common. Like how many? How many meetings have you sat in when people were working on their budget for the next year? And their strategy? And anybody said, I don’t want our customers to feel at every touchpoint. Now when I asked that question, I could literally hear crickets. When I start working with a client, everybody looks at each other, then they look at the owner to see what his or her reaction is going to be. And then they look at me like, it’s crazy. So, but it’s true. Like if you think about when was the last time you took yourself through your own process? Right? When was the last time you focused on? Like, like you were talking? We were talking about our word for the year, right? How do I Why do I want to feel vibrant. And so I always say marketing starts from the inside out. And I think that that is intrinsically tied with us as people. If we start from the inside, it’s all connected. So you know, do you want your customers to feel taken care of? Do you want them to feel supported? Do you want them to feel surprised? And delighted? Right? I mean, do you guys ever hear anybody talk about this in a meeting?

Curt Anderson 22:13
Not often. And I tell you one, what I absolutely love. You know, we’ve done a number of I’ve said in a number of your webinars where that when we hook up with the MEPs, and what have you, you’ve taught me what and share with the folks. And again, I don’t think anybody that serves you, we never get tired of this information, you have a percentage, what percentage of a buying decision is emotional.

Allison DeFord 22:37
Last I research I did 85 To 90% 85 to

Curt Anderson 22:41
90%. Let’s let that talk about saving, let’s let that sink in. And let’s talk about that for a minute. So you know, when you go to you know, local store, you’re going to buy your favorite manufacturing Trailblazer t shirt or whatever you’re going to buy, why you’re buying it, you know how it makes you feel, right? So our personal things, why you go to Starbucks versus another coffee shop while you drive this car versus another car. But if you’re if you’re a custom manufacturer, and you’re buying a particular part or just you know, there’s not a brand name behind it, let’s talk you know, maybe the three of us could chime in about that for a minute. We’re like, oh, well, you know, we’re not Starbucks, we’re not brand sensitive. That buyer that engineer is absolutely making an emotional bias. Yep. Right. Else and you say how do they find you trust you choose you? Right, let’s Can we talk about that for a minute? Let’s go into that little. Let’s let’s dive into that for a minute.

Allison DeFord 23:29
Well, don’t you think that it makes sense if we make it easier for people to find us first and foremost? Because I don’t know about you. But I’ve gone and searched for companies. And by God, it was really hard to find them that something’s wrong with this picture. So that’s number one, you got to be findable. Meaning you’ve got to have I mean, I think pretty decent SEO and you’ve got to have content out there. So that you show up. You know, you don’t I mean, you don’t have to be number one on page one of the search, but if somebody’s looking for you, I would hope there’s quite a bit that would come up about you so that they can find you. So be findable. And then you want to make it easy to trust you. And we build trust. As our good buddy Greg. Michelle is always talking about with good content. That’s not just words, that’s video. That’s freebies that’s lives. That’s people getting to know you before they ever pick up the phone. And I think that’s one of the most important changes in marketing. That’s happened because of digital right is before all we had was like you know your salesperson or you picked up the phone and the person never saw your face. They got to know you maybe from your voice or or maybe maybe you put out an article here or there. But now we have unlimited opportunities, you know, for people to trust us ahead of time. So then it makes the decision so much easier. Right and and make the value clear. So the decision is easy. So then they’re going to choose you. And you want to be top of mind. That’s the whole point of making regular content and showing up by only showing up

Curt Anderson 25:28
is that it’s so it’s so powerful. And let’s talk about that. We are, we’re Gen Xers, right? So we’re digital immigrants. And so maybe back in the day, the new technology, new communication was this cutting edge thing called email, right? Yeah, very impersonal. Like, you know, there’s always a lost in translation. Was she being funny? Was she being snarky? where she’d be insulting? What? Like, what was that right

Allison DeFord 25:51
emojis? By the way? That you couldn’t do it? Like, just Yeah. Well, what are those things?

Curt Anderson 26:01
You know, if that’s what you’ve been used to, for the past X number of years, you know, like, when you get a new client, new customer, get them on a zoom call, get them out of video, you know, it’s just takes it to a whole new level, I knew brand new, somebody came to our show. Last month, Damon connected with me on LinkedIn, two days ago, sent me this awesome article in Forbes about reshoring and manufacturing, you know, the renaissance of manufacturing in the United States. And like, you know, didn’t ask me for anything, wasn’t trying to sell me anything. I’m like, what a class he touched. I’m like, Dude, I’m like, You got me on that one. That was that was a really nice, you know, sort of thing is like, how can you just deliver that value and help make that buying decision? It’s going to be emotional, whether you you know, like it or not, right. And I think we’ve talked about this, maybe we talked about last year, you know, like, you know, it’s not personal. It’s business. Everything’s personal. Everyday.

Damon Pistulka 26:47
Right? Yeah. If you look at our stuff, and we specifically talked about this last year, because of what else and said, because we are a to me, Oh, me, I’m logical guy. And I didn’t really, you know, growing up the way we have and in business, you just weren’t supposed to bring personal but part of our brand now is we want to be the people that you’re happy to have a conversation and a beer with at a barbecue. Right? And someone that you feel comfortable enough that you know, if you got a problem, you can call them and they’re going to answer the phone. Right? That’s the that’s the I mean, to a personal level, we need to take these things as market it to understand that our companies really are that and what we do. And and as you add to your to your point earlier, Allison, if your customers don’t feel that way. You got to change that. If you’re the change what you’re saying or change what you’re doing.

Allison DeFord 27:43
And you can Are you any larger I finally decided last year, the reason that I love working with small to mid sized manufacturers versus large corporate is the large corporate ones are so wrapped up in red tape, and legal and reordering every year. And just a bunch of BS. Yeah, I mean, clearly, they’re doing something right. Because they’re mega, they’re making mega money, okay, mega sales, so I can’t fault them. But working on projects isn’t as fun because they’re afraid to have a personality. And so we’ll we’ll try to add a little bit of humor, or a little pop culture, and I’ll get pushback, even in eblasts that we’re going to be sending like before, during and after a trade show for them. And they’re like, why are we asking people this question at the end? Where are we at PS Are you know, what’s the NIC because that’s how you get people to respond. Right? Why would you not want them to engage with this email? It’s not just a blast, right? It’s a it’s a conversation. And and I’ll tell you what, they allowed us to do it they gave us a little leeway. And they said holy cow people have responded we never get that people are like Colin or and I went okay that’s kind of what we’re going for it

Curt Anderson 29:24
people like doing business with people people like doing business with their friends and so in for the record is we come across the top of the hour if you’re just joining us we’re here with Allison afford felt marketing, aka Wonder Woman and you if you want hands down, like if you’re going through the unsubscribe on your newsletters, which is a wise thing to do is we’re trying to like simplify one newsletter that you absolutely, man, I couldn’t encourage you invite you welcome you enough to sign up for Elson affords newsletter. Hands down the best lead that’s like holophane It’s not even in our newsletter. It is a whole theme newsletter out So let’s just give a shout out to your newsletter real quick. Where can they find it on your website? And just like, tell us a little bit like, how do you come up with that every

Allison DeFord 30:07
year? Great questions. Well, they can go to fillip forward slash subscribe. It’s called WT MFG. And it is the only marketing newsletter with heart. And the reason that we call it that was, you know, we wanted something fun and memorable. And it’s like, kind of, with the flocks going on in manufacturing right now. And again, you know, me, I love to play on words, and I love humor. And it’s part of our personality. So yeah, every two weeks, it’s sometimes it feels like birthing a calf. To put that out, because I literally, I like to do it ahead of time. There are times when I’ve actually done it on Sunday, I don’t recommend that. And you really feel like squeezing your butt cheeks together to hope some magic comes out, that will inspire and equip people to improve their marketing and make sales easier. And I think what I’ve learned is it takes practice. Yeah, making the commitment. First and foremost is the most important thing you can do make the commitment. So like, at the end of every one, I say, I’ll see you back here in two weeks on January, whatever. And it’s this commitment that I’ve made. Right, and Tim roughly talks about, what what are you known for? What can people count on you for? Why are you dependable? And I love that? Because it’s a great question. And it’s a lot of responsibility. And so I think what’s exciting about it is it forces me to show up, no matter what, even when I don’t think I have anything to talk about. I surprised myself every single time. And I learned so much. And it’s just it brings me so much joy. Like it literally fills me. It’s It’s like somebody hands me a million dollars every time I do it. It’s just that much fun. Even when it’s hard. And I’m like it’s true. It’s really true. You know, is there anything you guys do that feels like that? And then you think, Okay, that was worth it? You know, like maybe it’s running or lifting weights or some kind of thing where sometimes it feels really hard. But you made a promise. So by God, you follow through and do it. Yeah.

Curt Anderson 32:41
I don’t know, David, maybe the wives might describe us like that. But other than that, I can’t think of anything else I’m just using. So I’d say labor of love. But for what it’s worth, it is worth every word that you put out there. Yeah, I look forward to it. I read it sometimes when it comes across, I’ve stopped what I’m doing to read it. Or if you’re sending it out on Sunday night, I look forward to it that first thing on Monday morning. And so please keep for what it’s worth. If you’re always like, is anybody let you know, it’s like what? Remember that song from Chicago? I’m sure my agent. Is anybody listening? Does anybody really care? Well, man, it is absolutely awesome. And there’s a lot of people that do love your newsletters, that’s for sure. So, hey, we’re over the top of the hour, and we’re here with Allison afford else just to recap, if you’re just joining us, we’ve talked about stop, drop and review. If you’re curious about that, you need to hit the little rewind button when we’re done. We’ve talked about stop those darn resolutions, Allison had some really great tips on how to like not to have that resolution overwhelm, or, you know, feeling down on yourself about resolutions you want to go back and catch that. We talked about how do you make your customers feel every decision is about is an emotional decision else. And you do a great job of explaining that describing that, before we get into item number four, is there anything else that we want to hit or scratch as far as like? How do you make your customer feel?

Allison DeFord 33:59
Whole there’s a lot there, we could do an entire series. I think it’s important what when you know how you want your customers to feel that is intrinsically connected to you understanding them in the first place. So I encourage people at the top of the year, do a do a check in, you know, do we checkup call it a health checkup, whatever. I had a somebody that I worked with at Lewis and company years ago, and he was really good. He was the VP of marketing. And we worked with him for a long time. And he did a health checkup every year and I said, Well, what do you mean, what do you do? He goes, I go out and I ride with my salespeople. And I go to customers, and I make sure I take a ride with every single salesperson. And he’s like, yeah, it’s a lot of work. But he said it’s so important because I like to check in with them with customers. And I think it’s a great time of year. here to say, how are you? What’s what’s important for you this year? You’re not trying to sell them anything. You’re not trying to bother them. It’s like, Hey, man, you know, just call them up, say, do you have five minutes, I just wanted to check in and let you know, I appreciate you. And I want to be of really, I want to be of service to you this year in a bigger way. So to do that, I need to understand what’s happening in your life. Nice. It’s just like, again, it fills me with joy, like to do that, and really understand who they are and what’s important to them today, because it’s going to change and it’s probably different than it was six months ago. Yeah,

Curt Anderson 35:44
absolutely. Hey, we’ve got another we got a nice comment from Paula. Paula, Happy New Year to you. One of my favorite sayings is people don’t care how much you know, until they know how much you care and support right there. That’s a drop the mic looking for your newsletter. You are funny and inspirational. You are a good judge of character. Paula, thank you for joining us. So again, guys, go to fillip marketing, subscribe to Allison’s newsletter. You will thank us later. It is absolutely amazing. Alison, let’s chime in to number four. What’s the number four tip to really slay your your goals for the dragon?

Allison DeFord 36:21
I like to use analogies and illustrations like being a designer. First and foremost, that’s how my brain works. And so I always see things in like illustrations and a number of years ago, it hit me. How many customers? Do you really need this year? How many new customers? Most manufacturers I talked to small, let’s say small. I’m like, do you need 100? And they’re like, oh, no, we can never handle that much. We’re already really busy. And I go okay, do you need 50? And they’re like, no. It’s usually like a handful. Right? If you gotta have three, write three to five new, really good accounts. You’d be set. You’d be able to be of service, you would your capacity would be in line. You could always grow that a little bit. But so I started thinking, why do we cast and I did a cut. I did a blog post about this years ago after maybe I’ll bring this up in this Sunday’s WT MFG. But I always thought of Forrest Gump. Right when he was out on the shrimp boat. And he threw out the wide net. And he threw it out and he threw it out in the cat, he would drag in everything under the sun, a freaking toilet seat lid, moods, right, all kinds of shit. And I thought, why do we keep telling people to do that when it’s not necessary, you’d be better off if you run around with a butterfly net. Think about that. And then get very specific, not just any butterfly, I’m looking for the monarch. I’m looking for the monarch butterfly. And that’s what I’m doing. So now, it got just got so much easier. For me. This gives me chills, it’s really true. This just got so much easier for me as a company or a marketer to market a content for that monarch. I’m not creating content for every butterfly, all over the world. That’s overwhelming. That’s then you try to kitchen sink it Oh, well. Did I get enough in here for this kind of butterfly and this kind of? Did I in my to corporate? Am I too friendly? Stop? Like, write to the monarch. Create a video for the monarch. put stuff in your newsletter every two weeks for the monarch, which is what I do. I always think like Warren Buffett, you know how he writes his annual letter and he writes to his sister, Doris. And I love that. So every week or every two weeks when I write that newsletter, I’m writing it too. And she’ll be embarrassed if she’s on the call, but I’ll write it to Valerie Weber.

Curt Anderson 39:10
Val Weber. Man, she’s right here in my heart a lot. I knew you’re gonna say Vail to. I

Allison DeFord 39:16
do and I think what would help Valerie, what would help to equip her, inspire her? educate her make her laugh. What would this do this for her? And what are some things I can give her that she could take today and put into play tomorrow? She could start using this right now. So that’s what I try to do in every single newsletter is you can you have steps and an example of maybe somebody else and what they’re doing and I think that’s inspirational. So think that’s very important, like think monarch butterfly net, not the Forrest Gump shrimp bow net, where you’re trying to attract everybody because it’s awesome. It’s exhausting. Damon,

Curt Anderson 40:06
our first moment of silence for 2024. Not even a drop the mic. That was a moment of silence right there, Alison. So guys, let’s just recap that be the monarch, the monarch butterfly net. That is such brilliant advice, absolute love that and how many cuts? You know, unless you’re a retailer or you know, coffee shop or whatever, where you need those 1000s Hundreds, you know, whatever customers, you’re hitting it right on the head, how many you know, you could be an accountant, you could be, you know, marketers, you could be manufacturers, there’s so many businesses where, if I got a handful, you know, 10 would be like a homerun. And if you just laser focus, and when you write that newsletter, right, it’s avail I just, man, that couldn’t be better advice.

Allison DeFord 41:00
Yep, it really lifts the load. It really does. lifts the load. Yeah. Because then I’m just trying to talk to someone. Right? I’m not trying to. I’m not trying to sell her anything. I’m trying to demonstrate thought leadership. I’m trying to demonstrate giving and being of service. I just I don’t know. And I think I wonder sometimes if that’s my downfall with felt is that I think sometimes the Superfriends have pointed out, you don’t ask enough, you don’t put a call to action and ask for what you really want at the end. And I’m like, think about that. Maybe that’s why I should start doing that more. Right. It’s like, I do it at the end of every blog post. So I’m really good about that. But I think I I’m just such a fan. And I know you guys are like this as well. We’re generous with our time. We demonstrate upfront that you can trust us that we’re friendly, that we’re knowledgeable and we’re going to be of service before we sell. So I will probably never stop doing that because I really believe in it. Well,

Curt Anderson 42:15
I love you know serve before selling that’s a great line right there. Ray says love our house and helps business leaders center their own emotional life balance. I’ll bring in heart and humanity to the brand. Thank you Ray what a highlight of 2023 For me, I got to meet Raisa Gatto in person. I know. That’s awesome. Man that was so that was so good. So alright, let’s Elson, let’s start taking it home. I know like you are busy Wonder Woman saving lives on a daily basis. Let’s start. We’ll start taking it home. Okay, so just a recap again, guys. You want to hit the replay button. This was just Yeah, it’s gold every year as we kick off the new year with Allison repeat offender here on our show too many times account. Alison, what any other tips or tricks of the trade that you want to share to help folks crush their goals for 2024?

Allison DeFord 43:07
I may have one more thing on the grill. Let me check. I do. All right. Ready? This has been this has been on for a while. And it’s been it’s been smoking. And it’s ready. So I would encourage people to think about building a better system. Make sales easier. And this means somebody is thinking like okay, what does she mean, right now? What does that mean? So how many of us have We have a website? Is it up to snuff? Should we be should we be making some changes so that it’s easier for our potential and current customers to consume, to navigate? Or their calls to action everywhere? So they know what’s next? Are we guiding them? You’ve got that you probably got social media. You’re on social media, right? Do you have any kind of a strategy that connects all of these things? Are you talking about? Like, I’ll just give a simple system and everybody could could use this on their own with or without a marketer. Okay. Create long form content and then put it turn it into, you know, 15 to 30 different conversations. That’s a system. So what do I mean by that? Take WT MFG, for example. So we take the newsletter, you write the newsletter, twice a month. It’s only twice a month. It’s not every Hey, okay, I don’t want to overwhelm people, they’ve got enough going on in their inbox. So I’d like to be respectful to show up twice a month, as scheduled, then take the information from that, and turn it into a blog post that you put on your website. So now you’ve got it in two places, and you want to adjust it right, because of blog posts, you’re not going to say like, Hey, Trailblazer, you know, we take that stuff out, and then put a call to action at the end, then you take, you could literally take 10 different things from that blog post, and turn those into social media posts. You can then take, you know, you see where I’m going with this. So the whole point is think big piece of information, and then break it down. And utilize it everywhere. And then think about your auto responder on, which we’re working on right now to improve it. auto responder for when someone signs up for your newsletter? What are you sending them? A lot of people are going to say, we don’t send anything shit, what should we be sending? It’s like, send a thank you. But then what else? What’s next? What’s in it for them? Then if you set up a series, so maybe every two weeks, they’re going to hear from you for the next six weeks? And what are you doing? Are you trying to sell them your widgets? No, you are not. You are giving them something that will equip, inspire, help them make sales easier with their customers. So be of service and then have the call to action at the end, you know, you’re there to support them if they need it. And oh, and there’s this other resource if you haven’t, here’s, you know, like we created guides. So we have a strategy, marketing strategy guide, social media guide, trade show guide, content guide, those guides are on our LinkedIn page. There. Also, we mentioned them in all these different kinds of pieces. So they’re everywhere for you. And they’re free. You could use them on your own and never hire us. So demonstrating building this system, so that it’s working while you and your sales people or person because again, you may be really small and have one salesperson, it’s working while you’re sleeping. I love that you’re making money while you’re sleeping is there some download? Right? We’re working on that as well, and you download that people can purchase. So you’ve got free content, you’ve got purchased content, people are buying that. Maybe it’s a digital course. That’s what I’m working on right now is a digital course. So you can help yourself Self Serve. And you can just purchase it and go. And I’m asleep on the beach in Hawaii. putting that out there to the universe. So

Curt Anderson 48:15
Sunday, suppose God will you please. So yeah, we’ll have you on the live show when you get us on your live show when? When you’re at the beach.

Allison DeFord 48:21
Yes, I will do that. I will do that. But it’s true. So building that system and if anybody has any questions like they can put it in the in the chat we can answer but I think that’s the thing I see missing usually is that there is no system and it doesn’t have to be big and complex. But you can’t you know you’re missing so much opportunity. If all you’ve got is a website and a brochure and a tradeshow booth it looks like everybody else’s you’re not reaching out to people before during and after the trade show. Just this is simple strategy, folks. But it’s it’s really doable and it’ll make a massive difference. And

Curt Anderson 49:02
Allison if for folks out there that are at a trade show they have a booth by chance do you recommend should somebody be standing in the booth when they’re asking for a friend? I’m just curious.

Allison DeFord 49:14
And I thought about this okay. It’s funny how things come back to bite you in the in the ass?

Damon Pistulka 49:21
Yes, it is.

Allison DeFord 49:22
That’s how that’s how Kurt and I met was I did a post about a tradeshow booth. It was beautiful. And there was nobody in it. And it was like high traffic time. And I honest to God was not trying to be mean or because I’m just not like that. But it just struck me I thought, How come there’s nobody in there and it was for quite a while. But there was nothing there for me to do without them. So recently, I was at a trade show for the foundation that I’m executive director for part time And I was the only one at the show. And let’s just say I experienced some intestinal issues, and I had to leave the booth. And all I could think of Well, I was in the bathroom, I was like, son of a bitch. I thought, you know, be careful what you do. I’m not kidding, it’s gonna bite you in the ass. But what I learned is you make sure that there are things there. So see, I’ve evolved my thinking, and based on my own experience, is have a QR code. That’s someplace right for somebody if they want to get more information, have the giveaways, have some things out for them have like a do a quiz for this particular in this booth, a quiz so you can self serve and like see how much you know about the industry. It’s on an iPad on a little stamp, have some things available? So that in case you are indisposed for any amount of time, and no one’s in your booth, you

Curt Anderson 51:10
did you and you can even have a cutout of yourself or like with AI you know, like, who knows what’s possible these days? I’ll be right back. That is My cheeks hurt right now. That is absolutely hysterical. That is so funny. Oh, yeah.

Damon Pistulka 51:27
Oh my god,

Curt Anderson 51:29
I cannot believe that, that

Allison DeFord 51:31
I wasn’t even going to share that. And that just came out of nowhere. But it was

Curt Anderson 51:33
like, I just came out on live life. To be

Allison DeFord 51:37
very vulnerable. I set an intention before this, this live and I said, I want to be of service. I want to bring massive value and I want to be vulnerable.

Curt Anderson 51:49
Thank you. Hey, you’re vulnerable as always, and you know what Allison is winding down. Man if we could go for like four hours. Okay. I you know, you probably you’d love when I do this. I do this. I think almost every time I think last last year, I decided not to do it. I’m going to do it. Yeah. David. Are you sitting down? Are you ready? That good? Okay, I’m gonna read a little quote by my friend Allison Nelson. You know, my favorite quote, right?

I do.

Curt Anderson 52:15
So here’s a quote that was i You guys ready? Is everybody sitting down for this one ready for this? Okay. staying relevant and profitable today. And this was written five years ago. Allison, can you believe that dude, we’ve been friends that long like this is staying relevant and profitable today requires three things continuous self disruption, reorganization and strategic communications. Continuously innovating and keeping pace with how customers search, purchase and share to avoid falling. Yeah, to avoid falling into the the abyss of mediocrity, or God forbid extinction. manufacturers must must do something they’ve always resisted in the past. Drop the mic that was written by Allison afford I think it was like five or six years ago. I shamelessly stole it. But in my mom’s favorite book, so Elson, I love that quote is absolutely timeless when we’re when we’re in our 80s and when we still reenact both together on our live show, Damon so we’ll also be here we’re not going to work. Yeah, Allison. All right. Word of takeaways we’ve got we’re talking about stop trap review. Stop your resolutions. How do you want to make your customer feel the butterfly the monarch butterfly net? If guys, if you missed that,

Damon Pistulka 53:36
please go back and hit that when you’re the whole thing. But you

Curt Anderson 53:39
definitely want to catch the monarch butterfly net. Elson your Word of the Year as vibrant. Take us home any parting thoughts, words of wisdom that you want to share with everybody? Today’s we kick off the new year?

Allison DeFord 53:51
Yes, sir. You know, I’ve got something, something else to say. In case you had asked, What’s the greatest lesson you learned in 2023? Because I think that’s really important, right? What was the major break to the head and mine will matter to people listening or watching this. I hope because it ties into again that personal and business. It’s everything that happens is for my benefit. Let that sink in for a sec. Everything that happens is for your benefit. So if you are I’m telling you this mindset shift will change your entire life and your business. Because I had two accounts at the end of the year that said oh we’re in like we were let’s go and sizable like these They’re gonna be really good accounts. And I was very excited. They’re ideal fit. All the boxes were checked. And then they just kind of went silent. For the last two months of the year, I kept, you know, kept reaching out, kept giving. And I had a big website project that also had to be pushed off by the client until January. And what I realized is years ago, I would have been freaking out. Why didn’t they say yes yet? Why didn’t they sign the proposal? Oh, my God, we’re, you know, we’ve got receivables. And we’ve got into the year stuff. And we and I would have gotten myself all worked up, what did we do wrong? And and just spent way too much energy? Why didn’t these things happen? Like I thought they would. And what I figured out and this is, this is just one small part of this whole lesson. This is just an example. Those folks not saying yes, yet gave me the time that I needed to travel, to spend with my mom for a week of Thanksgiving and really be present. Even my sister was there, she noticed she goes, you always work when you’re here. And she goes, I haven’t, I’ve seen you open your laptop once for like 20 minutes. And I said, I know I set an intention. And I had the time to do it. And same thing with it was all for my benefit. So I think if we can, and it’s a mindset shift that some people are gonna go, she talking about that stupid, you know, that’s new age, that’s woowoo. If just think about it, if something’s not going your way, same thing with my divorce. Same thing with you know, fill in the blank. Everything that happens is for your benefit. And if you look at it that way, it changes everything. So I’ll leave you with that.

Curt Anderson 57:07
We love you. We absolutely adore you. We worship you. We love you. And man. Oh, my gosh, Damon. Yep, we might not be able to have another show after this one. We’re gonna have another show this year after after dropping that.

Damon Pistulka 57:24
True. I’ll tell you it’s true. John, my buddy.

Curt Anderson 57:28
I’ve been in a similar position have come to understand how this change in mindset can alter your view on life. Thank you, JB appreciate your brother. Great chatting with you this morning. Allison, thank you. We appreciate you. We applaud you. We commend you, we worship you. We love you. Thank you for sharing your passion, your energy, your brilliance, your expertise, your beauty, just everything that you everything that you represent, is we we just thank you. That’s all I can say state Yeah, Amen. All right, guys. Let’s do this. All right. 2024 Allison’s word is vibrant. Go out there and be vibrant. Yep. Man, go out and just be someone’s inspiration. Just like this amazing young lady was today for us and does every day. Fall Allison on LinkedIn, go to thought You I encourage you invite you want me to plead with you do yourself a favor, sign up for Allison’s newsletter. You will thank us later, guys. Just have a great, amazing, incredible weekend. And we’re going to have a great 2020 for Daymond. Take it away brother.

Damon Pistulka 58:30
Oh, man, Kurt, how could we top this show? We’re going to have to work our butts off to get better than this. And I think we’re still going to fall short. But Alison, thanks so much for being here today. Just tons of value. And just heartfelt love that you’re you share your time with us and share, share what you do is thank you so much. I really want to encourage everyone that was listening. Thanks so much for the comments. Thanks for those that people that are just out there listening and you know, you’re doing what you’re doing. You’re taking your time to spend with us every day when we’re on. It’s awesome. Wind this thing back to the beginning. If you haven’t, start from the beginning, go through because if you’re thinking about your marketing, if you’re thinking about how you really want to connect with those customers on a level that shows them who you really want to be go back and think of this and then get in touch with Allison, but or today. We’re over with the manufacturing ecommerce success. We’re winding this thing down but we will be back again next week. Why don’t we Kurt? We’re

Curt Anderson 59:36
here on Monday, dude, we’re here on Monday. Guess who our guest is? You are. Hi guys have join us on Monday. We’ll see you next week. You bet.

Allison DeFord 59:48
Everybody. Appreciate you

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