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Another week of Grow Live, another exciting guest! Today, Matt is joined by Joe Thompson, a creative and agile Marketing Manager here at Spinstak. The pair discusses the best way to really know who you’re selling to, as well as how to determine your customers’ peak buying times. Don’t miss out on their tips and insight. Press play, and start creating engaging campaigns and strategies your customers will love.

Watch, listen or read now and learn more about:
  • How to determine when your buyers are most likely to engage.
  • What it means to identify your “seasons.”
  • How identifying your “seasons” helps you discover your buyer personas.
  • The major things you’ll gain from incorporating seasonal campaigns.
  • The importance of proactivity when it comes to Co-Op dollars.

“It’s not too late to start planning your seasonal campaigns for 2018,” Matt Johnson, CMO & Managing Partner at Spinstak.

Check out these additional resources:


Today’s call to action:  Reach out to us if you need help building a seasonal campaign or identifying your buyer personas. We’re more than happy to help! Go to www.spinstak.com or call us at 866-270-0810.

Have you tried using seasonal campaigns? Share your experiences and win some Spinstak swag!

Don’t miss next week’s follow up show! Watch the show to learn how to use “the Cloud” to better your business.  

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Read the Grow Live transcript... 

 

Matt:

On this week's episode of Grow Live we're going to talk about how to plan, launch, and execute seasonal campaigns. Are you planning a seasonal campaign? Tell us about it in the comments below. Brrr. It's getting cold in here.

 

Hey everybody. Welcome back to Grow Live. I'm your host, Matt Johnson, and today I'm joined with a special guest marketing manager, Joe Thompson.

Joe:

How's it going?

Matt:

Welcome to the show, Joe.

Joe:

Hey, thanks for having me.

Matt:

We're excited about today's episode. Joe's a real life marketing manager and obviously specializing in industrial wholesale distribution helps a lot of clients of ours here at Spinstak manage their campaigns. And today it's especially relevant because we're going to be talking about seasonal campaigns. This is an important concept for you to master, especially if you are an industrial distributor. And so today we're going to be talking all about how to plan a seasonal campaign, how to execute it, and how to reap the benefits of a seasonal campaign. It's not too late to start planning your seasonal campaigns for 2018 and so our goal today is to help you do that.

 

So, before we get started, Joe, I just wanted to remind our viewers and listeners out there where they can find the show. We have this thing in a bunch of different formats. No matter how you like to consume content, we're there likely. So, you can catch us obviously right here on Facebook Live. Our videos are always available after the fact as well if you want to come back and watch them there. We also have a YouTube channel where you can watch us in glorious HD and you'll see the different camera angles. Hi camera three. Hi camera two. That's how we do it on the YouTube show. And if you are a listener, if you have those earbuds in like me nonstop, you can catch us at our podcast. So, you can subscribe on whatever podcast catcher you're using. Just type in Grow Live and you'll find us. We also have the show notes all available on the website in case you want to go read through those in addition to some helpful links that you will have there as well. So, please use those methods to listen to the show back later.

 

And also, we would appreciate it if you engaged with us. We like conversations. We really appreciate it when you post your comments below either in the Facebook Live video or on YouTube or on our blog. We'd be happy to answer any questions. Also, if you have any ideas, if you've been through seasonal campaigns, if you have some experience under your belt, we'd love to hear from you. Tell us how that went. Share your campaigns and let's talk about it. If you do that we might just send you some free swag.

 

All right. So, Joe, you ready to jump into this today?

Joe:

Sure. Let's do it.

Matt:

So, how do you, or how do clients, prepare for seasonality?

Joe:

Well, typically a client will want to do is identify certain things that might help them plan their seasonal campaign. Typically, you'd want to go into your ERP and start pulling sales reports and looking at any kind of data that you can. Which products at certain times of the year are spiking in sales and if they are relating to specific times of the year you can start putting two and two together and just gives you more of a strategic approach to it as opposed to just saying, "Oh, the summer's coming up. Let's start pushing things that we think are summer items." Let's actually look at the numbers first and put together a strategy behind that.

 

And then from there you can start identifying the results you want to actually see coming from that campaign. These will be your smart goals. That's always a good place to start there. You don't want to just dive into something without having an end result in mind. And then after that, something that's probably the most important thing and that might get neglected is, when you put together your campaign figuring out who's your target persona and gearing it towards that. And from there I think, Matt, maybe you can talk a little bit more on personas and exactly where they tie in to the whole campaign.

Matt:

Yeah. I love what you said about looking at the data to drive the decision about what type of products you're going to promote in a seasonal campaign. Something that might seem obvious, but I would guess a lot of people make assumptions about which products are selling and letting the data drive that is certainly important. When it comes to personas, Joe, I mean we talk a lot about personas here. It's very important to have your ideal persona clearly identified. And by the way, when you go through that research process, I think you might even be able to find some tasty tidbits of information that are going to be helpful when you're writing your persona.

 

Now just in case anybody out there is not familiar with that, the idea of a buyer persona is that it's a semi-fictional representation of your ideal customer, so it needs to be broad enough where it covers a range of different types of customers, industries, company types. But typically job title, demographics, these are something that you are really going to want to hone in on so that ... And you can identify buying behavior and making sure that that's clearly identified and communicated with your marketing team because when you're creating content and you are writing emails and building out webpages and developing articles for your customer, you really should have it targeted. It shouldn't be all over the place. So, buyer personas is very important to having a successful seasonal campaign. And like I said, you're probably going to find that a buyer persona may be more seasonal than another type of buyer persona.

 

So every company has like three to five buyer personas typically and what you're going to find is that that seasonal buyer may make buying decisions differently than a non-seasonal buyer and also remember that not every company works outdoors so the seasons don't apply to some companies like they do to others. So that's an important thing to keep in mind. Most companies have some idea of who their ideal customers are, but very few actually take the time to document what that looks like, right?

 

So, that being said, Joe, why don't you tell us a little about your experience working with seasonal campaigns and if you have any tidbits of information you'd like to share there.

Joe:

Okay. I've done probably a couple of different seasonal campaigns. Obviously if you are an industrial supplier or distributor you know that the biggest ones are always going to be winter and summer. Obviously because PPE and equipment and gear and whatnot, all of that changes based on the weather outside. You're not going to wear the same clothes or use the same equipment that you might use in the winter as you would the summer obviously. And so I've done some summer campaigns before and we're actually in the process of putting together one right now for another one of my clients. And the things to keep in mind, like what you said earlier, the buyer persona is so important. Not only the fact of what industry they're in or whether or not they are a seasonal buyer or not, but also just exactly like who's making the decisions for that specific company if you're mainly used to dealing with a site manager or are you working with the end user, the person that's actually going to be wearing the equipment. And then you can start catering your content towards those specific people.

 

Also, a thing to keep in mind, this is something we're working with, with one of my specific clients is, you might not necessarily have the biggest reach. Your specific audience might be more localized in your state or area in the country and so you want to obviously think about those specific things and be a little more specific with your content. If you're doing a campaign and it's based in the summer and you're doing some sort of heat stress or looking at products that help you prevent heat stress, maybe you should say specifically, heat stress in your area and what's unique about that because then the people in your specific demographic will be looking and looking to you because you're talking about their specific problem. And that's something that we're looking to do with one of the campaigns I'm working on now.

 

And another thing that's super important is to try to get ahead of the ball, ahead of everybody else. Because as you are probably aware, everybody wants to jump on heat stress and summer campaigns when the summer comes around. That's a big selling point. Everybody wants to start doing something because it's a big problem. And so I've always advised that you plan ahead and try to get your content rolling out sooner than later. You don't want to be the guy that's producing or sending out emails about heat stress at the end of September. You want to start talking about it, in my opinion, you should be doing it in spring before the summer even starts so that you have all that content ready, built out, and created and ready to go for your prospects. And it will help your sales team to have ammunition and you'd be able to work together and already have that stuff laid out.

 

And so it can be hard, especially because you want to be relevant to the time right now. Like my specific client, it's snowing where they are right now. I had my client tell me the other day they missed a meeting because they were snowed in and that's something we're not used to because we live in Florida. Every single week we have the lawn mower guy go by the window in the middle of the Grow Live show. And some people don't even know what grass looks like at this time of the year. And so we're a little blessed to have that, but some people it's just hard to imagine trying to prepare for summer when it's still snowing outside, but it's worth it to have the content ready and ready to roll.

 

And as far as the planning stage, we like to stick to typically a four-step process with our clients and the way we put together things, our campaigns. Step one would be exploring. This is the brain storming time. This is the time to start looking at your reports ahead of time. Like we said earlier, pulling out those products, figuring out what's your angle. Then from there, we want to communicate that with our team and obviously get any kind of feedback we possible can and make sure that we're all on the same page. And from there it's the execution time. This is where we're rolling in to creating those blogs, those emails, social posts, social ads, whatever those things may be and getting them prepped and ready to go. And then from there you start getting towards the analyzing as those things are coming out. Constantly analyzing and seeing what you can tweak, what you can change. Like we said earlier, getting that feedback, always asking your sales team, "How's it going? What can I do for you? How can we change?" Adapting yourself based off the numbers. And that's something that a lot of people struggle with is being able to adapt, whatever, halfway through or changing or testing things.

 

So, those are the setups that we try to stick to and from what I've experienced it's been pretty successful so far. So, Matt, my question to you. What are some of the benefits you've seen our clients receive from seasonal campaigns and targeting them specifically to buyer personas?

Matt:

Right. Well, thanks for sharing that, Joe. That's really good information. The benefits here, guys, can be huge and I think that kind of goes without saying, but your outdoor buyers by necessity think seasonally and just like you would if you were Kohl's or if you were ... what's another? Sears or one of the big outlet stores. They have to think seasonally. It's a very important part anytime you're dealing with things people are wearing. So, in the safety industry in particular, and of course we do a lot of work in the safety industry, seasonality is critical and you have to just think that way because your buyers are thinking that way. But it also provides an opportunity for fresh content. So, this is you being able to switch up the message, create a different angle like you talked about, and having new content regularly updated on your blog, on your social pages, in your emails. You need to be talking about something different on a regular basis or else the message is going to get stale and people are going to tune you out.

 

So, obviously your outdoor buyers are going to be looking for those products, but here's the deal, they're not always ready. They're not always thinking ahead like you may be thinking ahead. So, they need to be reminded sometimes that, oh, it's time to buy those seasonal PPE equipment because the time is coming and I need to get it ordered. So, having that content ready ahead of time, like you said, when the season starts to hit or even before the season. Realistically you would actually want your campaign to be ready and launched before the season starts to change so you can get in the heads of buyers. Remind them, "Oh, I've got to get that stuff. The season's coming up."

 

So, those are some benefits if timed correctly you can see a significant increase in sales. If you do this thing right seasonal campaigns can drive a good portion of your business growth with existing clients as well as giving you incentives for attracting new business.

 

So, Joe, how do you communicate and plan this campaign for your internal team or your sales team or your boss?

Joe:

Well, let's break it down. We'll get a little more granular here. Like I said earlier, we start with a brainstorming session. This is where you gather around like a whiteboard and identify those goals. Once you know what you're trying to achieve, that's when you can really start understanding like, it's a lot easier to brainstorm and just circle the wagons forever, but if you have a specific goal in mind, the brainstorming session can be a lot quicker, which is something we've experienced here. I think once we know the goal, those brainstorming meetings and the strategy or planning can happen a lot quicker because you know what your end result is.

 

From there, you want to actually put it out into a calendar. This can be challenging because it's hard and it's a pain to stick to the calendar, but it's so important and it's something that we're always learning or always adapting and creating new ways to communicate and identify how the calendar should be laid out. But I challenge you guys to use the tools that are available to you. One thing we love to use is Google Sheets. If you're not aware what that is, it's Google's version of Microsoft PowerPoint. It's very collaborative and-

Matt:

It's Excel.

Joe:

-hop in. Or, yeah, sorry. Excel, not PowerPoint. Sorry.

Matt:

They do have the PowerPoint version.

Joe:

They do have a PowerPoint version. Google has a bunch of different versions of those kind of things. They're all cloud based so multiple users can jump in at one time and collaborate with one another without having to download the file and re-upload it. It's all very intuitive for you to jump in. So, I would advise building out a calendar in Google Sheets and put in those important deliverables and due dates, meetings, anything into there and share it with your team so everyone's always on one page understanding what's happening and when those things are launching.

 

Like I said earlier, scheduling those deliverables, milestone dates, meetings, etc. It's huge. It's super important. Once you have that calendar ready, we put the whole thing together in what we call a slide deck. That's where the Google Slides things come in. Power Point presentation. Something that you can present to, whether it's your boss, for us, we're typically sharing it with our client. We understand that you guys might not be working with a client, you're working with your boss or whoever the decision-maker that would give you the green light to do this. You'd essentially in that slide deck, you'd identify those goals. Identify your strategy, identify those due dates and everything you're going to be doing in an easy to understand and easy to relate way and obviously the end-goals to get the green light to go ahead and launch this thing.

 

Also, this is a great time to get feedback. You don't want to ever, I don't want to say put the feedback, or get this slide deck in front of your sales members or people that are key to understanding what's going on and be able to get that feedback before you even pitch anything because you don't ever want anyone to be completely out of the loop or you don't ever want to get the thumbs down from the boss because something didn't pop up in your mind. We understand that we're not sales guys, well I'm not a sales guy, he's a sales guy. I don't always know what the client specifically ... You guys, the sales members, are the ones out there in the field. Boots on the ground talking to, and they know the specifics of what your clients or prospects need. And so it's always good to have their feedback involved in this whole situation and inside the campaign and the strategy.

 

And another thing that's super important, it comes into play with the slide deck and also how you present and putting everything, packaging everything. It's a great opportunity for you while you're still in the planning stage to start thinking about co-ops, because this is an opportunity for you to get some of your vendors or specific supplier partners involved. I know we've talked about this a little in the past, but maybe, Matt, you could expand on this. Co-ops.

Matt:

Yeah, yeah.

Joe:

Talk to me about it.

Matt:

Co-ops. Yeah, the mysterious co-op dollar. Remember we talked about this in a previous episode. We'll link to that in the show notes where we went into co-op extensively. But presenting the campaign in a cohesive way to your internal team as a part of getting buy-in, just the same way you would do that, Joe, is the same way you would do that with your vendors. So, identifying a few vendors that you like to work with, sharing the campaign with them saying, "Here's what we're planning on doing. We're going to run a seasonal campaign. How can you participate with us?" And oftentimes that comes in the form of dollars they'll actually contribute to the campaign to offset the cost. It also may look like samples. So, oftentimes they'll allow you to give away samples of the product as well.

 

So, there's lots of different ways you can partner with your co-op or partner with your supplier, your vendors, in a co-op program and that's why I think having it communicated well, that's the difference between getting that quick buy-in from your vendors and not. So, that's why I think the communication part is so important.

Joe:

And I know you have a lot of say, or you essentially drive a lot of the strategy that we put together for our clients here and obviously for our own marketing efforts for Spinstak. What are some of the specific tactics that you would recommend for our clients and our viewers to use?

Matt:

All right. So, guys, I'm going to run through this quickly because I am running out of time.

Joe:

Lightning round.

Matt:

This is the lightning round. I'm going to give you a lot of ideas in a short amount of time, so bear with me, but there's a lot that can go into a successful campaign. So, first and foremost I want to make sure that you are covering your bases by having PPC, social, email, and content marketing all on your mind when you go into the strategy meeting. So, when you're building out your campaign strategy make sure that you are hitting those key bases.

 

Next, I highly recommend you spend some time merchandising. This is the neglected sport of marketing and sales. This is the thing that most people don't want to do because it's boring and it sucks, but it involves Excel spreadsheets. It involves pulling data reports, sales reports. This is you spending the time to identify what those top sellers are, what products you want to focus on in this campaign, and taking those products and getting them put into the form of either a seasonal flyer, a brochure, these could be printed pieces, but most definitely you want these products to be created and easily found on your e-commerce website. So, sometimes this looks like creating a seasonal featured landing page or a seasonal category on your e-commerce site where people can browse those products easily.

 

From there, Joe, I really like the idea of creating a PDF download like the brochure, if you create the printed brochure, having that as a downloadable content piece. An eBook, a checklist, a quiz. There's lots of different ways you can create what's called a lead magnet. This is something that you can host on a landing page on your site or on that seasonal page and you're basically creating an additional resource for your buyer who may not be quite ready to buy, but maybe they're planning on it or maybe they're in the consideration stage or the awareness stage or the buyer's journey. This is a place where they can enter their contact information. We'll collect that contact information and then we can start marketing our seasonal campaign to them, right?

 

I also, guys, I like the idea of offering a discount code for seasonal products. Free shipping or incentives like that that encourage your customers to buy now. Remember this is oftentimes a situation where they're having to get things immediately. They don't have time to run through an old-fashioned sales process where they have to talk to a sales rep. They need to have an incentive to go ahead and browse products on the website and checkout immediately.

 

All right. So, free shipping, discount code, all of that stuff. Guys, it all really only makes sense if you also tie it into an automated drip campaign. So, using marketing automation you can do emails that will systematically hit your customers and your prospects over time and will encourage them to come back to the website, back to that landing page, back to the e-commerce site, and shop and checkout.

 

Okay. So, that's what I would recommend especially if you are a distributor. A lot of this is really geared toward distributors and retailers. One last thing, Joe. I can't emphasize this enough. I've been spending time with Gary V. Just joking. I only spent like one night with him. But, guys, I can't emphasize this enough. Yeah, that sounded weird didn't it?

Joe:

Yeah. One night in a bar.

Matt:

Oh my God. No, we just had drinks, man. That's all that happened. But, I can't emphasize this one enough. Facebook ads and having your social ads up to speed. Guys, if you're not doing this, you've got to be doing this. Why are you going to run a campaign today if you're not putting together social advertising? So, make sure that you have a nice little budget set aside for Facebook ads. PPC obviously still a big player in the decision stage of the buyer's journey. Want to make sure you're identifying any seasonal products on Google that people are searching for. Consider putting out PPC, although guys, those are expensive. They are getting more and more expensive. Facebook is the huge value out there right now. So, having an audience built that is a look alike audience to your ideal buyer persona. Again, that's where the buyer persona comes in again. But having that audience built out. Making sure you're utilizing the Pixel, Facebook Pixel, so that people that do come to that seasonal page, that do come to your website, can be re-targeted with an ad to get them to come back and checkout.

 

80% of your customers, I don't care if you are a B to B industrial company and you don't think that any of your customers use Facebook, 80%, the statistics don't lie, that 80% of your customers are on Facebook at least one hour every day because that's American. If your customers are American, they're on Facebook. You need to have a presence there and I guess that's where I would just kind of wrap it up, Joe, and as we talk about putting a bow on this and we talk about that process, going back to that process to execute or, excuse me, explore, advise, execute, and the last step, Joe, is what?

Joe:

Analyze. This is something I've said it twice now, I'll say it again. One of the most important things you can do when the campaign is launched and while it's launched, it's not just send it out the door and let it go, you want to continue monitoring it and seeing what's working and what isn't and this is why I stress so much saying, reach out to your sales team. See what they're getting, what's their feedback from the prospects or your customers, and see what's working and if you guys need ... And this allows you if you need to, to make those changes on the fly so you can, in the long run, or hopefully in the short run, get better results.

 

And I actually advise you to put together “smarketing” meetings where you have your sales team and your marketing team together in the same room like at least once a month at minimum. I'd obviously prefer it more often than whatever, but it's up to you guys.

Matt:

Weekly. Weekly would be great, but once a month is a start. Because most sales and marketing teams are not talking to each other are they?

Joe:

I guess not. But yeah, get them in the same room and really evaluate what's going on and build a smart campaign and like I said, it helps you to be able to be more flexible what your efforts are, what your strategies are, and be able to make those changes as you see them come up. But yeah, with that I think that's for the most part all you really need to know. Obviously we'll put out more information about that. But, Matt, what can our marketers or audience do to learn a bit more about these seasonal campaigns?

Matt:

So guys, if you do need help building a seasonal campaign or if you are in the process of figuring out how you are actually going to do this, you can definitely go check out the blog at Spinstak.com, lots of great resources there. The resource section as well has of course the Industrial Marketing 101, which covers a lot about what we talked about. So, the Industrial Marketing 101 is great content if you are looking to get better grasp on how to actually do the details of these seasonal campaigns. And also, if you need any help, hit us up at Spinstak.com. Schedule a consultation. We'll be happy to talk to you about how we can drive results and put together a tradigital marketing campaign that will help drive results for your business if you're in the industrial supply world. So, guys that's it for us today. Next week come back and join us. Renia, my co-host, will be back and she is going to talk about the cloud and what that means and why you should understand how to leverage it in your business. So, join us next week for that episode of Grow Live and, Joe, thank you so much for coming on today, man.

Joe:

Thank you. Thanks for having me.

Matt:

Thanks for sharing all that great information with the audience.

Joe:

My pleasure.

Matt:

Guys, it was great being with you. Have an awesome week. We'll see you next week on Grown Live. Peace.

Joe:

See you, guys.

Renia:

Hey everybody. Thanks for joining us. If you're just getting started with us on Grow Live, be sure to check out some of our favorite episodes in the show notes.

Matt:

And don't forget that you can see us live on Facebook every Wednesday at noon, or you can find us on YouTube and binge past episodes in full HD.

Renia:

If you found this helpful and you want to see more, leave us a review and we'll enter you for a chance to win some Grow Live swag. Thanks again, everybody.

 


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