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Zig When They Zag

Author: Jessica Scanlon and Kevin Ring

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Zig When They Zag is a podcast that encourages a growth mindset for business leaders. Hosts Jessica Scanlon and Kevin Ring discuss leadership, marketing, and sales topics that help small and middle-market businesses scale. Each episode equips listeners with new resources to help businesses move forward when they feel stagnant. Jessica Scanlon is the founder and CEO of Hot Dog Marketing, a marketing agency in Austin, TX that has served hundreds of growing service businesses in the last eight years. Jessica and her co-host Kevin, Hot Dog Marketing's Director of Strategy, interview each other and discuss topics that CEOs, Founders, and Operational leaders at organizations trying to achieve their next phase growth will find interesting, thoughtful, and inspiring.
17 Episodes
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What is a Brand?: Value PropositionWhat do customers value from your company?In this episode, Jessica Scanlon and Kevin Ring talk about the value proposition aspect of a company's brand. The value proposition is what the customer needs to be done and what your company does. A value proposition is not just meeting the needs of the customer, it's creating an experience.Knowing where you can deliver the most value helps you craft a marketing message that communicates that to your audience.Bridging the Communication GapKevin says marketing messaging is like taking care of household chores when living with someone else. We've all experienced where one person's definition of a chore being completed differs from the other person's. In business, owners may think they know and understand what the customer wants and values, but their audience interprets their messaging or value proposition differently.How to Know When Your Value Proposition Messaging is Off:Your sales team has to spend much time explaining your product or services to leads.Incoming leads aren't qualifiedToo many leads are turning away because they're initial understanding of your product or service was misalignedGet to Know Your CustomerThis can be difficult because customers will likely hold a bias when communicating directly with you. Bring in a third party to conduct surveys and interviews that provide genuine, helpful feedback.Bottom Line: Know What You Do For Your CustomerInstead of guessing and testing, smart marketing homes in on your specific audience with a compelling, specific message based on customer feedback.________________Hot Dog Marketing is a digital marketing agency in Round Rock, TX serving small and medium-sized businesses. We excel in delivering marketing strategy, digital marketing, website design and development, and outstanding customer service.To work with us, visit www.hotdogmarketing.net
Wondering how your brand is perceived?Trying to figure out what should be at the heart of your brand?In this episode, Jessica Scanlon and Kevin Ring talk about what branding truly is. Many business owners think branding simply means what their logo looks like, but there is much more to it than that.It's everything that your employees and customers come in contact with in regards to your company.When you have a clear idea of what you're trying to accomplish with that brand, you can make better decisions on product and marketing. The 5 Components of Branding:1. Purpose2. Value proposition3. Personality4. Branding5. Customer ExperienceKnow Where You're GoingHaving a brand goal to shoot for helps get everybody (including employees and customers) on the same track.Finding Your Purpose in BusinessJessica explains that "vocation" is when that thing you really enjoy dovetails with what the world needs from you. Your vocation has to be more than just what you like doing. In business, this means that what you're offering needs to be something that people are looking for.Be About What People Care AboutAs much as you may not want to believe it, you can't force someone to care about something.Instead, design your brand about what people already care about. Align with their vision for a better world. ________________Are you ready to get strategic marketing the helps your business reach its goals? Don't wait, contact Hot Dog Marketing to get started.https://www.hotdogmarketing.net Learn even more:Subscribe to our blog! http://bit.ly/2lculOXBe our friend! http://www.facebook.com/HotDogMarketingFollow us on Twitter! https://twitter.com/HotDogMarketingFollow us on Instagram! http://www.instagram.com/hotdog_marketing
Is Now the Right Time?Short answer: yes.In this episode, Jessica Scanlon and Kevin Ring talk about knowing when the right time is to make marketing moves. Kevin mentions a line that our marketing director at Hot Dog Marketing often uses with customers; that she can tell a customer exactly where they'll be and what they can expect if they implement the marketing plan and follow through on the steps in the given timeline.Many business owners don't know how long it will take for their marketing efforts to begin making returns. This uncertainty creates inaction.Why is Now the Right Time?Essential businesses still provide much-needed solutions, while on the other hand, disrupted industries such as hospitality offer a sense of return to normalcy for the population.Even with high unemployment rates, your customers still exist and still need their problems solved. Although, how you interact with customers and deliver your product or service will be different than in the past.Don't fall victim to the 3 I's of inactionIndecisionIncapacityIgnoranceWhy are you stuck?Do you feel overwhelmed? Are you blocked by an outside force? Do you have no idea what to do next? Asking yourself this question helps you identify the root causes keeping you from acting. ________________Hot Dog Marketing is a digital marketing agency in Round Rock, TX serving small and medium-sized businesses. We excel in delivering marketing strategy, digital marketing, website design and development, and outstanding customer service.To work with us, visit www.hotdogmarketing.net
Are you hesitant to engage in marketing campaigns during COVID-19?Do you know what the penalty for inaction is?Turns out, the cost of doing nothing can be really high.In this episode, Jessica Scanlon and Kevin Ring talk about what can happen to a business when there is so much change going on but the business owner chooses not to take any action in the midst of it.Recently, many business owners have become hesitant when making decisions about medium or large investments. This hesitation can turn into getting stuck and taking no action. Arguably, inaction is even riskier than any other feasible option.Key Takeaways:Action Yields InformationInaction Yields Negative Market ShareTurn It Up NowWhen competitors are pulling back their marketing resources, it creates a gap that you can fill to grab attention. Engaging with your customers through marketing gives you better insights and, thus, you can spend your future marketing dollars more wisely.According to a recent poll, business leaders are trending optimistic about the near future.While this optimism is a good sign, it doesn’t mean that business owners should rest on their laurels. The time to prepare for the future is now. Making smart investments through marketing lays a foundation for your brand to springboard off when the times change again.________________Hot Dog Marketing is a digital marketing agency in Round Rock, TX serving small and medium-sized businesses. We excel in delivering marketing strategy, digital marketing, website design and development, and outstanding customer service.To work with us, visit www.hotdogmarketing.net
Do you have an unsolvable marketing problem?Did you know a marketing agency could probably solve this issue?In this episode, Jessica Scanlon and Kevin Ring talk about why great business leaders, people who solve all sorts of problems, often get stuck on marketing.Kevin describes three reasons that get people stuck:Ignorance - Decision-makers are blocked by all of their unanswered questions.Indecision - An internal crisis prevents the decision-maker from taking the next step.Incapacitation - There is some external blocker preventing the decision-maker from having a full picture or following through with their decision.Many business owners don't have expertise in the supporting aspects of the business. Business owners know how to create the foundation value the business provides, but often don't know how to communicate that value to customers.How Business Owners Can WinAsk for helpDon't get frustrated with customer interactionsCustomers aren't out to get you________________Hot Dog Marketing is a digital marketing agency in Round Rock, TX serving small and medium-sized businesses. We excel in delivering marketing strategy, digital marketing, website design and development, and outstanding customer service.To work with us, visit www.hotdogmarketing.net
Do you think marketing is just creating content?Or do you think you need to know the solution before approaching an agency?In this episode, Jessica Scanlon and Kevin Ring discuss the misconceptions many clients have when they start working with Hot Dog Marketing. Many times this means not knowing what a strategic marketing agency provides or incorrectly thinking they already know what they need.Common Misconceptions:I need to solve all of my marketing problems before coming to an agency.Some business owners think they need to know the solution and then find someone to fulfill it for them. Instead, a great marketing agency (like Hot Dog Marketing) solves the problem for their clients and then builds and applies a strategy to address it.A marketing agency can just take over managing and executing on my marketing efforts.The truth is, it takes time to learn what those marketing efforts are and identify what works best to reach your business goals. Hiring a marketing agency is just purchasing labor.While that may be true at some companies, at Hot Dog Marketing we focus on providing value for clients. That often comes in the form of expert strategy that requires thinking, creativity, and revising.Everything will move faster if I hire a whole marketing team than trying to do it on my own.Building your business didn't happen overnight. Your marketing plans, executions, and results won't either. Many business owners are surprised (and don't believe it) when they hear that we have a marketing process.Why?Simply because they've never heard of a marketing process before. But it's this thoughtful, strategic approach that achieves the results clients want.________________Hot Dog Marketing is a digital marketing agency in Round Rock, TX serving small and medium-sized businesses. We excel in delivering marketing strategy, digital marketing, website design and development, and outstanding customer service.To work with us, visit www.hotdogmarketing.net
More marketing myths dispelled? You got it!See/Listen to part 1 here: https://hotdogmarketing.net/zigzags/common-marketing-myths-part-1/In this episode, Jessica Scanlon and Kevin Ring take down more marketing myths that many small business owners believe. These myths can stem from not having the full picture of what's driving traffic or nurturing your leads.Common marketing myths, and the real truths behind them:I don't need a website. We use social media. The problem with relying heavily on social media is that you don't own any of the content on other platforms. Using your website as a hub, and social media as just one spoke, you aren't subject to algorithm changes or app abandonment. I have a good-looking website, I don't need to do social media. Even with a great looking website, you need to drive traffic there. Social media, SEO, and paid ads are all great ways to do this. Marketing and advertising are the same things. Marketing is the big-picture of the business and how its story is told. Advertising is just one way to market your company. Jessica explained the key differences between advertising and marketing companies. Advertising companies typically work on a single campaign and make a commission on ad placements you buy. At Hot Dog Marketing, we create a strategic, holistic plan for you to build your brand and grow revenues long-term.________________Hot Dog Marketing is a digital marketing agency in Round Rock, TX serving small and medium-sized businesses. We excel in delivering marketing strategy, digital marketing, website design and development, and outstanding customer service.To work with us, visit www.hotdogmarketing.net
Internal marketing teams: do they actually work for small businesses?Are they worth it?In this episode, Jessica Scanlon and Kevin Ring talk about how small businesses can suffer when they choose to use internal marketing teams. Hiring one or two marketers to play the role of an entire marketing team spreads your employees much too thin. Unfortunately, these small internal marketing teams are often tasked with huge marketing projects with a wide breadth and become overloaded.For small businesses, hiring an internal marketing team sinks a lot of their marketing budget into the people, rather than into lead generating activities.What small businesses miss out on when using an internal marketing team:Specialists - A small business can't afford, nor does it need, a designated CMO all the time. But, having access to a CMO will come up occasionally.Objective third party - Valuable insights can come from an external team that doesn't feel like their job is at stake.High-level input - Most small marketing teams don't have the insight into the rest of the business to make real, changing impacts.Solutions to level up a small internal marketing team (if you already have one).Don't just fire them!Bring them into the high-level meetings. Bring them to the table, so they can make impactful decisions.Empower your marketing people. Give them money for customer and market research.Know what your goal for marketing is. Growth? Innovation? Implementing marketing systems? Generating awareness, i.e., for COVID-19 protocols?________________Hot Dog Marketing is a digital marketing agency in Round Rock, TX serving small and medium-sized businesses. We excel in delivering marketing strategy, digital marketing, website design and development, and outstanding customer service.To work with us, visit www.hotdogmarketing.net
Who is your ideal customer? (Hint: it's not everyone)In this episode, Kevin Ring and Jessica Scanlon dispel some of the marketing myths we hear often. Unfortunately, there are many occasions where business owners fall into the trap of one or more of these marketing myths. Often, the effects are expensive and can also be creating much more work. The marketing myths businesses often believe:My customer is everyone since my product is for everyone.I know the value we bring our customers and what they're looking for.We don't do marketing.Our business comes from government procurement so we don't need marketing, just a low price.Jessica and Kevin talk about what happens when companies believe these myths and how to identify misbeliefs and turn them around.________________Hot Dog Marketing is a digital marketing agency in Round Rock, TX serving small and medium-sized businesses. We excel in delivering marketing strategy, digital marketing, website design and development, and outstanding customer service.To work with us, visit www.hotdogmarketing.net
In business, you solve a problem for your customer. Pivoting means that you anticipate your customers' new concerns and adjust to solve their problems in a new way.Customer effort score: the harder it is for customers to interact with you, the quicker they'll abandon the purchase.Kevin discusses the framework we use at Hot Dog Marketing to help clients craft their strategic marketing plans. Who is your customer?Who is your buyer?Who is your user?How do they use your service?What value does your service create for them?Kevin discusses the "value chain": the process of developing, producing, selling, and delivering your product. Knowing the entire value chain of your product, including who the buyers and users are, can help you identify how COVID-19 has impacted your customers.Key questions:Where are the new needs that are arising?How is your customer's plight impacted by the complexity of the pandemic?________________Link to Pivot Workshop Downloadhttps://sales.hotdogmarketing.net/pivot-workshop-download________________Hot Dog Marketing is a digital marketing agency in Round Rock, TX serving small and medium-sized businesses. We excel in delivering marketing strategy, digital marketing, website design and development, and outstanding customer service.To work with us, visit www.hotdogmarketing.net
What happens when your annual business plan goes out of the window?In this episode, Jessica Scanlon and Kevin Ring discuss how business leaders should reevaluate their business and marketing plans during times of crisis. Before a crisis occurs, make sure you are keeping an updated dashboard of your business goals and key metrics. Jessica mentions that a few of the key indicators for Hot Dog Marketing are website visits and how many proposals the sales team is writing and sending out. Check in with this dashboard periodically to see how things are shifting and how to prepare for future shifts.Kevin discusses how the health of small businesses is often tied to their cashflow. Unexpected changes in cash flow can have severe consequences. Business owners can retain confidence by tapping into unused lines of credit or government assistance programs (like the Paycheck Protection Program).The third topic discussed was that sales cycles will be longer this year. Businesses and consumers will take longer to make decisions due to uncertainty. This doesn't mean your marketing efforts should halt, but your messaging should pivot to address customers' new concerns.Key questions for adjusting to "new normals":What do you need to optimize to stay productive in this time?What does your marketing pipeline look like?How are you able to align marketing with the sales cycle in the new economy?________________Link to Pivot Workshop Downloadhttps://sales.hotdogmarketing.net/pivot-workshop-download________________Hot Dog Marketing is a digital marketing agency in Round Rock, TX serving small and medium-sized businesses. We excel in delivering marketing strategy, digital marketing, website design and development, and outstanding customer service.To work with us, visit www.hotdogmarketing.net
Who is your best customer? Hint: it's not just anyone with money.In this episode, Jessica Scanlon and Kevin Ring discuss how to identify your ideal customer as a small business owner. Many business owners incorrectly think their ideal client is "everyone."Ideal customers value what your business does. They have a problem that your business is uniquely situated to solve.Ideal customers:Value what your business doesAre easy to work withUnderstand how your product or service serves themAction Steps:Ask your sales team who the easiest clients are to close. Those are the clients that understand the value quickly. They are eager to work with your business.Ask your client support team who they connect best with. These clients are happy with the value you provide and don't create problems or put up hurdles.________________Hot Dog Marketing is a digital marketing agency in Round Rock, TX serving small and medium-sized businesses. We excel in delivering marketing strategy, digital marketing, website design and development, and outstanding customer service.To work with us, visit www.hotdogmarketing.net
Having a customer-centric value proposition is critical to making a real impact with your audience.In this episode, Jessica Scanlon and Kevin Ring discuss focusing your messaging on the customer's values, instead of your own. Kevin compares this to dating, you don't want to spend the entire time talking about yourself. Marketing is similar. Instead, as a small business owner, communicate the value you can provide to your customers. Many small businesses believe they simply need to communicate how much experience they have and how good they are at what they do in front of more people. However, this self-focused messaging is ineffective.When your marketing is aligned with the value you provide, your customers come to you primed to purchase and sales teams don't have to work as hard.Identify the value you provide to your customers:What is the one thing you do that makes you stand out from your competitors?What is the perceived value that your customers experience?Your customers won't see your product or service as a path to a better future without you painting the picture for them.________________Hot Dog Marketing is a digital marketing agency in Round Rock, TX serving small and medium-sized businesses. We excel in delivering marketing strategy, digital marketing, website design and development, and outstanding customer service.To work with us, visit www.hotdogmarketing.net
Community involvement helps your business build trust, accountability, and authority with your audience and the community. Jessica Scanlon and Kevin Ring discuss how community giving can build brand equity just like consistent marketing. Beyond brand recognition, positive brand equity increases trust within the community for your business.Even when times may seem difficult, give what you can because people are going to notice.Network in your community - Host virtual meetings with non-profit or other community leaders and find ways to meet the needs of the community.Leverage your business's resources to help the community - The community around you likely serves you with procurement and laborforce. Find creative ways to use those resources to sustain the community.Invest in programs that build up the community - Set up programs that will have positive, lasting effects on the community you serve.Ask yourself and your team: "Who should help right now?"________________Hot Dog Marketing is a digital marketing agency in Round Rock, TX serving small and medium-sized businesses. We excel in delivering marketing strategy, digital marketing, website design and development, and outstanding customer service.To work with us, visit www.hotdogmarketing.net
In this episode, Jessica Scanlon and Kevin Ring discuss how to dig into your company's mission, values, and vision. Just because a crisis hits doesn't mean your mission, values, and vision should be thrown out the window.Mission: Your value proposition-the problem you set out to solve for people.Values: the guide for how you do business-what people expect when they do business with you.Vision: how the world will look once you've achieved your goals-how customers' lives will be transformed.As a business owner, it can be tough to identify your mission, values, and vision, these help:Get laser-focused on what your business does best and who you want to serve.Ask your team about some of the best examples.How is the client better after working with you?Without a clear mission, everything will be a struggle. Mission statements anchor you in how you are making your customers' lives better.Downloadable Mission Statement Worksheet: https://sales.hotdogmarketing.net/mission-vision________________Hot Dog Marketing is a digital marketing agency in Round Rock, TX serving small and medium-sized businesses. We excel in delivering marketing strategy, digital marketing, website design and development, and outstanding customer service.To work with us, visit www.hotdogmarketing.net
The term "brand equity" is thrown around a lot, but what does it really mean?In this episode, Jessica Scanlon and Kevin Ring focus on brand equity. They discuss not only what it is but how you can obtain brand equity for your small or medium-sized business. Having brand equity means that your brand is the one that comes to mind when people think about your industry/product/service. Earning brand equity can come before the sale (like in advertising or clever marketing) or after the sale (through remarkable product delivery-not just fulfillment).Your brand equity should be woven into your company's messaging, marketing, and business strategy. Be conscious of it in each step of your sales pipeline and service delivery. Having positive brand equity can put you first in mind before competitors since they know your business is trusted and reliable.________________Hot Dog Marketing is a digital marketing agency in Round Rock, TX serving small and medium-sized businesses. We excel in delivering marketing strategy, digital marketing, website design and development, and outstanding customer service.To work with us, visit www.hotdogmarketing.net
Episode 1: originally recorded April 10, 2020. The first in a two-part mini-series about leadership in crisis finds Jessica Scanlon, Founder and CEO of Hot Dog Marketing, and Kevin Ring, our Director of Strategy, discussing what it means to be a leader in these uncertain times. What does being a leader mean now? What should leaders focus on? How should they adapt? What is really important to businesses now? All this and some pretty funny banter!
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