Are you facing some tough decisions because of the bleak economic forecast next year? When budgets get tight, Marketing is sometimes first on the chopping block.
Ben and Sue talk about why that happens, how you can prevent it, and how you can do more with less in 2023.
Click the player below to listen to this episode of Awsomology. You can also find us on Wistia or your favorite podcast app.
Check out our recommendations:
Some books we love by Neil Gaiman: Anansi Boys, The Graveyard Book, The Sandman
(And check out Charlie's new Spiderman shoes.)
Awsomology S4 Ep11
Mon, Nov 28, 2022 2:46PM • 58:09
people, money, gut, spend, measure, marketing, strategy, year, recession, buy, big, invest, neil gaiman, thinking, top shelf, cut, scale, shoes, opportunity, question
Ben Bauer, Sue Campbell
Sue Campbell 00:09
Hello and welcome fellow Awsomologists to Awsomology. I'm Sue.
Ben Bauer 00:13
And then and in this episode, we're going to tackle a tough question that many of our friends in business are wrestling with this year. Should you scale back on marketing? The live audience is going crazy, right?
Sue Campbell 00:29
Hey, sit down, sit down. Don't- they're rioting! My gosh.
Ben Bauer 00:33
Good Lord. We have so many friends here.
Sue Campbell 00:43
And this is really not just one of those marketing questions, quote, unquote, air quotes, marketing questions that not just marketing people are dealing with, right? Anybody who is maybe running a small business all the way up to the C suite of a fortune 500 company, which seems impossibly wealthy to me. They're considering their budgets, and maybe already have considered budgets for 2023. And looking at the economic forecast and maybe being awake at night a little bit, and maybe a lot.
Ben Bauer 01:16
Sue Campbell 01:16
Um, and when we talk budget cuts, marketing is very often the first one on the chopping block.
Ben Bauer 01:25
If not the first, one of the first. Right, right.
Sue Campbell 01:26
Ben Bauer 01:30
Yeah, well, you know, it's, it's an interesting question, then, I think the first thing that usually comes to mind is, is what we're doing working, you know, which might be one of the reasons why marketing is one of the first things to be, discussed as far as being cut, because sometimes, it's really, really tough to prove or show that what we're doing is working, you know, some some of the things that we do are groundwork or foundational type of exercises that, you know, we won't know, whether or not that thing worked, really, for years, but this does lead to a really important question about or, you know, important strategy of measuring what matters and measuring everything that you can, and being comfortable with a certain amount of stuff that just can't be measured, right, you know, a certain amount what and really, wherever your comfort level is on that. It might be Yeah, we, you know, we do a whole bunch of stuff that we know, we can't measure. And we're okay with that. Another strategy that I'm sure some organizations put into place is, we will only do things that we can measure right now. And that's okay to most they're probably somewhere in between, right? Yeah.
Sue Campbell 02:44
I'd be really interested to see an organization only doing things they can measure.
Ben Bauer 02:49
Sue Campbell 02:49
What a really laser focused strategy. That would be
Ben Bauer 02:55
Sue Campbell 02:56
And what would they be leaving on the table? Right, because they can't measure it?
Ben Bauer 03:01
Yeah. Yeah. But, you know, give and take or good and bad with that. Right? Like, maybe you're missing out on some opportunities. Maybe there's some spaces that competition is in that you're just not. But you. I mean, could you literally say, every single dollar that I spend on marketing, I can tell you, its impact? And that's maybe a little utopian, but sounds pretty awesome, doesn't it?
Sue Campbell 03:31
Right. Right. Sounds like you would have less fear of having that conversation about why are we spending what we're spending? Right? Because you're gonna have all of that data behind it?
Ben Bauer 03:41
Yeah, I think that there's a more and more like, growing understanding that some of marketing is like, experiential, right? Or it's like a testing ground or like a kind of a, you're an opportunity to try some things, knowing that it's not all going to work, right. So even in this utopian hypothetical scenario that we're talking about here, which I don't know, maybe it's not even hypothetical. It's probably real for some organizations, right? You know, knowing that you have this testing opportunity within marketing, you could, if you were actually measuring everything, you'd you'd be getting results. So just by measuring everything doesn't necessarily mean that you'll be able to show that everything's working right, you know, right. Every dollar is super well spent, or super effective or anything, but you could at least say, Well, this bucket of money over here is not working. It's not doing anything for us, but you learned something right? And then you can tweak or change what you want to do next year, so or next year, next time, whatever timeframe you're working with him, but say, I don't know. It's interesting as we're sitting here, kind of like freestyling on this topic of measuring absolutely everything. It's interesting to think about what that might look like and which thing So we do that we just go away because we can't measure it.
Sue Campbell 05:04
Ben Bauer 05:05
You know, and what would be our comfort level with that?
Sue Campbell 05:08
Yeah, yeah. And maybe things that would go away. And I think the top thing that I think of here is social media, they would go away, because even though we have a metric, the metric isn't necessarily meaningful.
Ben Bauer 05:23
Sue Campbell 05:24
So, you know, yeah.
Ben Bauer 05:28
Yeah. Not always anyway, not always. Yeah, that the other, I guess, change that this could make is how your workload or time is dedicated. Because measuring isn't free. You know, like, it may like literally cost you money, or, you know, it's taking your time to, you know, put those measurements in place to check on them to understand them and all of that. So, it's not like, there would be some huge time savings by just cutting stuff that you couldn't measure, you'd probably be really rededicating a lot of that time to the measurements you are making and the understanding of all of that, which could be a nice trade off.
Sue Campbell 06:12
Right. Right. But before we get there, we already got there. I don't know why I'm saying before. Oh, because I'm trying to get get us back on to the notes that we have loosey goosey. Let's, you know what, let's start here. blanket statement. Ben, I am coming to you as a small business, small credit union, nonprofit: blanket question, Should I scale back and marketing for 2023? Because of what I'm afraid of?
Ben Bauer 06:42
Yeah. Well, I'm going to do exactly what Ben Bauer does. When you ask me questions like this and sit happily in the middle. Very diplomatic answer.
Sue Campbell 06:52
Ben Bauer 06:53
But I do think that there's, you know, I could be as bold as to say yes or no, right. But I could be more honest with myself and say that it depends. And I think this is your take on it too. Right? Like it really, really does depend on what you're doing, what you're trying to do, who you're trying to attract. But I would probably really confidently be able to say like, yes to some of what you're doing, right, there's probably some stuff that you've been doing doing for a while, haven't been seeing results aren't measuring, you know, whatever. The reason is, that it might be enough to say like, let's stop doing that thing. You know, and usually that results in scaling back of time or dollars or resources, you know, now, you know, the flip side to that is, does that mean you should scale back on those things, cut those things, whatever? And then just move along? Or, you know, is that an opportunity to give a shot in the arm to something that you're doing that does work or try something new? Going back to that testing?
Sue Campbell 07:58
Ben Bauer 07:58
- you know, idea, right? So to just straight up, say scale back, cut some stuff? I don't know if I could necessarily suggest that sometimes. And you know, we're living in a world right now where, you know, recession looming and tricky Financial Times. So some, sometimes a cut is just necessary, or you might be at the mercy of the decision makers that make that decision to cut. But if not, I would definitely and of course, I'm biased because I'm in marketing, but I would definitely say reallocate instead of just a straight up cut, or trim.
Sue Campbell 08:36
Right. Well, and this is all on the presumption that when we use the term scale back, we're just talking about dollars. So I think if I were asked that question, I would say "yes, I would say it depends." And then I would say, but what do you mean, by scaling back? Do you mean, should you spend less money? Because that is that's one line of inquiry. That is a maybe. Maybe you should spend less money, there's probably - and not just in a recession. Anytime you should look at what your marketing mix is see what's working, see how much you're spending to get that result? And consider if you should be spending less on that and reallocating that money.
Ben Bauer 08:43
Yeah. Right. Yeah.
Sue Campbell 09:16
But that's just one line of inquiry. Should you be doing less things? Is that what you mean by scaling back should you be trying not as hard? Well, I think I think I would make a blanket statement to say no, now is the time to to turn it to 11. Double that effort. Do allocate even if it means you have to look at low cost quote unquote low cost, no cost. Efforts. Put, like, now's the time to go hardcore, Ben. Just like the people over at Twitter.
Ben Bauer 09:58
Sue Campbell 09:58
- But, seriously-
Ben Bauer 10:00
I signed my agreement, by the way.
Sue Campbell 10:02
I'm gonna have to ask you in terms of this podcast, to sign an agreement,
Ben Bauer 10:08
We're so hardcore.
Sue Campbell 10:08
- saying you're going hardcore. But when you know things are going to be on a downturn, that is the time. I mean, it is an exciting time. I think it gives people a lot of dread. But, you know, I, and I think we both come from this, this line of thinking that part of the excitement of marketing is the puzzle of it, right? So there is a lot of opportunity in that economic downturn, right? And if what you're gonna say is, well, I don't have any money, and it's not going to work anyway. And everybody's sad.
Ben Bauer 10:48
Sue Campbell 10:50
So forget it. And I'm just gonna sit over, I'm gonna go over there and eat dirt. Don't do that.
Ben Bauer 10:56
Sue Campbell 10:56
Say, What? What does this open up for me? What am I doing, that I need to stop doing? What are the things that we can do for less money? What is the channels that are more effective? That I haven't tried? Because we've always done this same thing? What is the crazy thing? What is my Wendy's? And you know, we're in Wisconsin by Wendy's my Kwik Trip, my persona, that I could be doing it they essentially for free? What is the thing that would elevate me? That wouldn't mean I'm investing more money, but would mean, I'm still standing out from the crowd.
Ben Bauer 11:36
Sue Campbell 11:37
And if you do that, among your peers, at a period where everyone else is scaling back, pulling back, isn't it nice, I have this hand gesture doesn't help the listing audience. But I did a very good pulling back. But in a time when everyone else is pulling back. And if you started to elevate yourself, then, you know, it's it's like the stock market you invest when it's down.
Ben Bauer 12:03
Sue Campbell 12:05
And then you reap the rewards of that when there's a turn up.
Ben Bauer 12:08
Right? Yeah. Yeah, no, that's a great point. And all, you know, really sound advice. I mean, I love the fact that you use the word opportunity so many times as you were just talking, because like, it really is an opportunity. And I think that there's actually something really exciting about the time that we're in right now in that, like, I think it's pretty safe to make an assumption that a lot of competition are of that mindset of I need to cut, I need to scale back, I need to save all my money, I need to put all those acorns away until you know, things are shiny again. And that's going to happen, there's going to be plenty of businesses and people that make those decisions, because that's their comfort level or their strategy, whatever. So like, let's take advantage of that. And I've been fortunate that you know, what, whatever line of business I've been in, in the last 20 years, there's been a pretty proactive and progressive strategy when it comes to times like this, where there's still been, you know, a real emphasis and dedication to marketing and making sure, and, like, I'm using marketing as a really big term there, like community involvement, community engagement, some of the stuff that we can do, that doesn't necessarily mean spending more dollars, but just being more involved being out and about being present, you know, and that's, you know, kind of like, back to your point of, you know, it doesn't always have to be about dollars, it might just be what are we doing? Should we do more of it? Should we do different things. So, luckily, you know, I've been at a place where marketing has been a priority, and that opportunities always been kind of maximized. And downturns like this. And I'm thinking of like, the await housing, you know, scenario and even, you know, pandemic, you know, in the last couple of years, you know, got pretty scary for a while, and some people started to kind of peel back or pull back on some things. And we've always been pretty, you know, present in times when it's easy to justify scaling back, you know,
Sue Campbell 14:14
Yeah, well, and I think when I think about the pandemic, and actually I just started having I had this conversation with someone 30 minutes ago, literally, where I sort of threw out this idea that I hadn't really been thinking about too much but now I will think about nothing but it. That it is, it's an exciting time in the same way that the pandemic was as scary as it was. Yeah. It broke down a lot of walls for people. It changed people's views on the world. And when you have a paradigm shift (that's a marketing word.) When you have such a big paradigm shift, it gives you an opportunity to look at things with fresh eyes. And I think the benefit, if you can call knowing that you're going into a recession a benefit. The benefit is that people have experienced recessions before the pandemic was a 100 year, you know, it, there is historical precedent. But none of us were alive to know what happened. A recession though we have been through a recession. We have, we know that people act in predictable ways. Or it's, it's a pretty binary thing, people are either going to act predictably or entirely unpredictably. Those are the two things. And since since we know that there is some possibility of total unpredictability, then we we deal with that when it comes. So that means you think about the predictable things that can happen and make decisions, you know, make strategy decisions around it. And also you think about who do I want to be? Do I want to act in predictable ways? Or do I want to be the person who is acting in ways that are unpredictable to the benefit of what I'm doing?
Ben Bauer 16:22
Sue Campbell 16:22
Ben Bauer 16:23
Sue Campbell 16:23
So yeah, I, I've talked myself into really being ready to enjoy this recession. How do you feel about that?
Ben Bauer 16:30
Feelin' great, better than the alternative?
Sue Campbell 16:33
Just Right. Right. Exactly. And, you know, that? I think it is, because there is a certain part of what we do that feels sort of quote unquote, recession proof. Because it's about connection, especially because we as a, we, as a business, feel so strongly that marketing is about connecting people, that makes that part of our business recession proof because we still have to connect people. Right. And that is still an important part of everyone. Everyone's strategy is connecting people to the things that they need.
Ben Bauer 17:16
Sue Campbell 17:17
So it just becomes it becomes about how you talk about it, how you message it, and learning those lessons.
Ben Bauer 17:26
Sue Campbell 17:26
So. So let's, we've got a list of things that we can do.
Ben Bauer 17:31
Let's hit it.
Sue Campbell 17:32
Let's hit it. Where could you maybe spend less money?
Ben Bauer 17:37
Yeah. I think like this, the answer to this one is like, endless opportunity, right? I mean, there's just so many different ways that you could spend less money, I mean, look at you know, all the different things that contribute to marketing, whether we're talking about like, ad spend, or buy, stuff we buy, you know, like swag, print, you know, and there's subcategories under there that could go on forever and ever, right. So I mean taking a look at that. And this is where, whether there's a measurement in place or not, to decide what to cut, or where what to spend less on or not spend anything on at all, should be informed by some kind of measurement, you know, and that measurement might be a gut, you know, what I mean, which, you know, a gut decision, maybe a lot of opinion, maybe some bias in it, for sure. Like, I'm not going to deny that it's an imperfect measurement, but also, like, there's a reason that your gut is feeling a way, right, you know, you've interacted with those things over time, and or you've seen how your audience interacts with those things over time, and you've gotten a reaction. And a reaction is a measurement, you know, so, of course, you'd love for it to be a bit more scientific, or you know, backed by, you know, true data numbers or conversions, or whatever it might be. But sometimes you don't always have that stuff. So sometimes you need to go with your gut, but your gut is informed. The important thing is that when you have the opportunity to listen to your gut or go with your gut, and you have the benefit of real data behind it, to use both of those things, you know, not just lean to the gut, because that's how you're feeling you know, but if you don't have other numbers, you know, use your gut and, you know, use your experience and what you've observed to make those decisions.
Sue Campbell 19:26
So before you leave that point, let me interject and say the great thing about using your gut, which is the thing I believe in, so intensely. I used to be, you know, harkening back to when I was training tellers, that was always the first thing that would be a big part of the teller experience is -or it used to be maybe it's not when you have machines that are counting for you now - but it used to be variances were a big part of that experience. And it's so Oh, heartbreaking to watch someone go through that. And so variances and then like fraud, check fraud, things like that. And I would always tell people follow your gut. If you feel like something's wrong, something's wrong. Now it might be you. It might be them, it might be the situation. So you do have to figure that part out. But if you feel like something, you know, so there's that side of it. And then that means if it feels right, follow your gut until end. It's until you have proof that your gut's wrong.
Ben Bauer 20:34
Sue Campbell 20:35
So the thing about using, informing strategy based on your intuition is that you only have to do that for that particular strategy one time.
Ben Bauer 20:47
Sue Campbell 20:47
Because you try it. And now you have data.
Ben Bauer 20:51
Sue Campbell 20:52
So if you start, I think we can, we can paralyze ourselves with the need to have data. And if you can follow your gut the one time and say, Well, I'm going to try it, and I'm going to see what happens. You then you get the data, right. And if you were right, then you know, it's a big win. And if you were wrong, it's a big win, because you said Okay, so now I have something I can analyze to see why my gut was telling me this, but the truth was that.
Ben Bauer 21:23
Sue Campbell 21:24
Ben Bauer 21:24
Sue Campbell 21:25
Yeah, that's my endorsement. That was my commercial for going with your gut,
Ben Bauer 21:29
Right? Yes. And we can, you know, make that endorsement, while also acknowledging that that can cause confusion, you know, because sometimes, you, you know, to either sell the thing that you're doing or get buy in from other people, they're really looking for data, and sometimes you don't have it and, and sometimes you just need to be really transparent, like a there's a gut call, you know, you're like, you're the detective with a hunch, like, I got a hunch on this thing. We got to try it, and we'll figure something out. After we try it. You know, like, like you said, it'll go great, or we'll learn that it didn't. And that's information. So yeah, you know, I mean, I think this can be applied to big splashy campaign you're trying to create, or like, which event do I do? Or which promo item do I order? You know? And, and same, like, use your gut, if you're ordering that thing, and something in you is telling you like, yeah, I don't, I don't know if people are gonna care that they get this at that event. Like, there you go. There's some information like, if you're questioning it, yeah, they're probably not, so get something different. And, you know, this is one of those examples of where it might not wind up resulting in like a straight, like, drop in spending or a complete cut or something. But it might mean that you're making a decision to do something better or be a bit more efficient, you know, same thing for like, community engagement, or community involvement type things like, when we're, when we are cutting dollars, when we straight up have to cut dollars, sometimes we can make up for that resource in a rededication of time. But there's still only so much of that, right. So like, if I'm choosing between which things I get to support, or you know, where I'll spend my time. And you have no history of knowing whether or not that'll pay off, use your gut. And sometimes maybe make the decision based on like, what you will enjoy more like what you'll get more joy out of, because my guess is if you're choosing between this event, or that event, or this cause or that cause, and if you lean on the thing that you think will bring you more happiness, you're probably going to see better results, because you're going to be in a better mood when you're there, you're doing something that you care about, you know, right. And this hopefully aligns with what the organization is trying to do and their values too. So we will get off the going with your gut train here, I promise. But I do think, you know, just another example of where go with your gut, go with your heart, whatever it is, and make the best decision and you'll learn you'll learn something.
Sue Campbell 24:00
Yeah. Yeah, well, in semi related to that going with your gut thing. I think a key place we can save money. And I let me tease this for you, Ben by saying this is going to be one of those situations where I am going to sound overly harsh and you're going to diplomat it back for people.
Ben Bauer 24:21
Got it. Okay, I'm ready to go.
Sue Campbell 24:24
So a key place you can save money is by letting go of other people's expectations. So things like you know, you mentioned swag, I and, and not to go hard on the commercials this time. So I'm working on a blog post right now. And there's a particular piece of swag that is sitting on my desk and I have carried from office to office to office to office. And as I have my desk at home right now, that informs this little piece of it. Somebody several years ago wanted these bobblehead pens so bad. Because they, as a member of the team, thought they were cool. They got them, you got a similar one at some event and oh, this is the greatest thing in the world. Well, they are fine. But there there are so many things wrong with these pens. Speaking as a person who has a diminutive stature, also that means I have short fingers. So you can't they're big, chunky pens, you can't write with them. If you write with them, the bobble head bobbles, and it giggles. So it's also annoying. So I sat and stared at them, and thought that is a thing that we could have not spent money on, that somebody else saw that they thought it was great. They didn't take the extra steps to say, are people going to associate this with a good feeling? Or is it going to quickly turn into something unpleasant. But it was someone else's expectation that we spent money on. That, to me was a dud. But I hung on to it. Now explain that. Another thing I think of speaking of other people's expectations, buying advertising where the people on your team are as opposed to where your audience is. So that I think is a key place, you're gonna be saving money. Because you know, I think, well, I can definitely, I will call this is this is on me. I'm not our audience. I have aged out of our audience. Sorry, about that. I apologize. So what I see and what I do now, you, when we talk about audience, we always do try and keep this fluid idea that there are people it's more about habit.
Ben Bauer 27:07
Right behavior and habit. -habit and behavior than it is about age. So I am, I still have habits and behaviors that fit with our audience. However, I think about the fact that I live in a different city than any of our other locations. We are doing targeted ads. In areas around our locations, I never see our ads. And that's because I'm not in that target area. So if I came in as an employee, and said, we're not doing any ads, what's wrong with you people, I should be seeing ads. That would be a real mistake. Because you don't spend money to make sure that your employees are seeing them. Right.
Sue Campbell 27:56
You spend money to make sure your audience sees them. So for me, it's a it's a geographical issue, as well as a demographical issue. Demographical? Demographic?
Ben Bauer 28:08
If it's not a word it is now.
Sue Campbell 28:12
So to think about the expectations that you get from the people around you on your team, and make good choices, based on what your strategy is, rather than what they expect you to be doing or what they expect to be hearing, or seeing is a key place.
Ben Bauer 28:31
Yeah. And the expectations topic, I'll just also add, and speaking of spaces and stuff where your competition is, as well, you know, just because you see your competition somewhere or hear them somewhere, doesn't mean that you need to be there to now it may be part of your strategy is hey, we're going to wherever they are, we are we're going to make sure that we're a part of the consideration anytime they are you know, if that's your strategy, great. Depending on the line of work that you're in, that may or may not be possible because you might have to be everywhere to be where your competition is, and that's not always sustainable or feasible, right. So so just another thing that you know, maybe check on the expectations topic, right? Yeah, for sure.
Sue Campbell 29:12
Right. Right. And also PS if that if that is your strategy, then buckle in Bub because you need to be- that is a whole other line of thinking and you really need to commit to it. You are going to if you're not looking you're gonna miss.
Ben Bauer 29:28
Yeah, well then it goes beyond where your ads are placed it you know where your locations are, where your brick and mortar is, you know where your product is, you know, the example that I think of when we're on this topic is Top Golf back when Top Golf blew up, and I don't know maybe it's still blowing up. There's a I can't remember the name of the business now but it's like an indoor skydiving company and I can't remember the name of it, but you know, you'd like go on this big tube and you can like skydive inside anytime that a Top Golf was being built. Six months later, the skydiving place was built across the street. Because you know, it's just common for the bachelor party or whatever the groups of people that would go and do top golf, the next thing they do is go do this indoor skydiving. So they like are totally piggybacking off of an another entertainment competition, you know, which is great. But you know if that if you have the resources to invest in popping up a location wherever they are, or spending ad dollars, wherever they are, it might work might work for you. But like you said, buckle up, and don't miss it and don't deviate from it. Because the minute you do, then all of a sudden, it's, you know, you see the cliff right now.
Sue Campbell 30:42
Right? Yeah, yeah, I'm really glad you pointed out the location thing. Because I do think that's the thing that especially, you know, for for credit unions that have or other businesses that have multiple locations. I think we could do a better job thinking about who our competition is, and really comparing apples to apples. Because taking that, and then marrying it with the marketing strategy. So if we are if we're in a space, that the people we think, are our competition, quote, unquote, aren't, then are they our competition there? No. So then it's a completely different strategy? Or if we are not, you know, I think about being in multiple different cities to if our strategy is not growth in a city where we have competition, and we see them doing some other things. Why would we invest money there? Yeah, I mean, invest some money there, keep, keep the water running, keep the lines, do the things take care of your people do you know, do that baseline level of marketing there? But you know, it's not. This is not, it's not a game. It's not like, I'm going to beat you on the number of ads people see, as they're driving down Main Street. Yeah. It is being smart about money and growing, investing where you want to grow. Right, right. You know, this, I am preaching to the choir, as I so often do. So let's talk about saving money. How can people save money?
Ben Bauer 32:27
Yeah, I mean, the first word that comes to mind for me is just efficiency, right? So. And something that maybe I'm certain we don't do, as often as where you probably should negotiate, right? So, you know, providers you might be getting services from or stuff you're buying, you know, don't be afraid to negotiate. And that's not to necessarily always say that the end result will be spending less money, right. But it might be, you know, this is where efficiency comes in spending the money the best way that you can, you know, and yeah, if you do just need to straight up, make a cut, I guess, similar. You know, if your goal is to save dollars to spend less money, all the more reason to make sure that you're making decisions based on whatever information you have, hopefully, it's real data, ideally, or, most realistically, it's a combination of real data and your gut. And back to that earlier point, if all that you have is your gut. lean into it. As my stomach is like grumbling right now, apparently- Your gut is like "you're not listening". I wonder if the mic picked that up. My guts like yeah, go with your gut? Get some food, man.
Sue Campbell 33:46
You know, what's interesting when you talk about that, about negotiation, something I struggled with early in my career, was not really having the not really connecting to the fundamental understanding when I was talking to media salespeople that I was the customer. And I think that there, my perception is, let me- I want to be very careful here.- This does not apply to every media salesperson. But I think that they're, the people that I dealt with, came in with an attitude like they were giving me a gift. And I, as a young and inexperienced person took their attitude on that they were giving me a gift. They bring in data, they tell you all the things they tell you how great it's going to be. And they place it on you to find the money that they need.
Ben Bauer 34:54
Sue Campbell 34:56
And I fell victim to that early on and And it wasn't until I really sat down and thought about it. Because I think they perpetuated this feeling of like we are, you know, we're the media.
Ben Bauer 35:12
Sue Campbell 35:12
So you have to you give us money, because we're the media, right? That's simple. And it wasn't until I stopped and went "I am not sure what you're doing to earn my money." You set, you know, and this is way back in the day, when they, you know, they would bring in the Nielsen book, and they'd be like, Oh, we're number one in the book in the area. You know what? Well, that's cool. But also explain to me how that connects to my business. And why that means you get the money that you're telling me you should get. And when I started to be able to say, well, whether you're number one in the area, number five in the area, and number seven in the area, this is how much money I have. So your Nielsen book is only a small part of this consideration. If I don't have the money, I don't have the money. And it is up to you. If you can find me the advertising I need for the money I have. If you can't, that's cool. I would prefer you know, yeah. You said you're number one in the area. Everybody says it. But yeah, I would like to work with number one in the area. But if we if you can't give me what I need for the money I have that I can't work with number one in the area. So -
Ben Bauer 36:39
Right, yeah, yeah.
Sue Campbell 36:41
But that also is why I made the girl from the radio station cry, because I told her that their prices - I realized I was the first one to tell her that their prices were arbitrary. And I don't think she knew what to do with that information. So she started to cry.
Ben Bauer 37:00
Sue Campbell 37:01
Ben Bauer 37:03
That's a story for another episode. Yeah. Yeah.
Sue Campbell 37:09
So yes. So negotiate, negotiate, have an efficient use of your money and hold anyone who is going to sell you advertising hold them to the standard of connecting it to results for your business? They can't do that. Yeah. Then, you know, find someone that will?
Ben Bauer 37:30
Yeah, there's no, there's no spot for number one in the area, the balance sheet. Right, right. You can't deposit that.
Sue Campbell 37:37
Yeah, well, you know, to just to tie the bow on that story. When I started to we were having in, all you had was radio and TV at the time. This is at a time where people were still debating whether a credit union needed a website. So they're the people, the salespeople who I could say, I could have that conversation with, like I could have a face to face and say, Here's the money I have, find me what I need for the money that I can give you. And don't screw me over. The people who could handle that conversation were the people that I ultimately advertised with, and great relationships with them. They, they knew that they that I was always going to be honest with them, I felt they were going to be honest with me. Because at a certain point, we just had to come to Jesus moment where I said, you know, you can't, that technique isn't gonna work on me. So yeah, we're gonna have to do something different. We're gonna have to be real people here. Yeah. And, and it worked well for me.
Ben Bauer 38:41
Yeah. Yeah. Well, and there's, you know, experience behind that and some savviness and some things that you learned along the way, right. Like, this isn't something that you did day one, right. So I guess that's maybe something to throw out to our listeners as well. Like, if anything you're hearing I think, oh, gosh, why am I doing that? That's okay, that's learning. It's learning benign, right. And we're learning to by the way all the time, so yeah,
Sue Campbell 39:09
Well and because everything... the landscape changes every 15 minutes. So yes, I can tell you exactly how you should have talked to the salesperson in whatever year that was from the Fox affiliate at that time, that is not useful to you right now. Right? That has stopped being used.
Ben Bauer 39:34
But it is applicable to what we're doing today. And it might just be you know, might look a lot different and some of it is self service. Maybe the person that you're talking to is yourself right like quit promising myself that this Facebook ad is gonna work when you know, you don't really know or you haven't tested it or you know, you haven't changed anything right. Stop it, stop promising yourself things and do Check yourself, negotiate with yourself maybe every now and then
Sue Campbell 40:02
That's a really good point. Yeah, yeah.
Ben Bauer 40:06
Great points. So many great points.
Sue Campbell 40:08
So we're so good at. So how can you invest your money better?
Ben Bauer 40:12
Well, you know, it's, it's funny, because I think the question is like, the question itself is an answer to some of the questions that we've asked, you know, how can you save money? Well, one way to save money is to invest it better, you know, invest what you have better, you know, you know, may wind up just being optics or a number game, you know, how much money have you actually saved might be, you might find out that you actually didn't spend any less, but the value that you get from the money that you spent, right makes it feel like you saved a ton, right, or, you know, just got that return that we're all looking for, you know, so. But I do think that anytime that you can spend your dollars on stuff that you can measure or you know, get more clear results than the gut reaction, the better you know, that's, that's a better investment of your money, even if you wind up spending less doing it, you know, so that's something that I'd always advocate for. And I'm also someone that does believe in spending money on things that you can't just clearly measure right now, or maybe even ever, you know, like, some of those things are just an investment to contribute to the top of mind awareness game that we're all trying to play, you know what I mean? Like, that's what we're trying to do is create that top of mind awareness that people make decisions when they're ready to buy, you know, so. So yeah, while there might be a comfort level with spending money on things that you can't measure, if you have a choice, go with the thing that you can measure, because you're likely going to be held accountable to it, maybe only by yourself, but maybe by others, your clients, your board, your leadership, you know, so I would just always advocate for leaning towards those things that you can measure.
Sue Campbell 42:00
So my specific notes that I have, are, and we've talked about it a little bit, we touched on it anyway, targeted ads, well targeted ads, intelligently targeted ads. So find the people that you need to talk to, and invest there, yeah. And put little to no energy in the people that you don't need to talk to. And useful gifts. So this is kind of back to that promo item thing, if you're going to have a promo item. Think about the strategy that connects that thing, you're putting your logo on to a sale. Now, it could be a long road to get to that sale.
Ben Bauer 42:43
Sue Campbell 42:44
But if you I'm trying to think of something that's highly disposable. Bandaids, don't, if you want to get a well, if you want to have someone seeing your logo, over a nice long period of time, however long it's going to take them to finally buy from you. Something disposable, like don't don't buy Kleenex don't buy, I don't know, I'm thinking of the most disposable things. Buy something that they are going to look at touch, they're going to interact with frequently. Yeah. Invest in like, I think about investing in quality. Right? You know, that, to me, that is a place that you spend the money to ensure that someone is going to have that thing, a coffee mug or a tumbler something that you know, people are going to use over and over and over again. As opposed to well, we can get 500 of this other thing for the same price as that 100. Well, if they're going to use that five times a week for the next 10 years, yeah, you're making your money to invest in it.
Ben Bauer 44:05
Sue Campbell 44:06
And then well, curated events is another thing I have on my notes and what is meant by that: like, using using a high amount of care and concentration and mindfulness. When you're going to spend money on you know that probably the first thing that pops to mind for me is Member Appreciation Day- a Customer Appreciation Event. Making sure that everything about that event is creating that connection that will bring people back so nothing is- you can get a good bargain on things, but it shouldn't be cheap.
Ben Bauer 44:51
Shouldn't seem cheap, right.
Sue Campbell 44:56
From the promo items you buy if you're going to serve food too. The food you serve to the drinks, to the setup to, you know, the activities. I think the investment you make is you get the best prices you can get to make at least the appearance of a really top shelf events, something that is memorable for people. Yeah. I think when I think about, you know, we're in Wisconsin, you think about a brat fry, right? So you can have, you can do a brat fry people love a brat fry, there was nothing like the smell of frying.
Ben Bauer 45:39
Yes, and people kind of like float on the smell to you, right.
Sue Campbell 45:44
But you know, you can do that, well, you can do it really well. And you can curate that experience for people have the things people want, make sure you understand the area you're in, you know, speaking specifically, if you want a really specific example, where we're at, you have to know we have one market. For the credit union, we have one market that goes through four times as much ...
Ben Bauer 46:16
Sue Campbell 46:17
Sauerkraut, thank you, as any other market. So we have to get a gallon of sauerkraut. And it's a small thing. It's a large thing. It's a gallon or so. But knowing, knowing your people, knowing what they want, knowing what makes that top shelf to them, the best experience possible can make a huge difference. So invest the time and the money and things like that.
Ben Bauer 46:44
Yeah. I love that we're combining top shelf and sauerkraut statements here. It's very, very true, by the way.
Sue Campbell 46:52
hey, yeah. Hey, who are we dealing with? Here? In Central Wisconsin.
Ben Bauer 46:57
Yeah. Yeah, I love everything that you said, I think, you know, Don't be tricked by the question of like, how can you invest your money better and hearing words like top shelf and stuff that doesn't always need to mean expensive, right doesn't always, you know, need to mean, you know, over the top or anything like that. It really can just, I really don't want to overuse the word efficient, but like, you know, efficient might be really just maximizing what you're spending.
Sue Campbell 47:26
Right. Do it well. Yeah, I can't stress enough. But you also know my my feelings and doing things like a half measure. Don't phone it in.
Ben Bauer 47:36
Sue Campbell 47:38
Especially looking- into looking into a recession. Now is not the time to do things that half measure be lackluster be like, now's the time to be full measure. Yeah, or hardcore?
Ben Bauer 47:54
Hardcore. Yeah. Yeah. I like let's stick with hardcore.
Sue Campbell 47:57
Ben Bauer 47:58
As long as it's Yeah. Yeah. Ethical and aligns with our culture.
Sue Campbell 48:03
Ben Bauer 48:06
Sue Campbell 48:06
So should people invest less in marketing and going into the recession Ben?
Ben Bauer 48:11
Sue Campbell 48:12
Ben Bauer 48:14
That's the answer. We were trying to get to, right.?
Sue Campbell 48:16
Yeah. But we made them listen to the whole thing.
Ben Bauer 48:17
Sue Campbell 48:18
Yeah. Good. They're good.
Ben Bauer 48:19
Well, hopefully, we've provided some things to consider some stuff to chew on. And you know, at the end of the day, I think that the answer to our question can be No, you shouldn't spend less. And you might wind up spending less money.
Sue Campbell 48:35
Ben Bauer 48:36
Right. In those two things can exist next to each other. So.
Sue Campbell 48:40
Ben Bauer 48:43
Sue Campbell 48:44
Yeah. And also, PS, if you have any questions about this kind of strategy, you should definitely call us, right?
Ben Bauer 48:50
Yeah, call us. And really like, Sure, shameless plug. And we'd love to help people. We're always looking for, you know, additional people to help on a professional basis and everything, or call us. So we can just talk, like, let's just talk about it. Because we're super happy to share our knowledge. And, you know, we've got a mission behind what we're doing. And we'd love to just chat and see how we can help or, you know, guide you to a decision or connect you to somebody else that can help me and really, like, we just want to create this happy little world where everybody's getting the help that they need. And sometimes that might just start with a conversation. So don't hesitate. Are we to the point where we wrap up?
Sue Campbell 49:31
Yeah, we're there and the time is right.
Ben Bauer 49:33
It went too fast.
Sue Campbell 49:35
It was great.
Ben Bauer 49:37
Well, let's roll into our Something Awesome segment where we share recommendations for great things, awesome things, cool things that have happened. Podcasts and books seem to be a favorite share, but I'm gonna shift away from that. This time around and give a shout out to one of our new teammates, Mr. Nick Malovhr, who has a pretty cool side gig, side hustle of custom painting shoes. So it was actually something that he shared in his interview. So I was instantly curious like, what like painting shoes? What are you talking about? Mostly? Because I'm thinking like, how do they like hold up or last but he uses really good stuff and, you know, protects them with, you know, sealents and things. And if they're cool enough, like the little story I'm gonna share, maybe they'll just sit on a shelf for a little bit because of how cool they are. So we'll share a picture in the blog post with this episode. But I gotta give a shout out to Nick who did a custom pair of shoes for my son Charlie's seventh birthday. Charlie has always been a big Spider Man fan. Spider Man has been his favorite superhero for forever. And recently has fallen in love with the Miles Morales version of spider man, right, from the Into the Multiverse movie that came out a while ago. And so we had a few Spider Man gifts for him for his birthday. And just the timing was right from when Nick joined the team to when I learned a bit more about what is shoe painting gig was like, and I thought, oh my gosh, could he create a custom pair of SpiderMan shoes for for Charlie and so yeah, he did. He got this blank canvas pair of white Nike shoes and just did an awesome job. You'll see the the picture putting the Miles Morales logo on and everything. So shout out to Nick for doing a really nice job on those shoes. And check out the picture and shameless plug for Nick too. If you're looking for a cool gift for someone, or if there's something that you dig personally that you want to see on shoes, or even if it's just a unique color scheme or something. My guess is Nick could pull it off. So check them out.
Sue Campbell 51:57
Yeah, yeah, we'll share, we'll share some some way to get to him.
Ben Bauer 52:01
Sue Campbell 52:02
Ben Bauer 52:03
Yeah. We'll find it. How to get to uh, yeah, I know. He's on Tik Tok. Right.
Sue Campbell 52:07
So yeah, so has Charlie worn the shoes?
Ben Bauer 52:11
Only around the house there we we got him some shoes that were a bit big for him. Because we have on him to have some toe space and wiggle room. And you know, being seven he was like, it's like every day he's taller. Something you know. But so he's worn them around the house. And he's been pretty good about it actually about, like understanding why he can't wear them out and about school and everything. One, they're a little big. So they look like clown shoes right now. So I don't think he'd want to wear him anyway. But you know, he also knows that they're custom and he wants them to last as long as he can kind of stuff he even came up with the idea What if they were just my gym shoes, and I only wore him in gym at school. And so maybe someday that's what the wind up being. And then though, I can only imagine as long as they hold up, it'd be cool for them to go back on a shelf. And you know, when he's older 16, 18 or something, have this cool little decoration in his room and cool memory for us as parents too you know?
Sue Campbell 53:05
So, importantly, when he tried them on, could he run super fast in them?
Ben Bauer 53:12
So fast, and it's weird. He could like climb up walls too. So I don't know where Nick got that stuff.
Sue Campbell 53:18
That's pretty amazing. That's pretty amazing. That is one of my favorite things when you buy a little kid tennis shoes and like their first instinct is "Look how fast i can run!"
Ben Bauer 53:27
"I can jump so high!"
Sue Campbell 53:30
Awesome. Well, it is so funny. That's what you chose to share. And here's why. Because I just finally finished my son bought me a book last last year for Christmas sell how long this has dragged on. And it's a book by Neil Gaiman. It's called Anansi Boys. Anansi. I don't think I ever- I definitely should have done something awesome for the show American Gods and the book American Gods. Also written by Neil Gaiman. But, Anansi is a character in that and then this is a whole separate book about him and his family. But he the tradition that comes from is an African god of chaos and mischief, and it's a spider.
Ben Bauer 54:21
Sue Campbell 54:22
So it's it's it's one of those sort of old god traditions that is both depicted sort of as a man and depicted as an animal and it's that that kind of combination, but his particular animal is a spider so-
Ben Bauer 54:37
Sue Campbell 54:37
It's funny that you bring that up.
Ben Bauer 54:39
Yeah. So my recommendation is this book called Anansi Boys and I'll share a link so that you can get it and bookshop.org but I just in general have a real love for anything Neil Gaiman writes, because he, he has a way of writing that is so melodic it is so easy to read it is so engaging, and yet so human. And so that is a recommendation I can give and I can give it with absolute confidence because I have gone cover to cover now on that book and I feel good about it. Even though it took me almost a year. It's great. Yeah, I definitely echo the Neil Gaiman love we bought the Graveyard Book in September. I bought it ahead of Halloween thinking like, you know, getting the mood, whatever. And then started reading the first pages of it to Charlie. But it got a little probably too intense for a seven year old so I was like "You know, I think dad's going to finish reading this one first and then maybe you can have it someday." but but really good. I mean, like you said like, like melodic is just an awesome word to describe his writing for sure. So cool, great recommendation and the American Gods. What What's that on? Or where do you stream it
Sue Campbell 56:04
It was on Starz? I think there are three seasons of it.
Ben Bauer 56:08
Sue Campbell 56:09
Because it ended.
Ben Bauer 56:11
I'm happily a person that doesn't mind watching the thing before reading the thing. Yeah. Others might be a little more diehard the other way, but I'm gonna have to check that out.
Sue Campbell 56:20
Yeah, check it out. And also I think if I remember correctly, the book is really long.
Ben Bauer 56:27
Okay.Even more reason to check out the show. Cool.
Sue Campbell 56:31
Yeah. And also watch Sandman, have you seen Sandman? Is that on Netflix? Good. Gosh. Now, I can't remember we have, we have so many streaming. Because every time a new show comes out that we want to see we just get the streaming channel and then we really don't think about the fact that we are paying for so many. But Sandman based on graphic novel by Neil Gaiman and really also really, really excellent.
Ben Bauer 56:59
Okay. Cool. So couple bonus. Something Awesomes this one? Yeah.
Sue Campbell 57:04
Yeah. Speaking of something's awesome, Something awesomes? Whatever, we will include those links and the picture of Charlie's new shoes, which I have seen and they are DOPE, along with the blog, and you can find those that information either on your favorite podcast app wherever you listen to podcasts, or you can go right on over to our blog, and that is exclamationcuso.com/blog. But you can on our website if you go straight to exclamationcuso.com. So the three most recent blogs are right there on the front page there. So that is a always a fun little reminder that you can not just listen to this episode. But all of the other episodes too, as well.
Ben Bauer 57:47
Sue Campbell 57:48
Too, as well.
Ben Bauer 57:50
Awesome. Thank you, Sue. And thanks, friends for tuning in. We are your self-proclaimed professors of Awsomology, reminding you that life's awesome if you make it awesome. We'll see you next time.