Being Comfortable with the Uncomfortable and Persevering beyond Fear to Market Building Products

Zach Williams, Founder and CEO of Venveo, an agency providing building product marketing, addresses this niche market’s unique challenges (including “invisible products”) and diverse target audiences (big box stores, retailers, builders, contractors, and homeowners). In this interview, Zach:

  • Presents questions to ask when considering niche specialization: “Who do we do the best work for?” and “How to get into that market?”
  • Acknowledges the accompanying fear that “putting a stake in the ground” will mean turning away clients outside the targeted niche
  • Speaks to the importance of perseverance and education in building solid industry understanding, and
  • Admits that desperation can be useful in driving innovation and creativity.

His recommendation: Find something you love and, when you identify that niche, specialize sooner.

His warning: If you’re aiming for nothing, that’s exactly what you’re going to get.

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Sharpening the Saw for B2B Consumer Experience

Michael Barber worked for a number of agencies before he founded barber&hewitt in 2015. He intended for his new company to provide marketing strategy and planning for midmarket B2B brands, but ended up spending 50% of his time consulting with agencies dealing with growth and development issues. In February 2018, inspired by the opportunity to work with a larger team and by his client company’s culture, Michael joined Godfrey, based in Lancaster, PA, as SVP and Chief Creative Officer. For 70 years, Godfrey has been providing marketing services to midmarket tech-heavy industrial manufacturers?unknown brand names that produce automation, control, materials handling, logistics, construction, and medical equipment; building materials & systems; chemicals, OEM components; lubricants; and metal work.

Michael does not differentiate between B2B and B2C as “audiences”?both come down to people. With that in mind, he sees an increasing need to focus on creating a favorable B2B experience (paralleling that supporting good consumer experience in the B2C marketplace), and a need for marketing firms to be exposed to the non-marketing teams in client businesses in order to enhance the experience of the B2B clients’ customers. He predicts that long term survival will depend more on experience than on awareness or acquisition.


Michael is @michaeljbarber almost everywhere online, from Facebook to LinkedIn or Twitter. To learn more about Godfrey, visit:

Check out the episode here!

The Complex Sale: Leveraging B2B Account-based Marketing

What are the right tools, the right strategies and tactics, and the right content for a successful marketing and sales pipeline? These questions led Scott Armstrong, Partner, to start his agency, Brainrider, in 2010. Brainrider is based in Toronto and San Francisco. In this interview, Scott discusses his agency’s demand generation, prospect and customer nurturing, and lead management strategies for companies involved in “the complex sale,” and highlights the advantages of permission-based marketing.

Most companies he works with already have toolsets in place. Brainrider’s role is to provide effective strategic methodology, planning, execution, and results measurement, developing a hyper-segmented B2B pipeline that empowers his client companies to optimize the results of their marketing efforts. The base stack for today’s B2B marketer includes: a robust sales CRM, marketing automation (with pipeline awareness and engagement tracking), and a marketing-updatable website. Tool selection should be aligned with use objectives with the “Why?”

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From 0 to 80 people in 3 years: Selling IT Niche Lead Generation Services

Terry Hedden, CEO of Marketopia, a Tampa Bay, FL-based company that offers end to end sales and marketing solutions for IT companies, has grown his company to 80 employees in a little more than 3 years. Marketopia develops comprehensive B2B website-to-appointment-setting solutions to help IT service providers stand out in the crowded, often hard to differentiate channel. Terry attributes his company’s rapid growth to delivering “whole package solutions,” efficiency, economies of scale, automation, great systems, and a fantastic team.

Terry gets on stage about 65 times a year to teach and motivate people to do things to help themselves and their companies grow. Marketopia also offers free, no obligation sessions with a growth consultant to help entrepreneurs define business goals, develop necessary strategies, and understand resource options.

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Marketing as a Profit Center

Eddy Badrina is President of BuzzShift, a Dallas, Texas-based digital strategy agency that focuses on B2B and B2C client growth through the synthesis of business metrics, strategy, and creativity. In this podcast, he explores how digital marketing can revolutionize the brand CMO’s role from being an advertiser running a cost center to functioning as a Chief Marketing & Technology Officer, redefining IT, restructuring operations, and leveraging digital marketing and the online ordering experience to drive bottom line profits … and in a measurable way.

A company’s problems are best solved though hiring the right people, rather than requiring people to “spin their wheels” trying to do something they are not good at doing. Prospective employees take a StrengthFinders test, which identifies 37 strengths in one of four buckets: executing, strategy, relationships, and influencing. Eddy knows what he has to see in the results… and hires people who it BuzzShift’s culture, have the needed skills, and are strong in the areas where the company needs more strength.

Eddy has had the unusual experience of selling his company … and then “unselling” it. He reviews this on his blog in:”Unacquired: That Time We Sold Our Digital Agency and Then Bought It Back.”

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Marketing Forensics: Sleuthing Out Sales Closing Drivers and Building Scalable Pipelines

Matt Heinz, President of Heinz Marketing, a B2B sales and marketing consulting firm based out of Seattle, Washington, is an author, blogger, speaker, and host of Sales Pipeline Radio podcast. Heinz Marketing builds predictable, scalable sales pipelines for startups and for companies targeting enhanced, consistent growth. In this presentation, Matt relates that “61% of decision-makers include podcasts as part of their research process at the beginning of a buying journey,” and emphasizes the importance of dynamic conversational interaction on social media (as contrasted with static website content and printed collateral). He challenges marketers to take holistic responsibility, not just for top-of-the-funnel leads, but for nurturing prospective customers through the sales funnel and collaborating with the sales force to drive sales and revenue performance. He warns that marketing and other professional services companies must, in order to be successful, always be watching and building their pipelines and to know their numbers?the percentage of deals they will close.

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Looking to Grow your Company? Lead with Marketing, Follow with Sales

Alex Membrillo, CEO of Cardinal Digital Marketing, based in Atlanta, Georgia, talks about how companies that want to grow have found that marketing comes first to “plant the seed” the sales force harvests. Alex started his agency as an SEO company in 2009, when he got out of Georgia State on the tail of the Great Recession of 2008. Today, his company provides search, paid social, and programmatic display services. The primary client focus is on restaurants (Cardinal excels in balancing the challenges of national brand awareness vs. the needs of local franchisees) and healthcare (Cardinal increases leads and conversions, cuts lead costs, and ameliorates reputation management issues related to Healthgrades ratings).

To track campaign value, Cardinal Digital Marketing develops powerful client tools:

  • The imminently-to-be-launched software platform, “Jimoto,” allows SMB franchise restaurants to target campaigns to discrete geographic markets and track lead vs. spend at a local level.
  • “Ladybug,” a visualization tool, enables multi-location companies to log on and see how each location is performing with spend and lead volume.
  • A tool, currently under development, will enable medical practice and health systems to track the number of leads being driven into their systems, the number of patients from those leads, and the value of those patients?by linking CRM with Facebook or search campaigns.

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Hell-bent on New and Cutting-Edge Marketing and Legitimizing Tomorrow’s Paradigms

Kevin Planovsky, Principal of Vert Digital in Atlanta, Georgia, discusses how he started his “full stack” mobile- and social-focused marketing consultancy. Keys to Vert Digital’s success include:

  • comprehending clients’ business models, problems, and KPIs
  • understanding the administrative challenges CMOs face in translating corporate directives to actionable challenges for their marketing organizations and agencies , and
  • bridging the creative/technology gap with data-heavy campaign execution.

What motivates Kevin? The thrill of driving change and the opportunity to provide value to clients where others have not. In light of the recent Cambridge Analytica data scandal, he believes the marketing industry should be transparent and inform people of the personal data they may not know they have disclosed.

Kevin selects his team members (Vertbags) based on their self-identified position on a scale of “loving technology for technology’s sake” versus “being a communicator who solves marketing problems.” He knows exactly where his ideal employees will be on that line.

Kevin can be reached at @kplanovsky on Twitter, on the company website at:, and through @vertspeaks on all of the popular social media.


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Creativity at Speed, Ephemeral Content, and Solid, Long-term Growth

Mike Popowski, CEO of Dagger Agency based in Atlanta, Georgia, explains the orientation of his strategic content agency, where content is the touch point between brand and consumer and platform placement follows customer behavioral trends. His company focuses on content development, right placement, right timing, and analytics, primarily in video production. Mike notes that content today is far different from what it was 15 years ago . . . more ephemeral and notably less polished.


Critical to Dagger’s success in this market? A strong team and an organization big enough to have the requisite manpower . . . and lean enough to be capable of reactive marketing?nimble, speedy responses to marketing opportunities.

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Coaching Digital Marketing Agencies to Boost Profits and Agency Growth

Jason Swenk, Digital Marketing Agency Advisor, Coach, and Mentor, provides a comprehensive framework to expedite agency growth and life-cycle agency management. In this podcast, he covers:

  • Vision: Where do I want to go and why do I want to do that? The importance and application of passion, knowledge, and expertise.
  • Position: Why specialize in one client-focused niche, master it, and then port that knowledge to other niches.
  • Defining your Offering: What are you offering and what is your price? Radical thoughts on pricing strategies that will maximize profits?How to figure out what to charge, when, and why it really isn’t about the money.

Jason also defines the critical mass for selling your agency at a profit, why you should say “No” to Earn-Outs, and how to handle RFPs and get the contract . . . at the right price.

To learn more about Jason’s online agency system training program for scaling your agency and increasing profits, go to: or google “Swenk It”.

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