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Podcast Pit Stop: Jessika Phillips on Relationships Will Always Be More Powerful Than Marketing

Relationships Will Always Be More Powerful Than Marketing

In episode 59 of Pit Stops to Podium, Jessika Phillips discusses why and how relationships are so important in the marketing world.  What was once "word of mouth" has become "world of mouth" through the power of the Internet.  With 90% of all buying decisions starting online, people are largely basing their decision on what companies to engage with by consulting online reviews and Facebook posts.  The key to keeping these customers long term is by building relationships.

Known as the Queen of Relationship Marketing, Jessika is on a mission to redefine corporate America and create something she wanted to be part of.  Jessika founded NOW Marketing Group in 2010 with only a laptop and a vision to give people with heart an upper hand.  NOW Marketing Group was recognized as Inc. Best places to work 2022, is a Forbes recognized Agency Partner, Partnered with Facebook, Google and a certified inbound partner with HubSpot.

NOW Marketing Group works with more than 100 clients across the United States and beyond, choosing to serve – not sell. Jessika lives by a personal mission of helping inspire people to love more, give more and be more through. authentic relating and proving doing what’s right, not what’s easy, can turn a vision to a profitable agency that produces

If you’re ready to learn from one of the best, then buckle up and hold on! 

Pitstop Highlights

The Sales Funnel Doesn’t Work Anymore...The Focus Must Be on How to Out-CARE the Competition

CARE is turning followers on your page to real fans, clients into your biggest advocates, team members into your biggest evangelists, and people in your community to collaborators.  By doing this, CARE occurs (C- capture attention; A- articulate our message; R- relationships for repeat referral business; E- exceptional experiences).

"The more that we can care for our customers, the more momentum that we have, and that's how our companies can grow outwardly"

Brand Marketing Must Start From the Inside-out

Identifying what your "north star" or manifesto is as a brand is crucial.  This allows a company to align who they are with what they're going to spend their time doingNext a company has to figure out their culture and what their non-negotiables are.  If your brand culture isn't right, your marketing never will be.  Then you identify the ideal customers you want to work with.

"There's somebody else that does that thing that you do, but there's nobody else that's going to be able to do it the way that you do it."

Co-creating is the New Influencer Marketing

We are now in an era of "read, write, co-create", meaning people don't just want to read about a brand, they want to experience it on a deeper level.  For example, when buying a couch, a person no longer just reads about its benefits or looks at a picture of it, but can actually see how it would look in their own living room via augmented reality.  Among other things, co-creating can take the form of loyalty programs and client portals where customers can see the progress of company projects in real time.

In addition, social media channels are becoming Dark Social, where more conversations are fragmenting off into private channels and different social apps.  Companies need to focus on what ever is being discussed is a positive sentiment and then hopefully getting invited to the conversation.

"What you can do is look at 'how can I co-create within my organization with my customer to give them a richer, deeper, and co-created experience with us?' "

Connect with Jessika





Full Transcript

Brendan:  Welcome to Pit Stops to Podium the RevPartners podcast where we talk to execs who have competed and won in taking their companies from high growth to high scale.  Well my name is Brendan Tolleson I serve as the co-founder and CEO of RevPartners and I'm delighted to have with me today Jessika Phillips for this episode of Pit Stops to Podium welcome Jessika.

Jessika:  Hey thanks so much for having me.

Brendan:  Oh we were joking earlier Jessika turns out you and I are wearing the exact same thing for this podcast which was not planned uh but always always a fun fact as we go into these conversations uh for those that don't know Jessika is the founder of NOW marketing uh NOW Marketing Group rather and for Jessika for those that may not be familiar with NOW marketing who is NOW marketing?

Jessika:  Yeah NOW Marketing Group is a relationship marketing agency located in Lima, Ohio but serving clients all over the US and beyond that focus on helping clients out-care their competition.

Brendan:  Well I'm excited to talk about this care framework but before we get into that big idea Jessika we do have a tradition here which is to get to know our guests outside of work so so what are three fun facts that our audience should know about Jessika?

Jessika:  Oh okay three fun facts well I am a mom of three teenage girls somehow still

keeping it together uh right now uh my favorite snack is chips and salsa I eat that like every day um and another fun fact is that I got to do social media for NASA uh out of a contest.

Brendan:  So what was the project or can you not share?

Jessika:  Um it was so is the state of social uh was in 2018 that they had uh where you got to go to one of the NASA locations and just tweet and talk about all the things that they're going to be planning to do and what they're currently doing you got to do like behind the scenes kind of tour it was a lot of fun.

Brendan:  That's great well thanks for sharing a little bit three teenage girls that does sound like a lot you probably eat a lot of chips and salsa to uh manage that uh burden's the wrong word that joy that you get to uh 

Jessika:  Depends on the day the words could be swapped out yeah. 

Brendan:  That's great well as we transition into the big idea in light of what you do you know a lot of the the companies that are listening to or people are listening to this podcast are revenue leaders they are looking at hey how do I transition from high growth to high scale and how do I think about marketing uh and marketing it certainly has evolved over time um and I think there's this the idea that you wanted to kind of cast to our audience really on this idea that relationships will always be more powerful than marketing um and so I think it's kind of hey what is the priority and the priority will inform the strategies ultimately the tactics but let's maybe get a little bit of contextual layer as to what you mean by that kind of relationship concept because it may not be new but I think in terms of how you think about and ultimately execute on is a little bit different.

Jessika:  Yeah I mean you said like marketing changes all the time but really the essence of business hasn't right we do business with everybody's heard the know like trust right and that word of mouth is the number one generator of business it's just now switched from word of mouth to world of mouth online uh especially as we look at marketing and where I say relationships will always be more powerful than marketing is because ninety percent of all buying decisions start online now and people are basing their decision on if they work with a company A or Company B based upon what people are saying about the experience that they're having with the company whether it be reviews or you know sharing their their suggestions on somebody's Facebook post asking for a referral but people are only going to refer those people that they truly have a good relationship with and they're only going to stay loyal to those that they have a good relationship or rapport or trust built in um with with those companies uh starting from I like to say the inside out with you know who we're hiring that's working with their customers and and and it goes from there but at the end of the day we're gonna maintain and keep the customers the team members and you know the partners in our businesses with those that we've built a relationship with and keep them long term.

Brendan:  Yeah I think the um the reality that a lot of B2B organizations are faced with and it's kind of like I mean a lot of the parallels in B2C are now applying in B2B and the the customer has more power than ever uh and they're really the ones that can be the evangelizers for you and ultimately provide them multiplier affection to grow or they can be terrorists for your organization and so it's really important that you create that experience that you were just talking about so before we get into oh actually let's dive in uh and let's talk a little bit about you mentioned uh out-care um in your introduction and really out-care care for you is really a framework so let's walk our audience through this care framework that the NOW marketing focuses on.

Jessika:  Yeah I feel like at out-care when we talk about care as it relates to marketing is that one thing to remember is that we're never done marketing I like to say care is turning our followers on our page to real fans it's turning our clients into our biggest Advocates it's turning our team members to our biggest evangelist and people in our community to collaborators with us and by doing this we're able to care which is the acronym capture attention articulate our message relationships for repeat referral business and exceptional experiences and what happens with this when I say we're never done marketing because we just talked about all buying decisions starting online you know people are the number one deciding factor if they're working with one company or another is based upon the perceived experience that somebody's going to have with a business so that in itself means that our people that love working with us are going to be our best generator of business so care is the framework that turns instead of a sales funnel into a flywheel effect because the more that we can care for our customers the more momentum that we have and that's how our companies can grow outwardly by focusing on capturing attention first with knowing who our ideal customer is and who we're trying to serve at the end of the day and so we know how to show up and really to articulate our message the a part of care with our own flavor uh and style I like the the saying that people say you don't have to reinvent ice cream but you need to have your own flavor to make it craveable right and so people can want to come back and choose working with us in our brand versus you know just being the same flavor as everyone else like how are people going to refer us on and what is going to make them want to come back and keep choosing us and then the R part of care is relationships for repeat referral business like what can we do that's just a little bit different and extra that is going to show that we do care like are we personalizing our approach are we sending like a video email versus you know a regular email are we you know building in that company culture and and you know camaraderie between our within our teams to make it a great place to work so we you're we're not suffering like many companies were with the great resignation you know because ultimately the people that are providing that exceptional experience to our customers at the end of the day are the team members that are working within the organizations so if they're not happy they're probably not you know caring if our customers are happy either um and so we need to look at how we're showing up and start from the inside out as it relates to marketing to think through a care mentality an out-care mentality.

Brendan:  Yeah I think I love the framework and I think it's a good transition to your point about the inside out so for those marketers that may be saying okay how do I start with this care framework you do talk about us inside out um and really from a brand marketing perspective so for those that are either kind of in that seat or aspire to be in that seat uh how what what's the next step they should take from an inside out approach and how can you help them?

Jessika:  I like to say you have to sense before you seize okay so what I mean by that before we think about just what's the next thing to add on when we start especially now when we're hearing all the predictions of marketing and you know next year in 2023 like what are we instead of just adding things on what if we paused and took a minute to say what truly is our North Star as a brand so I like to say starting from the basic core of who the company is from the inside out of knowing what is our Manifesto like what are we truly here to do what should people feel about us when they think about working with our organization like do we even know what our personality you know style is because if we've identified our Manifesto first then we can compare before we do anything else to make sure that it aligns with truly who we are and what we're going to spend our time doing uh and so we're not wasting time and wasting effort from there then we talk about our company culture like what are some of our non-negotiables who do we want to work with who what is our um you know things that we can do to truly show up for our team to make it a good company culture and environment you know are we taking that that feedback from our team members seriously then we identify our customers our ideal customers that we want to work with and the ones that are you know the most excited to work with us that are referring us on already you know are we taking time to interview them and ask them like what made you decide working with us what keeps you here what could we be doing better and take some of that feedback build out your personas especially if you haven't done this in a long time like really refine that and see where there's opportunity for you to show up in a bigger way um and I do have this framework by the way with a checklist that I would definitely want to give to everyone that has these steps in there of each thing that you can do with some examples um in it so you can build this out uh for for every organization because it doesn't matter what niche of a niche of a business that you're in you know there's somebody else that does that thing that you do but there's nobody else that's going to be able to do it the way that you do it it's not like what we do it's how we do it so it's really refining how we're showing up we're showing up for and how we are going to become the most memorable to our care of the competition

Brendan:  Yeah we had a um we had Andrew who's the managing uh partner at growthx and he was talking through product market fit and one of the things he talks a lot about is like when you think about ICP there's uh Ideal Company uh profile and idea ideal customer profile and the idea that he was getting trying to present to our audience is focus on your existing customers not necessarily your company because the customer is the actual data um and so one's aspirational one's actual uh and so understanding who you serve why they purchase from you really allow it kind of informs that care framework that you were just describing.  All right so let Jessika let's transition into uh the last topic so we talked a little about the care framework we talked about the Inside Out approach uh but now we kind of get into how and so how do you from a marketer perspective get that message out and you have this whole you know top around co-creating is a new influencer marketing what do you mean by that?

Jessika:  So co-creating we've moved now from version and people are calling it web3 metaverse right not to be confused with Facebook's new name meta but metaverse is all about web3 so web one was read only where you could find information online it was just like a live newspaper if you will web 2 was social media where you could read write right right you could respond to things but now we're moving into read write co-create where people are expecting a richer deeper experience that they're having with brands they want to be able to you know um do things at their own pace and in real time and the doors never close so to speak right so it's the the thought when you're buying from Amazon for example and you want to see if a piece of furniture fits into your room you can actually you know have some augmented reality with that not to say that that's going to fit every company right but what you can do is look at how can I co-create within my organization with my customers are to give them a richer deeper and co-created experience with us whether that's building an a loyalty program whether that's one thing that we did at NOW Marketing Group is create a client portal where they could see all the projects that we're working on in real time they could you know check out who's doing what it's all time tracked um you know automatically with AI so they can it's transparency right um it's allowing our clients to have an app where they can you know engage and ask questions in real time in a knowledge base it's building in those utilities that they can also you know use and apply within whatever problem that that company is solving for that customer right so that's one of the things that we're moving into with our clients is finding what is that utility that you can create to truly help your customer solve a problem faster or smarter or reach a goal faster um but this is the new co-create because social media channels now too are fragmenting right like they're it's becoming more and more dark social not to be confused with the dark web completely different topic but dark social which means that more conversations are you know fragmenting off to you know happen in uh private channels and to you know happen um and and different social apps you know there's ones that pop up all the time now and so it's harder and harder to capture attention so what the companies need to focus on though instead of just trying to show up and then sign up for a tick tock and uh be real and everything else is instead just focus on the conversations that your customer is already going to be having within those conversations and where they're hanging out so if you can build in those utilities for your customer then it doesn't matter where they're hanging out they're going to still be hopefully talking about you in a positive way and hopefully you even get invited into the conversation but it has to you have to think through instead of us just having our own business this and brand that's and then there's a customer how can you work through some more immersive experiences to co-create with your customer.

Brendan:  Yeah it comes back to coming full circle a little bit the customer has more power probably than ever uh and like for for B2B the the facade of control uh of the buyer's Journey uh to your point about dark funnel I mean you're going to win or lose in the dark funnel at this point unfortunately um question for you is who and this may be a layout for you given like what you do what what B2B organization is doing this well I would love to hear an example.

Jessika:  So um without being by like I love one of the examples um because this is a very unique um client which is one of our clients I love uh his name is Mr. manhole so they sell a tool um to people that are doing road work and road construction um milling and paving things like that so all the you know the potholes that you you go drive across he's helping solve that problem for everybody but what he what he invested in the past couple years is one um building his own installer portal where the installers because he's not doing the jobs he's just selling the tool he's just selling the tool so he could literally sell the customer of the tool let them continue on with their construction you know milling and paving business well instead he built an installer portal with this where then it's helping them to learn how to market their companies smarter faster you know better safer um he's created to help you know them have their own website um already ready made for them so he's enhancing their experience by investing even more so than just the tool that he's selling right so now as he decides maybe potentially to pivot his business uh or to grow his business in another way he still has all these rich experiences that he's already built in in addition to just having this product or tool right um so he doesn't have competition in that way um I also think Agora pulse there's social media so a SaaS company example um they do a great job of this too you know similarly they are investing in the people that invest already in them they're helping promote people that you know are using their product and service they're helping to educate them to do their job even better um and and really provide access to uh take the feedback that their customers are providing to them and putting that into action steps on how to improve their tool and they're really great at that.

Brendan:  That's great well thank you for sharing some it's always fun to hear stories I think it makes it even more relevant uh well Jessika well if our audience says hey this sounds really interesting we'd love to learn more uh what are ways in which they can engage with you either at a personal level or with your organization what what steps can they take?

Jessika:  Sure so um you can visit my website which has all the social handles there so whichever one you're hanging out on we can connect there on my website's Jessica j-e-s-s-i-k-a Phillips uh feel free to connect with me on the social network of your choice and there's also a link to NOW Marketing Group on there as well and the free workbook um it's forward slash care that's all caps care more um and we'll put I'm sure the link in your show notes Here for people to get the the workbook that guides through the process.

Brendan:  Well thanks for offering that we certainly will uh and Jessika thanks for stopping by this is really informative I'm sure for our marketing leaders it'll be one that they find a lot of insights from and ultimately action upon so thanks again for for giving us your time we really do appreciate it 

Jessika:  Thank you so much for having me.

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