#18 Ben Cornett – The Power of Intentional Marketing

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Ben Cornett, Marketing executive, author, and adjunct professor at BYU Idaho talks to Ryan about the current evolution of marketing and how it differs from academia taught in higher education institutions. He emphasizes the importance of creating experiences for customers and being intentional when marketing a product or service in order to properly target an audience. 

Ben also shares examples of what a successful marketing campaigns look like and what makes these stand out from the rest. Listen to Ben share his expertise and advice for small business owners on what marketing strategies to focus on and what mistakes to avoid in order to yield a return on investment.

Show Links: 
Ben Cornett Website
Volkswagen Ad
Website Desing Webinar
Create a Killer Marketing Plan

Find more There to Here Podcast Episodes with Ryan Dye

Key points:

00:55 —  Ben’s background

02:30 —  What makes great marketing

03:50 — Keeping marketing simple for a small business owner

04:36 — Service dominant logic 

05:00 — Customer reviews in marketing

06:55 — What small business owners should focus on 

09:00 — Pros and Cons of Reviews

10:30 — Mistakes small business owners should avoid on marketing 

12:59 — Difference between branding and marketing

14:06 — How to differentiate yourself from competitors

15:10 — Ben’s marketing campaign experiences

20:00 — Examples of effective marketing campaigns

25:00 — Volkswagen ad campaign 

26:37 — Thinking about marketing in a new way

28:10 — Connecting with Ben

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Episode Transcript

Ryan Dye (00:00):
From CoLab INC, it’s There to Here, a show about entrepreneurs, innovators and mentors, and the impact they seek to make on the world. I’m Ryan Dye, executive director of CoLab. And on today’s show, we talk with Ben Cornett, a marketing executive who deploys a wide range of strategies to maximize customer engagement. Ben holds a Doctorate in Business Administration with an emphasis in marketing, a Masters in Business Administration, and a Bachelor of Science in Business Management. He has worked as a marketing manager for several corporations and is an adjunct faculty member for BYU Idaho, and formerly at the University of Phoenix. Ben is the author of Storytelling Marketing, and advises organizations on how to create revenue with creative and innovative communication strategies.

Ryan Dye (00:41):
Ben, thanks so much for joining us today.

Ben Cornett (00:43):
Thanks for having me. You made me look like I’ve studied for a lot of years.

Ryan Dye (00:47):
I hope I got that correct.

Ben Cornett (00:49):
No, it’s really good to be with you, Ryan. I appreciate the invitation.

Ryan Dye (00:51):
Absolutely. So, let’s talk marketing today. What led you to develop a career in this fascinating side of business?

Ben Cornett (00:58):
That’s a good question. I thought about that a little bit over the years, and I think it probably really goes back to my father. See, my dad was an entrepreneur of a small business just north of Boise here. And I remember, I went to my first trade show with Dad. He owned a glass shop, very small glass shop, in a little town called Emmett, just north of Boise. And I was probably 9 or 10. And at that time, I had just started fly fishing and I took up tying flies. And, in fact, I’m sitting at my desk and I’ve got a fly-tying kit on my desk here. He had this trade show. And he went and worked out some deal that I could set up a table at the trade show and sell my flies when I was nine or 10 years old. I sat there, and I had one customer. He bought all my inventory, and I was sold out. And I think that’s really what kind of started my drive for marketing, sales and business development, where I’ve spent the majority of my career. I think that’s really comes down to Dad.

Ryan Dye (01:45):
It’s nice to have inspiration from family members, for sure.

Ben Cornett (01:49):
Yeah. My wife might not like that he’s the inspiration, but it’s the truth.

Ryan Dye (01:53):
Yeah, no, my father has worked in business his whole career, with a background in finance, and did a lot of commercial real estate development in different projects, in retail and nursing homes, retirement centers and shopping centers. I’ve always found that fascinating. And so, I think when you can get inspiration from those who have gone before, I think that’s a great testament to their enthusiasm and passion as well.

Ryan Dye (02:17):
In 2017, the New York Times described marketing as the art of telling stories so enthralling that people lose track of their wallets. A great quote. Do you think that’s a fair description?

Ben Cornett (02:28):
Yeah. I like the quote, and I think overall, it’s probably a fair description, but when I think about great marketing and, again, this is my opinion, I think it’s really where the story helps people lose track of time more than their wallets. And they’re losing track of time, trying to solve problems that they encounter. And I don’t believe that it’s just to get someone to spend their hard-earned money because people work hard to make the money they have. And whether you’re selling a product to a consumer or you’re selling a service to other businesses, it’s really about trying to solve the issue or the problem or the job that needs to done, as Clay Christensen at Harvard places it. Marketing is really about telling stories of how others have solved their problems, and really thinking about the ways that your product or service could do that for the audience that you have, is trying to capitalize on what you’ve done successfully and helping others do that as well.

Ryan Dye (03:15):
When you’re a business that can focus on, like you say, helping someone solve a problem or a need and not just always say, “Oh, man, that’s a flashy thing. I want that.” Well, I mean, there’s obviously marketing involved there, but I think when it can be driven by desire to help people solve something in their life, I think can be really beneficial.

Ryan Dye (03:36):
With marketing, it’s one of those areas in business that can be rather nebulous. It’s extremely important, but many business owners don’t understand how to use it effectively due to a lack of creativity, a limited understanding of data analysis or current trends. Is there a way to keep it simple for a small business owner?

Ben Cornett (03:54):
That’s another really, really good question. I spent a lot of years studying business and studying marketing, as you mentioned in the intro, and trying to keep what I’ve learned over the years simple is quite complex. Marketing, I don’t think it really is simple, but maybe the core is. And maybe I’ll explain a little bit.

Ben Cornett (04:13):
When I was back in school, my bachelor, my undergrad, they taught me marketing was price, product, placement, promotion, which everyone in the world has probably heard about. And in about 2004, that ideology of place, product, promotion and price kind of started to shift into now, it’s known in the marketing world of a logic around marketing called service-dominant logic. And what that is really, Ryan, is it’s the ability for a product, place, price, promotion to be co-created between you, the company or organization offering a service or product, your customers and partners in a one, single ecosystem. Now, you’re trying to, co-create what the product should be, what the place, where do you offer or serve this product, what the best price is for the market, the best way to communicate the challenge that you’re solving.

Ben Cornett (05:01):
And we see that more and more. I think the software space is really heavy. It’s all based on reviews now. Customers are exchanging reviews for great service, a great product that solves their problems. And that’s why I say it’s simple, but maybe not really so simple, is because there’s a large ecosystem that you’re really trying to get others to rave about. The exponential growth that we see, when we can talk about marketing from lead generation and getting sales through the door and revenue, that’s usually coming from someone talking about your product or your price or your cause or whatever it is you’re doing. It’s exceptional.

Ben Cornett (05:34):
In translating that service-dominant logic academia world to the small business owner, I think the simplicity of this is you really have to care about the relationship and the experience that your customer’s going to have more than anything else. And I think that’s where you’re going to extract the value of marketing. In fact, I’m working on some additional research around my dissertation of how do small business owners really identify the value of the co-creation in their business? It’s not something that’s talked about. Large organizations, if you’re a Micron Technology or a Hewlett-Packard or a Google or a Apple, you’re already doing this, but the small business owner, they’re not thinking about co-creating value with their customers. They’re just trying to stay alive and survive and payroll at the end of the month.

Ben Cornett (06:14):
And so, I’m always looking for people want to talk about, “Hey, I’d love to have an interview on that story because I am continuing to research and try and understand how the small business owner identifies this.” I mean, I live in Idaho. I’m surrounded by small businesses. That’s the reality. And so, I’m really interested in being the one-go person, the expert, when it comes to, “How do I identify the value of that co-creation?”

Ryan Dye (06:35):
As a small business owner, let’s say that I’m in the early stages of starting a business and I’ve figured out my name, I’ve developed a logo, I’ve registered as an LLC or an S corp, and maybe I’m working on a website. I’m in those early days of trying to get my shingle, as they say. What do you recommend I focus on next? And where does the marketing side start to fit into that equation?

Ben Cornett (06:58):
Yeah. I get this question a lot. In fact, I just had a really close friend of ours, here in our home for the last week or so, and they’re asking the same questions like, “I got this great product. I’ve built my company. I’ve got a website. Done all those basic things. What do I need to do next?” I’m like, “Well, do you have a customer?” And I think if I were to say, “Go do something else before you go find your first customer,” I’d be wrong.

Ben Cornett (07:18):
You really need customers to be able to understand truly the value that you provide. And it goes back to that idea of co-creation in today’s world, or reviews in the software world, or reviews in the restaurant or your small little product that you’re selling on Amazon. I don’t know about you, Ryan, but about 9 times out of 10, when I’m buying something, I’ve read all the reviews and then I make my purchase decision. That’s really the catalyst that I think to growth, is getting the customer.

Ben Cornett (07:43):
And once you get 1, it’s easier to get 2. It’s always hardest to get your first customer. And then when you get your first 10, let’s get the next 10. And continue to building customers, telling their stories and helping them help you tell the story and providing them that experience, that relationship we talked about earlier.

Ryan Dye (07:58):
Mm-hmm (affirmative). That would lead to an interesting question regarding reviews. As a consumer, definitely, I put a lot of my purchasing behind what I read and what I… If I’m going to go out and buy a new printer or a vacuum cleaner or whatever it may be, reviews are very helpful and they do have a strong influence on what I’m going to decide to do.

Ryan Dye (08:21):
I’ve also felt like, from the business owner side, I look at the reviews with a little bit of hesitation because I know there’s fake reviews, there’s challenges with that. And I remember in the early days of a business that we were working on, Yelp was pursuing us hardcore to, “Oh, you need to connect with us. And it’s only going to cost X thousands of dollars per year.” And I was like, “I don’t have a lot of confidence in Yelp because I know not everything there is accurate.” So, it really made me not want to jump in bed with Yelp, in particular. But what are some of the pros and cons you see to how that can relate and influence a consumer, as far as how that fits into the marketing equation?

Ben Cornett (09:05):
I think that’s really valid. You do have to be cautious with reviews. You can’t just trust every review on the web. I kind of base mine depending on the size of the purchase decision. If I’m buying something like a new iPhone, I’m probably pretty comfortable with the reviews that Apple is going to have on their site about their iPhone and the source of where I’m getting the reviews. Probably not so comfortable even with reviews on Amazon about an Apple.

Ben Cornett (09:26):
When your purchase decision gets up there in the dollar amounts, you’re buying a software system for your entire organization or you’re buying 10 computers for your office, I probably am talking to their customers. Look at the reviews. Get the customers who are willing to talk to your prospects, and let them do that. I do that in my world quite often. Been dealing with partner marketing for a long time.

Ben Cornett (09:46):
And I built what we call a partner marketing portal. It’s basically a portal where partners can submit deals to one another. And the ability for me to talk about the backend software that I used to build that with other prospects, I talk about them all the time because it’s solved problems for me. I would go do any review for that on our portal anytime they asked. And so, that’s when you really find the value, I think, Ryan, in getting the reviews.

Ben Cornett (10:07):
You do have to be cautious. There’s a lot of fake out there, but there’s also a lot of good. So, it’s kind of fair balance. If you’re spending a ton of money to get reviews, it’s probably not good for you.

Ryan Dye (10:14):
Right. Exactly. So, when my wife and I started a small business in the food industry several years ago, I remember being bombarded by, I say, “marketing companies.” What should a small business owner look out for to avoid wasting money on marketing?

Ben Cornett (10:31):
I spend a lot of time around organizations coming to me with problems like that, and I hear that all too common. I think a really good marketing partner, if you’re a small business or an agency, is someone that’s willing to take on a bit of risk with you. Take on a little bit of results kind of based approach.

Ben Cornett (10:45):
But A lot of the time, they’ll say, “Yeah, we can go get this result. We can build your website and drive X traffic. And that X traffic’s going to turn it into X marketing qualified leads. And those will convert to X sales qualified leads. To get started, you got to pay this retainer of five grand.” If that’s what you’re looking at, it’s probably not for you. If you’re a small business, you don’t have five grand to pull out and go try something you don’t know is going to work.

Ben Cornett (11:04):
The real bottom-line revenue is looking for a marketing partner, if you do need one, they make their money on results, they make their money on X leads converted that are sales-qualified. And it’s a little bit of a challenge, Ryan, because to do that, you have to be able to be transparent. And that’s hard if you’re a small business owner and really saying, “I got this lead from you and [inaudible 00:11:22] willing to pay you.” But when you got the right partnership, I think that’s the best way to do it. If it sounds too good to be true, it’s too good to be true. Kind of the old saying.

Ben Cornett (11:29):
Watch out for a good marketing partner or someone that can promise results. It’s going to be someone that’s willing to take the time to interview your customers at no charge and then come back with a plan based off what they heard from your customers. I think that’s another kind of signal of really good marketing firms. I’ve seen a lot of those around, and they’ve always worked out for me.

Ryan Dye (11:47):
Yeah. The experience I had definitely made me a little jaded, I would say, because there is that point when you realize, “Boy, I’m spending a lot of money here, and I’m just not seeing that return.” But it’s hard because, again, you’re trying to do all the different things to keep the business viable and you’re just can’t be an expert in all the ways, so you think, “Yeah, I need to look at bringing in some outside experts that can help my business grow.” And I certainly think that there can be success stories out there, but I would just would recommend, proceed with caution.

Ben Cornett (12:19):
Yeah, yeah. You think about wasting money. It’s nothing that any of us really want to do at the end of the day. I remember I worked for a company about 15 years ago out in East Idaho, and they had these multiple goals. “I want to build more traffic. I’ve got these SEO goals. I want to build on lead gen based off these partners that we have in our ecosystem.” They just had too many goals. And, as a result, they brought on a marketing agency to try to solve all of those. And it cost them a lot of money. And some of the problems, they solved, and others, they didn’t. But at the end of the day, the bottom-line dollars, they don’t add up. You have to have a pretty clear goal of what you want to do if you’re looking at bringing on someone to help with marketing.

Ryan Dye (12:55):
What would you say the difference is between branding and marketing? And when should you start branding?

Ben Cornett (13:00):
Well, I think we’re all branding every day that we breathe. When I think of a brand, I think Tony Hsieh, he probably says it best is, brand is a culture. And when you think about branding and marketing and the difference between the two, branding is building the culture of who you are and what you stand for. And marketing is the activity and when we’re communicating that culture and that meaning to an audience. And when do we start branding? Always. When do we start marketing? When we’ve got our brand down.

Ryan Dye (13:26):
That’s a good analysis between the two. I know people would ask me, “What makes your business different than your competitors?” That’s always a tricky one to answer sometimes because obviously, you want to say, “Well, I’m better than my competitors.” “Well, how?” or, “What makes you better?” And trying to look for those things that gives you an edge or an advantage. And competition actually can be good because it helps push you to be, I would say, make your brand better and put out there that thing that makes a customer want to come to you first, even though maybe your competitor’s closer to them. That can be a tricky question to answer when you have a lot of competitors out there, “What makes you different?” Well, maybe I’m not drastically different, but I want to be better.

Ben Cornett (14:06):
I work with a company currently called Verified First here in Boise, and what they are is a background screening provider. A lot of people see it as commodity, but really what they do… And this is Ben’s opinion. This is not Verified First official. This is my opinion. I think really what they do is they keep workplaces safe. They keep bad guys out. They’re solving problems that are pretty common, that everyone has to have a background screen when they go work for an organization.

Ben Cornett (14:28):
But at the end of the day, when I get up and do work for Verified First, what I’m thinking about is how am I protecting other people in the organization? How am I protecting assets that are financial? Or maybe if you’re an organization that’s nonprofit, which is a big client of ours. We work in that world with Verified First quite a bit. You’re a church. And you screen your volunteers because they’re working with children and elderly, and you’re trying to keep sex offenders away or whatever the cause is. You’ve got to think about that. What’s the emotional connection for me to get up every day and work with them? It’s because we do good for keeping people safe. And that’s kind of the core of building that culture. And that takes time.

Ryan Dye (15:02):
Absolutely. Do you have one or two marketing campaigns that you’ve developed that you particularly enjoyed, and, most importantly, provided a strong return on investment, if you know that?

Ben Cornett (15:13):
Yeah. It’s interesting. When we think about return on investment, the ROI, in the marketing world, I’ve always talked about ROMI, which is return on marketing investment. It’s not something that everyone can track very effectively. Sometimes, there’s a lot of… return on marketing investment goes to the equity of your brand, which is a very complex, hard calculation when companies are being evaluated. Trying to connect that ROI is not always easy.

Ben Cornett (15:36):
But the last 10 years that I’ve been working, mostly all my resources have been connecting with marketing through and selling through partners. So, these are organizations that use a ecosystem of partners to sell, to message product. And one comes to mind, probably the most recent, is Kount. They’re headquartered here in Boise, Idaho. Have you heard of Kount?

Ryan Dye (15:56):
I have, yep. I’ve seen their building.

Ben Cornett (15:57):
It’s right downtown. Brad Wiskirchen’s CEO. Great, great people. I worked with Kount for a couple of years here in Boise. And what Kount does, really quick for the listeners, is they’re a leading anti-fraud engine to protect merchants from fraud when it comes to e-commerce. That’s what they do, is they stop fraud. And they stop it cold. And if you’re a merchant and you’re selling any kind of volume online, that’s important for you because chargebacks can put you out of business.

Ben Cornett (16:21):
What we were doing at Kount, and my role was really to work with their partner ecosystem., they were trying to increase the number of global payment processors that were partnered with them because when we… It’s like you go to McDonald’s. And when you go to McDonald’s, you don’t get Pepsi, you get Coke. That’s a partnership. That’s a partner ecosystem. Sometimes, you’ll go to McDonald’s because their Coke is so much better than anywhere else. What we were trying to do is make it so when you go get a payment processor to process e-commerce transactions, you’re getting Kount to protect you from fraud.

Ben Cornett (16:52):
We built a campaign and it was probably… It was really basically my first account-based marketing campaign. And what we did is we built a tiger team. So, we triangulated sales, marketing and product. And we took leaders from these three teams. And then we identified, with the sales executives, the key accounts or the key payment processors in this world that we wanted in our partner ecosystem. And we identified, in those key accounts, 175 contacts.

Ben Cornett (17:18):
And then what we did is we went to Idaho Candy Company, a local Idaho company, because we’re an Idaho company. And we said, “Oh, we’re going to send them a box. We’re going to brand this box, Kount. So, it sits on their desk. They see it. They know it’s from us. We put tape around it. When they open it up, we’re going to have a smell of the Idaho Candy.” So, we sprayed it with some nice little toffee scent. So, when they opened the box, they had the experience of opening the box. And then it had this crinkle paper that we had custom-colored to Kount’s kind of teal green. If you’ve seen the building, you’ve seen the logo.

Ben Cornett (17:46):
And then on top of that, we had a nice little postcard, customized. It would say something like, “Hey, Ryan, I just want to tell you about our story. We’re an Idaho company. And here’s why.” And it was really tied to around the great people in Boise, the great people in Idaho, the technology hub that Boise’s become over the years. Silicon Valley kind of moving into Idaho. And the fact that we’re surrounded by security. We’re not in California. And we’re not in some of these really hard places, where fraud and access is really high. And so, it was really interesting. We told the story at Boise, and then we invited them to join the conversation. And the invitation was to come and have a conversation about being part of an Idaho company, because this is what matters to us.

Ben Cornett (18:27):
And in exchange of that conversation, our account-based marketing call to action, we did offer, “If you’re willing to have a conversation, we care so much about being partners in what you do, that we’ll give you a $500 donation to the university of choice.” People are all of a sudden, we’re talking about bank executives, these are payment processors, they’re like, “Well, 500 bucks? That’s worth an hour of my time. I’ll have a conversation.”

Ben Cornett (18:47):
So, 175 boxes, 175 custom postcards, 175 calls to action. We engaged with 114 of the 175 accounts. And, as a result, we started several new partnerships. Now, I can’t disclose numbers and value of what that means, but I do know that those partnerships, every transaction’s how Kount makes revenue. And so, you can kind of, in your mind, do the math. But it was a fun campaign. It was my first account-based marketing campaign. And quite honestly, we’re doing something similar with some of the other companies I work with currently.

Ryan Dye (19:18):
Mm-hmm (affirmative). Yeah, I like that idea of working to engage a client in a different way. It’s not so, “Here’s a cookie-cutter approach to marketing. And we’re just going to throw it out there and hope 20% sticks,” or whatever it may be. I think when you can be that intentional and work on developing a relationship from the early going, that’s built on something more substantial. That can be applied on a micro level just as much as it can on a macro level. So, certainly something to consider. That’s a great example.

Ben Cornett (19:50):
I think about that, and I think a little bit about small business. If I’m a small business and I’m trying to get my first customer, we talked about earlier, how do I do that in a very small level? You’re not going to spend 500 bucks per customer, possibly. It’s probably worth a little bit and it’s worth about… Our whole value is, how do we start a conversation? And either I could spend 500 bucks and go get as many clicks as I could on a link or a landing page or something that I think I could convert to that 20% you mentioned, Ryan, but if I spent that 500 bucks and really targeted someone that I really knew could use the service I offer or the product or someone I had interest, it’s going to be a much better return on investment.

Ryan Dye (20:24):
Well, I think too, that shows that you have to be willing, as a business looking to grow your customer base, to do some research. With your example, you’re saying, “This is a partnership that can make sense for this business.” So, therefore, you’re already doing some of that initial groundwork to say, “We could really benefit here. And not in a vague way, but in an actual, tangible way, this makes sense for you.” And to get your client to understand that in the early going is already smoothing the process, for sure.

Ryan Dye (20:56):
Over the past few years, is there a marketing campaign that you’ve seen developed for a major company that you thought was particularly effective?

Ben Cornett (21:03):
There’s a lot that I think are interesting. And you made mention of the Darth Vader campaign in our earlier conversation. I think that’s a really interesting campaign, Ryan, for a couple of reasons. But you think about that Volkswagen campaign at that time. That was 2011. So, that’s two years after the diesel scandal with Volkswagen.

Ryan Dye (21:21):
That’s true.

Ben Cornett (21:22):
And so, Volkswagen was in a place where they were trying to recapture market value. Their valuation dropped drastically. They did a couple play. Volkswagen’s pretty smart. They did one play of trying that emotional, with the family and, “Support our kids,” like the Darth Vader one. But they also started to give people back their money. And they’re trying to save face. They’re like, “Hey, we’ll give you another car.” And I think there’s a lot of things they did well.

Ben Cornett (21:44):
But the one that I think about the most, not to take your example, is really what… It’s really hard to ignore what Apple’s done over the years. Now, quite honestly, they focus on experience, but that whole anticipation, that experience, is what they’re focused on. They’ve built a perception of value. And they’re able to charge more. Now, I talked a little bit earlier about, “It has to be real,” and, “We have to focus on that experience.” Perception makes an impact. If in your place, so you can focus on perception so you can sell your product more expensive than what it’s worth, that’s an interesting proposition. Not every company can do that.

Ben Cornett (22:19):
Because at the end of the day, I mean, I’m an Apple guy. I got an Apple Watch, iPhone. Everything in my office is Apple because I’m in marketing. That’s what you do if in you’re marketing, right?

Ryan Dye (22:26):
Creative side.

Ben Cornett (22:26):
Yeah, yeah. Now, quite honestly, frankly, I don’t need an Apple. I don’t create video that much. And I’m not editing stuff. And I don’t need that powerhouse of a system. And it does great for what it’s for. But at the end of the day, I know that I’m buying is the perception. If I walk into somewhere and I’m a marketing guy, I walk in with a… I don’t know, a Windows PC, someone might look at me funny. But at the end of the day, the platforms deliver the same result. I can’t ignore what Apple’s done with their marketing. They’ve done a great job, I think, of building that perception of value. They’re the largest, number-one valued brand in the world. They didn’t get there by accident. And it was very intentional, what they’re doing.

Ryan Dye (23:06):
To add to that, what’s interesting is how if you become a company like Apple that is really the industry leader in many ways and you start to be that company that other companies are trying to emulate an aspect of, whatever it may be… Let’s just pick on their packaging, for example. I mean, I’ve owned several Mac products. The way that they put something in a box is often a work of art. And they’re intentional about that. I mean, there’s a whole company that focuses just on that or a side of the company and. And I’ve noticed, as you look to other companies that are certainly on a smaller scale, but maybe they’re in the tech industry, you can tell that they’re trying to take a page out of that book.

Ryan Dye (23:46):
And pros and cons to that as well. I think if you can ever get to the stage where whatever business you’re doing becomes the standard, you better watch out because you’ve got people on your tail that are chasing you. And to be relentless because they know that you’re the industry standard. So, it’s a wonderful place to be, but it’s not a comfortable place to be. Does that make sense?

Ben Cornett (24:03):
Yeah, yeah. That’s true. I think there’s also a place. I think about different marketing campaigns I’ve seen that have been effective. I don’t really have a ton that stand out from a major company, but I’ve seen a couple scrappy marketing. There’s a whole philosophy around scrappy marketing. It’s like, just do what makes do. I might do a video about my product from my home office. And you can all see I’m working from home. I mean, where we’re at in our world today. The reality though is I have a green screen. I can make this look super sexy.

Ben Cornett (24:28):
And there’s actually a place for that scrappy marketing world. Making a few mistakes is okay. It shows that we’re human, that we’re real. And I think there’s a little bit of place for that once in a while too.

Ryan Dye (24:39):
Yeah. That’s a great point. There is great power in authenticity. People can tell. People can smell when there’s not authenticity there. And I think that we should all strive for that personally and certainly in our business endeavors.

Ryan Dye (24:53):
And just to go back a little bit, I had referenced a campaign that stuck out to me, was this Volkswagen campaign from 2011. It was a Superbowl ad. And a lot of us watch the Superbowl because the ads are cool. But I can’t remember certain ads I may have seen last year, for example, or two or three years ago. But that one in particular really stuck out to me all these years later because it was cute, it was fun, it was creative. And I’m a Volkswagen owner. I’ve had several in my lifetime. And I had a diesel Jetta. I’m well aware of the problems they went through and the scandal. And you’re one of the biggest auto makers in the world. And they had to scramble a bit to try to get their brand back on top.

Ryan Dye (25:36):
And so, I encourage people to just take a moment, go to YouTube and just do a search on this Volkswagen Darth Vader ad. It’s cute. It’s a little kid that’s dressed as Darth Vader. He’s trying to use the force on everything around the house. And his dad comes home, he’s in a Passat. And the kid goes running out to the car. The dad thinks, “Oh, he’s coming to say hi.” And then he pushes the dad aside. And he’s in front of the car. And he’s trying to use the force on the car. And this is, of course, when the key fob has the thing to start the car. So, the dad’s in the kitchen, looking out the window and he starts the car. And the kid’s like, “Woah.” He takes a step back. He’s looking around like, “The force worked.” Cute.

Ben Cornett (26:16):
Yeah. It was fun, yeah. Yeah, I was just going to say, I really think that things that strike that emotion, that smile or those tears or whatever it is. I usually get choked up on commercials with some kind of father/daughter because I have daughters. Those kinds of things are meaningful. And so, yeah, it’s real.

Ryan Dye (26:33):
Absolutely. Are there any questions or thoughts that I may have missed, you’d like to share on marketing or how a young entrepreneur might be intentional about how they approach this important part of the business process?

Ben Cornett (26:47):
I don’t know that we missed anything. I really think that the young entrepreneurs or businesses getting started, they need to think about marketing. And they need to think about it in the new way. If you took business classes and you’re in school, you’re probably still taught price, product, promotion. The whole service-dominant logic is new. Sure, it’s 2004, but that’s academic world. And by the time academia makes it to mainstream, it’s going to take probably another 10 years. But we’re seeing it evolve. That’s what the research is showing. Be thinking about that relationship with your customer and what you’re doing for them. And help them tell their story because they’re going to tell your story when you take care of them.

Ryan Dye (27:21):
Absolutely. If a younger person’s still in school or they’re just out of college or high school, take marketing seriously in getting a business going. I know when I was in college and doing a business degree, I took most of my electives in marketing and public relations because I’m a creative thinker and I liked that more right-brain side of business. And yet, at the same time, marketing is really data-driven and there’s a lot of important things to consider in that process. So, don’t overlook the importance and power of how you are connecting with your customers and your clients. And that is a key to the success of any business.

Ryan Dye (27:59):
So, with that, Ben, thank you so much for taking the time to talk with us today. And we definitely look forward to keeping in touch. How can our [inaudible 00:28:08] connect or learn more from your blog or your books or different things you’re working on?

Ben Cornett (28:12):
Yeah. I think the easiest way is just to hit my website. It’s my first name, last name. Ben Cornett, B-E-N-C-O-R-N-E-T-T.com. Give me a buzz. You can find my phone number on the website there as well, or drop me an email. I’m really open to helping anyone try to discover that discovery. Not interested in the new revenue I’m going to make. I’m interested in that relationship we can build. This has been good, Ryan.

Ryan Dye (28:31):
Well, thank you so much, Ben, and we’ll definitely keep in touch.

Ryan Dye (28:35):
I want to take a moment to tell our listeners about our exciting new series this fall called CoLab Webinar Wednesdays. Similar to our podcasts, this one-hour webinar will feature some great personalities across our various areas of focus, such as nonprofit development, technology, film and media, lifestyle, real estate development and general entrepreneurship. We encourage you to attend these events as it will give you a chance to ask our guests questions on how they got from there to here.

Ryan Dye (29:02):
We recently recorded a webinar with Josh Donald, director of marketing and creative for DonCo Marketing. Based in Detroit, Michigan. Josh has several years experience in the marketing industry. This includes director of marketing and creative for Digital Roots, where Josh implemented marketing and training materials for clients such as Maserati, Chrysler, Ford and GM. He has also worked as brand manager for Fiat USA, where he managed marketing initiatives for numerous agencies, including print, TV, email, web design, app design, social media and online advertising. You can listen to this webinar in the blog section of the Colabinc.org website.

Ryan Dye (29:41):
October is Women in Small Business Month. And we will be featured in two great business owners for our Webinar Wednesdays: Lia Griffith of liagriffith.com, a do-it-yourself site that has been featured in the Oprah Magazine, Real Simple, Good Housekeeping and on the Today Show. Later in the month, we talk with Kennedy Haffner of the healthyhalf.com. Kennedy is a 23-year-old health and wellness blogger, who will share some thoughts on developing a business as a blogger and finding balance in your life.

Ryan Dye (30:10):
The webinars will take place between 12:00 and 1:00 PM Pacific time on Wednesdays throughout the fall. To find out more and how to register, visit our website, colabinc.org. In the meantime, follow, like and subscribe to CoLab Inc. on all the various social media platforms and visit our website, colabinc.org to see the various ways we helped promote the spirit of entrepreneurship.

Ryan Dye (30:33):
If you have comments on today’s episode or know someone who would be a great guest on our show, send your suggestions to ryan@colabinc.org and love to hear from yeah. Special thanks to our producer, Michael Webberley. Editing by Tanya Musgrave. And to all the CoLab staff. Until next time, be well and God bless.