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EP.13 Show Runner – Kathi Kruse

EP.13 Show Runner – Kathi Kruse

•Excel at Social Media at Every Level of The Sales Funnel•

Kathi, is a social media strategist, business consultant and author of “Automotive Social Business 2.0- How to Captivate Your Customers, Sell More Cars & Be Remarkable on Social Media.” Her passion for the car business spans a 25-year career managing successful dealerships in Southern California. Whether it is financial, operational, leadership, organizational, or customer experience, she always zeros in on what’s happening and how it affects the bottom line. In her free time, Kathi is an advocate for all animal welfare and is especially passionate about horses.

Kathi Kruse, Founder-Kruse Control Inc

Lessons you will learn from this podcast:

  • How to connect with the modern customer through social media.
  • How to prepare and live through “The Retail Apocalypse.”
  • Applying the See, Think, Do, Care Strategy to your communication efforts.
  • Ester the Wonder Pig – a brand story.
  • Improving customer service by implementing the correct high-end brand strategies.
  • Resources for writing copy that sells.
  • Clearing away the clutter so customers can engage.
  • Common mistakes retailers are making with hyper-connected customers.

Listen to Next Episode

Kathy C.: Hi, everybody. It’s Kathy. And today, we’re networking with Kathi Kruse. Kathi is a social media strategist, business consultant, and founder of Kruse Control Inc. She’s the author of Automotive Social Business 2.0: How to Captivate Your Customers, Sell More Cars, and Be Remarkable on Social Media. She was born in the heart of Los Angeles to a family of what she calls car people. Her passion for the car business spans a 25-year career, managing successful dealerships in Southern California. Kathi confesses to being somewhat of a clairvoyant when it comes to dealership profitability. Whether it’s financial, operational, leadership, organizational, or customer experience, she always zeroes in on what’s happening or not happening, and how it’s affecting the bottom line. Kathi’s also very passionate about horses, and a portion of her profits go to animal welfare and advocacy. Kathi, welcome to the show.

Kathi K.: Hi, there.

Kathy C.: How you doing?

Kathi K.: I’m doing good. How are you?

Kathy C.: Good, good. Kathi, I’d like to start off. Can you tell us a little bit more about your journey and your background in marketing in social media?

Kathi K.: My grandfather was a dealer. I’ll start way back. My grandfather was a dealer in the ’50s and ’60s in downtown Los Angeles, so car business has been in my blood since I can remember. I actually never played with dolls. I played with Hot Wheels and Matchbox cars. So, I actually got in the car business as a fluke. I didn’t plan it, but that’s what almost everybody says that’s in the car business. As you mentioned in the intro, I managed a lot of car dealerships here in Southern California, my whole career practically. And I worked every job in a car dealership. I opened a dealership in the ’80s with the owner and about six other people. So, I got to work pretty much every job except technician. I kind of had to draw the line there. But when the recession happened in 2008, some circumstances that were kind of beyond my control … Kind of it was like a perfect storm happened. And I saw that as we, if we remember 2008, especially here in Southern California, there was a lot of dealerships closing, and a lot of people losing their jobs. And I just, like I say, there was a lot of circumstances that were happening, so I was thinking, “How can I pivot?” And at the same time, I had a friend that was in did digital marketing. She had an agency. And I could see that very organically, this just happened. Where it was like I had my car serviced at a store that my friends, that we all used to work at in Beverly Hills and the store in Irvine, here in California, they worked on my car. I came home, I was going to write a Yelp review, and I noticed they had one-and-a-half stars on Yelp, so that was weird because the dealer has … He checks all of the boxes for a good dealer. They have high CSI. He’s a CPA. He’s an attorney. He has financially like a lot of clout there. So, I thought, “Okay. This is weird,” so I did like a little mini market study on my couch and looked up all the BMW stores in California. There was about 50, and all but about maybe three or four had one or two stars on Yelp. So, I thought at that point there was going to be a need for an internal process to capture happy, loyal customers opinions, and Yelp, of course, is what it really is a social network I believe that it always has been. Some people, especially in the beginning, and it still is. People communicate that way. So, that kind of was the first step, and then, I realized that social media and content marketing and all of these things were going to be needed in order to communicate with like the modern, hyperconnected customer for dealerships. So, that’s my road to marketing.

Kathy C.: Well, that’s great, and I like how you mentioned Hot Wheels and Matchbox cars. Boy, I remember that because I had three brothers, so I played with those, too.

Kathi K.: Yeah. Yeah. I built model cars. My idol was Big Daddy Roth, and it turns out in high school my girlfriends in high school, her brother was good friends with D.R., who was Big Daddy’s son. And so, actually, and in later years, lots of trivia here, Big Daddy actually became friends with my parents because my parents Mormon, and he became Mormon later in life. And so, there you are. But I loved him because he had model cars that you could build through … I think it was a company like, oh, like [Rydell 00:05:11] or something like that. It started with an R. I don’t remember, but anyway, so that’s … Yeah.

Kathy C.: Well, it sounds like it started from passion for cars, so that’s very interesting. I’d like to hear you talk a little bit about what you think the most significant changes are that you’re seeing in retail, and how smart retailers can adapt.

Kathi K.: Well, it’s not too tough to ride around your town and notice that a lot of the retail properties are either vacant or not really viable, even in malls. I mean here in Southern California, Southwest Plaza, the biggest mall there is here biggest by volume sales wise is like Macy’s is having trouble. So, I think what in the world of automotive and just in retail in general, to think that you’re immune to this is a very dangerous dance, dangerous approach. You’ve got to realize that the space needed to either run a car dealership or some other retail business is shifting and changing, and when I see dealerships being built around that are … There’s a dealership right near my house here that’s been rebuilt, and I always think about this from the business geek part of me. Even though I’m very interested in the customer experience with dealerships, but I also think about the bottom line, and how do you pay yourself back if you’re spending a lot of money, whether it’s your money or the factory’s money, in building a brand-new store? Because like I said, if you look around, this retail apocalypse that’s happening, and there’s lots of stats around it. It’s actually one of the things I talk about with around the concept of quote-unquote “digital transformation”, whatever that means for a particular business, but, yeah, that’s the shift I’m seeing. And I think that there’s a lot of I think the dealer body isn’t looking at it realistically, and I just know that from being around in the space. It’s tough to change. I know.

Kathy C.: Yeah, and you’re mentioning that they’re not feeling immuned because nobody is immune to this, and the retail apocalypse that you talk about and the digital transformation, that’s got to be in the forefront of their minds.

Kathi K.: Yes, it does because it’s in the customer’s forefront.

Kathy C.: Yes.

Kathi K.: They don’t … Even in your process, if you are connected with a customer somehow, they’ve connected with you, if it’s been on social media, via email, whatever, they saw a blog post, if they’ve connected with you, meaning your salespeople, you’ve got to be able to pick up the ball at the point where the customer is not start over. And there’s so many that start over in the process once they get the customer into the store. Just those things that customers are looking for like less friction, and we talk about friction in marketing, right? So, less friction-less experience. Even some dealers are going to, very few, but maybe this is a new trend, where the customer deals with one person throughout the whole process of the sale. So, less friction, right? So, I think if you aren’t looking at those components and really spending a lot of time investigating how customers are behaving, then the competitor will.

Kathy C.: Yes, customer behavior is really driving the retail experience and retailers have to be aware of that, and less friction is a great mantra.

Kathi K.: Yeah.

Kathy C.: Let’s talk about social media. Can you describe the impact that social media is having on retail?

Kathi K.: Other than just a complete and utter, total impact? Even back then, when I was sitting on my couch looking at the Yelp reviews, if a business … If you don’t understand that your customers are talking about you, and if you’re not participating in that conversation in whatever that means, whether it’s sharing relevant content, interacting in comments, supporting them in some way, even through podcasts, right, or through some other focus, then you’re really losing out on an opportunity because … And I always, I try to think about it because I’m from the old days, and I think that getting a customer in the store is very important because the reason you want to do that is so that you can talk to them so that you can interact with them. And so, if you’re able to do that via social, why wouldn’t you do it? But with regards to auto retail, there’s a very big disconnect between, “We don’t want to show everything we have,” or, “We don’t really … We wanted to hand this off to somebody else,” or, “We don’t think we should have to do that,” or there’s just a lot of these very dangerous mindsets that aren’t helping.

Kathy C.: So, one of the impacts that you’re talking about with social media is that retail needs to change their mindset, and that social media is actually an opportunity for them to begin the interaction, the real interaction, and not again to start over when they come into the retail establishment in the brick and mortar. You’ve already started that conversation, so you need to learn to work that.

Kathi K.: Agreed, and especially when it comes to when you talk about Facebook. So, Facebook is a way to connect with people, but then a lot of dealers or a lot of business owners look at it like, “What do I do? What do I really do?” And that’s why I call myself a social media strategist because you need to have a strategy around what your goals are, and then how to do that, how to execute the strategy.

With Facebook in particular … So, there’s a lot of opportunity to Facebook, and sharing of content and interacting with and making sure that your audience and your target customers see your content. And then, having that coupled with a strategy to Facebook ads, helping to merchandise your vehicles and target the right customers, the people that are in market. When you have kind of all of those components together, that’s going to help you be able to do this kind of conversation with your customer, and that, to me, is I’ve always looked at it, even from the beginning, as something so positive. And unfortunately, there’s a lot that aren’t looking at it as something positive. It’s more like it just something they have to do.

Kathy C.: Yeah, that makes a lot of sense.

Kathi K.: I don’t know. Maybe it comes from my days I worked in Beverly Hills and when you’re in the car business in Beverly Hills, there’s a lot of expectations from your customers, and it’s really not from the celebrities. Celebrities are totally cool. It’s the handlers and the support people and the people that work in the industry there, and so, you get very good at customer service. You get very good at customer experience, and I spent a lot of time at Beverly Hills BMW, so you’ve got the expectation that BMW have, you’ve got just the regular customer experience expectation, so I guess, like I say, you get good at it, and maybe that’s because maybe that’s where my focus comes from. It was kind of borne out of that having to please people all the time.

Kathy C.: Yeah, that makes a lot of sense that the high-end products have a much higher expectation of a customer service level, and I saw that once we did a focus group. And we did two different focus groups that day, and one was a high-end product, and one was a lower-end product, and it was amazing just in that situation, the focus group, how you really saw how these people really wanted the best experience. And the lower-end product, they were just kind of happy with what they had. They were actually happier than the higher-end product people, and it all had to do with their expectations.

Kathi K.: Yep. Absolutely. But these days like the customers that buy the Nissans and Toyotas, they’ve had a good experience in places like Amazon and even just online retailing has really come up in the customer experience level, gotten less friction. And so, when you have a customer base that has that experience already, then you’ve got to be able to emulate it and be better, try to exceed their expectations.

Kathy C.: Yeah, so the online retailing is setting the expectations because there really are a lot of companies that are doing it right, and customers are responding to that, and they’re expecting that same kind of treatment.

Kathi K.: Yes. I notice even when I buy things from Amazon, I’ll get an email from someone that, “Hey. We’re a small company. We’d really appreciate it if you’d share your opinion on the thing you bought.” That’s awesome, and I’ll do that. Every time somebody asks me to write a review, I will be writing a review. I think that the world is run by small business, and I’m not going to go write a review for some big company that’s corporate run. Most of the time, they won’t ask anyway for a review. It’s the smaller ones that … And I just love getting good customer service. I think it’s amazing.

Kathy C.: Kathi, can you talk a little bit about the best ways that retail can engage more consumers on social media? You talked a little bit about it in the beginning in making sure that you put the right content out there but also making sure that people are seeing it.

Kathi K.: Yeah, so, first you’ve got to design a content strategy. So, who are we trying to reach? Who is our ideal customer? What are the things that they want to see, whether it’s people in market or not because some people might not be in market, but their friends and family might be? So, how can we present some cool information about our company, or what it’s like behind the scenes, or that kind of thing, so those are the people that are maybe not in market. And then, the people in market, you’re going to want to look for …

I look at it as like a funnel. If the top of the funnel is people that are not necessarily in the funnel yet. And then, the middle funnel there are people that are thinking about buying what you sell, and those people could, those types of prospects or customers could be looking for relevant information around your products and services, so comparisons and what’s the best here, some tips for buying, that kind of thing. And then, the content for the people that are all the way down almost at the bottom of the funnel that are ready to buy, those people are going to get more ad-related sales content. And with Facebook Ads, you can provide content and promote content to all of those levels. You just have to be very strategic about it and know exactly what you’re doing.

Kathy C.: So, three different levels of content depending on the consumer you’re trying to reach and where they are in the funnel.

Kathi K.: Yes. There’s actually a fourth one, and I didn’t think of this. Avinash from Google, Avinash. You can just Google Avinash, A-V-I-N-A-S-H. He came up with this See-Think-Do strategy. So, the See customers are the people that are at the beginning, and they know about your product. They do use your product, but they aren’t necessarily in the market to buy, in fact, they’re not in the market. And then, the Think customers are in market but thinking about buying. And then, the Do customers are the people that are ready to take action imminently. And then, the fourth one, is once they’re out of the funnel, those are the Care customers. So, the people that actually care about your brand, if they’ve had an awesome experience, and they care about your brand, then you want to share content to those people as well and from those people if you can, like seek out those that can write reviews for you, or people that will sit for a video interview, or something like that.

Kathy C.: Wow. So, See-Think-Do and Care.

Kathi K.: Yep.

Kathy C.: Great advice. Thank you for sharing that. Is there anything that you can share with us about marketing challenges that you’ve faced and maybe the techniques and the tools that you used to overcome that?

Kathi K.: In the automotive space, which I have been spending a lot of time out of, not a lot of time, about 50% of my time out the automotive space, mainly because I’ve been blogging since 2010. And a lot of my blog subscribers are not automotive people, so I know that there’s a lot of people outside the automotive space that have a lot of challenges, the same challenges that I do with trying to be in the convincing business, which in the beginning, that’s kind of what I tried to do. But what’s been the biggest challenge is people still not adapting to the behaviors, and the ways that customers buy and ignoring it. And I mean I had an epiphany, this was my biggest challenge I think. I had an epiphany about a year and a half ago. I was speaking at a group of auto dealers, currently, they were the largest dealers, some of them, in the nation. And I was getting the same questions that I was getting nine years ago, and a lot of them were based on, well, I would call it maybe fear-based, but, of course, everyone’s the things you don’t know about, you do have a fear around. But I just had an epiphany, and I said, “At some point I have to delineate which ones are ready to take the walk with me with us and with the customer and move forward, and the rest of them are going to have to do what they do.”
So, when you say challenge, that’s really been it because once you decide what you have to do at that point as a marketer, you’re like, “Okay. I know the things I don’t want to do, but what exactly do I do from here?” And that was another journey, shall we say? But I learned in the journey that I don’t want to leave automotive. I have a lot of … It’s in my blood, so but I believe the dealership level and also at the manufacturer level, there’s a lot of misconception and inability to take action, and I’m hoping that those that are taking action can, but I want to seek out the ones that see the value and definitely want to move forward.

Kathy C.: So, the challenge is really getting people ready to take on the challenge of this.

Kathi K.: To connect with the modern customer and to know the ways that they interact and having your sales floor whether no matter whatever your operation’s setup is on a sales floor with regards to automotive, you’ve got to have a way that connects and speaks the same language as the customer, and so many are doing nothing.

Kathy C.: Let’s talk a little bit about brands and how they can differentiate themselves in today’s market and feel free to talk about automotive or non-automotive brands, either way.

Kathi K.: The vehicle manufacturers, a lot of them have their branding down. Like BMW, they got their branding down. Audi, a lot of them have their branding down, and they’ve spent a lot of time and effort on that. But they haven’t communicated that because dealers are franchisees, so you want to push that down, but that hasn’t happened. But if you are at that level like where you’re a franchisee or if you’re just a small business, if you have to know why you do what you do. One of my favorite people, Simon Sinek, you know?

Kathy C.: Yeah.

Kathi K.: Who talks about people don’t buy what you do, they buy why you do it. And if you could figure that out, and when we work with clients, we take them through a little bit of that why buy here. Why do people buy? Because the normal thing that you get when you ask people that, I’m sure you see this in your own travels, in your own business, is they always will spout off something that you would put on an ad, like, “We’re family-owned and operated for the last hundred years.” That’s awesome, but they’ve heard it before because audiences have heard it, so what is it that makes you unique, and how do you communicate that? How are you doing it? And so, that’s the branding side of things I think that you … Before you take to social media, you have to know who you are, and you have to have certain components in place operationally so that you’re ready for prime time because if you’re not, it’s going to not be pretty.

Kathy C.: Well, that is a really great way to talk about differentiating themselves. So, first of all, you really have to know the why, and I loved that Ted Talk from Simon as well. It really does tell you that people buy why you do it. And so, knowing that before you try to differentiate yourself is really important. And then, also I liked the piece about being ready for primetime. So, once you figure out what makes you different, make sure that you’re ready when people walk into your establishment. Now you’ve got your message out there, now what is the experience that’s got to match the message because back to what you were saying earlier. Customers are so much involved in describing your brand as they experience it that those two things have to match up because the consumer will know if they don’t.

Kathi K.: That’s right. That’s right. People like to these days … Like with my business, I give 10% of my profit to animal rescue and welfare. And I want to attract people that are like-minded, and so with another business if you’re super into something, let people know. It’s okay to let people know that you’re into, I don’t know, surfing or golfing or whatever the case may be, or into animals because I have had clients that are big animal people, and they don’t tell the story. Go out and tell the story of how it brought you to where you are because storytelling as we know is a great way to kind of evoke emotions in people. And if there’s anything that marketing is made to do, it to evoke emotions. Those are the things you remember.

Kathy C.: That’s makes a lot of sense and telling your story can really evoke those emotions. And then, you tie those emotions to your brand, and that’s really where the magic happens.

Kathi K.: Yep.

Kathy C.: Can you share with us maybe one or two brands that you’re following and give us some insight on what marketing lessons we might be able to learn from them?

Kathi K.: Yes, I’m going to go the route of where my interests lie, so there are two particular Facebook pages that do an awesome job with their branding, and they aren’t trying to be fake. One of them is Esther, the Wonder Pig. You guys know the story about Esther. They are up in the middle part of Canada, and this guy Steve and his partner, he rescued this girl … He’d seen it on craigslist or something, and this girl said that I’ve got a mini pig that I want to give to you. And he, this guy Steve, is super into animals, and so, he met the girl in a parking lot. It was like craigslist or something. And it was a little baby pig, and so, he brings the pig home. And long story, short, it’s not a mini pig. It’s a regular pig that was saved from a factory farm, and Esther is now over, or I think around 670 pounds. And she lives with them, and they started the page, and it’s been a few years now, but they were able to leverage their Facebook page with very small donations to buy a farm. And now they have a farm where they save more factory-farmed animals. They have an amazing little turkey named Cornelius that is the star of the show, the video, everything they do, and they’re very funny. They have a very good sense of humor, and I just think that … And their cause is to bring more awareness to animals and factory farms, which, of course, is something I am an advocate of, so by doing it in a way that’s engaging and funny and entertaining. And Esther got sick about six, seven months ago. They had to take her to the vet, but they didn’t have the right apparatus to do some diagnostics, so now they’re about to start a fundraiser for this diagnostic tool that they’re going to give to the local university. So, they’re just amazing, and I should say, they wrote a book about Esther, the Wonder Pig, and it was a best-seller. And now, they’ve just released a children’s book, Esther, the Wonder Pig, so I don’t think they started out with a plan, necessarily, but it certainly is resonating. So-

Kathy C.: Well, that’s a wonderful story about branding. Esther, the Wonder Pig.

Kathi K.: Yes.

Kathy C.: 670 pounds, that’s great.

Kathi K.: Yeah.

Kathy C.: That’s a good brand story. Describe your personal brand for us, Kathi.

Kathi K.: Well, my personal brand is I want to and strive to make an impact on businesses, and with the automotive industry, I feel like I have. That’s kind of what gets me up in the morning just to how can I be of service today. How can I make a positive impact on people’s either bottom line or on their brand? Help them navigate the waters of social media and just online reputation and all of that. So, that really is I’ve done a lot work on my personal brand. There’s like words and phrases and things, but at the root of it, it really is I hope that people will see that there is compassion and kindness in what I do. And I am on the board of a horse rescue. I go out every weekend and muck stalls and clean feeders and waterers and groom the horses, so I’m doing the physical work, but I also do the marketing and website and our big Facebook page. And three times a year, we do fundraisers on Facebook. We’re a small rescue. We don’t have many. We have 14 horses, and so, I try to always be living what I believed. And I’ve made decisions working with clients off of that. I’ve made some hard decisions about … In marketing, we’ve all taken on those clients that for whatever reason we do, and then realize that it’s not a good fit. And so, I will, if I feel like I can’t deliver value or that it’s not a good fit, then I’ll try to make it work, but sometimes it doesn’t, and so, you have to do what your heart tells you.

Kathy C.: Yeah, and it really sounds like you’re living your personal brand in your personal life and in your business, too, and that’s great. Thank you for sharing that.

Kathi K.: Yeah. I’ve been working on, well, a couple years ago I did a Facebook marketing course. I created a Facebook marketing course, but it just wasn’t … You learn a lot when you do things like that, and I realized that I tried to give people too much value. So, my goal now is I’m going to create a course, but it’s going to be much more simple, easy, a clear away the noise, kind of where people can actually get really great takeaways, and it’s going to be geared towards female entrepreneurs, business people, businesswomen, small business, that type of thing, because I already have a platform for the automotive side. And as I might have mentioned, I’m kind of moving away at the dealership level and moving more towards if I can be of service to automotive-related support type of situations. But I feel like, especially the age ranges from like 35 to 65, there’s a lot of people, a lot of women, that aren’t very sure of themselves with social media. They don’t understand what their brand is maybe about, or they aren’t on the … It might be as simple as they don’t spend time on social, and so it’s very daunting and very apprehensive. So, just speaking back to the comments about my brand is that I just want to be able to help people navigate and grow their business.

Kathy C.: Well, let’s take that theme, and talk a little bit about maybe a personal learning experience that you had. A time or a situation in your career where you faced a professional obstacle. How did you overcome that?

Kathi K.: My whole career was a professional obstacle. Yeah. It’s funny, because when I was in it, I didn’t really run with it. I didn’t, I mean I did, but I was in denial. I admit it. I was in denial, but looking back now, oh, yeah. Here’s just one tidbit, and this will be for my upcoming book. I’m being a little facetious, but I am willing to put just this concept about a female in the car business. I was working as a consultant at a dealership. It’s actually what brought me to Beverly Hills BMW. Now, all my friends worked at Beverly Hills BMW, but I was across the street at another franchise. And I was working for the large, publicly owned company as a consultant to straighten some, a big mess.

And so, when I straightened out the big mess, the company asked me if I would be the GM of that specific dealership, but in the meantime, the people at Beverly Hills BMW were asking me to come there because … And they had a lot to offer. They were going to go public, and there was a lot of things that looked very attractive to me there. And so, I was kind of weighing the decision, and they were kind of courting me a bit, but the people at the store across the street where I was, they weren’t behaving as though they really … They just wanted to plug a hole, kind of. They just wanted somebody to be the GM. So, they sent this guy to come talk to me, and general managers in the automotive retail business can make upwards of 15,000 a month up to 50,000 a month. That’s kind of like the range of compensation. In my lifetime, I’ve never seen anybody make less than $15,000 a month. And typically, their pay is based off of the net profit of the store crew. There’s a bit of a salary and then a bonus. So, the guy come in to talk to me, and I’m just like, “Okay. Awesome.” Right? “Let’s hear what you have to say.” Yeah, they’d never had a woman GM in this organization, so he came in, and he offered me $7,000 a month. So, I had a laugh. I really did laugh. And so, the next, I want to say it didn’t take long, it might have been in the next hour, I made a phone call, went across the street, and it was a better decision for me because the company at that time, when I could see it was going to go public, there was stock options that would be involved and I was getting to work with my friends, but at the time it didn’t really resonate with me that it had a lot do to with the fact that I was female, that they thought they could get me for cheaper. And I look back on that, because that was in the late ’90s, and I look back on that and there’s a very big common life thread in automotive retail regarding that. That the idea of females make less money, it’s a very interesting … So, that’s like I wouldn’t necessarily say it was overcoming a challenge at the time, but I’m feeling it now because there’s a lot of talk about women’s just the thing with the sexual misconduct and the whole #MeToo movement and Time’s Up, and that is something I’ve survived as well, so like I say, lots of obstacles, but what I could say, I wanted to say is that with regard to a more recent story but is very along the same lines.

I was working with a dealer group that had a marketing department, and they had four people in the marketing department, but the dealer himself was definitely … In my experience, he was not a favorite of females being in charge, and I’m not sure why they really decided it was a good idea to work with me, maybe because I do have a lot of credibility in the industry, but nonetheless, about five months in and that was one of those situations where I said, “It’s really not a good fit.” Because they’re weren’t able to achieve the action that they really needed to do, and the marketing was so ready to go like, “Let’s do it,” but he wasn’t A, he wasn’t convinced so much about social media. He wanted to do it, but he wasn’t really ready, and then also the fact that there was a female kind of having, I wouldn’t say being in charge, but having some sort of advisory role. So, it was tough for them, so I had to cut the cord there.

Kathy C.: Yeah, so sometimes the best life lessons are learned from hindsight. Yeah, yeah. That makes a lot of sense.

Kathi K.: Yeah.

Kathy C.: Thank you for sharing that with us. I’d like to hear from about a daily habit or two that contributes to your success. Anything that you can point at that would help us to understand how we can be more successful?

Kathi K.: Well, I just keep going. I always practice a bit of yoga and meditation, and it’s good for your body. I also walk, but your body and your mind. Your mind needs to be able to turn off, and all of the self-help and all of the conferences you go to to talk about how more productive you could be, and blah bitty blah. Those are all good. I don’t mean to say that they aren’t because they are, but they’re temporary. You need to have a daily practice of something that brings you back to yourself, and so, meditation is the goal, but for me a bit of yoga helps my body calm down to where it can sit. And even if it’s five minutes, so if you set a goal for yourself, you can do yoga at home. You don’t have to go to a studio. I’ve practiced yoga since 1996. The way the studios are being run now, I’m not a big fan of, and it’s become very corporate and very like, I don’t know, almost like it’s a quote-unquote “workout”. I was taught yoga from the very masterful teachers and it is a way of life. There’s some components to it that they don’t go anywhere near in the yoga classes, so I use, well, I subscribe to Yoga International. They have tons of classes from 10 minutes to 90 minutes, all levels. And if you could sit, if you could do a yoga practice, even breathing for 10 minutes, and then sit for five minutes, 15 minutes out of your day every day, and then, it gets you centered. And you’ll find that if you practice that over a period of time, maybe three weeks, you’ll find that you’re going to be a lot more clear-headed, and I think the result is just being more successful.

Kathy C.: Yeah, that makes a lot of sense. Just take some time for yourself, and yoga’s great. I love it as well, and I like how you explained it. Just even a few minutes of yoga can really calm your mind and get you ready for a productive day.

Kathi K.: Yes, because there’s so much noise out there right now. There’s so much noise everywhere, and it’s overwhelming right now, really. I mean even the strongest yogi, it’s tough to tune it out, so I think at that point, and I’m saying this for myself, too, you have to be diligent about keeping your practice up and even if it’s two minutes of meditation, and there’s great applications on your phone, there’s Headspace, there’s Calm, that can do guided meditation. So, some people can’t sit for just meditation, just without guided words, but guided meditation is awesome, too, so …

Kathy C.: Oh, that’s good advice. A guided meditation.

Kathi K.: Thank you.

Kathy C.: Yeah. Let’s talk a little bit about mentoring. What has mentoring meant to you, and are there any lessons that you’ve learned and applied to your success that you might want to share with us?

Kathi K.: I have not had a lot of mentors. I’ve had people that I’ve admired, and I’ve kind of had to teach myself everything with regard to like my career in the automotive retail business and actually with social media as well. But I believe in mentoring. I think that it can be a kind of a fast track to finding out what you really want to do, and so like I say, with regard to myself, I haven’t had a lot of mentors. I wished that I could say that I have, but I’ve had a lot of people that I’ve worked for that would be the opposite of a mentor. And so, that’s made me stronger, but like I say, I’m a big proponent of it. And I did mentor one gal that was at Chapman University here a couple years ago in marketing, and that worked out really well, actually. I went to see her graduate, and I think it’s very powerful. And if you can find a mentor, always be looking for people that you can learn from. And if they can be a mentor, awesome, and if they can’t, at least you’ve done some work to learn more about yourself and more about what you can bring to the world.

Kathy C.: Yeah. That’s true. That’s true. And self-mentoring is a concept, too. I think you bring up a good point because I know that you read a lot, and you’re listening to podcasts. And so, I think you’re doing a lot of that. I think that’s what the continued learning’s all about. I think there is definitely an aspect of self-mentoring as well.

Kathi K.: Yeah. I agree. Yeah. A long time ago, we did some motivational things for the dealership, for the employees at the store, and but it was for both stores. And one of the guys that came to speak challenged everyone to read for 15 minutes a day. Get up in the morning, do your normal routine, drink water, some may meditate yoga, and then if you can read 15 minutes a day consuming something that’s going to make your life better, then things change. Things do change, and it doesn’t have to be self-help. It can be business-related. It can be something even if it’s fiction. I say get in the habit of keeping your finger on the pulse of things that are happening, and I think that’s going to be quite the challenge for America going forward really, just to keep informed of really what’s happening and how you can be a better person and contribute more to society and just your community.

Kathy C.: Yeah. Reading 15 minutes a day, that’s great advice. And how about podcasting? Does that count as well?

Kathi K.: Yes, I’m a big fan of podcasting. I have some good podcasts, and in fact, I just sat in, do you know Tom Webster? He works for Forrester, and he’s got a podcast with my friend, Mark Schaefer, called the Marketing Companion. And Tom’s very funny. I’ve seen him speak at conferences, and he works like I say, I think he’s the Chief VP, oh, I forget his title, but Forrester Research. And they just did a Facebook Live. He has an offshoot group called the Infinite Dial, and it has to do with audio in whatever capacity that means.

And so, they just did a Facebook Live on the stats around podcasting, but it was basically that brands need to figure out what their audio strategy is because with Alexa and some of the home devices, and Google’s gone to audios and voice. And then, of course, podcasting there’s a lot of value in figuring out what your audio strategy is. But the trend for podcasting is just completely going up, so I think there’s … I’m a big fan of podcasts. I listen to a lot of podcasts.

Kathy C.: Well, thank you for being a guest on our podcast and sharing all this wisdom, and I just find that listening to podcasts in the morning, I’ve been doing it now for probably a year and a half. And I tune out what I used to listen to which was silliness on the radio and news and now I’m just concentrating on continued learning and listening to positive people and learning more about marketing every day, too, is so interesting.

Kathi K.: Yes. I agree. You pick the people that really resonate with you, and that to me is like having a conversation with them, when you’re listening to their podcasts.

Kathy C.: Exactly.

Kathi K.: Yeah.

Kathy C.: Again, it’s kind of like mentoring, right?

Kathi K.: Yes, kind of like.

Kathy C.: Yeah.

Kathi K.: Yeah.

Kathy C.: Yeah. Super interesting. Well, do you have any advice for women that want to get into marketing?

Kathi K.: I would say develop your personal brand on social media and get it out there, whether it’s LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, those are the four I would look that first because that is more than likely if you’re looking to get a job in marketing, that’s where you want to go, and I think definitely if you’re looking for if you want to start a business of marketing. You definitely … I’ve seen a lot of people that and a lot of companies that will offer social media marketing services or SEO or … And then, I realize they have not presence. They’re like a ghost on social, and so, it’s anything. And even start blogging. If you’re producing content, even if it’s once a month, then and grow your email list any way you can, develop yourself as you the brand and then you’re going to have credibility when you come to the table in whatever capacity it is, whether you’re, like you say, looking for a job or if you’re going to start a marketing business.

Kathy C.: How about any marketing resources? Do you have any books or podcasts that you would recommend to our listeners?

Kathi K.: I listen to StoryBrand, Donald Miller. He basically talks about clearing away the clutter on your website, and really as an extension of that, clearing away the clutter on whatever you are producing as far as content, so that customers can engage. It’s clarifying your message. There’s a program that he offers. I think there’s an online program he offers. It’s not very reasonable, the price, I can tell you, but I know people that have been through it, and especially entrepreneurs, small businesses, I’ve seen some success, a lot of success. He also wrote a book called StoryBrand, so you could … But that podcast, I think he does it once a week. That’s one podcast that’s marketing related that I listen to. Ray Edwards, Copy that Sells book, that is for anything in marketing. Copywriting you know is a big component, and he lays it out pretty nicely, especially like if you want to create a sales page, like the components, it’s pretty cool. So, Ray Edwards is a really … I think I would consider him kind of the gold standard for copywriting.

Kathy C.: Those are excellent resources. Thank you for that. I’ll have to check out that StoryBrand, and I’ll check out that podcast. That sounds like a good one.

Kathi K.: Yeah, it’s pretty cool.

Kathy C.: Well, Kathi, thank you so much for your time and your wisdom and for sharing all your thoughts with us. I think it was amazing, and anything you want to leave us with?

Kathi K.: Gosh, just keep putting one foot in front of the other, and don’t get caught up in the minutia, be deliberate about your thinking and your taking on clients, and always come back to your brand and what you stand for, and that will never steer you the wrong way.

Kathy C.: Yeah. Good advice. Thanks again, Kathi.

Kathi K.: You’re welcome. It was fun.

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