421: Passionate Marketing Agency Owner, with Cheryl O’Hern

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A Passionate Marketing Agency Owner means ensuring your client’s needs are met by educating, building a relationship, and getting involved.

We bring Cheryl O’Hern, Founder of Spin Markket + Digital, on the podcast this week to discuss what it means to be an agency owner. Chery is the definition of a passionate marketing agency owner; she is dedicated to her clients and the local businesses they serve. In this episode, Cheryl and George explore what it means to build a connection with your client, why it’s crucial to the success of the working relationship, educating on what you as their marketing guru deliver, and when they will hear the cha-ching!

As a Digital Marketing Specialist, Cheryl develops innovative campaigns across a wide range of businesses that create the EXPERIENCE to engage the targeted audiences’ hearts and minds. By utilizing data that evaluates the behaviors, interests, diversity, and the EXPERIENCE to the right market at the right time, she can ultimately drive the results her clients are reaching for. Cheryl is known as an envelope pusher with Kickstarter marketing in a freshly brewed social and digital world. She ventured out as a small business owner after years in the corporate circle in 2012 with Spin Markket. With a background in various fortune 500 businesses and marketing platforms, she can bring a wide knowledge base of experiences for her clients. Several of her campaigns have garnered national attention and notice from the industries they represent and media giants.

Join the conversation in the Conquer Local Community and keep the learning going in the Conquer Local Academy.


George: Welcome to this edition of the Conquer Local Podcast. One of the themes for 2021 on the broadcast, we wanna bring you people that are running successful organizations in our channel partner ecosystem. And this week we’re gonna be talking to Cheryl O’Hern, the Founder of Spin Markket and Digital, all the way from beautiful Fort Dodge, Iowa. She’s been a partner since September of 2019, and over 30 years of experience in marketing and event coordination. So, Cheryl came from building brochures, annual reports, and traditional marketing, and now, is leading marketing with her organization for clients in the market of Fort Dodge and around that area. And we’re gonna learn from her over the next few minutes about what she’s finding success with. What is that program that she’s talking to her customer base? We do know that she’s having a lot of success in dental, so we’re gonna learn about that and maybe come up with some best practices from Cheryl O’Hern, founder and CEO of Spin Markket and Digital. Coming up next here on the Conquer Local Podcast. 


Cheryl, good morning from sunny Fort Dodge, Iowa.


Cheryl: Well, good morning. Yes, and it is sunny here in Fort Dodge, Iowa, today. So, thank you very much.


George: We should say good afternoon, good evening, and good night because we don’t know when somebody is gonna listen to this episode. We’ll get them all in there.


Cheryl: That’s the thrill of digital, isn’t it? Is that it is there for anybody to look at any time or hear at any time.


George: Cheryl, I’m excited to learn about your organization. We kind of covered some of the components on the intro but I’d love to understand a little bit more about your 30 years of experience in marketing and event coordinating with corporate clients, just to give our audience a bit of an overview of who is Cheryl O’Hern and what does Spin Markket and Digital do?


Cheryl: Well, thank you. And yes, it has been 30 years of a lot of different changes in the marketing world. And I will say though, within the last 12 to 18 months, we probably have seen more changes in marketing than we have in the past 50 years. And it is a totally new area and exciting things that are happening out there. But in the past, I have been in a variety of roles, several Fortune 500 companies, where we’ve done a variety of marketing. Everything from the old-fashioned, handing out the brochure to where we are today in the digital world. So, we’ve done a little bit of everything. I’ve done some huge events for clients out there and all of that is marketing in a variety of different ways. It’s when you’re doing an event, you are marketing not only to the public but you’re also marketing that business’s brand, whether it’s an open house or an event, whatever it may be, and making sure all those details are there. And it’s just the same thing with marketing. When you’re working with a client, looking at all the details and what is their brand and how do you put all those details together to get the type of engagement and responses that you’re looking for.

Changes in the Marketing World

George: Well, I wholeheartedly agree that things have changed dramatically in the last few years. I’d love to hear from you, what do you think some of those top changes have been?


Cheryl: Understanding that your brick-and-mortar store and thinking with the idea that your customer is only 50 or 60 miles away is not the reality today, today it’s international. So, just like you said earlier, while we are talking today at 10:00 a.m. Central Standard Time, somebody may be looking at us at 2:00 a.m., wherever, any place in the world, or listening to us at that time. And that’s how you need to be looking at your information. It also makes you step back a little bit and think about what you’re putting out there because once it’s out there, it’s out there. And it’s very important that you make sure that you’re constantly showing what you want your customers to see and your future employees, that’s the other thing. With the type of market we’re in today, how you look online is as important to recruiting new customers as it is to recruiting new employees.


George: Well, it really is that entire view of the organization and getting companies to understand that is a bit of a challenge because, you and I both know, in our experience in this business, I don’t know of too many business owners that are expert marketers, that’s why they reach out to folks like us to be that trusted expert. So, the change in the market is dramatic. The fact that everything lives online now, it’s 24/7. You could have a customer on your site from anywhere on the planet. Like, those are exciting changes. There’s big opportunity there. I’d love to understand a little bit from you at Spin Markket and Digital, your organization, where you’re finding success. And I understand that you are focused, when I go to your website, I see you focusing on specific verticals, especially in the dental space. So, if we could use dentists as an example, dental professionals, how are you seeing the changes there and what are you seeing success within helping those clients meet their goals?


Cheryl: Well, and that’s a perfect example. Yes. I got into the dental vertical just because we were having such huge success with one of our clients. And some of the professionals out there noticed that and contacted us. And again, it’s making sure we tell their story. The first dental client I had, everybody would say when they walked in the door everything that they saw online was exactly what they saw and felt when they walked in the door. And that’s what, no matter whether it’s a dental client or it’s a fence company that builds fences and gates and security systems, whatever it may be, you need to, whatever. however, you look online is what that customer is looking for when they actually get to know you. And they wanna know your story, they wanna know about you and want to feel comfortable after looking at you online to actually purchase your products and services. So, it’s how you look online to go out there and get that information to them so that they come in to see you, and then they feel comfortable because they already know you.


George: Well, I love that you’re validating something that I’ve said years back, is that concept that your virtual doorway is more important than your actual doorway. And now we get hit with this COVID thing where, you know, curbside pickup is something that people are advertising. And it also, it’s interesting enough that the listing sites will actually accept that data. And you and I both know that a year ago, we didn’t even have that yet. They were working on the algorithm as we speak 12 months ago. So it’s, again, something that’s new. What about what we’re doing right now with these meetings where, you know, you’re doing a Google Meet or a Zoom call or a Microsoft Teams and we almost know where the mute buttons are on all those different platforms because it is the preferred way of communicating? So, you know, how hard is it to teach those customers that this is the root of one of their problems? Which is my traffic is down, my sales are down, oh, let’s take a look at how you’re conducting business online. How hard is it to have that conversation?


Cheryl: Well, you really hit a very important point. And I tell my clients right off the bat, that I am gonna spend more time educating you as to how your marketing works than anybody else is gonna spend. We spend so much time illustrating and showing exactly how marketing in their specific area works and actually do things in their marketing to demonstrate a positive or a negative response so that they can see it. Because it’s hard. We’re in an intangible world when we’re doing digital marketing. And it’s not the days of when you had a brochure and you can look at it and you think, oh, well, great, pretty pictures, great content and then you can hand it to somebody. Today, it’s totally, you can’t see it unless you have a dashboard, which we spend a lot of time with our clients making sure that they have all that information in front of them in real-time, so they can see it as well. And the education of, what’s a reach? What’s an impression? How many times clients will say, well, yeah, you’re saying our click-through rate is great but Cheryl, I’m not hearing the ka-ching on the other side of the counter. And those are, we have to educate them to understand, initially, you’re branding because people don’t even know you exist, and then you get your leads and you generate the revenue on it. It’s a process and you have to embrace that process.

Telling Their Story

George: Cheryl, I wanted to validate something that I believe, and I’d love to hear from you if this is true. And that is, when you tell that story, the story you just told around the impressions through to the sale, you’re really deep in the mind of that business owner. Like, you’re talking about every component of their business in that journey of their buyer, getting from the point of consideration or even finding the brand to when they make that transaction. How hard is it to tell that story?


Cheryl: Very difficult, because the owner is so close to their business, they are so ingrained in it, their passion, their desire, everything that they have done is in that business. And sometimes it’s very difficult for them to understand what they perceive as being the client and what the reality is. The concept that everybody is my customer is not true. We need to find out who is really your customer so that you can target in on that individual or that business or whatever it may be. And customers have, our clients just, it’s very difficult for them to embrace that. And just by showing them and patiently taking them through all the steps and why, and answering their questions as to why is this going on and showing them how it’s going on, not only shows it gets results, it also helps them to better understand how they can handle the market once they get the people coming to the door. Because I’ll tell them, I can get them to the door but I can’t take care of them after they walk through that door. And we need to be a team when we’re working through it. And I need to understand your business and you need to understand my business in order to work it out.


George: Cheryl, one of the things I wanted to make sure we accomplished on this episode was, you know, you are, for the last over nine years, you’ve been running Spin Markket and Digital very successfully. And I wanted channel partners of ours that are listening to this broadcast to understand a few things about you know, your lessons in running that business. I noticed that you have some folks on your website that you work with, part of your team, but you are, correct me if I’m wrong, but you’re dealing directly with the client yourself.


Cheryl: Right, exactly. And I feel that we need to, I need to be in the trenches with the clients, I need to understand what’s going on. It doesn’t that I did not delegate off some of the work to my other staff members, but I really feel that we need to pay attention to them and help them because I know how difficult it is to start a small business. I’ve done it, I started from scratch. I didn’t have anything when I started this business. And my passion is to work with the smaller businesses that have less resources to go after. I’ve worked closely with small business development but they only have so many resources to provide to these individuals. And the other problem is, is that because this marketing world is changing so quickly, you need to be in the trenches and watching what’s going on to be able to give that information to your clients and be in touch as to what’s happening and give them a heads up. You know, this is what Google says is gonna happen in such and such a time or, sorry, Google didn’t tell us that that was gonna happen as examples though. They’ll say, well, Cheryl, it just all of a sudden changed. Well, that’s the world of Google, like, it changes and you need to change and adapt along with it. Well, why didn’t they tell us? They’re not gonna tell you, you need to be paying attention.


George: Well, and you know, you get to that point where you are the trusted expert that they rely on to fill. You know, what I’ve found, correct me if I’m wrong, in your experience, but they have a gap and they’re looking to you to fill that gap in their organization. Where I wanna get to though is, is there like a package that you could just say, I’m gonna deploy this package on 30 customers, it’s gonna be exactly the same? I don’t know if that’s true.


Cheryl: No, it’s not true. Every customer is unique. And if you’re gonna tell their story, you need to make sure that you are identifying that customer themselves out there. Now, some of the best practices you will use across the board. I can use the same best practice that I use for a dental client as I do a restaurant. I just have to adapt it to what that client needs. What are their customer? What is their community like? What is their staff like? I have one client that’s saying, Cheryl, we can’t sell anymore because we’re maxed out for employees right now. So, we need to refocus and bring more employees in so we can sell more. And you have to be in touch with them and adjust the marketing based on what the client needs and what the client is looking for to get the right results. But at the same time, explain to them, they need to embrace that process in order to get to that result.


George: So, in a program, then. So, we go in and we sell a program that is bespoke to the customer. It’s going to meet their needs, it’s not cookie-cutter, so let’s get that out of our, thank you for validating that, get cookie cutter out of our head. We need to have product knowledge, we need to understand solution selling, we need to fit, you know, exactly the solution for the customer. And then, we get a shot at repeatability if we can find these niches. And it seems to me like you’ve found a niche where you can take a program that worked for one group and then find others that are like that. But there still has to be a level of flexibility to make it truly fit in, if I’m hearing you correctly.


Cheryl: Exactly. And I think that’s one of the most frustrating parts I have with clients. They’re used to packages. They’re used to, okay, you’re going to charge me $5,000 for this website, or you’re gonna charge me $200 for you to do social media per month. They want that package. That package doesn’t necessarily work for all clients. Maybe that $5,000 package would be appropriate, but I’ve had other clients where a $5,000 package was totally overpriced for what they needed. They were gonna be charged more than what they actually needed for it. But by asking the questions, by looking at what they really need, and looking at all the resources out there. When we work with a client, the first thing I do is do a lot of research. I check how they look online, what their competitors are doing in their area, or who they think their competitors are. There’s a lot of research that we do even before we give them an idea of what it’s gonna cost. And then, once we get into it, I tell clients, as we get into it and I start showing you other things, then you start adding other stuff on top of it. And yes, the cost is gonna go up if that’s what you want.


George: Well, that was where I was gonna go with this, is if we can’t get repeatable, where we got a package and we turn it on and we set it and forget it, which I just don’t necessarily know if that’s gonna work if you’re gonna offer that level of service. Then the next component is, it’s actually worth it, this is what I hope that I can validate with you, it’s actually worth it to put in extra effort as you start to build the relationship with that client because then you get the opportunity to add other components.


Cheryl: Exactly. Well, they always question or I hope they always question what I’m doing.


George: They always question.


Cheryl: I want them to question what I’m doing because I want them to pay attention, I want them to know what’s going on. Because if they know what’s going on, then we can really put together great programs and campaigns and advance or whatever it is that they wanna do because they provide me the input and the inspiration in order for me to come up, or my staff, I shouldn’t say me, and my staff to put together for what they need to meet their goals, meet their sales. I have one client that I’m looking at right now up here on my board the number of new patients that they have. And we have, every week, we talk about how close are we to our one-year anniversary of 1500 new patients? And right now we are spot on. I’m looking at it, we have over a thousand new patients and we’re gonna hit our 1500 mark by July 13th. And that’s the one-year anniversary. So, you know, again, talking with them and figuring out what we need to do and adjusting your market while you’re talking about that to get the results that you need.


George: Cheryl, I love what you just did there. For our conquerors listening, this is one of the key components to being successful in this business. Did you hear Cheryl call it our total, our goal, we? So, you are an extension of that client’s team and you’re sitting there watching the dashboard too, going that’s our win. That is as much Spin Markket and Digital’s win as it is the client’s win. So, it’s exciting to see that extreme ownership that you’re taking over those goals.


I really appreciate your insights on building a successful organization and congratulations on the nine-plus years. And you know, this is not easy. As you highlighted out of the gate, we don’t know what Google is gonna do, we don’t know what any of the platforms are gonna do, so we have to be on the cutting edge of the technology. Then, the tools are always changing in order to match that changing landscape, customers demands are higher, customers are demanding more, yes?


Cheryl: Right, exactly.


George: And then we’ve got this thing that you talked about and I wanna ask this question because I’m sure that there will be listeners out there going, how does Cheryl do it? So, you have this dashboard but I think we’ll be the first to admit, they don’t log into it all the time, they don’t open all the emails. How are you dealing with that? Because it is one of the things that you highlighted was a key component, some sort of a mechanism to show them the performance.


Cheryl: That’s why we have regular calls with our clients. I tell them we need to set up a regular contact. Sometimes we may only spend five minutes talking, sometimes we may spend a half-hour to an hour, but I always bring the dashboard up. And I’m always pointing out things positive and negative that show up. So, basically getting them into the habit of it, it’s a learning experience for them because they aren’t used to it. But once they get used to it and they start looking at it, they go, this is fascinating. You know, to watch how it’s changed because that’s when you really get the full scope of how I can help you. Because you look at it here, this is where we started out at and wow, we’ve made a couple of changes. And I just had a client this morning that couldn’t believe that they had 138 shares of this one-minute video that they did and how their entire market changed with that one video. And then I went back and showed them for the past year, look where you started at and look where you are now. And that’s when the ah-ha moment comes up and going, wow, now, that’s a reality for me, I can see that I really made progress and it’s all positive progress.


George: Well, Cheryl, thanks for sharing that with our listeners because it really is the secret sauce. You can go in and make all sorts of promises, but being able to show that business owner the success that you’ve been able to deliver for them. And sometimes doesn’t always hit the mark but being transparent that you’re on top of it, you’re gonna make a suggestion as to how we might adjust it. You’ve been giving us some great learnings today from your organization and the success that you’ve had. Congratulations and thanks for joining us on the Conquer Local Podcast. We really appreciate having those learnings.


Cheryl: Well, great. Thank you so much. And we’re always here if anybody has any questions, drop me a note, text me, email me, whatever is convenient and we’ll be happy to reach out and see what we can do to help you.


George: Thanks, Cheryl.


Cheryl: Thank you.


George: What a great lady. You know, Cheryl, obviously a pro, obviously has been doing this for a while, and wow. She just helped us over that last 20 minutes. If you’ve been in this business and you were looking for validation of the things you’re doing like a monthly strategy call or just texting your customer with a screenshot of a metric, you know, having that level of openness around here’s how things are working, here’s some things that aren’t quite hitting the marks that we expected. You know, being able to bring those insights and really being an extension of the client. And that was what Cheryl was getting to, that whole validation that the virtual doorway is more important than the actual doorway and getting that client to come to grips with that. And then showing them the information and really digging into what the problem is. And then, you know, getting them on board with your organization and continuing to grow that customer as you build the trust. That’s what I heard from Cheryl today. And definitely, some great learnings that one package does not fit all. So, maybe a good starting point but we could take that program and then build it into a bespoke offering for our clients. Being in touch with them on an ongoing basis and not be afraid to have that conversation around how things are working, because it builds again, the trust, the rapport, and the ability to upsell and grow that client. And then, you know, being an extension of their internal team. And you noticed that Cheryl deals with those customers herself, she’s the owner of the shop. She has some staff but she really is leading the sales efforts and the ownership of the clients. And I believe, she didn’t say it, but I bet you if we got one of Cheryl’s customers on the phone, they would say that she really is their expert, she is their outsourced marketing expert that helps them in the day-to-day endeavors of their business. 


So, congratulations to Cheryl on her success. And we really appreciate her taking the time today to share some of that secret sauce. You can learn from the various experts that are in there contributing to the various channels. And you know, I wouldn’t be doing my job if I didn’t ask you for your feedback on the episodes. That’s where we’re planning the next season, is from all the comments we’re getting from you, our conquerors, that are listening and giving us feedback. The other thing that we’re looking for is your endorsement on the various podcast channels. If you love the show or you maybe like us a little bit, if you wouldn’t mind going in there and leaving us a positive review. If it’s not positive, I’ve loved to hear from you directly. If we’re not hitting the mark, just direct message me on LinkedIn. But if it is positive and you’d love to share that you are finding value from the Conquer Local Podcast, please go on wherever you consume your podcast and leave us a positive review. We really appreciate that. 


Thanks for joining us this week. My name is George Leith. I’ll see you when I see you.

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