January 1, 2019 - Episode 16

Marketing Reflections from 2018 and Goals for 2019

It’s a new year, and that’s usually a good time for any small business to reflect and set goals. Jake and Mirela talk about their reflections from 2018 about running a local marketing agency. We’ll also discuss Kapok Marketing’s goals for 2019. Some of the topics discussed in this episode include: strategy and planning, educating potential customers, taking advantage of more platforms or mediums, and looking for business opportunities that make sense.


Episode Transcript

Jake Braun:
Welcome to Kickin' it with Kapok, a podcast about business stories and marketing advice. I'm Jake.
Mirela Setkic:
And I'm Mirela.
Jake Braun:
And this is episode 16, "Marketing Reflections from 2018 and Goals for 2019." Today, Mirela and I will be talking about what we learned in 2018 and what some of our goals are here at Kapok Marketing for 2019. It might also be helpful to some other small business owners out there. We'll discuss strategy, planning, and some other marketing ideas. All right, here we go. We're here on Kickin' it with Kapok.
Mirela Setkic:
I know, and 2018 is almost over, which is kind of crazy. I think I blinked and then it's December 14th, and then here we are. I guess it's over.
Jake Braun:
So I don't know what exactly the intro said, but I think we're talking about reflections from 2018 and goals for 2019?
Mirela Setkic:
Yeah, so I guess we should start reflecting a little bit. So, 2018 was a good year. It was a big year for us and it was also a very kind of lightning-fast year. So, I guess if we step back and go back to January of 2018 and think about what we were doing then, we had a lot fewer employees, we were in a different office, and we were almost kind of at this point, but a year ago we were kind of thinking, "What are we gonna do in this year? We gotta go big or go home."
Jake Braun:
Yeah, it seems like it was almost yesterday in certain senses, but also it's been a long time, too.
Mirela Setkic:
I know. So what did we learn?
Jake Braun:
That's a good question. What have we learned?
Mirela Setkic:
Well, I think one of the biggest things that we've learned is to say yes to opportunities. I'm not saying to say yes to every single opportunity that is presented to you, but say yes to every opportunity that's in line with your company's or your organization's mission and vision and kind of the goals that you are trying to accomplish for that year.
So, we kind of did that with some of the things. One of the things that we said yes to was our sponsorship of the Tampa Bay Rowdies and as a local company, as a local agency, we're not the biggest company in the area, so that was kind of a big decision for us, and we talked about it for I think a couple of weeks and then the more we talked about it, the more we realized that the only way we're gonna find out if this is gonna work is to just do it. That's what we did.
Jake Braun:
Yeah, I think that's the way that you learn if a lot of opportunities are gonna be successful or not is you can't worry about whether it's gonna work or not. You got to just jump in at a certain point after you've done a certain amount of research.
Mirela Setkic:
I know, and it's scary, especially when it means you have to spend more money or commit more time, which I guess is money in the end.
Jake Braun:
Yeah. We'll probably talk about this more later, but videos and other say yes opportunity if you will.
Mirela Setkic:
Podcasting-
Jake Braun:
Podcasting.
Mirela Setkic:
... was another say yes, and that one was really tough for me, because that took me a couple of months. You kept kind of bugging me in a good way and coming to me and saying, "No, this is the future. We have to do it," and I kept thinking, "Oh my god, my voice is gonna sound weird. What are people going to think? Who am I? Why do people even want to hear from me?" So I finally said yes, and I think we started recording in June of 2018 and so seven months later, and now we're even doing a video podcast, which is another yes that we had to commit ourselves to and an opportunity that we had to kind of take on.
Jake Braun:
Yeah. I think-
Mirela Setkic:
So ... Go ahead.
Jake Braun:
I think that kind of segues into the next one too, which is not to be too indecisive. You can spend so much time thinking about it and the opportunity can get lost if you don't jump in early on in your process of thinking about it.
Mirela Setkic:
Yes, and on the most basic human level, I think, at least for myself, there's some comfort that you find in delaying or deferring the decision that is kind of weighing on you, and in that moment, you don't realize, until you have the advantage of looking back, you don't realize that you've actually wasted a lot of time just thinking about not making a decision, and so it kind of starts to consume you and it can become crippling. So, it's best just to kind of look at everything and say yes or no and just move on.
Jake Braun:
Yeah, and I think it goes against, I don't know, the human nature or what you want to call it, but people don't like making decisions sometimes. They think, "If I don't make the decision, then I'm not gonna make the wrong decision."
Mirela Setkic:
Exactly, but you don't realize that sometimes, you are deciding not to make a decision, which is a decision-
Jake Braun:
Yeah, a decision.
Mirela Setkic:
That could be the wrong decision, but in the moment, you're just so deep in it that you don't realize what you're doing.
Jake Braun:
Yeah, the psychology is very interesting, and I think we already mentioned this a little bit, but time is one of the most valuable things that you have.
Mirela Setkic:
Yeah, some smart person said at some point that time is money, and I don't know who that person is, but that's very true. It's the most valuable resource that you have on this planet. You can't go back. You can't buy more time. You just got to make the most with what you have, and you waste all of your time just kind of moping around and trying not to make a decision, then you might have some regrets.
Jake Braun:
True.
Mirela Setkic:
I should look at my notes and see what other-
Jake Braun:
What else we learned?
Mirela Setkic:
I know. Oh, perfection and not to look for it and just strive to be more authentic and not really worry about presenting the most perfect you or the most perfect product. I'm not saying you should just kind of phone it in and just whatever, but I think just constantly trying to perfect something can become so crippling, and I know you have some strong opinions on this, so I guess you can kind of chime in a little bit.
Jake Braun:
My second favorite interview question, "Is it better to be good and on time or perfect and late?" I personally feel that the right answer is good and on time, and I think a lot of other people that I've read about feel the same way, and I think in terms of business, you're talking about a lot of software companies have this philosophy of, "Get out the minimum viable product." Get something out on the market and you can start to get feedback that way. You can be one of the first people to the market or at least get to the market quicker than if you spent let's say three years developing this great app, whereas if you just took nine months and developed a pretty good app and I got it out there, you'd have, what, two years and three months, if I did the math correctly, to continue to iterate and make your product even better.
Mirela Setkic:
Yes, and the more you are perfecting your product or your service, your presentation or whatever the case is, the more of suspense and expectation you're building up, which means that it has to be that much more amazing once it is released to the public or even to your team, and then if it turns out not to be so amazing, then people are really going to judge you very harshly. And also, the built up suspense and expectation might even convince you not to go public with your idea because you now have built it up but you are not sure if it's going to deliver.
Jake Braun:
Yeah. Well, it's almost a vicious cycle, too. The more time you spend on it, the more you feel like it needs to be perfect, whereas if you would've just gotten something out early, you could at least say, "Well, I got it out there quickly. That's what I was trying to achieve," whereas if you're spending years and years on it, then you're gonna be thinking, "Well, it needs to be even better. It needs to be perfect. I spent so long on it," but then you never even release it then in that scenario probably because you can never get to the level that you made it seem like you need to be at.
Mirela Setkic:
Yeah, and it's so interesting. Even here at our company, when we're working on something, even if it's a simple five page PDF for sure, and the more that you look at it and the more you're just reading everything, the more mistakes you're finding, and we have never gotten to a point where we have thought, "Okay, this is the ultimate perfection. There's nothing that needs to be changed." It's almost like the devil is in the details. The more you look, the more you find. It's like a never-ending process.
Jake Braun:
Yeah, you start to find things that aren't even problems. You're just switching back between different ideas, like, "Oh, it's version A. It's version B." They're both really good, and neither one is perfect. They're both just really good options and you have to choose which option you're gonna do.
Mirela Setkic:
Yeah, and then you kind of start going down these tunnels and then sometimes you even end up totally changing your direction, which can mean starting over, so you're now in a perpetual changes, starting over type of situation, which can be ... I mean, I guess that's like definition of insanity. You're just like on this vicious cycle like a hamster and chasing perfection.
Jake Braun:
Yeah.
Mirela Setkic:
Well, I think the other thing that we have learned is risk, taking risks and just kind of going for it. I think that you're much better at this than I am. I sometimes play it safe, especially when there are other people involved. If it's just me and I'll take a chance and it fails, it's like, "Okay, whatever. I did it to myself," but if other people are involved, then I feel like I might be putting their livelihood at risk and it's kind of scary, but then you always come in and tell me, "No. You gotta take risk in order to get some type of a gain."
Jake Braun:
Yeah. We've talked about this I think a few times on a podcast. Risk is inherent to business. It's something that you have to do and it's something you have to get used to, and I think it's something that's hard for a lot of entrepreneurs early on, but it's definitely something you have to do, and it's something that I think that we're all learning as a company.
Mirela Setkic:
Yeah, and I remember ... I don't ... A year and a half ago, maybe almost like two years ago when we were just, Kapok was an idea, and we were going to open and we were going to get an office. I definitely was the voice that tried to be super safe and I said, "No, we got to get a tiny office. We gotta get the most basic things, the cheapest things so we're not putting ourselves out there and exposing ourselves to risk."
And then halfway through, we realized the office was too small, the furniture was kind of for little kids, and so halfway through, we realized if you want to go big, you got to do big things. We ended up getting a bigger office and getting more serious furniture, throwing everything out, and just trying to kind of put ourselves on the next level and therefore kind of take ourselves more seriously and just kind of go hard.
Jake Braun:
Yeah, and I think we already touched on some of the other risks that we took, like video podcasts, so I don't know if there's anymore risks we want to talk about, or do we want to jump into goals for 2019?
Mirela Setkic:
I guess let's talk about 2019. It's like New Year's Eve or New Year's Day is almost here, and everyone talks resolutions, plans, goals, and new year, new me type of stuff. So, I guess we should talk about what is our new year, new us, what are our goals and what do we want to do.
Jake Braun:
Okay. I think the first goal is we want to teach more. We want to continue what we've already started, getting more blog posts out, more podcasts, and now more videos.
Mirela Setkic:
Yes, yes, definitely teaching people about marketing and teaching them via video. I guess we're delivering on one of our goals-
Jake Braun:
Early.
Mirela Setkic:
Early, I know. This is one of our very first videos that we're doing and hopefully it will be just the beginning of what's more to come, but yeah, it's scary, but we just have to do it. It's the next natural step for us.
Jake Braun:
Yeah, so maybe we should talk more about some of the things that we're going to try and teach more about, strategy, branding.
Mirela Setkic:
Yes. Well, I think throughout 2018 and even the year before, we kind of realized that there are a lot of people or business owners in this area who don't fully understand or maybe even appreciate the power of marketing and the power of digital marketing. So, we would like to get that out there and educate people and really empower them, especially people who maybe cannot afford to hire a marketing agency and they're just starting out. There's nothing wrong with wanting to do everything in house, but we just want to be that resource for them that they can maybe, after business hours, they can go home and go to our YouTube channel and maybe watch a video on how to do whatever. So we want to do that.
Jake Braun:
Yeah, you can do it yourself. I mean, you should do it yourself. It's just you got to decide whether you actually can do it yourself and if it's the best use of your time. If marketing is your forte, then that's great. If your forte is cooking and being a chef, then maybe you do need help with marketing, and that might be an in house marketing person, that might be a marketing agency, it might be a combination. So, it's really a balance of time and money.
Mirela Setkic:
Yeah, and really, it's important for every businessperson or a nonprofit person to know that marketing is not optional. Marketing is inherent to doing business and we really just want to drive that message home and convince people that it's not just like $5 that you spend on a little cutie flier that you put in your door. This is something that you really, really have to take seriously.
Jake Braun:
Yeah. I feel like a broken record, but you're engaged in marketing if you have a business. It's impossible to separate the two things. Marketing is inherent to business and you can't escape that. It's just a question of what you're doing for your marketing. You are doing marketing.
Mirela Setkic:
Exactly, but then one of our other goals is to teach organizations and businesses in this area really the foundation of what you need to have before you start thinking about marketing yourself and becoming a power player in your industry or whatever your goals are. You have to understand branding and you have to understand that some people, logos seems like, "Oh, it's just something that I put together in Microsoft Word." Well, there's a lot more to it. It's part of your bigger branding strategy and your unique selling proposition and your why. Why are you in business? What makes you different? Why should I come to your donut shop instead of going to the person down the road?
So just understanding that you have to have a strategy for where your business is going, like what is your mission? What is your vision? Where do you want to go? And just putting together goals and having a plan for accomplishing those goals. That has to be there before you say, "I want to do marketing."
Jake Braun:
Yeah, strategy, branding, goals, planning, budgets. All that stuff is super important. It doesn't mean you need 100 page business plan either. You need to weigh what sort of plan you need, how much time to spend on it, how much research, but you should put at least some effort into it and figure out, "What exactly is my plan? What are my goals? How am I gonna know if I've reached my goal or not?"
If you have no goals, you really don't ever know if you're successful. You might achieve things. You might make a certain amount of money, but if you didn't say to yourself ever, "Well, my goal is to get to here," then you're never really gonna be able to measure whether what you're doing is working or not.
Mirela Setkic:
Exactly, and also, not setting super safe goals. If your goal is just to sell one cupcake in 12 months and you're a bakery, that's probably not gonna take you anywhere.
Jake Braun:
If you're setting goals that you're always achieving, you're not setting good goals. You're missing the point of goals.
Mirela Setkic:
Yeah, and you're missing opportunities. You're not challenging yourself and you're just kind of keeping everything at status quo, and I guess that could be okay for a little bit, but you're just not going anywhere.
Jake Braun:
Yeah, so maybe we should move onto our next goal, which I think is using more channels to do our marketing.
Mirela Setkic:
Yes. As they say, it's all about diversifying and not putting all of your eggs in one basket and just wanting to be on different platforms, in different places where people are having conversations about marketing, and also searching for marketing answers. So, we want to be on YouTube. We want to be on Instagram and Facebook, and we definitely want to do more stuff on YouTube and do video stuff and things like that.
Jake Braun:
Yeah. We already have the podcast. We have the blog. We're doing video. We talked about that a little bit, but marketing is just getting ... Every year, it gets tougher and tougher, and digital marketing is no exception. There's more competitors. Technology is changing. As certain channels get saturated, they get harder and harder. Maybe you were the first person to use a certain channel and you got all kinds of customers from it, but as more people enter that channel, that might not work as well as it did in the past. You might need to come up with new strategies for that, but also you should just be diversifying amongst as many channels as you can that are working for you. If they don't work, you might want to walk away from them, but you should at least try as many channels as you can and try and be on as many as you can effectively be on.
Mirela Setkic:
Exactly, and also just keeping an eye out for new things that are popping up so you're not the last one to arrive at the party when everyone has just eaten the cake and you're just like, "Oh, there's just a whole bunch of empty dishes here."
And also, I think we went to this seminar. It was Inbound, and they talked about the voice search and how in two years, 50% of online searches are going to be voice searches, people asking Alexa and asking all of these other robot things to find them answers, so we want to do more of that stuff, so we are part of those answers.
Jake Braun:
Yeah. Now is the time to start thinking about it. A lot of the searches might not have a lot of commercial intent to them at the moment. They might be people asking for the weather, which is maybe useful for The Weather Channel or other companies like that, but for the most part, a lot of those searches are maybe not too relevant to a lot of businesses, but many of them are. "What's a good restaurant near me?" Things like that. More and more searches like that are gonna be answered by voice search, whether it's Siri, Cortana, or whatever Google's thing is, and those sort of things. Usually it's that first thing that you see in the text search, the featured snippet. That's the thing that's being read out loud by at least Google right now, so you really need to be providing the best answer. There's only gonna be one answer that's gonna get read. It's not gonna be like traditional search where someone's presented with many things and they choose between them. Siri only says one thing back to you.
Mirela Setkic:
Exactly, so our goal is to try to dominate some of those snippet answers when people are searching for different questions. I guess we also cannot forget or discount the value of in person interactions and marketing yourself and just connecting with people face-to-face. That's one of the things that we also want to do more. We want to develop more partnerships for people in the digital marketing field and also people who just have skills and services that complement what we do, so we have a broader network of good people who can help us and can also help our clients. This is gonna involve some networking, which-
Jake Braun:
Luckily we have you, the networking person.
Mirela Setkic:
I know. Networking is becoming my cup of tea. I know that I have to do it, and it's not that I don't like talking to people. I love talking to people. There's something that feels so contrived about some of these networking events. It's almost like there's a little voice in the back of my head that's like, "Oh, you gotta go talk to all of these people. You gotta talk to this person," but I know, maybe I'm not doing it right all the time. Some feel super organic and super cool, but some, you walk in, it's like, "Ugh, gosh."
Jake Braun:
I think you are doing it right, though. Every conversation I've seen you have with someone else about networking, they're always talking about how you are doing it the right way. Yeah, that's usually traditionally how networking is and a lot of people are doing that, but you're the person who's doing it maybe slightly differently. You are having that authentic conversation with them.
Mirela Setkic:
Maybe I'm letting a couple bad experiences drive the conversation in my head. I think I've been to a couple of networking events where I've seen people who are just making a ring with their business cards. That just makes me panic so hard because personally and professionally, I like to make genuine connections with people and have a real conversation instead of just, whatever, passing out my business cards.
Jake Braun:
Mm-hmm (affirmative). That makes sense. I don't know if there's any other channels we want to talk about. I think that was all of them. Partnerships and networking were the last ones, so business opportunities. Maybe we should talk about that.
Mirela Setkic:
Yes. We will be looking for business opportunities that are aligned with our agency's mission and vision and our goals for where we want to go. For example, if someone comes to us and says, "I have the most amazing car repair shop and I think we should partner with you guys," that's probably not going to be a good opportunity for us, but if someone has a super nice video production company or something that we can really use, or we find a niche that would serve our clients and no one else is serving that niche, then maybe we can introduce a service or a product that will answer the needs of that niche group.
Jake Braun:
Yeah. We should be really clear that we're talking about business opportunities for Kapok Marketing as a business corporation. A car repair shop, we would definitely want to help them with their marketing. We would take them on as a client. We just wouldn't necessarily partner with them in some sort of business venture.
Mirela Setkic:
Yeah. For example, we're not gonna start offering oil changes downstairs in the parking garage. I mean, maybe there's some money to be made, but I don't know how to change oil.
Jake Braun:
Yeah, and we're always telling people to focus on what they're good at. We're certainly not gonna do things that we're not good at. We'll leave that to the car mechanics. We'll take our cars there and focus on marketing.
Mirela Setkic:
Exactly, but if we find out that there is a specific topic or a specific service where people need more information on and maybe they need an information product that they can purchase and no one else is offering that, then that would be a business opportunity that we would take on.
Jake Braun:
Yeah, where we can educate people and other marketing products or services that we might come up with.
Mirela Setkic:
Yep. Do we have anything else or should we just wrap this up?
Jake Braun:
I don't know. Is there anything else that we should've talked about but we didn't?
Mirela Setkic:
No, I don't think so. I think that it's just this year has been good. I'm excited about the new year. I guess I'm gonna say that I'm excited about doing videos and just being out there more and just kind of-
Jake Braun:
Fake it 'til you make it.
Mirela Setkic:
Yeah, and just kind of seeing whatever happens and where things go and how our goals come to life and how we're able to accomplish them, and also learning from the things that totally flop.
Jake Braun:
Oh yeah.
Mirela Setkic:
So, I guess I can say that I'm ready for all of it and I think we have an amazing group of people here and we're lucky to be in an area that has many amazing people in the community, the business community and the private communities. There's just really an exciting time.
Jake Braun:
I agree. I think it's been a good 2018. I think we've got some good goals for 2019. I'm excited to work on those and reveal them as the year progresses.
Mirela Setkic:
Now we just gotta get to work.
Jake Braun:
That's right. Let's get to work.
Mirela Setkic:
All right, let's do it.
Jake Braun:
All right.
Well, it's been a great 16th episode. If you are enjoying the podcast, please consider leaving us a rating or review on iTunes, Stitcher, or wherever you listen to your podcasts. We really would appreciate it and it does help us a lot.
Feel free to reach out to us if you have any questions or comments about anything we talked about today or marketing in general. You can visit us on our website, KickinItWithKapok.com, or on social media. We're on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter as Kapok Marketing. This is Kickin' it with Kapok, brought to you by Kapok Marketing. We'll have something just as great for you next time.