007: Rebounds in Basketball and Business with Marketing Refresh’s Terri Hoffman
Terri Hoffman is the CEO of Marketing Refresh, a digital agency that specializes in the construction and industrial industries. Follow along and learn about the many ways basketball, leadership, construction, and data audits have all come together to bring Terri through her career in digital marketing today!
Key Points + Topics
- [1:22] Terri Hoffman went to college at Michigan Tech, where she got her bachelor’s in marketing from a program very focused on data and analytics. As a member and captain of the basketball team, she learned a lot about teamwork and accountability, skills she uses daily now running her own agency. She strongly believes in the power of being part of a club, group, or team as you grow up, be it theater, sports, or something else; it teaches you so much about teamwork, respect, and playing your part in a team.
- [6:50] To Terri, mentorship is about someone with more knowledge and experience, which you can go to for advice and counseling. They need to be someone with whom you can feel vulnerable and can be transparent without the worry of feeling judged. Sometimes, a mentor will need to give you some tough love and tell you things you need (but don’t necessarily want) to hear. She would avoid a mentor who lacks emotional stability; you don’t want guidance from someone’s gut reaction. They should listen to the mentee more than they speak, ask intentional questions and give well-thought-out advice.
- [8:27] Her mentors over the years have developed naturally. Her head coach at Michigan Tech was just supposed to teach her about basketball, but he taught her many life lessons and pushed her to grow as a leader. Brenda Tennan, from Terri’s first job, helped her learn patience. Before this, Terri was very go-go-go and driven. Brenda helped her see the value in slowing down and thinking things through before making decisions. Her parents taught her about routine, responsibility, support, and encouragement. She really embodies this in how she leads, as “rough and tough” don’t really work in today’s business world.
- [15:26] Terri’s first clients, Kelly and Tim, left a significant imprint on her and how she works, and she still considers them mentors to this day. While managing her team, something went awry, and a deadline wasn’t met. Tim gently and kindly helped her learn that one of the primary keys to being effective in business is just doing what you told someone you would do. It seems like the bare minimum, but it builds trust and shows integrity. She also learned how to set and manage expectations. When you’re just starting out in business, you’re going to need some kindness and generosity more than once.
- [20:47] Now, Terri mentors each of her employees. She has weekly one-on-one coaching calls where they discuss practical work matters and where they feel challenged and need extra support. It’s tough to do that with one’s boss, to break down those walls and feel safe enough to discuss those challenges. Terri has also put into place two other leaders on her team that can serve as that safe space if Terri isn’t available. She also mentors her nieces and nephews, many of whom have gone into marketing. The marketing world is vast, and many positions have become very specialized, and she gives advice and direction about which way they might want to go.
- [25:23] As she grows in her career in marketing and at her agency, Marketing Refresh, she finds herself drawn to small business consulting. Sometimes, as a small business owner, you just need a lot of support and encouragement. It can feel very deflating to have finally conquered the last big challenge, only to face a new one the next morning. It’s essential to have a support network that is not just your spouse or partner. You can join many groups and organizations to build that support structure, but don’t be afraid to look at your LinkedIn network.
- [29:39] When it comes to the business of marketing, Terri’s joy is auditing and strategizing. One of the reasons she loves marketing is that she’s constantly learning. There’s always a new strategy or new people to learn about. Auditing is just a means to learn, as you gather a lot of data and information and then review it with a fine-toothed comb. This leads to another lesson she learned from Tim and Kelly, which is a motto she often repeats to herself and her team:
- Ready. Aim. Aim. Aim. Aim. Aim. Aim. Fire.
- [32:35] Marketing Refresh works with many businesses in the construction and industrial spaces, which have historically focused on “traditional” marketing. Terri finds herself drawn to these clients because they represent so many people she knows in her own life. And she knows if they can help those companies expand their sales, it will improve their businesses and countless other jobs across the country because those industries are very much the seedlings of American enterprise. The lack of experience with digital marketing in these industries leads to two challenges: lack of experience and comfort on key platforms, such as LinkedIn, and lack of understanding regarding HOW MUCH DATA we can see. The amount of keyword, consumer, and competitor data we have access to is mindblowing. But that’s the beauty of digital marketing; it’s very creative, but it’s driven by the data.
Guest + Episode Links
Danny Gavin 00:26
Hello everyone. I am Danny Gavin and I’m the founder of Optidge and a marketing professor and the host of The Digital Marketing Mentor. I’m so excited to have one of my colleagues here today, Terri Hoffman, who’s the founder and CEO of Marketing Refresh – a digital marketing agency that specializes in B2B lead generation programs for engineering, construction services and manufacturing companies. Marketing Refresh has seen success transitioning companies from utilizing purely traditional marketing to include digital marketing to bring in more business. And they’ve won several awards from Clutch, Ups City, AMA Houston. Although Terri is technically a competitor of mine, but really I look at Terri as an equal and a colleague and just a sister from another mother. So Terri, it’s so nice to have you here today.
Terri Hoffman 01:16
I love how you put that. Thank you, Danny. It’s great to be here.
Danny Gavin 01:18
Let’s talk a little bit about your educational and work background. So where did you go to school and what did you study?
Terri Hoffman 01:23
I went to Michigan Tech University, which is in the Upper Peninsula of Michigan right on Lake Superior, so it’s like a different world from Houston completely. I went to school originally to be an engineer, and I played basketball in college, and they had a really good basketball team. So that was really my main reason for going there was to play basketball and to become an engineer. And I quickly realized very fast that I was better suited for the Business School. I was not prepared for the rigor of. Engineering degree. So I got into their Business School and graduated with a marketing degree. That school got three hundred fifty inches of snow per year. The whole first story of your house would snow in. So it was quite an experience to go to school there. I loved it. People are just very down to Earth and super fun and that they do actually have a great marketing program. It’s more focused on analytics and statistics since it’s a big engineering school. So I really valued that angle of the curriculum that they had at that school.
Danny Gavin 02:21
Let’s go in a little bit. But playing basketball, because playing basketball for four years, and I know you were the captain of the team during your senior year, I mean, I feel like that’s giving. It gave you so much to why you are who you are today.
Terri Hoffman 02:35
Oh yeah, 100 %. So people, if they knew this about me when I was growing up, would probably kind of laugh, but I was really kind of the annoying kid that always had a basketball with them. I carried it with me everywhere. I had it at the dinner table. I dribbled it nonstop. I was 100 % obsessed with basketball, and all I wanted to do was play basketball in college from, you know, age four or five. And so I was out in the driveway in the middle of the winter every single day playing basketball. It was an obsession, probably, maybe at times a bit unhealthy obsession, but i loved it and the second our last game was played I was done and it’s not even really something that I talk about a lot, but I am still very into athletics and sports. I was really fortunate and played on a good team. We went to the final four one year, so we were very competitive. And the coach I played for was amazing. He taught me. He was truly, you know, aside from my parents, my first mentor, and really taught me a lot about teamwork and accountability. Primarily, like so many lessons that really helped me in running my business. I learned from him and was taught through my experience with my teammates, so.
Danny Gavin 03:50
How was that final four run? I mean, was it like when you look back, does it feel like a dream?
Terri Hoffman 03:55
Yeah, it was really it does. It’s really fun. I still. Keep in really good touch with my teammates. You know, we, we’re all to the point now where we have kids. Some of us even have grandkids. Not myself, but some of my teammates do. And so their lifelong friendships and, you know, really strong bonds. We spent so much time together and, you know, obviously we weren’t in the military saving lives, but the type of training you go through and the way that you have to count on each other is analogous. And you really, you know each other inside out and backwards and still to this day, I could see any of them. And, you know, within 30 seconds, we pick right back off where we left off because we just at that formative age, you know, when you’re going through college. And in that age range, we really like made deep connections with each other. It’s fun to still keep in touch with all of them.
Danny Gavin 04:43
Do you feel like you ever are, like when you’re running your agency? You kind of have that expectations of like, Oh my gosh, this is like a college basketball team.
Terri Hoffman 04:52
I do. I get a little intense and it comes from that experience that you know that. Formed a lot of the habits that I have as an adult playing on that team and kind of learning the systems that our coach and assistant coaches put into place. You also end up getting mentored by the older people on the team and the expectations they set as standards. And so i do very often look at running my company as running a team. And I’m the head coach. And you know, i have to be careful because not everybody comes up with experience in athletics, but I do lean on sports. Analogies quite a bit. And i have to be mindful to kind of broaden out those analogies into other areas. You know, we have people on our team who are into theater, which I. You know, I think any type of group participation where you have to learn how to work with others, whether that’s band or orchestra or theater. You know, so many others that I’m not even naming right now. I think anything like that is such a great experience as you’re growing up to really learn what it’s like to be part of society or a company or any type of team atmosphere yeah, I agree. And I know like with my experience with the, you know, Graduate School at Bauer, I mean so much of the work is group projects and it like I would say it’s more group than individual, but it makes sense because I feel like that’s a lot with how we get work done these days. No matter like what industry that you’re doing, it’s a lot of it is group work. If you can’t work on a team, it’s going to be difficult to be successful right yeah, respect and accountability are. You know, they’re everything in life, especially on a team. And that was those are the two biggest takeaways that I had for my experience playing college basketball is you learn how to respect other people’s skills, understand you know what their role is, your understanding your own role and kind of respecting that about yourself and knowing what your contribution is and then being accountable.
Danny Gavin 06:45
All right, let’s jump into mentorship. So how do you define a mentor?
Terri Hoffman 06:51
To me, mentorship is about having someone who kind of has. More knowledge and experiencing in an area than you do who you can you know go to seek advice and counseling and really have an ability to be vulnerable. And transparent with that person you know. Also without a risk of feeling judged. And I think mentorship is also a place where you may receive some, you know, tough love or hear things that you need to hear even though you may not be prepared to hear them or want to hear them. I think mentorship is about growing ultimately.
Danny Gavin 07:29
So it’s not always like butterflies and rainbows.
Terri Hoffman 07:31
But I think if it’s working well, it can’t always be about. Of those things, yeah, sometimes you may need encouragement, but sometimes you may need to hear the harsh reality of something that you need to improve on or an action you need to take that won’t be comfortable do you feel like there are any traits that you would avoid in a mentor? Like if you saw that I’m like, oh, i don’t want them to be my mentor.
Terri Hoffman 07:52
I would say, yeah. One would be like a lack of emotional. Stability would be a big one. You know, I don’t think you want a gut reaction from a mentor. You want listening. You don’t. I think a mentor shouldn’t be talking more than the mentee. They should be listening more and waiting for that moment to either ask more questions. To get more information or to provide you know, that meaningful advice. That the government needs to hear.
Danny Gavin 08:25
O let’s talk about your mentors in your life. Did you intentionally find a mentor, or even now? Or is it something that you think developed naturally for you?
Terri Hoffman 08:33
I think it developed naturally for me. I did not intentionally seek them out. I mean, like I mentioned, my basketball coach in college was my first mentor outside of my family, and that was not really necessarily intentional. I wasn’t. I was expecting to learn basketball from him. I wasn’t expecting to get, you know, major life lessons. Necessarily from him. And I really got pushed way outside of my comfort zone by him as well. And then I would say as I progressed into my career, you know, just on the professional mentorship side, I was really lucky. The very first job I got, I had, I got an opportunity to work for a woman who had been in that industry for 30 years and she was my first, you know, professional workplace mentor. And then it just sort of naturally the next one would sort of fall into place as the last one. Moved on. Or, you know, left my life for a variety of reasons.
Danny Gavin 09:24
So let’s dig down a little bit into some of those mentors. So let’s talk about your first job. I’m sure you learned so much, but are there some points that stick out where, like, wow, thank God I had that experience or thank God I learned that thing?
Terri Hoffman 09:36
I would say my first mentor was Brenda Tinnin. I worked for the Houston Rockets and she was kind of that person who traveled across the country and helped to open new arenas or. You know, fix situations that didn’t have good systems in place. She would. She would get hired and they would move her across the country to really put a good framework in place. I would say a big takeaway that I got from her was patience. I was not a patient. Person that that’s something that is. I have to be very intentional. About I’m a go what’s my checklist? Let me go check it off. I’m a, you know, a very driven person that I think a lot of entrepreneurs are. And so she taught me to be more patient and mindful and just kind of taking information in and slowing down before you take action on it. So that you’re just not reacting and you’re really making sure that you’ve thought through different possibilities before you take action.
Danny Gavin 10:31
Yeah, patience is so important. But it’s hard, right? I know myself like you sometimes are going and then you like, but you have like that warning sign in your head, like, oh, this is a time where I need to slow down.
Terri Hoffman 10:40
Right, exactly yeah let’s talk about your parents a bit. You mentioned they’re also been mentors in your life.
Terri Hoffman 10:46
Absolutely, yeah. So my dad was a middle school counselor and he’s just an unbelievable listener I i’ll gush over my parents because I think very highly of them. I have. I’m really lucky. I was born with great parents. He is just like always at every event. My dad actually played college basketball and tennis, so he’s, you know, definitely paved the way in our family for athletics and athletic participation. He could have told me probably 10 things after every game I played what I did wrong and what I needed to improve. My dad never said a word to me. He just would give me a hug after the game. Tell me. Great job. He was very supportive and encouraging, very hard working. You know, he was the dad who packed his lunch the night before at work and laid it out in the same spot every day. He was like very schedule driven. I don’t think he I don’t ever recall him missing a day of work. I can’t think of 1. So he definitely threw his actions also taught me. Just a lot about responsibility. And support being a supportive person. My mom is the opposite end of the spectrum. My mom is the tough love parent. So my mom was a pediatric nursing professor. I don’t know my mom got I was the fourth of four, kids you, know of their kids, the baby of the family. And my mom got her masters degree in nursing to become a professor when I was I think in grade school. So i think about that now and I cannot believe my mom, you know, took care of us, had a full time job. And got her masters degree all well. You know, parenting and running a household. I also recall my mom being present and being there helping me with my homework, you know, driving me to different events and things going on. But you know, like an example of my mom would be before a big high school basketball game. You know, my dad would come give me a big hug. Like you’re going to do great tonight. I’m so excited to come to your game. And my mom would say I heard the girl on the other teams really good. So I hope you’re ready for her. The girl you’re guarding is like had a big write up in the paper, so you better get your act. Together and really be ready for her. You know, she was the one to give you the dose of reality. To be prepared and didn’t do a lot of coddling at all. She got us ready for life. My dad emotionally got us ready for life.
Danny Gavin 13:11
But it’s so nice to have both aspects right? Because I feel like you need a little bit of both absolutely we as kids knew who to go to at different times. We learned that very quickly, so they almost kind of like without designing. It helped us understand when mentorship was needed and how to go seek it and the appropriate places. And, you know, you kind of knew, like, I’m slacking a little, I better go ask my mom. And because I know my mom is going to give me that kick I need. To get back into action and when I’m just sad, then I know I go to my dad and he’s going to give me a hug and everything’s going to be better.
Danny Gavin 13:48
And as a parent, how do you feel? Are you more like your mom or dad?
Terri Hoffman 13:51
I’m way more like my dad. Way more like my dad yeah i have to work on well, I also am married, and I would say my husband is more similar to my mom. If we were going to, like, simplify things and look at it that way, we’re probably in those roles now. I’m the more sentimental, gushy, warm hearted person who will give you that support and encouragement you need for sure.
Danny Gavin 14:16
I’m sure that helps a lot when running a team.
Terri Hoffman 14:18
Yeah, I think so. Especially in today’s times. I mean, the world is a tough place to navigate, and I think you know you have to be mindful of that. When you run and own a company. The work environment is different than it was when I entered the workforce in more kindness and support and understanding and compassion is needed, especially when you have driven people who want to perform well in their intention is to wake up every day and do a good job. You know when life happens to them, yeah, they need compassion and support.
Danny Gavin 14:51
So true, because the olden days of being rough and tough like that corporate cutthroat feel, people these days don’t, you know, don’t respond to that. And I feel like when they are in an environment like that, they run away.
Terri Hoffman 15:03
I agree. I just don’t think it works in today’s world. That’s just not how our culture operates. And I don’t think, yeah, people do not respond well to that. I wouldn’t respond well to that if I was managed that way anymore. You didn’t have a choice. Before, that was how it worked. And so you had to figure out how to swim in that in that sea.
Danny Gavin 15:25
Let’s move on to your first clients that you ever had, Kelly Mcandrew and Tim Self. It seems like they left a pretty big imprint on you and when it comes to being impactful mentors, but interesting from the client perspective.
Terri Hoffman 15:40
Yeah, definitely there. And i would still consider them mentors today, although, you know, I don’t talk to them as frequently as i have in the past they were. An interesting first mentor in that they were also my client and they taught me an extremely valuable lesson. So as I mentioned, I learned accountability playing college basketball. But that was self accountability. What I hadn’t learned until I got them as clients was how to hold your team accountable and how to make sure that as a group and as a company. The accountability was consistent in coming through and Tim told me something that I still use all the time with my kids and with employees, which is. You know, one of the main keys to being effective in the business world is just doing what you have told someone you’re going to do, he said. I know that sounds very minimum and bare and doesn’t really sound like it would add a lot of value, but you know, if you at a minimum just do what you told somebody you’re going to do, that is going to build trust, it’s going to show that you have integrity and ultimately people will know that they can, they can count on you when they need work done. I think it also bled into me understanding how to set expectations with clients. And how to manage expectations because it connects directly together with that you know you instead of saying what you think you could personally do, you have to. Think through like, OK, I have a team, we have schedules, we have multiple clients. There’s a lot operating here. And I want to make sure I’m setting reasonable expectations about what this client can achieve with us so that we’re being accountable to them and they’re getting good value and the money that they’re paying our agency. So they taught me that because I made a mistake. And they, I mean, honestly, they were kind enough in my eyes. To have that conversation with me and mentor me in that moment because they wanted me to be successful and they wanted my company to be successful. So they took the time to have that conversation and really give me tough love and give me an opportunity to rectify it. But they probably could have moved on at that point and I would never have gotten the value of learning that lesson.
Danny Gavin 17:53
What a special gift, right, to have those types of people.
Terri Hoffman 17:56
Yeah, and even at the time, I remember my husband saying that to me. You’re really lucky that you found them as clients and that they took the time to do that. You’re really fortunate. Those are the kinds of breaks and relationships you need when you’re starting and growing a business because it’s so hard and it requires so many skills that you don’t realize you have to have. You need some kindness and generosity more than once, really. And you need, you know you need to catch some breaks to be like direct about it. You need to catch some breaks.
Danny Gavin 18:25
Because we’re all going to make mistakes, so it’s bound to happen. The question is, are you going to have the right person at the other end? Like understands that and then can, you know, like you said, be kind enough to work with you through it and point out like, you know, you should really do things a little bit different. And I think another so powerful point that you mentioned is I see this with a lot of young marketers. Like they’re so quick to say, oh, yeah, I’ll take care of this and I’ll do this and I’ll do this. But they don’t realize that you have to be very careful what you say you’ll do because like you said, if you don’t do it, that’s a problem. So you kind of have to no one saying that you should. You know, not do a lot, but as we know, we both know how important the scope is and how important. But I think it’s just so true, right? Like you’re in a team, whether it’s directly to the client or someone else, being so careful and thoughtful about your words and what you’re going to commit to and rather commit to a little bit less than more because if you do more, that’s great. I feel like in some ways like the overachieving culture is like, oh, you know, I’m going to do more and more, but if you set up this huge, you know. Situation that you’re going to fail at. You know, that’s really not great.
Terri Hoffman 19:34
Just to expand on what you just said, they taught me that it is OK to say. I’m not sure. Let me have some time to talk to my team and I will get back to you and then when you say when you’re going to get back to them, get back to them at that time. You know and. To expand upon that further, if you would say something like hey, can this website launch next week in a totally appropriate answer is. That sounds like a reasonable goal. Let me talk to my team and make sure that everyone in their role is on the same page about what needs to be done. And then I’ll get back to you tomorrow. And if you say you’re going to get back tomorrow, get back to them tomorrow. And the answer at that point might be there’s still three or four things we’re sorting out. It looks likely, but I’m going to have to ask for another day to get back to you before I can commit to that. You know, be once you make that commitment, you need to treat it, you know, in a precious way. Like that is a commitment, no matter how small that commitment is or how large that commitment is. That builds the trust and builds the accountability. So don’t commit to it until you feel fully in it.
Danny Gavin 20:42
Ok. Let’s now switch to you as the mentor. Obviously running an agency, you have younger employees. Who do you mentor currently and how do you do?
Terri Hoffman 20:52
It I think, in a way, I mentor each one of my employees. I hope that they would look at it that way. So I have one-on-one coaching calls every other week with every employee. You know, of course we’re going through some of the work we have, but we also use that as an opportunity to talk through places where they’re challenged, places that where they may need more support and that that’s, I do understand how incredibly difficult that is. When you’re mentored by your actual boss, it’s pretty tough to break down those walls and feel like it’s OK to be in a position of being vulnerable. Been talking about areas where you’re having trouble and that might be personally or professionally. It feels to me and my assessment is that it is hard for most of them at times, but for the most part I do think they all find their moments where they feel safe. You know enough to tell me. If they don’t then I do think there are two other key leaders on our team that. I might help spark them asking the question, but they’re not necessarily ready to ask me and they have two other people that they feel safe going to that they can ask those questions to and look for the guidance and support. From them. And so I think you know, just by coaching the other two leaders in our company over the years, we’ve gotten to the point where they’re now prepared to do that same type of mentorship and leadership. Outside, I also have several nieces and nephews who have chosen to go into the field of marketing. Like, I just got a text from one of them yesterday. She’s about to graduate and she was asking me if I would. You know, have a meeting with her to talk about the direction she wants to take so she can get some advice. For me she’s not quite sure where to begin and that that’s something that i offer to people all the time. Anytime I have a friend or a colleague or somebody from a professional or personal setting who has a family member or friend or son or daughter going into marketing, I’m. I love to give them advice and give them an hour of my time to just kind of talk through what direction they want to go. I think our field is huge and I think it’s also becoming and has become very specialized and so just understanding people’s drivers and. What they’re interested in, because I’ve got a lot of experience in the marketing world I can give them like this is something you should look into. Or why don’t you join your local AMA chapter and start going to the educational events? Or you know, there’s just different ways that I could guide them or direct them to go so that they can start to learn a little bit more for themselves in area that they may want to go into and try.
Danny Gavin 23:22
I think us like both being marketers. We wish that we had like that aunt or uncle who was like the marketer absolutely we did it, I’m assuming. With that comment, you did it the way I did it. You just got in and you know figured it out through the school of Hard Knocks and eventually got there.
Danny Gavin 23:39
I mean, look, there were some people in my life, not necessarily family members, but, you know, people to look up to. I think we all have like, those North Stars. But yeah, imagine if you had like, yeah, an aunt or an uncle who was the, you know, had an agency. And, you know, like, I think your nieces and nephews and your daughters are very lucky to have you yeah thank you. Well, we, I also have a small business owner who? It’s a business owned by a husband and wife. I’m actually not going to say his name because, well, you know who he is. I believe, you know, just to protect his and respect him and his wife. I’m not going to mention their name on the show, but that has been a very special relationship for me. I feel that I have learned. Probably more from them than I they have learned from me, so I’m not sure who’s mentoring who. In that situation, that has been important to me to try to help them. They’re not in a family situation or life situation where they have that aunt or uncle you know, who can step in and give them that guidance and support. And so that that’s been like really gratifying and rewarding for me to be able to just come in and make sure that no one’s taking advantage of them. Also, that they’re not missing something large and they’re so smart and capable and so great at what they do. I also don’t know if they really needed. My mentorship, but I just was worried that they were in a life position that they could easily have been taken advantage of and I didn’t want to see that happen because I really respect them and like them and I want to see them succeed.
Danny Gavin 25:14
That’s amazing. Do you feel like you would go more into that arena, meaning I know you have like your niche specifically from the agency perspective, but like how do you feel with, you know, some of this small business consulting or just would you want that to be more of what? You do or.
Terri Hoffman 25:31
Yes, definitely. I would love to do that. So I turned actually of exactly a month ago today I turned 50. So I do have to start thinking about you know, life beyond marketing refresh and that that’s definitely something that I’m interested in. I just know that’s a big part of my personality is I like to help people. Sometimes people just especially as a small business owner, you really just need a lot of encouragement and support. There are so many days that you. Want to give up and throw your hands up in frustration because every time you think you have run in to the last big issue you’re going to face, the sun rises again and you hit a brand new one that you were didn’t see coming and is, you know, a surprise. And I think it can get frustrating. It feels defeating and it’s so important for other small business owners to have a network of people that they can go to get you know just encouragement and. Some of sometimes it’s emotional and sometimes it’s OK. I know exactly what’s going on. You should look into this particular tool or here’s some training that I think would really help you know? So sometimes it’s very tangible and practical.
Danny Gavin 26:43
And I think with people like you, so small businesses and businesses in general can get good advice and have that right mentor in their life in order to move forward. And I think it’s important to like let people know that you know sometimes the reason that. People don’t want to start a business is because like, I’m going to do this all on my own. But I feel like, you know, I’m not saying everyone has this, but most of us have these people in our lives that we can turn to and speak with. And, you know, maybe it’s not as difficult to do just by having a conversation with someone and getting some advice.
Terri Hoffman 27:16
You’re not asking the question, but you’re hitting on something that I think is an important component of mentorship when you’re starting a business that I wish turning the clock back, I wish I had really made sure that I intentionally set up. A good support network for myself, it has to be more than your spouse or your significant other or slash partner in life. You really need to not try to make that one of your key business support people that should. You know that person is your partner in life and should be there in any of your situations obviously, but it’s really hard for that person to be a business support unless they’re your partner in the business. Also, most spouses I think most of the time would say why are you doing? This please stop and just go get a regular job because it’s so time-consuming and draws a lot of. Your emotional energy to run a business, you know, it’s really tough.
Danny Gavin 28:12
Yeah, and it’s funny because both my wife and I, our parents, both of our parents worked together in their businesses. So I.
Terri Hoffman 28:19
Didn’t know that your wife had that. Those parents too. Ok, cool.
Danny Gavin 28:22
Yeah, exactly. So like we both know, like, you know, there’s pros and cons, definitely, but we know what the cons are and it’s like, no, we don’t want to work together. So i know that like it’s the fine line between having the spouse. It was like that support in the business, but then like you said they may not be as you know objective about it and therefore you really do need someone else to talk to when it comes to.
Terri Hoffman 28:50
You do. It can be balanced. You know that I definitely count on my husband a lot. For advice and emotional support and to be another set of eyes and a mirror to myself that you know, sometimes it’s hard to see weaknesses in yourself or things that you might be missing that your spouse can point out to you because they know you inside out and backwards. But I think it’s also nice to have that set of, you know, people that you’re not emotionally connected to in that way who can look at things for you. There’s so many organizations and groups out there that you can join so that it’s more of a. Structured process. And then there are of course just look at your LinkedIn network and find people from different points in your career. Who can help you in the same way?
Danny Gavin 29:38
All right. Let’s now move more into marketing and talk more about marketing refresh. O marketing refresh offers a variety of digital marketing services, you know, including SEO, PPC, websites, content marketing. You know, we spoke a little bit about how you love the auditing and coming up with the digital strategy for businesses. Why do you like that so much?
Terri Hoffman 30:00
I think it’s fun because it’s so creative, and one of the reasons I love marketing is because you’re constantly learning you’re either learning about a new marketing tactic or changes to a particular channel that we lean on. And how that can be best leveraged for a business or you’re learning about people who started a business and run a business or you’re running about services and products that drive revenue for a business. So it’s you’re constantly and continuously learning and that never stops. And I think that’s so fun to see. You know, how that all ties together and helps people. So auditing is really just a means to learn. You know, you’re gathering a lot of information. And then seeing going over all of it with the fine tooth comb to see where are there, where there are areas for improvement. Where there are gaps between your client and competitors and where there are great things happening that need to be further magnified, you know, it just, it gives you. So it’s really a springboard to learning and seeing what’s working and what’s not working, what needs to be improved.
Danny Gavin 31:08
And it’s interesting, you know, I find this, I’m sure you do as well, like there’s certain clients or it’s like, no, we just want to get started like what we got to pay for an audit, we got to what’s going on so right but there’s all that value, right? And sometimes people don’t necessarily see it and understand why it needs to be done in the beginning.
Terri Hoffman 31:24
And this to OK. So that triggered a thought that ties back to Tim Self and Kelly Mcandrew, two of my mentors. They use a phrase a lot that they taught me, which is ready aim fire, don’t ready, fire, aim. And so that’s something I reinforce, like you’re going to spend a lot of money over time on your marketing program, so you really want to make sure you have the right. That we understand what’s going on in your environment and that you then put the right strategy together. So it’s take your time, you know, rushing out. There are definitely situations where there’s a conference or an event coming up and you’ve got to get something ready. For that particular event. But for the most part, you know you you’ve got to get ready and aim and aim before you fire and start. It’s just more practical use that all the time. Kind of ties back to the patients too.
Danny Gavin 32:21
I feel like God gave you such a gift by having those people as your first client. It’s so cool.
Terri Hoffman 32:27
I totally agree. Yes, I agree. Thank you.
Danny Gavin 32:30
I know marketing refresh is, you know, it’s kind of niche a little bit more down. When it comes to construction and more industrial, it seems like you’re drawn to helping businesses who have historically relied on exclusively traditional marketing and now they’re, you know, considering branching out to include digital. You know, why do you feel drawn to, you know, those industries or those types of clients?
Terri Hoffman 32:52
There are a couple of reasons. I’m John to that like first of all I think that those industries. Represent so many people that I know in my own personal life. You know, like for example, my brother-in-law sells doors to construction companies and engineering firms I have. He’s just one example, right? And I. And I see, you know how their life grows and expands based on his ability to sell and be effective at his job. And so personally it kind of starts there for me and I know that if we can help companies in those industries who are. Really driving the overall economy in the country. You know construction is one of the industries that you look at as an economic indicator. When those industries are healthy and operating well and being effective that then rolls over into so many other jobs and job creation for other people in the country. So that was one big reason that we chose. That focus another is because I own a business and i want my business to be successful. I see a lot of gaps in that industry of companies who have not adopted digital marketing. So i see a big business opportunity to help companies go through that transition and blend together what they’re doing now that works so well with things that I know will work well for them in the digital marketing arena. There’s so many different things happening with those businesses. They’ve maybe hired someone and it hasn’t gone well. They may have been misguided. They may not have been ready for the advice they were getting. They might may not have realized. How running Google ads would impact other parts of their business? Because it doesn’t seem like it would. But it does. You know, if you run a Google ads campaign and lead start coming in through the website, where those leads going? Who’s following up? If you suddenly have a big influx of sales, how are you operationally delivering on that? How does that impact who has to service all of that new business so it ultimately does end up impacting? You know the entire company and the and the entire operation when you make that decision. And so I think a lot of companies need guidance. On the things that systems they need to have in place, things they need to think through, frameworks they need to have in place while they get that underway. We have so many bad actors in our industry who are, who aren’t thinking thoughtfully about all of those other impact areas, and they’re just thinking about the fee that they’re going to make from running the ads. We try to be more mindful about that. I know you’re the same way. You know you want to be. Mindful about how I want this to be long-term successful. I don’t want you to just get some leads and then I collect my fee and we’re all happy and we leave. No, i want this to work. I want you to grow your company. I want you to be able to hire those new sales people, expand into other areas, or whatever the business goals are. I want those to actually be reached yeah a good example is that I’m thinking about that I went through recently and it’s not to toot my own horn, but it’s just to kind of give an example where it’s like we were working with a business, they really wanted to work. With us. But it was a small business and I knew that if our point of contact was the CEO like nothing would get done. So basically told the guy like if you want to hire us you have to hire an internal person like and it’s funny because he was thinking like OK I want to hire an agency, but it’s like no like actually to work with an agency you’re going to need someone internal. Whether it’s a you know an executive assistant or a marketing assistant would you know whatever it is and it’s interesting. It’s been like a couple of months now for him to try to find the right person and.
Terri Hoffman 36:38
I can completely relate to that is really good advice and it. Could have cost you. That relationship, if he didn’t agree, but you also knew, it would actually cost you the relationship over time. Because it is extremely hard to be successful without an accessible point of contact right and so it’s like seeing that, it’s seeing that iceberg, you know you’re on the Titanic, you know it’s coming, it’s just a matter of time yeah and there are unfortunately too many people in our business who won’t recognize those types of things and won’t point them out and won’t be patient enough to wait for the answer. But that’s why you and I have become friends is because that’s, you know, I think the more of us who run our agencies and are like minded in that way, it’s strengthens. The whole position of our industry and builds trust, I mean that’s the number one thing any service company has to overcome. And especially in the marketing world, is trust. You know, there’s a lot that business owners don’t understand about what we do. And they are accustomed to bad experiences, unfortunately. I know you and I are on a mission to retrain people’s thinking. We want them to know what a positive relationship looks like and what they should expect from a positive relationship.
Danny Gavin 37:51
And it’s great to be in that mission together with you.
Terri Hoffman 37:54
Yes, I agree.
Danny Gavin 37:56
What specific challenges do you encounter drawing these types of more archaic, not necessarily businesses, but people who run the business into digital? It’s like, what are some of those challenges?
Terri Hoffman 38:08
Well, definitely the technology. So just the lack of experience and comfort on key platforms and LinkedIn is probably the biggest one. The phrase that we hear so often, and I’m sure you do too, is I know I should be on LinkedIn, but I’ve always hated it. So it’s actually as soon as I hear that, I think, yes, you are, you’re an optimal client for us. Like you check that box of a number of boxes that I like to see checked when we take on a client, but because they recognize it’s important. But they’re not necessarily sure about what the they typically don’t know what the first step should be and then want guidance on what the best practices are. How often should I be on LinkedIn? What should I be doing when I’m on LinkedIn? How should I be leveraging it? What should I be looking to get out of it? And that’s just one example. I think another example is lack of understanding about how much data we can see. I think that’s mind blowing to the companies that we work with. When they see give me a list of keywords, I can show you how many times they’re searched. I can show you where you rank for them. I can show you who does rank for them. You know and then it goes on and on and on. We can get so much more data than they realize we can get so that we can make data-driven recommendations and I think that’s probably the biggest challenge to overcome is just. Having them realize that we’re not, you know, the we are creative, but we’re not what they may think of as the creative types that are just spitballing ideas in a boardroom and coming up with creative campaigns. Yes, we are doing that. But we’re doing that based on data and research. That’s guiding why we’re making those decisions. I love digital marketing for that reason. It blends together these two areas that have been challenging in marketing and a lot of people just don’t realize that we can do that. And we have that capability. So that those are probably the big challenges. It’s just you can tell that they’re fearful. Because of what they don’t know, and I think we are, I view part of our job is educating them about what we do know and why. We’re recommending what we’re recommending, so the audit is important. We gather all the information, but then we can connect it back to why we’re recommending. The strategy and the road map that we’re recommending, and it should be clear to them after we make those recommendations. What steps need to be taken to get them from where they are now to where they’re? You know, a company leveraging digital marketing and all the best ways.
Danny Gavin 40:48
And it’s funny, I feel like with any interview, those challenges are really the opportunities, right? So and it’s awesome how you’re finding those opportunities and leveraging them and helping your business and also helping others, which is so cool. All right, as we start to wrap up, we like to do our Lightning round. We would love to know who are the top 3 musicians. Albums that you’re currently listening to, that you want our listeners to know about.
Terri Hoffman 41:12
Man OK, so i’m not gonna like break any break any mindsets here. But my three favorite brand bands over time have always been you 2. Love you too. The Beatles and Pink Floyd, because they all have a very different mood. To them and I love.
Danny Gavin 41:31
That that’s awesome. I can definitely relate to The Beatles, you know, although I grew up in the nineties, but it was such a huge part. I think like the first like audio cassettes that I bought with my own money was like were Beatles tapes. So an old soul, but very big part of my bringing up. And when I just think of some of the songs like, you know, reminds me of so many parts of my childhood. So anyone who’s a Beatles fan, I can definitely relate to. You know, what is 2023 look like for Terry and for marketing? Fresh what’s the next big thing you’re working on?
Terri Hoffman 42:02
Oi just finished the Goldman Sachs 10 KSB program. Subtle plug for that program. Any entrepreneurs who are interested in growing their business, I recommend applying for that program. But basically, I took that course in what they call the fall semester. I just wrapped it up and I’m going to start implementing my growth strategy, you know, when the new year hits. So I’m really excited. It’s this is our thirteenth year in. Business you know, essentially I’m trying to reinvent and really breathe new life into our own business strategy and roll out that new B2B focus that we were talking about earlier yeah so it’s going, it’s going to be a building year, you know, for us and just looking at how we can scale that focus.
Danny Gavin 42:48
I’m sure you know in the Jewish faith 13 is like when you have a bar mitzvah. So i want to wish you congratulations on your bar mitzvah. Well and that’s great that is, that’s kind of what it feels like. So that’s I’m going to remember you pointed that out. Maybe this is our bar mitzvah year exactly so we got to make sure to make a nice party, OK?
Terri Hoffman 43:09
Well, you’ll be invited.
Danny Gavin 43:11
Alright, where can listeners learn more about you and your business?
Terri Hoffman 43:14
Our website is a great place to start. It’s marketingrefresh.com and then I’m active, very active on LinkedIn. So you know, Terri Hoffman, look me up on LinkedIn. You can, I believe, find that link on my bio page from our website as well. Please send me connection requests. Certainly anybody who’s looking for some guidance in their marketing career or if you’re an agency owner or a corporate marketer and you’re just looking for some guidance. You know, i tell people all the time, I don’t do these types of appearances because I’m interested in getting sales or revenue from them. I really want to strengthen our industry and particularly if there are any women listening to the show, please reach out. I would love to help you any type of guidance or mentorship that you’re looking for advice.
Danny Gavin 44:03
Thank you for being such an asset to our community and thank you for being a guest on The Digital Marketing Mentor. And thank you listeners for tuning in to The Digital Marketing Mentor. Can’t wait to speak to you next time.
Terri Hoffman 44:17
Thank you, Danny.
Danny Gavin 44:19
Thank you for listening to the digital Marketing Mentor podcast. Be sure to check us out online at the dmmentor.com and at the DM mentor on Instagram. And don’t forget to subscribe on Apple Podcasts, Spotify or wherever you listen to your podcasts for more marketing mentor Magic. See you next time.
- Optidge’s “The Digital Marketing Mentor” Podcast Strikes Gold and Silver at the 2023 Davey Awards
- Mandy Politi, Optidge Senior SEO Strategist, Presenting “Using Linguistics To Create Content That Ranks” at State of Search 2023 in Dallas/Fort Worth
- Podcast: How to Level Up in Client Management | Inbound Back Office Podcast
- Podcast: What you need to know about GA4 | Product Market Fit
- Podcast: How to Create a Winning Digital Marketing Strategy | Inspired by Purpose