Now more than ever, if you are not going out there and marketing, you will not grow in your business. While the times may be challenging with the pandemic, it is high time that you should become a proactive marketer. In this episode, Paul Higgins interviews Kristin Golliher from WildRock Public Relations & Marketing to share with us the ways to successfully do that. She also shares her career growth from working for Otterbox to venturing out with her own company, working to produce marketing and PR for mid to large companies. Kristin tells us some of the marketing lessons you can apply, no matter what size you are, and tips on how to build brand awareness best. Plus, she offers a couple of resources that could help you set up your own marketing team.
How To Become A Proactive Marketer With Kristin Golliher
Build Live Give. Mentoring with Paul Higgins
If you’re a first-time reader, welcome. If you enjoy it, please subscribe. If you’re a regular, thanks for your support. I love to get your feedback. Go to PaulHigginsMentoring.com/questions. You can give me your feedback and I’ll instantly reply. It always means the world to me when you do. Our guest is someone who worked for OtterBox for seven years and was a part of the original team, which went from 15 to over 500 employees. They’ve definitely ridden the wave of smart devices. In 2012, she decided to explore her own entrepreneurial bug and also start a family and continue to produce marketing and PR for mid to large companies. You might not be a midsize company, but the lessons learned about marketing applicable to you. These include why it is a time to be a proactive marketer, how best to get in local media to build brand awareness. The third one is, should you go in-house or use contractors to build your marketing team? They have given a free consult and a book offering during the interview.
Welcome, Kristin Golliher from WildRock Public Relations & Marketing to the show. It’s brilliant to have you here, Kristin.
Thank you for having me. I appreciate it.
We want to know a lot about you and the enormous marketing and PR value that you give to clients that will be reading. Why don’t we kick off with something your family or friends know about you that we might not?
Most people don’t know that I am a country girl at heart. I used to spend summers on my family’s farm. I knew the importance of hard work and even raised dairy calves a couple of summers.
Where was that?
It was in the middle of nowhere, New Mexico in a tiny little town called Monument. I learned how to bareback horse ride, raise goats, chickens and everything else. I moved to the city and became a suburban soccer mom and business owner. I love the country and animals.
I’m a country boy at heart. We moved away at five, but I’d spend all of my holidays up until I was eighteen on the farm. We are very similar. My dad’s parents had a dairy and my mom’s parents had grain. I got to experience a bit of both worlds. The old saying, “You can never take the country out of the boy or the girl.” It sounds like that’s true for both of us. There are many life lessons. I hope you didn’t nearly lose your life as often as I did with guns and cars.
It’s a good thing my mom’s not on here. She has some stories I’m sure. It might ruin my credibility a bit. I’m sure there are many of those near-death experiences.Like any entrepreneur, a little bit of luck is involved, but everything else is about having the right place, right time, and right market. Click To Tweet
I know you worked for quite an amazing company, OtterBox, which you’ll tell us a little bit more about what they do. Most of our readers have already heard about it. You worked there for about seven years. What was that like? What brought you to run your own business?
I was at OtterBox on the ground floor. I had worked at a PR agency in college and OtterBox was one of our clients. I got stopped in a coffee shop one morning by the CEO and president at that time. They were like, “What are your plans after college graduation?” I was nonchalant. I’m like, “I don’t know. I hope to get a job.” They’re like, “We want to talk to you about that.” I’m like, “I’m on a live interview. I better get serious.” We sat down over a cup of coffee. I was hired on the spot and worked my way up through the company. I started when there were fifteen people. When I spun out, there were around 500 with global offices. I was sitting on the executive floor.
A lot of people are like, “How could you leave such a great company?” I had the entrepreneurial bug and I wanted to do something different. I wanted to grow my own business and also have a family. I remember telling Curt Richardson, the CEO, that I was leaving. He got this big grin and he’s like, “I knew you’d do this.” I’ve been dragging my feet. I wasn’t sure if I should do this or not. I was also, surprised too when I told people and I didn’t get a lot of, “That’s exciting. That’s great.” I was a little bit in the dark of my own entrepreneurial spirit, but everybody else saw it and knew it. That was in 2012 and I haven’t looked back.
For those readers that don’t know what OtterBox is, what do they do?
When I first started, it was boxes and cases. Do you remember iPods, the little music devices from Apple? Those were the first electronic devices that we protected. We evolved into iPhones, Androids and other smartphone devices. We even at one point had laptop cases. They’re in technology protection now, but when I first started, it was all kinds of boxes and cases. Any way to waterproof your devices.
Was it a lucky wave that they rode or did they strategically know that personal devices were going to be the way of the future and they had ridden that wave?
Like any entrepreneur, there’s a little bit of luck involved, but right place, right time, right market and it was. There’s a lot of strategy involved, planning and making sure that we were entering a market that was sustainable. Technology, in general, especially earlier adopters wanted a way to protect them because they were expensive at the time. It was strategic and also a bit of luck too.
The iPhone 12 is coming out. I’m going to buy it and then give my children the current phone as you normally do. It’s four times what I paid for my first car. They’re very expensive. A lot of people don’t protect it at all. You protect your car as much as you can. Why not something that’s worth as much. You said you always had the bug, then you left in 2012, what were some of the biggest mindset changes you had to make from working in an entrepreneurial-based company? It was still a company with lots of people to be working on your own.
My first day at WildRock, I was totally a deer in the headlights like, “What on earth did I do?” I had one box. I moved across the street from OtterBox headquarters, this beautiful headquarters that we had built with a twirly slide at a latte machine. I’m sitting over there in my one-room office across the street going, “Did I made the right choice?” I go back across the street like a dog with my tail between my legs. I’m like, “Can I get a latte?” My badge didn’t work. The girl at the front desk wasn’t sure who I was. I’m like, “I had been here. I helped build this company. Can I come back in and get a latte?”
It was very eye-opening for me. There were many great benefits to a big organization and here I was with one box and no caffeine. In your first day of work, you got to have that. It was very humbling in terms of getting that mindset in the right place because I think I took a lot of that for granted. Especially, on the employee side too, it’s easy to overlook some of those things. I remember going to the latte machine as an employee and being like, “Who’s in charge of the milk? This is out of milk.” As the employer, you’re like, “Who’s drinking all the milk? We’ve got to ration the milk. One latte per person per day.” It’s perspective.
I must admit, I spent all of my career saying that I didn’t work for Coca-Cola. I knew somebody wanted a job, wanted samples. I remember that first time I walked into a networking event and I said, “My company night.” It was the same as you. I was a deer in the headlights. I’m like, “What do I even do? How do I articulate what I do?” Being there and a lot of readers have been there as well. As far as your biggest supporters, who helped you the most along the way in years?
My husband, first and foremost. He’s been my biggest advocate and cheerleader along the way at times that he shouldn’t have been as well as my family. Letting me know that this is the right choice, this is the right path, stick with it and they believe in me. Things like that are awesome. Having great coaches who challenge, inspire and encourage you. Having somebody that can be in your corner, but who’s also been there, who’s built up a million-dollar business, who’s had employees or who’s had overhead during difficult times like a pandemic, and trying to have people who can relate to you, but also have been in the trenches with you.
My learnings always is try to get people that have got experience where you’re going, but not experienced that you can’t relate to. That’s been a powerful moment when I’ve always looked for a mentor or a coach. The next section is the Build section. When someone asks you, “What do you do and who do you do it for?” How do you best answer that?
We say, “Marketing can be hard, but WildRock makes it wildly easy.” For whatever reason, people get that and they’re like, “I want that easy button. I don’t want this to be difficult. It’s like a foreign language. I don’t want to have to learn it. I don’t want to have to do it day in and day out. I know it’s important, but I want the experts to run my marketing.”
What do you know about making marketing easy that a lot of other people miss?
I think a lot of people say that there’s this magic formula for marketing, but marketing is an art and a science. Anybody that tells you otherwise is lying. We know this firsthand. We’re living in the midst of a pandemic. Things that we thought we knew about marketing, specifically, how people consume information has even changed. It’s difficult. Not all brands are the same and target markets are different. As consumers, we’re picky. We want things our way, customize and delivered to us on a silver platter. We want things a certain way. With the marketing agency, specifically like WildRock, we can take a lot of those tools of the trades and make those guesses so that you as the business owner don’t have to do that. We have a lot of those different templates, tactics and techniques so that we can get to those answers faster.
What type of business owners do you love working with?
We love mid to large size organizations who understand PR in marketing and are willing to invest in it. They might have an internal marketing team who is looking to elevate their efforts, or they might be looking to have a plug and play team. With WildRock, we can plug in our group into their organization and then they have a full marketing team from digital experts to PR experts, to content experts. It depends on what the client is looking for, but I would say mostly the mid to large size organizations are ready to elevate their efforts and take it to the next level.Marketing is an art and a science. Anybody that tells you otherwise is lying. Click To Tweet
People always talk about a two-speed economy. What it seems to be with marketing, there are some that are on the front foot aggressively marketing, and some are saying, “I’ll wait until this whole pandemic, election, whatever else is happening in the world or as you said, wildfires are out of the way.” Can you take us through some examples of people that are proactively marketing and what is working for them at the moment?
To go back to something that you were saying too in terms of people putting efforts on hold or waiting out this storm, you’re right. Some organizations are like, “This is not a good time to putting ourselves out there in marketing.” One of the things that we did because homeschooling my children and getting a puppy wasn’t enough work, we decided to write a book. We have a book that we launched called Change. Adapt. Rock. It’s designed for businesses like that that might need those tools, templates and rockstar tips or checklists to manage their own marketing. They maybe don’t want to go with an agency, but they want play by play like, “Tell me what I need to do to grow my marketing, even in these challenging economies.”
If I look at organizations that are doing a solid job with it, what I can speak to is specifically, the companies that we work with. One of the brands that comes to mind is Polaris Adventures. They have outfitters across the country that they run ATVs, razors and slingshots. They have grown in size because it’s an activity that you can do socially distance, you can get out of your house, you can explore the outdoors. We’ve done a lot through social media, social media advertising, brand ambassador programs, and reaching people where they’re at so they can explore their own backyards in new ways.
For those that don’t know all those technical terms mean, think of someone who is driving a four-wheel device and go anywhere. There are a lot of readers that have had corporate backgrounds like you and I, and now are running their own business. What are you learning from the mid and the large size businesses that someone running a $1 million to $10 million business can take and apply?
Some of the big ones are co-marketing. Finding other like-minded businesses and organizations to partner with. Ways that you can get on their podcasts or in their email newsletters or perhaps you’re doing a guest blog on their website and they’re doing one on your website. Ways to share those fan bases and share that information through co-marketing, we’ve seen that as a successful technique. The other interesting thing that we’ve seen too that’s working well for clients is a lot of the different magazines and newspapers in PR. We’re trying desperately to keep those alive because we believe in journalism, but the ads that accompany those different publications are discounted. People can get in good deals and get their message out there, and also help support those local publications in our areas.
What are some of the key tips you can provide around getting into those magazines, to pass the editors door to the journalist to have success?
When it comes to PR in general, it is about building those relationships. The person on the other end of that email or phone, they’re a person. They want to have something that is relevant to them, to their readers and is going to help their journalism career as well. The more that you can serve up that information that is tailored to them. Rather than you just saying, “Look at how great my business is,” it can’t be salesy. It can’t be this crazy pitch like buy now. They’re trying to write a story.
Looking at your organization and uncovering, “Where are those stories? What am I doing in this crazy time that is helping my customers, my employees or my community?” Everybody is searching for a feel-good story. More importantly, when you’re serving those up to the journalists, making sure that you back it with stats and information so that they can run with it. It does feel newsworthy versus a sales pitch.
When I did a little bit of PR training both in corporate and also for my own business, I think people forget that journalists love that they’ve got a commitment of how many stories they’ve got to write. If you can serve it up to them, why there is an easy job? Their job is easy. It’s a good opportunity. You’ve given some good tips on the way to approach it. What do you feel about people doing it themselves versus using an agency like yours, what are some of the pros and cons of that?
Anytime, especially businesses early on or perhaps they have hit a bit of a lull with their organization and they don’t maybe have the money to invest in an agency, then keep going. Don’t stop. It’s good to make sure that you’re getting your message out to your customers and that you’re consistent with your communication. The caveat to it is that it has to be just that. It has to be consistent and making sure that it’s the same message every time. Whether they’re getting it in an email or on your social media channels. It’s identifying where is your time best spent. Sometimes people are like, “I love creating my social media content. I map it out every month and I’m good running with it.”
It’s like, “By all means, keep doing that. If that fuels you and propels you forward.” If you’re like, “I’m creating social media content and it takes me five hours to do one post.” I’m like, “Where’s your time better spent? Do you need to go with a new business or write your social media content that people may or may not even see?” I think it’s also evaluating where are those areas of strength and what do you enjoy doing, and then where are those areas that you don’t have the expertise in and you do need to outsource to more of an expert?
That opportunity cost is a great point. It’s easily setting conversations, but it’s sometimes hard to evaluate that. If you don’t have a coach or a mentor holding you to the fire to deliver the things that you can deliver, then you can get lost in opportunities like that, which are best served by an agency. You talked about putting someone into a business versus working with their team. For many owners, I even think about myself or sometimes I have this battle, “Should I bring someone in-house that is reliable and they’re always there working for me or should I use experts to bring in from a contract perspective?” If you got any tips or experience to share on that.
I’m definitely a believer in having full-time or part-time employees. I am a team player through and through. I love to have people on the boat with me. That’s how I roll. It depends on the people and their personality. For me, when I was building WildRock from the ground up, I started with employees right away because I wanted to build that team, culture and collaboration. I love to be able to pop over to people’s desks. That’s changed a little bit these days. Now you can Zoom call and Slack them or jump on a quick call. I like having that team around me. We do flex a little bit based on areas of expertise.
One of which is video. We’re like, “We don’t do videos. We’re going to find great videographer partners.” There is more pressure and stress on an entrepreneur business owner when you have payroll, but they’re your employees and they’re dedicated. As long as you’re creating an awesome culture, they’ll stay. That’s my viewpoint on it. Especially, when the pandemic hit, it’s always a little bit more stressful like, “I’m in charge of these people and their healthcare.” When we had that mutual trust and everybody’s going to be a rockstar, stay on board and help to support the company and make sure you stay afloat, that’s a great feeling.
Marketing generalist versus specialist, that’s the other thing that I find a lot of people I work or mentor with. They’re like, “Do I get someone that does everything or do I get an SEO specialist or a Facebook specialist or a generalist?” What are some of the experiences you’ve had with that, especially with the smaller mid-size businesses?
If you’re hiring your first marketing person straight out of the shoot, you want more of a generalist. You want somebody who can do a little bit of everything and dabble in those different areas and be successful with it. As you’re hiring for those, you want to see results and fast work and things like that. It’s sometimes hard to find somebody who can do the technical and the design components. Sometimes those are two very different people, but if you’re looking at marketing in general, finding more of that generalist type role to fill internally first before filling full specialist roles. That way, that person can figure out what you need to either outsource or what other roles you need to help hire internally.
The last question in this section is hiring tips. In your many years, you’ve hired lots of marketing people and have got experience from that. What a couple of key things that you always look for in a candidate that some people might miss?
Personally, I’m always looking for a team player. I like everybody to be on the boat together. Oftentimes, when you’re doing those interviews, you want to know how they play well with others. You want to make sure they’re going to be a team player and they’re going to work well with you and it’s not just their show. They want to link arms and make it happen. For me, I always look for what are those team player type of questions, “Tell me about your last time on a high performing team.” Sometimes you’ll get funny answers like, “When I was doing this project.” I’m like, “You’re not a team player. You don’t know about yourself. You’re not talking about your teammates and their contributions.”Put others before yourself, creating that safe environment that motivates others. Click To Tweet
For me, that’s always something that I look for. Not only as a good team player internally. I want them to get along with the other rockstars, but I also want them to get along with our clients. You’re creating relationships and we’re in a relationships business. For me, hiring others who are a team first and going after that book by Simon Sinek, the Leaders Eat Last is putting others before yourself and creating that safe environment that motivates others, whether it’s with a client or other teammates.
I take from that answer that you are personality than technical. Is that the order that you look or do you want an equal balance? How do you assess that?
They have to be somebody I could have a beer with. If it’s somebody that you could sit down, have fun with and have a great conversation with, then you know that you can continue that interview process.
You can definitely find out more about Kristin at WildRockPr.com. We’ll have some great things that she’s going to share with you. Some consulting and also an opportunity around her book at the end. Before we get into the Live section, I’d like to talk about our assessment to help you work out if you’re going to have a high seven or a low seven service-based business in 2021. You can go to PaulHiggins.com/assessment. Answer the fifteen questions in three minutes. It’s going to give you the opportunity to either continue what you’re doing, which is fantastic, and get the opportunity like Kristin to come on the show or it will give you based on the scores that you have some specific actions that will help you straight away and you can book a strategy call with me as well. The next section is the Live section. What habits make you successful?
I have three. First is workouts in the mornings because if you don’t get your workout in, you don’t get it checked off the list, it never happens. I have two small kids and a puppy. If I don’t get my workouts, then it doesn’t happen. Two, is that weekly intention. Before every single week, I set at least 3 to 5 goals for the week. Sometimes as a high-performing entrepreneur, I’m like, “I didn’t get anything done this week.” I feel deflated and frustrated at the end of the week. If I set those 3 to 5 goals and intentions, then at the end of the week, I feel more accomplished and I did a lot more than I’m giving myself credit for. It’s been a good self-esteem booster. My third, and this goes into other pieces too is Monday.com for project management and prioritizing daily. We switched from Basecamp to Monday and love it. “All roads lead to Monday,” is what our internal joke is because everything is managed in there.
We’ve got lots of clients that are using Monday.com and praise it like you have. We spoke about Cody before and you did mention that he’s been a huge supporter or you, but now it’s your opportunity to tell him. I’m going to send this episode to him. What would you like to say about the support he’s given you?
Thank you for believing in me when you shouldn’t have, and for supporting me on this wild ride.
The next section is the Give section. I know you’re a huge giver. That’s part of being a country girl as well. What charity or community are you passionate about and why?
There’s a couple and the first is Tread Lightly. I’m loving the Colorado outdoors. I’m very passionate about promoting responsible recreation, promoting stewardships so that those trails are as beautiful for future generations. My husband and I also host yearly off-roading events to get people out and help them explore. I’m a board member with Tread Lightly. I love the organization and everything that it stands for. Locally, our team also supports an organization called Respite Care. It’s a non-profit childcare organization that helps provide care for children with development disabilities here in Larimer County. We’re in Fort Collins. We’re about an hour north of Denver. This organization is phenomenal in terms of giving that exactly respite to these parents who are on 24/7 duty with their children, and they need special care. They can’t leave them with anybody. It’s a phenomenal organization.
My book Build Live Give, I give all the proceeds and a portion of my total business revenue to the Purple House. You can find out more at PurpleHouse.org.au. Now, we go into the Action section where I’ll ask you some rapid-fire questions and you returned with some rapid-fire responses. The first one is what are your top three personal effectiveness tips?
List-making, being a steward of your schedule and outsourcing.
What tech is essential to running your business?
What’s the best source of new ideas for you?
I love Entrepreneur Magazine.
Did they also have a podcast as well?
They do. It’s inspiring. I love their short articles through their app because it says like, “It’s a two-minute read.” I’m like, “I got two minutes. I can do this.”
The last one is always the biggest question. That’s why I leave it to the end. What impact do you want to leave on the world?
One of the things I have been reflecting on a lot is my purpose. “Why am I here?” I know it’s a question we’ve all asked throughout our careers especially in 2020. One of the things I’ve been working a lot on is my purpose statement. I’d love to share that with you and the readers. My purpose is I exist to breathe love, laughter and positivity in the world by placing a premium on people, rooted in faith. I continually seek new challenges to pull myself and those around me away from mediocre to exceptional.
How long has it taken you to craft that statement?All roads lead to Monday. Click To Tweet
Eight years. In 2020, it came full circle. I’ve had different pieces in there, but it’s a work in progress and 2020 allowed me to shine a light on who I am, who I’m not and what do I want to leave with the world.
I’ve got a daily reflection and I read it every day. It’s got my purpose and my values and how I want to be seen at the end of my life and how can I live that now. Once you had that, it makes everything else easier. Well done for sharing yours. Readers, it’s a great framework for you to do the same. I know you’ve been gracious in giving so much wisdom on the show, but you’re also willing to give people some specific advice. There’s a free 30-minute consult. If you go to [email protected], you can get that. Also, to the first ten readers that reach out to Kristin in that email address, they’ll get the book that she spoke about, Change. Adapt. Rock. It’s perfect for the time as she said. Kristin, it’s fantastic having you on the show. I appreciate you. I know you gave me some great feedback prior to the show, but also appreciate the value that you’ve given on the show and being a great country girl at heart. Thanks for being on the show.
To my fellow country boy at heart, thank you for having me. I appreciate it.
I enjoyed that interview. In Change. Adapt. Rock, her book, she gives you agency secrets, tips and tools to help you build your own marketing team. I thoroughly recommend you checking it out. What is your biggest takeaway from Kristin? Please share on your socials mentioning both Kristin and also maybe even mentioned her book. You can get a free consult and book, remember the first ten people that reach out to her gets the book by emailing her at [email protected]. If you believe someone you know would benefit from the show, please share. They would love you for it. You can also find out whether you’ll have a lower or a high figure service-based business in 2021. Go to the assessment at PaulHigginsMentoring.com/assessment. Please take action to build, live and give. Stay well.
- WildRock Public Relations & Marketing
- Change. Adapt. Rock
- Polaris Adventures
Leaders Eat Last
- Tread Lightly
- Build Live Give
- [email protected]
- Respite Care
About Kristin Golliher
Inspired by creativity and the art of strategic storytelling, Kristin Golliher founded WildRock Public Relations & Marketing in 2012. Headquartered in Fort Collins, WildRock creates long-term partnerships with companies locally and nationally and offers superior strategies, more imagination and relentless execution. Beginning her career at OtterBox in 2005, Kristin built the PR and marketing department and helped shape the globally recognized brand from the ground up. Embracing her entrepreneurial spirit, she spun off to create a boutique agency that rocks results and empowers employees. With a true work hard, play hard philosophy, Kristin has led WildRock to success with year-over-year recognition and accolades. See WildRock’s full portfolio here: https://wildrockpr.com/portfolio/.
Areas of expertise: public relations and marketing campaigns, social media, press release writing & distribution, media relations, product placement, branding & brand strategy, digital marketing, event management and creative writing.
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