Marketing That’s More Than A Content Plan With Beth Gebhard


TRANSCRIPT AUTOMATICALLY GENERATED [00:00:00] Diane: Hey, Hey, today's guest Beth Gephardt has two decades of marketing experience from working with publishers, TV networks, hotel groups, and some thought leaders whose names you might recognize she's on a mission to make sure entrepreneurs have a solid marketing foundation. Instead of being distracted by the latest, shiny drained or flashy group. Hey Beth, welcome to the show. [00:00:21] Beth: Hi, Diane. I'm so happy to be here. This. [00:00:24] Diane: So let's start with a little about your business journey and please feel free to name drop. If you'd like [00:00:30] Beth: Oh, you are so funny. Well, I'll just cut right to the chase because the, the thing that usually gets the most, Ooh, ah, is that I worked for Oprah at one point in my life. So, the, the it's been a long and twisty windy road, but the highlight real is that I lived and worked in New York for eight years. I was a book. And I worked for double day and then I worked for the Walt Disney's adult publishing arm called Hyperion books. And eventually I was the head of that department. We were known for our celebrity and thought leader publication. So everyone from Caroline Kennedy to Steve Martin. To Michael J. Fox Julie Andrews. It was definitely a heavy hitters kind of list, but when you're in publicity, that's a lot of fun. I mean, it was a lot of work, but those were big campaigns. And so, but I also was part of the corporate communications team for the Walt Disney company by virtue of being the head of that department. And it was through those connections and those colleagues. Film and television world that I then was offered the job as the director of communications for what was then the up and coming Oprah Winfrey network. And so my husband and I moved to Los Angeles for what felt like a total drain job. And in reality, it was just, it was a lot of work and it was scrappy work. We might've had the name behind the business is obviously a giant and glamorous one, but the reality is there were about 12 of us in a dilapidated, you know, makeshift office all the way out and like the, you know, the, the bowels of Burbank basically. But it was, it was incredible. And. I really did learn so much from that experience, but we weren't that happy in Los Angeles. We just, and I was getting older and we started to think like family and what, where do we want to go next? And so we ended up moving from Los Angeles in 2010 to Nashville, which is where I am now. And we started a family and and then I started this business Gebhard strategy where I help Small business owners with their marketing strategy. I started that business, right. Well, I'd say two weeks into COVID. So I don't highly recommend starting a business during a global pandemic, but that was the challenge that I managed to take on. So that in a nutshell [00:02:58] Diane: So what is a marketing strategy? When you talk about it through the lens of your experience? All we talking about. A content plan. Are we talking about an email newsletter? Are we talking about how they interact together? When you say marketing strategy, what does that mean? [00:03:13] Beth: Yeah, I'm glad you asked this question because it's one of those things that I recognize that I know from 23 years of being immersed in this world. it's a strange concept to someone who doesn't and I get that now. So essentially what marketing strategy is, is it is the over arching You know, strategy for how you plan to realize your business goals through marketing. So everything starts with your business goals and maybe your business goal for, you know, maybe you're looking at a six-month business goal, maybe you're looking at the year, but the business goal could be that you want to increase revenues by 15%. By the end of the year. Well, then your marketing strategy is rooted in that overall business goal and you need to think through, okay, well then if I want to achieve that, how can I do that through our marketing? And you develop a strategy that may look like you introducing a new product And developing the marketing around that product. Maybe it looks like you working harder on brand awareness. You know, you want, you want a broader brand awareness or you want to expand to a new customer base, but it's the strategy that's going to help you achieve that business goal. And then within that strategy, are tactics And social media is a tactic. Email marketing is a tactic advertising is a tactic. PR is a tactic there's many different ways to get to achieve that strategy. And you have to just examine number one. What can your budget support? Number two, where are your customers? And number three, what is your bandwidth? What can you actually do and commit to, to see some traction [00:05:15] Diane: So we have recently had the greatest. Outage of 2021 that will forever live in human memory until the next great outage of 2022. I personally got a lot of emails that said, see, I told you, you should've had a list, buy my product, download my resource to grow your list. Right. And for me, that always lands a bit funny because I'm like, that's great. But where are these people going to find out about my list? If not social media, it's almost like if the list is the goal, social media is like the noise that tells people that it's there. So what are you telling people in the face of? Okay. What if we all lost social media from a marketing strategy perspective? [00:06:00] Beth: Well, I have to laugh because there was a whole world of marketing long before social media. And I happened to be. To have lived in that world. And frankly, I kinda missed that world to be honest with you. I don't hate social media. I really don't. But I do find that it has become a time suck for many of us who don't have a lot of time to spare. So most of these giant platforms. Exploded beginning with like Facebook went live about 17 years ago. And then of course Instagram and YouTube and everything followed. But before that, What it looked like was what we refer to as traditional marketing, because the digital marketing world had not exploded. So a lot of that was, your good old fashion printed flyer or your good old fashion, demonstration or your street team for an event , or an event per se, but a lot of. Was, what we kind of called field marketing and what it means is direct conversations. One by one with the people that matter. So that may look like, you know, when you're a business to consumer type of organization, meaning that you're trying to reach consumers with your products, then that might mean that you are actually going where the people are. And leading some type of a in-person workshop and, and getting to know them face to face. That might look like you saying, Hey, I'd love to take you to lunch. Hey, I'd like to let's schedule a phone call. I mean, it really was very sort of grassroots, but that's how you got people's email addresses but you created a relationship and the good old fashioned way. If you were a business to business type of organization where you are. Customer is another business. For example, like in the book business, our field marketing team would spend a lot of time with the bookstore accounts. You know, we would, we would get to know them. We would take them to lunch. We would schedule visits. So that probably seems really, really old fashioned, but there's value in that. I always say the best form of marketing is word of mouth. You know, and of course he can achieve word of mouth through digital tactics, but I really do feel like some of those values, some of that, just one on one direct conversation and relationship building has been lost in all of this. [00:08:42] Diane: Yeah. I think we've been really spoiled by the reach of social media, of, you know, not having to pay TV or newspaper ad rates of the analytics that we can get behind it. But the other day, I got some stickers, like physical, actual stickers. And the very first thing I wanted to do was stick the sticker on my laptop. It was such a, a pattern interrupt to get something physical in my head. That it kind of took me back. I think some of those quote unquote old fashioned marketing methods have the ability to cut through some of that noise. So even though nobody is saying, like, get off social media, I think some of those traditional methods that you're talking about. All surprising. [00:09:25] Beth: 100%. If you look through history, the pendulum always swings left and right. And in my opinion, we're starting to see a pendulum swing that is less about the sophisticated digital strategy. You know, most small business owners who I work with don't have that kind of investment of money. So they're spending exorbitant time trying to figure out on their own the 37 step funnel. I feel like we're swinging a little away from that and more to, Hey, let's let's hold the phone. Let me tell you what I do. Let me hear what you do and let's figure out if we can work together. Like it doesn't have to be so complicated [00:10:09] Diane: Those little tiny touches can make a huge difference. so if tomorrow. Social media ceased to exist. All of it's like It's old. God. you have two small children, you have limited time. What would be the one thing, the one marketing tactic that you would pour all of your energy into. If you didn't have social [00:10:29] Beth: Speaking specifically from my own point of view, I'm running a service-based business like mine, which is very new. Like I have a very, very small email list at this point. My immediate reaction would be to look at my own network. Like my good old fashion contacts database, and start making phone calls or sending emails and talking about scheduling lunches. Or I would ask, I would look for real partnerships or collaborations, you know, I would look through my contact list to see who are the people and. That are working with small businesses or who are, who are running a small business and could likely use some marketing support and some strategy. And I would call them, I would, I would do, you know, the good old fashioned call and, and see if they might want to partner. That's exactly the route that I would take. [00:11:30] Diane: and For those people who are terrified of like the actual phone, you could text them, you could WhatsApp them. Though, I suppose as social media goes away, WhatsApp's going with it along with Facebook, but like texts. A zoom call all works the same way. right. I, [00:11:46] Beth: Or an email. Absolutely. I mean, I think, you know, I started as a publicist and th the vast majority of my career has been in the communications. And I always think that the value of S a strong publicist has been diluted tremendously with. The, you know, with the world, the digital world, in, in a sense, that's put a lot of power in the hands of the businesses, which is great. They don't need that middleman anymore. But back when I got started, the value that I brought was my relationship, the relationships that I had and made with key like media gatekeepers and the way that I made those relationships was through. A giant investment of time. It was not overnight. It was me, constantly learning more about them and about the way that they wrote or, the way they broadcast about what they're looking for [00:12:44] Diane: I think, I think something you said there is really important to underline and then say it didn't happen overnight. Now is the best time to start building your network. Yes. Build your email lists. But at the end of the day, if you want to be able to call on other people or call on referrals, call out to people to help you, if your account vanishes and there's hesitance. you can't just pick up the phone to someone you don't know, and you don't have a relationship with, you have to build it. [00:13:09] Beth: For sure. And you have to nurture it. You can't be that jerk who calls after, you know, 20 years and asks for something. That's going to fall pretty flat, but investing the time now in reengaging your network. And investing in your network is very, very. [00:13:29] Diane: So when we started, we talked about the marketing strategy being kind of the umbrella. With then I guess almost like spokes so like social media being one, let's build them in the other networking, being the other one. What kind of KPIs or key performance indicators or measurements do you encourage people to think about when that tracking their marketing strategy? Thinking like, okay, I've got this really big strategy. And my big strategy is to launch this new service in three months. Let's just say, that's not my strategy, but let's just say, and I'm thinking, okay, this is what I'm gonna do for social media for it. This is what I'm going to do for email for it. This is who I'm going to reach out to. I'm going to host a live event. I'm going to do all of these things. How important are metrics in a marketing strategy? [00:14:13] Beth: Well, I think they're important. But I always tell people do not get lost in them because metrics tell only one part of the story. There are qualitative metrics and quantitative metrics. So a quants, an example of a quantitative metric metric may be, you know, let's say you have a page on your website devoted to this new product. And on that page, people can click to buy it. You might be measuring how many people clicked. Ideally you want to be also measuring the actual conversions, but let's just say you're measuring those clicks. You're looking at your Google analytics and you're measuring. That is a quantitative measure. A qualitative measure would be something that is it's a little more subjective. It would be measuring how many people are mentioning this new product on social media or how many people are. You know, calling you to talk more about it. It's a little less black and white and the both measurements are very important. So sometimes I worry that, you know, for the really data minded folks of the world, they're, they're looking, they have such a tunnel vision on the quantitative metrics that they forget. About things like the impressions that they're making, you know, I can't help, but really love the qualitative as well because I came from the PR world and in PR it's very, it's, it's next to impossible to actually measure the performance of your publicity. You could have an author go on the today, show tomorrow and you might sell tons of books, but you can't directly connect the two. But you can assume that that kind of a national pit push put that, that thought into a lot of P you know, if you look at their viewership, you think of how many people heard about. Product or your service, that's more qualitative, but it's an important part of it. So I do think it's good to get it. It's very good to get into the discipline of applying some KPIs that are quantitative. So if you're launching a new product and you're considering the different tactics that you can a afford B manage with your bandwidth. You know, I want to make sure that we're not just swirling in a million different options. We pick the two that we're going to go after. Then you do want to measure it. You want to think to yourself. Okay. If, what if by launching this, I am going to create. A lead magnet that is going to then get people into, let's say the lead magnet is a consult call. And you know, you're going to offer, if they sign up, you're going to offer them a call with you to talk about this new product. Then you're going to measure how many calls you get before. So that would actually be a KPI and you can set it and you can say, and you don't want to set yourself up for failure. You want to set a KPI. That's realistic. But also one that is slightly difficult. So you're going to push yourself. So, you know, maybe with this new product, you look at how many calls you typically get and And perhaps you double it, or you add an incremental number to that. And over time you're able to make better predictions because you're, you're looking at this kind of data. [00:17:48] Diane: And I think the coal offers you some qualitative. Data as well. am I getting the right calls or am I hearing a particular objection over and over again? Are people not understanding what it is that I'm selling specifically or what they get? I think that's really interesting qualitative data that can then feed back into. Okay. We need to make this really clear on social media and email, whichever tactics we've tried. [00:18:16] Beth: And what you've just illustrated is a perfect harmony of the two, because if you're only measuring quantitated and let's say you knock it out of the park, I mean, you set your KPI for 50 calls that month and you get 60 calls. Will you, if you're strictly looking at that, then you've met, you've nailed it. You've done your job. But if those 60 calls are people. Aren't interested in your product. They, aren't the kind of leads that you need. Well, then really you haven't knocked it out of the park. You need to really measure both. [00:18:50] Diane: I'm very into like the umbrella analogy now. Like every time I think about marketing, I'm gonna think about the umbrella and how many spokes my umbrella is going to have to like cover my goals. [00:18:59] Beth: I love that. I love that. [00:19:02] Diane: So to finish up, I always ask all my guests the same two questions. The first one is what is the number one lifestyle boundary that. you have for your business? [00:19:12] Beth: Mine is that I do not post on social media on the weekends. And I mean, occasionally you might see a story here or there, but definitely not a static post. And I'm not really looking on social media on the weekends. So when I started. I'm very aware of the dreaded algorithm and what you need to do to quote unquote, beat the algorithm. And I am not interested in that game because it is a losing one and I'm also very interested in actually having. A strong family life. So for me, I look at my work week, the way most people do, you know, it doesn't mean I don't get some work done on the weekends. I do, because I do have to work on sort of fringe hours as a mom. But I look at it as like from Monday to Friday. The kids are in school and I'm working. And part of my job includes social media, but on the weekends, that's time with my family and I don't want it to be me on my social media feed. I also just really am hoping the whole thing implodes before my children grow up because my social media. So they see me on social media, on our weekends. I think that that sends a bad message. So that's my personal boundary. I'm not interested in trying to win. The social media game. [00:20:38] Diane: There's a little part of me that always, when people talk about the algorithm and it's in like super hushed tones, I I'm always reminded of wizard of Oz. And I'm waiting for us to discover that like, there's this little man behind the like, algorithm that's really like controlling everything [00:20:55] Beth: you know what I would love. Do you remember back like they're called man on the street interviews, Jay Leno used to do it on the tonight show. It's like where you just take a microphone and ask a question of any, you know, Joe walking down the street. I would love for someone to do that. With people on the street and ask them to define the word algorithm. I would just like to see what people say, because we're throwing it around. Like we ha we totally understand what that means. And we know the definition of that word. Um, and I really don't think most of us do. [00:21:29] Diane: Uh, Okay. Finally, what is the worst piece of cookie cutter advice? Do you think you've been given since you joined entrepreneurially? Yeah, you could only pick one. [00:21:41] Beth: I can only pick one. Well the irony is that, that it really does relate to everything we've been talking about. And and it also relates to my world of marketing, but I would say the, you know, the cookie cutter advice is you have to be active on social media. I, I just don't think that is the truth. I think that if you look at your business, And you see what is driving leads to you? Quality leads, the people who are actually going to purchase your service. If they are coming through social media, then you need to be active on social media. But if you look at that and they are not. They are coming to you through referrals, or they are coming to you through your website because maybe you've invested in some SEO or they are coming to you through your, you know, the events that you might be hosting or the workshops that you're doing, then you need to be active in those arenas. So I just think that there's not a formula, there's not a prescription for anyone's business and what we're doing and telling people to be quote unquote, active on social media is unfortunately then resulting in a lot of wasted time. If it is not where you're getting business, you are wasting your time. It doesn't mean don't do it. I do you think a lot of people look to social media for sort of proof of concept. You know, as like, it's it's kinda like meeting you, Diane. I, I immediately, I looked at your social media. I looked at your website. I wanted to know a little bit about you. So does it mean abandoning it, but being active is very different than, than just, you know, dabbling in that world. Where you want to be active is in the tactics that are producing. [00:23:35] Diane: Yeah, I think it goes back to that quantitative and qualitative. It's like, look at the data and look at where your people are actually coming from. If you do not know, please go and put Google analytics on your websites but then it's also that qualitative. If you find out that it's like 50, 50 social media and referrals, how does each of those fields. and what are you prepared to invest in, in each of them? So it comes back to what you were saying. You have to think about it quantitatively and qualitative. [00:24:03] Beth: And you have to develop the muscle to try and fail in that circumstance. Maybe say I'm going to double down on referrals because that feels better. To me that feels easier to achieve. That feels like something that I can manage better. And test it, give it a quarter. Say for Q1, that's what I'm doing. And if at the end of the quarter, you're not seeing results then for Q2 double-down on social media, recognize that marketing involves trial and error. [00:24:33] Diane: So I usually end with asking hoppy book and carry on the conversation with you on social media. But that feels, that feels a bit amusing given our entire conversation, maybe what you'd prefer to do is give them your social media, but also your email address. [00:24:49] Beth: Sure I'm totally great with that. And listen, I love Instagram. Like I genuinely do. I enjoy seeing pictures of my friends and I enjoy soaking and absorbing lots of inspiration. I'm pretty careful about who I follow, so I am active on Instagram. I'm at Gebhard strategy and that's Geb H a R D. Strategy lot of people mispronounced or misspelled my last name. So that's why I took the time to do that. So Gebhard strategy on Instagram and then my email address is So that's pretty easy to remember and I would love for you to email me. That'd be awesome. But if you start spamming me, I'm going to get you out of there pretty fast. [00:25:33] Diane: Yeah. no. Subscribing her to your marketing lists. It's like, you can like, it's like DM style emailing here, which is giving you an alternative in case there's a great outage. The week, this episode goes out as well. In which case only my loyal listeners will hear about it because none of us will be able to share the episode on social media. [00:25:54] Beth: just a mind cluster. [00:25:56] Diane: Yeah, you don't realize how many pieces of what you normally do are connected to it. So I think it's a really, I think it's just such an opportunity to take a step back and notice how it's, how much has infiltrated your, your life and your business and see what you'd like to change. And it could be nothing. [00:26:16] Beth: I think that's such great advice. I love that. [00:26:19] Diane: Awesome. Well, this has been a super fun conversation. Thank you for sharing. [00:26:24] Beth: Thank you so much, Diane. I love your podcast. So this was a true honor.

If the great outage of 2021 showed us one thing it’s that we need to think bigger for our marketing.

Beth Gebhard walks you through how to develop your marketing strategy beyond your content plan and how you’ll know if it’s working.

Key Takeaway

There was a whole world of marketing long before social media and those methods can create just the pattern interrupt you need to cut through the noise.

We talk about

  • What a good marketing strategy covers
  • What we could do if we lost social media completely
  • The tried and trusted marketing tactic that is so effective yet so few use
  • Metrics to monitor your strategy in action
  • Beth’s lifestyle boundary for her business
  • The worst cookie-cutter advice Beth’s been given on her lifestyle business

About Beth

Beth Gebhard is a marketing strategist on a mission to train rapidly-growing small business owners how to move away from the exhausting, haphazard, chaotic approach to marketing that has gotten them this far in their business, toward a strategic, measurable, and scalable marketing approach that will take them to the next level and beyond.

With over two decades of experience working with premier companies including Random House Inc. The Walt Disney Company, ABC-TV, OWN:The Oprah Winfrey Network, and Marriott International, Inc., she is an accomplished and passionate marketing specialist particularly with overall marketing strategy, branding, content development, internal and external communication, media relations, and platform development for leaders. She has worked alongside many of today’s world-renowned thought leaders and personalities including Caroline Kennedy, Steve Martin, the late George Carlin, Candace Bushnell, Stephen Colbert, Lisa Ling, and the late Pulitzer Prize-winner David Halberstam.

Her focus at Gebhard Strategy is on partnering with small businesses to create and implement those key foundational marketing elements small businesses need in order to efficiently and effectively market themselves as they grow.

Beth lives with her husband, Luke, and her two young children, Ava and Hudson, in Nashville, Tenn.

Looking for a resource?

We all need a little help sometime to build that business that works for you instead of you working for it all the time. Welcome to the Vault, a handy collection of my FREE resources.



This page may contain affiliate links. I earn a commission or reward on all qualified purchases made when you use these links. 


The information contained above is provided for information purposes only. The contents of this podcast episode and article are not intended to amount to advice and you should not rely on any of the contents of this article or episode. Professional advice should be obtained before taking or refraining from taking any action as a result of the contents of this article. Diane Mayor disclaims all liability and responsibility arising from any reliance placed on any of the contents of this article.