In this episode, Adam (@AdamVazquez) and Carlton (@CarltonRiffel) are joined by Maribel Lara (@latina_sweetie) who is the Senior Vice President and Head of Consulting for The Sasha Group. Maribel discusses Long Island Pizza, how SMBs should approach storytelling, and practical steps to help us develop content that invites people from all walks of life.
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* (7:20) How SMBs can better operate their businesses
* (13:36) Maribel’s POV on starting and creating content stories
* (21:32) THE KEY TO FINDING GREAT NYC PIZZA (how content made it ez)
* (28:54) Practical, No BS steps to creating inclusive and diverse content
* (39:53) Have You Heard
Links & Resources:
Transcription generated by Otter.ai
Adam Vazquez 00:06
Maribel Lara is the Senior Vice President and head of consulting at the Sasha group of Vayner. X company working with early and growth stage businesses. Meribel has been a leader in the content space and marketing space for over a decade now, and has served in roles ranging from VP of strategy to the Office of the CEO for VaynerMedia. Prior to helping spin out the Sasha group Meribel someone personally I had the pleasure of working with directly during our shared time at VaynerMedia. And someone I have a ton of respect for her ability to connect on a human level is striking when you when you meet her and she probably has one of the most or the most rational and people centered point of views on how brands should craft and distribute diverse and inclusive messaging. At least that I’ve heard. During the episode, we discussed really important things like Meribel take on Long Island pizza, how SMBs should approach storytelling and the practical steps to help us develop content that invites people from all walks of life. I really enjoyed this episode. I’m really really grateful for Meribel taking the time to talk with us and I hope you enjoy
put that content down content closes on. What’s your name? Content. That’s my name. You know why mister? Because you drove a Hyundai to get here tonight. I drove an $80,000 BMW that’s my name.
Adam Vazquez 01:26
Content is for closers. Alright, well welcome back into content for closers. I’m your host Adam Vasquez here along with a guy who prefers his pizza to be cake, aka pie, aka deep dish. That is Carl’s what’s going on Carlton?
Carlton Riffel 01:45
Chicago style pizza man.
Adam Vazquez 01:47
That’s right. Have had Chicago I’ve been and had Lewy bodies and what’s one of the other like, trio Donna’s Giordano’s. Yep, and I have personally, I’m Illuminati guy, what about you? Yeah, I
Carlton Riffel 01:58
like lumonol. He’s a little better, too.
Adam Vazquez 02:01
He’s got their salad dressing is off the hook as well. I’ve enjoyed that. But the reason we’re talking about pizza is because today we talk to America, Lara, who I used to work with at VaynerMedia. And who among all of the actual important topics we talked about, one of the things that struck me funny was her separating Brooklyn pizza from Long Island pizza being now in the south, I would take either, but she had some pretty strong views on on both what what’s your what’s your pizza tradition?
Carlton Riffel 02:29
As far as pizza goes, I growing up in Chicago, having northern pizza, you get pretty spoiled, right? But my family actually had this tradition every single Sunday night was pizza night. And so we’d actually it was homemade pizza. We’d use like Jiffy Mix for the crust. But it was like the there’s a certain taste to my mom’s homemade pizza that, you know, somehow beats out all the rest of the pizza when you’re at home on a Sunday night. So that’s, that’s kind of a tradition we’ve continued. So every Sunday night now Julia makes homemade pizza. And that’s kind of like her night to have friends over and things. So that’s how we’re keeping the tradition alive here at the riffle household.
Adam Vazquez 03:10
First of all, big shout out to me for never having been invited to that before. But also I’ve had,
Carlton Riffel 03:16
hey, let’s just let’s set the record straight. For those listening who don’t know where Adam lives now. Yeah, I used to live where I moved to. And then once we moved, he’s like, Oh, referrals are here. We got to leave. This is possible.
Adam Vazquez 03:33
Or I’ve had Joe’s cooking. I’m sorry. And it is yeah. Excellent. So I can’t imagine how good the pizza is. Do you get do you get mom’s slice? Like around the holiday still?
Carlton Riffel 03:42
Yeah, yeah. Like we got we go. Sometimes I asked for, especially if even if it’s not a Sunday night, so. But yeah, I think as far as pizza goes, Adam, do you have a preference for Brooklyn pizza, or? Yeah,
Adam Vazquez 03:56
I have a lot of takes on pizza. This is kind of what blew my mind about Maribelle. His thing was because so I grew up in Philadelphia, and then outside of Philadelphia, and the whole area has like pretty good pizza. Now, obviously, not New York, or even like parts of northern jersey. But then in the south, there’s just like, very rarely do you come across a really good slice. And I think a lot of that has to do with the water potentially, or maybe some other ingredient I’m missing. And so anyway, there’s like a world of difference just in that geographic span. But Maribel was talking about her struggle to find good pizza in Long Island, which is her new home, as opposed to Brooklyn, and just some of the funny I mean, those are so close together, like in my experience compared to what I have to deal with. So and actually, she talks a little bit about how certain content helped her find a better slice than than another so it was actually a good an interesting anecdote, but between that and how content is sort of replacing advertising and then some of the the inclusion stuff she talked about anything stand out to you that people should listen for.
Carlton Riffel 05:03
Yeah. So I mean, she’s a consultant. So she’s really helping business operators run their businesses, not just selling them on marketing and advertising. So I think that’s a great takeaway for how to view business and how to view marketing is they’re very closely aligned, and they complement each other. So that’s good. Just her focus on that, especially as she helps these these business owners run their businesses is really neat.
Adam Vazquez 05:30
Yeah, I thought that and something you pointed out was the the replacement of ads for just the the experience itself, like in back in the day, we borrowed equity from brands who are providing experiences, and then we would use that equity to serve ads. And now we’re just getting rid of that middleman and being able to replace it. I thought that was a really interesting conversation, a great point that will help people as they think through where they should be putting out their content. So unless you have anything else, I think we should dive into the the conversation with Maribo. Let’s jump in. Okay, we have Meribel Lera. On with us. Thank you so much for joining us Maribel. Before we get too far, I have to give a shout out first of all to the Hispanic squad that we were on when back in the Vayner days. Is that still going on? Is this? Yes.
Maribel Lara 06:22
It’s referred to as amigos but yeah, I mean, as we record this, we’re in the midst of Hispanic Heritage Month. So we’ve got some events coming up.
Adam Vazquez 06:33
Very cool. Okay, so that was that’s initially how I think you and I met you were leading that effort at at Vayner. And then you came down to Chattanooga, and our mutual friend MEGAN MURPHY. And and US had pancakes at some place. That was the best pancakes. I can’t remember what it’s called. Now over there.
Maribel Lara 06:52
Have like Franken in the name because these pancakes were monstrous.
Adam Vazquez 06:56
That’s right. I read the Frankenstein’s that’s sort of where you go. Yeah. So some good memories from all of that. But yeah, so much appreciate you coming on the show and spending a little bit of time with us.
Maribel Lara 07:05
I’m super happy to be here, Adam, any excuse to be able to like have a conversation with you.
Adam Vazquez 07:11
Appreciate that. So I gave the audience a little bit of background on and obviously, Mickey was a recent guest. So they heard a little bit about what’s going on with the Sasha group what you all are focusing on. But I know you are leading the consulting arm specifically, because you give us a little bit of context as to what you all are doing and what your focus is.
Maribel Lara 07:31
Yeah, so I lead the consulting practice at the Sasha group. We started diving into consulting under the VaynerMedia umbrella originally, right, Gary realized he had a lot of small businesses, even midsize businesses coming to him. And really wanting advice. It wasn’t just about like, wanting to advertise in social media, but it was questions about operationalizing marketing and also broader questions about business. And the truth is like that is the need in the SMB market, right. So if we truly wanted to work with small to mid market businesses, then just offering marketing services wasn’t actually going to address the majority of the needs that we were hearing from them. And so operating as a consultancy meant that we could start to meet some of those needs. And so what we do on the consulting front is things from, as I mentioned, like operationalizing marketing, we have clients who come to us and have paid for our marketing strategy that has just sat within their walls, right, like sat in a folder, because they don’t actually know how to take that strategy and enact it. And it could be because somebody developed a strategy for them. But it didn’t really take into account the realities of resourcing for this company, right? Like, sure, they may have somebody who’s in charge of marketing, but that same person may also be in charge of five other things for the organization. And if you’re not taking that into account, then you’re not going to be able to execute that strategy, right? We had questions about organizations that were growing and that were realizing the next stage of growth didn’t necessarily mean doing more of the thing that got them to this stage. But really taking a step back and thinking about how they might differentiate and come up with something new. What else they might be equipped to achieve based on like the business they had built thus far. Perhaps they had come into some growth and had money to invest in a senior leadership team, or one addition to their senior leadership. And they were debating if that should be a CFO, a CEO or CMO. And we’re looking to have a conversation with someone around that. I came from while I have been working in marketing. For some time now I actually transitioned out of an MBA program and I was interested in both marketing and management and in general how businesses run and so diving into consulting gave me the opportunity Just think about businesses more broadly, you know, this from working in the agency world, like one of the biggest frustrations is like you want to have conversations with, with a client about their business, because marketing is a function of business, right. And if you’re not taking into account the business strategy, the business objectives, then your marketing is going to fail. And so functioning as a consultancy, in addition to an agency essentially gives us the permission to have those broader business conversations and to support clients to support SMBs. In the ways that really matter at that stage.
Adam Vazquez 10:34
Yeah, very cool. So then you, I think, on the agency side, getting whatever you wanna call it top down approval or getting buy in from the very top can sometimes be a challenge, depending on who you’re talking to. And you all, to some extent, are able to get that by the fact that you’re doing this business consulting, and then letting letting the ad side fall out of that is that that’s kind of what you’re saying, friends. Yeah, absolutely.
Maribel Lara 10:57
And we work with clients and pretty much two capacities. One is advisory, right? One is like, essentially, you have a Batphone to us, you buy a certain amount of hours to be able to access us. And we determine before we go into it, how you might want to use those hours. So we have a sense of what resources we might pull together for you. And what are the conversations we want to have, we want to focus on depending on like the package, you buy one to two things, because if I talk to you about 20, you’re not really going to see an impact on 20. But if we focus on one to two, you’re going to see an impact. So there’s advisory where we teach folks how to do these things for themselves, right, and then be able to replicate that year after year or season after season. And then we have more project based consulting where like we have a very defined project, a very defined timeline against that project. And we execute against that.
Adam Vazquez 11:49
Yeah, I love that you call it a bat phone, because it’s such good imagery, I bet people feel like that they have like a lifeline or a safety line out to folks who can actually help them. Well,
Maribel Lara 12:00
I get the text messages. It’s like, hey, something happens. You have 15 minutes about this. Let’s go. Yeah, that’s
Adam Vazquez 12:06
great. One thing that you said back, when you were describing the consulting services, I think is super interesting. Is we and we’ll get I don’t want to jump the gun on on on your answer. But at the end, we always ask our guests, if you were gifted $150,000 worth of budget, and you had to spend it on some type of marketing effort or whatever. How would you spend that? The answer has always been hire people. I think it’s interesting to your point that there’s a there’s something that we just all gloss over kind of in the space, I think, to an extent is like, yeah, there’s there’s manpower, and there’s, this is the plan, and I’ll just go execute it. To your point, not everyone can execute just because of bandwidth and time. So that’s super valuable that you all view it that way. When you’re talking to some of these SMBs, and the owners and the marketing leads, and all of those sorts of things. I think for our audience anyways, a lot of them are coming to content really for the first time, or at least in a serious way. Maybe they did content or they’ve they’ve been doing some version of it. But in terms of like core business, driving core business through it, it’s a novel concept. So when you talk to someone like that, how do you guide them to think about content? Or where do they start in terms of their journey from maybe zero to actually seeing business come in down the line through through their content journey?
Maribel Lara 13:26
Yeah, first and foremost, I try to dive into the conversations that they’re having day to day, right? Every business has a story behind it has multiple stories behind it. Like that’s just the truth of it, there’s a story to how you got the idea for your business, or why you started it the way that you started it, or why you started it with the people that you surround yourself with in the community started it. And so I think first and foremost, content marketing is about identifying what your stories are, and documenting them, right like that’s what we’re talking about, and doing it in a way that comes natural to you. Right, that’s when we try to force folks into things that are completely like left field from what they’ve been doing either less likely to try it but if you can do something that’s somewhat familiar to them, I have this challenge all the time. I am not great like speaking directly to camera and recording myself. I am great at having conversations. Right and so that format tends to work better for me so if I’m if I’m looking to create content, it’s better for me to plan it as a conversation with somebody or to get like a prompt, but it’s really hard for me to come off the cuff right so we’re talking about the same thing in terms of like document documenting the story and video but there are dynamics of that that can make someone more comfortable. She someone’s not comfortable in front of camera, right like we had clients through consulting through our mentors program. But at the beginning were like, I want nothing to do with content creation, right? Like I never want to be on video, I took a visit down to their office to do like stakeholder interviews and like get to know them better. And I saw these caricatures. They were three founders. They had caricatures of each of them on the wall. And I was like, hey, so I had a thought, like, what do you think about using a cartoon character like illustrations to represent to you in content, right? So you can sort of like, jot down your ideas and your thought process, but it doesn’t necessarily need to be you on camera, we can come up with another way to represent you. And they, they love that. Right. And they started to do that. And eventually, they just became super comfortable with this idea of creating content that now all three of them are always on camera.
Adam Vazquez 15:46
I love that. Yeah. So finding ways that are true or authentic, or in some ways the strengths of the of the clients themselves. Absolutely. What about in terms of the maybe the strategy, or I know, when I was when I was there, and you may use different language now, but we always talked about thinking like a media company or acting like a media company. What does that mean for like, the normal, whatever it is several million dollar landscaping company or DTC product? Are these types of just normal businesses that maybe haven’t delved into deeply yet?
Maribel Lara 16:20
Yeah, I love this question. For me, it’s when you think about marketing, right? Like the things that come to mind, traditionally, as marketing, we think about advertisements that are tacked on to content, right, like TV commercials, radio ads, right that originally were like little skits in between the radio show, print ads, which appear within the content within the context of a magazine. Essentially, marketing traditionally grew out of leveraging content that media companies, magazines, TV shows, were creating and sort of buying some of their equity in creating content, the idea of functioning like a media company is like, you know, your customer better. And you can be more precise in creating content that is truly a value to your customer. So why don’t you own it, rather than pay somebody to borrow their equity, when their equity isn’t specific, as specific as it can be to your consumer, right. And not only that, but then you’re not paying for it like every, every once in a while, then you’ve got this consistent channel of communication with your customer open. But I think the other element of operating like a media company is overvaluing. What matters to your customer over what you want to say. So it’s much more about like listening, and responding to needs than it is like, here’s what I want you to know about me. And here’s what I want to get said, you’ll do that every once in a while. But more than anything, turning the tables and focusing on your customer, what they want to hear what they want to read what they want to watch. Eventually, they’ll they’ll start to wonder about this, this organization, this business that’s providing them so much value, and they’re going to request that information from you. And they’re going to want to give you something back for what you’ve given them.
Adam Vazquez 18:19
Yeah, I love I first of all, obviously, I’ve heard of the concept because I just I just asked you about it, but I had never heard the the like the history that you gave with it the context of we used to buy ads and publications, and we’re buying their equity. And now instead of doing that, which those publications had equity for sure, but to your point, it’s not specific equity to the problem that we’re trying to solve as a business. So I love that picture of creating equity that’s very specific to a problem which so the audience might be smaller than right because you’re you’re not just going after a shotgun approach in that scenario, you’re okay with a smaller audience that is in some ways opting in is that
Maribel Lara 19:00
right? Well, that’s absolutely right. And that’s a good thing right? Like a bigger audience isn’t necessarily the best thing for you right? Like you may be you may be wasting a lot of money because that that’s what you’ve had to do but the the reality is, is social open the door for us to talk to specific people in the ways that matter to them. Right. And it’s, that’s not an authentic because I think that’s where businesses heads often go is like, well, if I talk to consumer a one way consumer be slightly different and consumer see like he had a different way. Isn’t that inauthentic? I’m being a completely different person? No, I’m not asking you to be a completely different business or entity. I’m asking you to adapt the conversation based on who you’re speaking to. And we all do this every single day. There are certain conversations is a certain tone that we take on when we’re speaking to children. And there’s a separate tone that we’re taking on when we’re having conversations in a boardroom. And there are even different conversations that you are taking on when we’re having a conversation with our partner, we don’t cease to be the same person, we just adapt based on like the subject matter. And like who the audience is,
Adam Vazquez 20:11
I love that this is a mind my mind is bringing up my grandfather from Puerto Rico, and lived all of his life in New York, Philadelphia, she has a very unique accent, I would say, mixes all of these different things. And so when I’m talking to him, my family all makes fun of me, because they can tell when I’m talking to him on the phone or in another room, because they say that I’ve I’ve talked differently to reflect that. And it’s still me talking, it’s just that the audience there for whatever reason, I don’t even I don’t do it consciously. I’m talking differently. It’s the same idea when you’re talking to your customers. But I wanted to also touch on a point you made just just a few minutes ago talking about prioritizing the message that your customer wants to hear or the subject matter even that they want to discuss over your own. I think this is really important, especially on the SMB level, because so often the the advertising is which just becomes locked in to be that it needs to be convert conversion focused or whatever. And so often, I’ll talk to customers even about things like Tic Toc, or I’m not going to rehash everything like but that they’re just have never even thought of because there’s no way that you can sell whatever it is x product via via that platform, just Can you talk a little bit more about the value of maybe entertaining or engaging in a way that the customer wants to be engaged as opposed to just just promoting your message.
Maribel Lara 21:39
Yeah, I’ll try to put I think this is a simple example. Right? I moved. We were having this conversation about how I moved into a new community about nine months ago, we were looking for our local pizza place. Right like we so important New York City, we had to find like what is our pizza place going to be?
Adam Vazquez 21:58
Anyway, sorry to interrupt you, but what was your pizza place? And this is important facts
Maribel Lara 22:04
in the city. So it depends, right? Like we had our local like slice place. Okay. You have to have a slice, please. But then our go to was Grimaldi’s for pies.
Adam Vazquez 22:13
Okay. All right, bottom of the Brooklyn Bridge that
Maribel Lara 22:15
Yeah, but they had a colocation, so they had one they had one near us and in,
Adam Vazquez 22:20
got it. Okay, all right, sorry. No, no, no problem.
Maribel Lara 22:23
So we had to find a pizza place. But you go on a search, you can find 10s of pizza places like in, you know, five mile radius of our new house. A lot of those have really good reviews. How do you pick? Right, like, could be content, we ended up picking the one we picked because the owner was originally from Brooklyn. And that to us was, we were just like, he knows he understands what he says. Right. And that’s why we ended up going there. We loved it. And now that’s our place.
Adam Vazquez 22:58
Any story around that could have could have attracted you.
Maribel Lara 23:01
Exactly. Yeah. Right. Like if I was looking if like his website had been said, like Brooklyn born right, like out of the out of the streets of Brooklyn, like now providing pizza in Long Island, if I had seen that ad, right. Like, if you think about it, there’s I was searching a bunch of stuff related to the area. So there were definitely ways to find out that I was like new to the area, right? Like, that story would have gotten me there faster. But that’s how I decide where I’m going to go. That’s how most of us make decisions. We have endless amounts of choices these days. So for someone to think like the transaction itself doesn’t happen on that platform, because I sell pizza. And that means you need to go on my website and order it or you need to come to my store. But what you’re missing is like there’s this whole decision making process that takes place before the actual purchase. Right? I was bookmarking plate restaurants that I wanted to try before I even moved out here because we knew months before we move that we were moving here. Right? And a lot of that was based on what I came across on Instagram. Because what I did was a search for hashtags in my local area for like food on Long Island. And so guess what if you were a great restaurant in my area, but you didn’t have a presence on Instagram, you didn’t make my list?
Adam Vazquez 24:20
Yeah, even part yeah, not even part of the the options. I love how intentional you were about finding your pizza place. I mean, I’m the same exact way. Also, what’s funny is that so I grew up with Philadelphia pizza, which I know is not but it’s like northeast okay. And so now that I live in South Carolina, anything from like, Maryland up like if people are like yeah, we’re from Philly or we’re from Pittsburgh, or like I never eat Pittsburgh pizza growing up, but now I get so excited because at least there and you’re talking about being on Long Island, but you needed somebody from Brooklyn. So
Maribel Lara 24:55
you’re more specific, okay. All contextual.
Adam Vazquez 24:57
That’s good. I was gonna ask For some a case study or something to explain this idea, and that was like the pizza place did better than I think any any case study could. So thank you for sharing that. So I can’t let you out of here and especially on September and considering how we met without asking a little bit, by the way, didn’t Did we go to the Google Hispanic marketing summit together? I know Jesse Hutchison, and I went, but I can’t,
Maribel Lara 25:24
I can’t remember. Okay, I’m all that I’m I can’t remember that.
Adam Vazquez 25:29
I thought it was funny, because it was it was very good. And it was very helpful. But a lot of it was and this was a while ago, and I’m sure they’ve improved since then. A lot of it was how do we adapt the English version of whatever campaign for for a Hispanic audience. And something that I’ve noticed that I think is is great, and I just want to get your opinion on even just as a consumer is, so much of the content that’s coming out now is being personalized, not just for Hispanic audiences, but like, the in between, which is what I would consider myself where I have influences, I have verbiage and cultural things that I associate with the way I grew up. But I’m not fluent in speaking Spanish, I didn’t live in Puerto Rico or one of the islands or whatever. And still, with that, like niche case, they are providing I’m thinking of things like from Fukuro studios, and some things like that, where they have like English and Spanish. And I just was curious what you think a is driving some of that like that really, really refined personalization? And then secondly, again, not to go to like fully advanced, but how can how can the normal business think of I mean, Hispanic market is huge. So how can they think of starting finding ways to start engaging with that audience?
Maribel Lara 26:52
It’s a great question. And so multifaceted, right? So why, right? Like why care is sort of like the place I’d start. I believe this stat I saw yesterday, because there are always new stats around Hispanic Heritage Month, I believe this status, like Latinos, Latin X, Hispanics make up almost 18% of the population in the US. They are the fastest growing group, racial or ethnic group in the United States. They are the largest ethnic or racial minority in the United States. Is that true? No, that’s Asian Americans. They’re the second largest, I believe. They’re one of the largest, right, fastest growing, if the, I believe one of the biggest in terms of like entrepreneurship. Right, like actually growing business. There are just so many reasons to care, is what I’ll say.
Adam Vazquez 27:45
Yeah. That I think they’re one of the leading in mobile consumption when in using mobile devices, which I think is helpful. And and one of the leading in terms of I saw one, like, like you said, one of these stats that comes out, because it’s the month but something in terms of amongst minorities, they they spend a higher percentage of their budget than than others. So they’re, they’re a significant part of the economy, I think is kind of the point.
Maribel Lara 28:17
Absolutely. To your point, this is not about language, this is not a translation game. Right? This is about cultural relevance, and helping people connect to you right through content. And so really, what it’s all about is you ask the question, the question specific to the Latino Latina, Latina, ex Hispanic community, but really, it’s just a question in general about like, reflecting a variety of experiences, and backgrounds. You cannot do that. If you don’t have variety of experience at the table. Sure, in terms of when you are creating content, right, you’re just gonna miss stuff. Yeah, I would miss stuff, right. Like, as a person who was born and raised in New York City, and has lived there most of my life, if I was the only person reviewing content that’s for a national campaign or an organization that’s trying to establish themselves nationally, I would miss things for sure. Because I don’t really get the rural experience. I’m only recently understanding the suburban experience. I had never owned a home. So looking at anything in relation to like managing a home or navigating a home. I was not your best person. Yeah, it developed that kind of advertising, right. And so it’s really the same thing about experiences, like people are going to utilize your product or service in different ways. They’re going to connect with it in a variety of different ways or for different reasons, based on what their background is. And so the more that you can diversify the way that you tell that story, and also who you represent in your contract. content, the wider the appeal you’re going to have. And so to me, that’s really what it’s all about is like, who’s looking at your content, right? Like we have a tendency, when we hire as we grow teams. Naturally, we gravitate towards the people that are like us, right. But that’s actually not a great thing you should be looking to, like you absolutely want to connect with people, right? You absolutely want to find people whose working styles jive with your working styles, whose values are aligned with what the business’s values are, but you want them to bring something different to that table. And that different isn’t just skills, it’s also experience and background.
Adam Vazquez 30:42
Yeah, reminds me of I mean, a sports analogy would be like, you’re not going to have five point guards on the court at one time, you’re not going to have you whatever, you’re not have duplicate of the same position. unless it’s an emergency situation, you fall into that. But we often do do that with our, with all of our teams, but especially when it comes to our marketing and content teams, they can tend to be a little bit homogenous. So having some of that diversity and allowing some of that diversity of thought I think is for Hispanics or not just just allows you to have more range in
Maribel Lara 31:16
and it sends a message about like, like people feeling welcomed, right like that you want to work with folks like me, if I look at a business page, and the only customers I see there are customers that don’t look like me, then I question whether or not you’d want to work with somebody that looks like me. Sure, right? Like it’s we can’t control perception, but we can control what we put out there. Right. And so we can do our best to like actually reflect what our intentions are, what our values are. And sometimes folks don’t realize that because we’re just not looking we’re not intentional about looking for we’re not intentional about trying to reflect like the wide the wide variety of businesses or people that
Adam Vazquez 31:59
Yeah, and when you do get that I can have a small anecdote kind of around that. I think there’s a lot of times more similarity than then you think or you kind of stumble across similar threads that resonate across multiple groups. For instance, Chacho, validez, who you I think, you know, he works at backstage and his customer of ours for his new podcast. He put a tweet on a while ago, he wrote a tweet about tell me you are some of you grew up with immigrant parents without telling me you did. And and, like over half the responses had to do with vapor Vicks Vapor. And it wasn’t just Hispanic people, though, who were talking about it. That’s what surprised me. There was Asian people talking about there’s black people talking about it, there’s and so it was just like this funny thing that sort of transcended a bunch of different cultures. But if you didn’t have that mixture in the audience engaging on on that particular tweet, you might not have known that. Like, for instance, me, I was sure that that was my my grandmother’s thing like she was. So I was shocked when everybody else had had similar experiences. But that sort of talks to your point there there are these things that can be discovered that are either common or unique, but you won’t know unless you have the different voices sort of around the table there.
Maribel Lara 33:18
Yeah. And the last thing I’ll say about it, because it’s the point that you’re making, right? We had a Hispanic Heritage Month event yesterday. And we’re having this conversation around terminology, right. And the fact that like, not everyone identifies as Latinx, not everyone identifies as Hispanic, like there’s division in the community, right in the ethnic community about the term we use to describe ourselves. And where we ended that conversation was like, it doesn’t the term doesn’t matter, right? Like if you actually focus on the values, on the cultural values, that’s going to be more effective than you trying to figure out, do we say, Latina, Latina x, or Hispanics? In our advertising, because to your point, if you focus on the values, then that’s going to actually connect with that community, but also other communities or other identify identities that also have that value in common?
Adam Vazquez 34:10
Yeah, super powerful. Well, thank you so much, America, I think that’s a great spot to to wrap it up. I do have to ask you, because we kind of alluded to it earlier, but back on, on putting back your cmo marketing hat on for one of your small business clients. If you if you’re gifted $150,000 A modest budget to spend on on growth, content, marketing, etc. Where would you spend it and maybe on behalf of one of your clients or in tandem with them? Oh,
Maribel Lara 34:38
we see. We can’t talk about acting like a media company and not talking about hiring people. It really like the hurdle that most of my clients go through is like the creation of the actual content because it’s not what they do day to day. It’s not what comes naturally to them. And so, here’s the thing I’ll say it’s either people To help you with the content creation, like the pieces that don’t come naturally to you that it takes you a long time, and somebody who does it day in and day out would do it faster, or it’s hiring out to create more time for yourself to do it. Because I’ve also worked with founders who are like, I love doing that, right? Like I love capturing video, I want to be able to edit it, but I don’t have the time to do it. So then the conversation becomes, oh, let’s figure out what you can take off of your plate, so that you have more time to do that other things. So are you spending on on the time responding to emails or scheduling meetings? Well, then let’s get you a virtual assistant, who can take that stuff off your plate so that you have more time for content creation, but it’s usually time right, like we’re looking to buy time, and the only way to buy time is to bring on more people who can help create time for you, or take on some of the some things and provide value that
Adam Vazquez 35:52
no, that’s great, though I will use I think the unique part we haven’t heard the idea of replacing yourself in in other aspects of the business. I think that’s a great little wrinkle to it. And even for us, like I think if I can replace myself in the accounting and like edibles and all that sort of thing, I’d have a lot more time to do stuff like this. So makes total sense. Well, thank you so much about please, next time you’re you’re down south, let me know we’ll have more pancakes, but appreciate you coming and coming on with us.
Maribel Lara 36:21
Sounds good. Thanks for the conversation. Adam.
Carlton Riffel 36:24
Thank you so much Maribo for that great episode, this idea or this point that she made about valuing what your customers or your listeners actual needs, and once are over what you want to tell them. And I think this is one of the things that people have to be reminded of on a pretty consistent basis. Because our natural bent is to tell people what we want them to hear, not what they actually want to hear or need to hear. So as a business owner, as somebody who’s doing marketing, if you can take yourself, put yourself back in the customers shoes, I think we talked about this pretty often. But you can’t do it enough. Get in their shoes and ask what is it that they really need? And what is it that they really want right now from me that I can provide that’s valuable for them? And then tell them that not what you think they want to
Adam Vazquez 37:15
hear. Yeah, this is this is the whole idea when and I know he gets made fun of a lot. But when you see Gary Vee out there talking about how being empathetic or having empathy, that’s what he’s talking about, he’s being able to put on someone else’s situation. And and think through that in order to to navigate how you’re going to create content. And I think it’s almost humane in a lot of ways. Like if you’re inhumane, I’m sorry, if you are a just normal functioning human and you’re in a conversation, our bent is to already be thinking about what we want to say next, in order to whether it be prove a point or win an argument or make ourselves look better or whatever, like there’s all these different, and you have to remove yourself from that desire as a marketer, for any of those things. You have to be okay with not being right, you have to be okay with not winning the argument not even closing the piece of business, and just providing that pure value like to what you were just saying. And it’s a really difficult thing. I mean, it’s why when you see a great piece of content, you see a great piece of marketing and resonates because it is so rare, it doesn’t happen very often. I also really appreciated mera Bell’s approach and her the way that she talked about diversity and inclusion, I think it’s easy to talk about today I think are not easy, but it’s a it’s a frequent thing to talk about. And a lot of times the same things can just be said over and over and over again to the point where it’s white noise. And what what I appreciated about mera Bell’s approach specifically was just the very human approach. So it was less about like, how do we incorporate this group? And how do we incorporate that group? And it was more like how do we make our brand our content, this experience inclusive for all of the different groups and then thinking through those individually? Oh, that was really practical. And if you’re a business owner or a marketer, and you miss that, or you just kind of like skimmed through it, I would encourage you to listen through that section again, because it was so powerful and so practical for me in how we tell stories.
Carlton Riffel 39:15
Yeah, absolutely. I think a lot of that comes back to trust. If I’m looking at your marketing, and it’s not in my it doesn’t speak to my culture at all, or it doesn’t speak to who I am, then it’s going to be hard to trust what you’re saying. If I for the earlier point about what our customer wants. If you’re telling me something that I don’t really want to hear that’s not that helpful, then I’m not going to trust you as much so a lot of our marketing has to be centered around what can we do what can we say how can we present these ideas or these these selling points in a way that will gather trust instead of create a distraction or roadblock? Yeah, Adam for our Have you heard segment? What is it that you want to tell the people that you’ve heard lately? Yeah, sticky
Adam Vazquez 39:59
on brand with this particular episode, I want to give a shout out to another one of my Latino amigos Chacho. validez. So, Chacho is the he’s a principal of backstage capital. He is the chief of staff for Arlen at backstage and he is a client of ours at heard pods. So if you don’t follow Chacho specifically on Twitter, his handle is at Chacho, validez ch a CH O V A la Dee Zee. And the reason specifically that I’m telling you to follow Him is we obviously have some look into the future at what he’s working on. And he has a really cool project coming out later this year. So get ahead of the curve on that and follow Chacho.
Carlton Riffel 40:42
Awesome. So my Have you heard is actually a website builder. I think it’s getting to the point where there’s just so many website builders out there that it’s kind of a joke, but it’s called Doric heart kind of hard to remember not probably not a great name for advertising purposes, but D O R i k.com. And it’s like $36 a year, okay. And you get up to two domains with that custom domains that she can put with it. And then they’ve already got like, Stripe integration, a lot of different blocks that are easy to build with. So it’s
Adam Vazquez 41:19
their what’s their like? Like, if if Shopify is for retail folks, and Squarespace is for lazy people? What would you
Carlton Riffel 41:28
what would you say lazy and cheap people? Yeah. It’s got a similar feel responsive out of the box. So it’s got a similar feel a little bit to Squarespace, I’d probably say it’s easier to use and a little bit more simple than Squarespace. But yeah, I think another competitor of theirs would be like card car rd seen there. That’s, that’s more focused on single page websites. So this kind of takes it a step further, where you can have multiple pages and build out a little bit more complex a website than you’d have in card for about the same price. So Doric is $36 a year and has a lot of the features that you’d expect out of these builders that you’d pay a little bit higher monthly fee for. So
Adam Vazquez 42:08
that’s my so make sure you check out doric.com backslash Carlton for his special code, they’ll probably be a 404 error
Carlton Riffel 42:14
I need to start doing I need to check like our referral links for all these. So the show notes and click our special link and mention that you heard it from Adam. It’s alright. And you’ll get
Adam Vazquez 42:24
no no discount, but we might get something maybe yeah. But appreciate it again, Marvell coming on. I think this was a great episode, a different episode and a lot of ways and hopefully people will enjoy that. Listen, if you’ve listened to this point. And you have not, I mean, pause it. I mean, it’s over. So just stop listening to this episode, but go to Apple podcasts. Even if you’re not listening to Apple podcasts, go to Apple comm because they’ll take you two minutes, find our show contents for closers, and give us a five star review. We’re at 68 I cannot sleep until we get to 70 it’s just it’s just a thing I needed to be around number it’s bothering me. I’ve asked people on Twitter they are ignoring me so please you who are listening who feel that sense of guilt. Go and give me that five star review. I’ll be very appreciative of it, Carlson. Thanks for hanging out. I’ll see you next week. Hey,
Carlton Riffel 43:12