OREM, Utah, May 24, 2023 — To mark the commencement of OremFest 2023, RevRoad will host an impressive car show featuring an intriguing array of vintage and exotic cars at Scera Park in Orem. Notably, the company has extended a special invitation to the VIP Guests of Honor from Medallion Manor and TURN Community Services, which provide exceptional care for special needs adults in the local area. To ensure a memorable experience for the VIP Guests of Honor, they will be accompanied by the glamorous Miss Utah, along with Orem City Royalty, and local university cheerleaders.
In further celebration of the Orem community, the event’s sidewalks will be decorated with vibrant chalk by artists throughout the area. Guests will enjoy a good old-fashioned hot dog dinner (while supplies last) along with a variety of engaging children’s activities hosted by local businesses.
The RevRoad Rally has become an anticipated event at the mark of summer, attracting a community crowd of typically between 2,500–3,500 people. The RevRoad Rally is a chance for RevRoad team members and portfolio companies, Orem City community members, car owners, and attendees to come together and enjoy a night out. The RevRoad Rally is free to attend for anyone seeking a fun evening out.
The event will kick off OremFest on June 5th, 2023 at 6:00 pm and will conclude at 9:00 pm at Scera Park in Orem, Utah. All are welcome and encouraged to come enjoy the summer air and create wholesome memories with the community.
RevRoad is a venture services firm that focuses on helping entrepreneurs succeed. The company empowers portfolio companies to maximize profitability, get to market faster, and create a solid foundation for their venture by packing their team with experts for up to 24 months. RevRoad team members work shoulder-to-shoulder with founders of developing companies to provide everything they need to scale their business faster visit revroad.com to learn more and apply for the accelerator program.
Starting a business is an exciting, yet daunting task. It requires passion, hard work (grit), humility, and a market-validated, unique idea to get it off the ground. While it’s important to believe in your own abilities, having a mentor can actually protect and build your confidence as you navigate the ups and downs of entrepreneurship. The right mentor will be a wellspring of connections, guidance, support, and a sounding board for your ideas as well as your stresses.
At RevRoad, we value mentors in a huge way. In fact, at times they have made all the difference between startups falling stagnant and surging to profitability. In this article, we will explore the importance of finding a good mentor and building a strong relationship with them alongside your growing startup.
What Makes Someone a Mentor?
A mentor is an experienced and trusted advisor who provides guidance and support to someone less experienced. In the context of entrepreneurship, a mentor is someone who has already gone through the process of starting and building a business and can provide insights and advice on the challenges and opportunities that lie ahead. Many of our mentors have started and exited substantial companies, but regardless of whether your mentor has the bank account to show for it, what’s most important is a wealth and diversity of experiences to draw from, which will help steer the ship as you grow your company from napkin to NASDAQ.
Don’t be stressed by the grand introduction, however; great mentors can come from almost anywhere: a friend, a colleague, or someone you’ve met through networking.
Why is a Mentor Important?
Mentors are a valuable lifeline to founders who you normally see venturing into uncharted waters on the daily. While entrepreneurs have a reputation for being scrappy and adaptable, sometimes it takes outside experience, perspective, and other resources to really move the needle. Here are some of the reasons why having a mentor is important:
Experience – Veteran mentors have already gone through the process of starting and building a business themselves, and so they’ve certainly experienced many of the same challenges and obstacles that their mentee brings to them. Try to find a mentor that matches at least one of your specific needs or struggles; for example, one of our mentors, Spencer Hewlett, former CFO of Maverik, could help bolster your company’s financial well-being with his vast array of knowledge. The “firsthand” nature of lived experience like this makes a mentor’s advice more trustworthy and actionable compared to simply asking your loving mother for business tips.
Perspective – Since mentors don’t normally have financial ties to the success of their mentee’s business, they can provide a more objective point of view on tough startup situations. This is especially important if emotions have begun to cloud the entrepreneur’s thinking. As many of us know, it’s hard to keep a clear head when facing brand new challenges and your company is on the line.
Networking – A mentor can help you expand your network and introduce you to other entrepreneurs, investors, and industry experts. If you feel like too many doors are closed to you, having a mentor could be the key to opening opportunities you never thought possible, whether that be to new partners, investors, or even paying customers.
Accountability – Many mentors are known for (and even revered for) their candor, keeping track of their mentee’s goals and holding them accountable, pushing them to stay on track even when it’s uncomfortable. We probably all know one entrepreneur who has a penchant for siloing themselves from outside feedback—never experiencing the benefits of constructive criticism. Get them a mentor, stat!
Support – Starting and running a business is stressful and overwhelming at times, but a mentor can be there with emotional support and encouragement in the moments you need it most. They might not be registered, but they do frequently take on the role of therapist. 😆
How Can I Find a Mentor?
Finding a compatible mentor for you may seem like a difficult task, but it’s easier than you think. Here are four approaches you should consider when starting your search.
Network – Attend events and meetups related to your industry or business. Aside from meeting potential mentors themselves, this is also a great way to meet other entrepreneurs who could introduce you to even more options.
Social Media – Use social media to search for and break the ice with potential mentors. Follow them on Twitter or LinkedIn and engage with their content to put yourself on their radar and build a relationship with them over time. LinkedIn in particular is a useful tool when searching for mentors. Filter results by industry, job titles, and more; browse mutual connections; then once you’ve found a good match, reach out and ask them for a phone call, coffee, or even lunch!
Incubators and Accelerators – Many startup incubators and accelerators offer mentorship programs for their participants (see RevRoad’s program here). If you want a more structured mentorship process with well-vetted options, you should consider applying to get these exclusive benefits.
In conclusion, many entrepreneurs underestimate the impact that a caring mentor can make in the health of their company (and their own mental health as well!). Not only is finding the right mentor within reach for most founders—when it’s done right, the potential benefits far outway the effort. Personally, I have found the mentors in my life made the most impact when they pinpointed my own professional strengths and weaknesses, then helped me fill in those gaps.
Whether you’d consider yourself an entrepreneur or not, I encourage you to seek out mentors who you can add to your circle. Focus on building a trusting relationship, listen carefully to their advice, and don’t be afraid to lean on their expertise when the going gets tough. So what are you waiting for? Access to this entrepreneurship superpower is just a click or a phone call away.
Utah’s biggest Entrepreneur Competition features rising startups that will lead the future.
PROVO, Utah — RevRoad, a Utah business accelerator, today announced the 36 semi-finalists for the 6th semi-annual Entrepreneur Competition sponsored by Central Bank. The competition will be held at 10:00 AM on Saturday, March 25, 2023, at the Utah Valley University Keller Building. With $10,000 on the line, these companies are eager to showcase their businesses to Utah’s finest investors, mentors, and executives.
RevRoad is a venture services firm that focuses on helping entrepreneurs succeed. They empower portfolio companies to maximize profitability, get to market faster and create a solid foundation for their venture by packing their team with experts for up to 24 months. RevRoad team members work shoulder-to-shoulder with founders of developing companies to provide everything they need to scale their businesses faster. Visit revroad.com to learn more and apply for the accelerator program.
PROVO, Utah, March 13, 2023 – RevRoad, a venture services firm, is selected as one of Utah’s 100 Companies Championing Women as part of the Inspire In Utah initiative. This recognition is a testament to the company’s unwavering commitment to promoting gender diversity, inclusivity, and equity.
RevRoad’s Chief People Officer, Amy Caldwell, expressed her gratitude for the recognition, saying, “We are dedicated to empowering women and providing them with equal opportunities for growth and success. We firmly believe that a diverse and inclusive workforce and community are crucial for building a stronger and more resilient business ecosystem. We are honored to be selected as one of Utah’s 100 Companies Championing Women and remain committed to creating a work environment that fosters gender equality and diversity.”
RevRoad’s efforts to support women are evident in its numerous initiatives, including its paid family leave program, mentorship and sponsorship programs, and efforts to increase diversity in mid- and senior leadership roles.
Paid Family Leave. The company’s maternity leave policy offers six weeks of fully paid leave and an additional six weeks of partial pay for new mothers with 12 months of employment. The company also provides 100% funded HSA contributions and pays 100% of the insurance premium for each full-time employee on the company health insurance plan.
Mentor Programs. The company’s mentorship and sponsorship programs, led by Amy Caldwell and Emily Clinger, provide women entrepreneurs with mentorship, education, and other resources and opportunities throughout the state. Additionally, 35-40% of the company’s 67 portfolio companies are women-led.
Diversity in leadership roles and on boards. The company strives to increase diversity in mid- and senior leadership roles and implement initiatives to onboard portfolio companies with diverse leadership teams. Rachelle Morris, RevRoad Capital’s co-founder and managing director, is a fierce advocate for female founders, dedicating her career to advancing women to positions of senior leadership and power. The company’s board of 11 members includes two women
RevRoad is a venture services firm that focuses on helping entrepreneurs succeed. The company empowers portfolio companies to maximize profitability, get to market faster, and create a solid foundation for their venture by packing their team with experts for up to 24 months. RevRoad team members work shoulder-to-shoulder with founders of developing companies to provide everything they need to scale their businesses faster. Visit revroad.com to learn more and apply for the accelerator program.
For all those last minute shoppers, it’s time to find the perfect holiday gift for all the meaningful people in your life. We’ve compiled a list of specialty products within the RevRoad portfolio that just might pique your interest. Here, we’ll explore 10 unique gifts to match each personality in your life be it a friend, relative, coworker, or significant other.
Our gift guide includes tech, food, books, clothing, and even educational courses, while still accommodating a wide variety of budgets! Let us take the gift shopping stress off your shoulders with these unforgettable gift ideas that also support local Utah entrepreneurs.
Still searching for the perfect gift for the gun fanatic of the family? Help them keep their collection in pristine condition by giving the gift of protection. Bone Dri’s gun cases are designed to remove any and all moisture on or inside the weapon, while also preventing any more from creeping in. Simply place the compromised gun inside the case before bed, then unwrap a perfectly dry weapon the next morning—just like Christmas! Even the deepest, most seeped-in moisture doesn’t stand a chance. Keeping firearms in good condition is not only essential to the gun’s functionality, but it also increases safety for the user. Check out the various cases and styles on their website here.
This gift is for the soda lover, energy chugger, and sports drink enthusiast. Bobelo’s delicious drink mix gives you all the flavor and bubbles you want from a soda, but with better hydration, better nutrition, and none of the guilt. Each Bobelo pouch is sweetened with stevia leaf instead of sugar, and packed full of vitamins and electrolytes—keeping families hydrated and energized all year long. Plus, their small and portable drink packs make for perfect stocking stuffers! View flavors and recipes on their website here.
This gift is for anyone looking to experience the outdoors with confidence. It’s hard to go wrong when you grant the gift of knowledge. CRUX offers many courses on outdoor activities for the season, such as backcountry skiing and avalanche preparedness, as well as fly fishing, living the van life, climbing, mountain biking, and more. Crux Academy delivers an excellent learning experience from the world’s most accomplished outdoor athletes and thought leaders to empower anybody’s outdoor experience. View courses and get more information at their website here.
These scrubs provide comfort and style to the medical worker in your life. ALTA Brand has innovated on the classic look and designed something with performance and comfort in mind, down to the very last stitch. With 4-way comfort flex, antimicrobial Silvadur™ lining, strategic pocket placement, and a modern, trendy design, this scrub uniform is flexible, comfortable, and practical for both men and women. Give a gift they’ll love wearing every day! Shop all ALTA Brand products on their website here.
Be the spark that ignites creativity in someone you love. With a Sentient membership, anyone can unlock their creative potential by experiencing a master firsthand. Dive into the mindset, techniques, and inspiration behind dozens of award-winning artists as they journey from canvas to masterpiece. While other courses circle around subjects with no real substance, Sentient has cut out the fluff to make better artists faster. Whether that special someone is a doodler, sketcher, painter, or designer, Sentient will help them reach higher and find their fire. Bring the joy with a single course pack or a subscription to their vast catalog of lessons and demos. See their full course list and plans here.
Have you ever been navigating through an unknown city when your cellphone dies? Nobody carries around paper maps these days, so how can you be expected to find where you’re going without your travel companion apps? Give the gift of portable power so that the traveler in your life will never be stranded with their battery on 1%. Let the most compact, long-lasting portable battery on the market jump-start their phone, laptop, camera, or other technology, in preparation for the next leg of the adventure! View battery packs, portable solar panels, and carriers on the Elios website here.
Putting a healthy dinner on the table every night continues to be one of the biggest stresses for busy parents. Give the gift of stress-free cooking with a subscription to Prepear! The receiver of your gift will enjoy step-by-step cooking with a thoughtfully-designed recipe interface to help them save time, eat healthier, and cook creatively. They get access to unlimited meal plans and grocery lists that take the stress and planning out of meal preparation. It’s the gift that keeps on giving! Learn more at Prepear’s website here.
There’s always at least one person in the family who wants to take photos of everything—every outing, every meal, every road-side flower. It’s time they experience Persnickety Box. Each month, Persnickety will print 30 of their favorite photos, which they deliver in a beautiful, eco-friendly keepsake box. What could be more memorable than a gift that helps preserve cherished memories! Plus, it’s so easy to get started! View all printed products on Persnickety Box’s website here.
Customizable books are just what they sound like: books that are customizable! Have you ever read a children’s book and thought, “This sounds like my child!” Cedar Fort made it possible for parents to bring that dream to life by transporting children into their very own book! A perfect and exciting gift for children to receive on Christmas day, a personalized book is the kind of gift a child would keep for the rest of their life. View all published products on Cedar Fort’s website here.
Did you know that studies have shown your phone’s surface contains 10 or more times the bacteria as your average toilet seat? Thankfully, PhoneSoap’s UV-C technology will sanitize your phone after you’re done scrolling TikTok from the porcelain throne. Compatible with all smartphones, these sanitizing pods kill 99.9% of germs on hand-held devices. Maybe you’re the biggest germ spreader of the home, or maybe it’s your partner, but no matter who’s been skipping their handwash singalongs, having a PhoneSoap around can help make everyone healthier and safer this holiday season and beyond! Shop all UV-C sanitation products on PhoneSoap’s website here.
And there you have it—10 amazing gifts to fit all the different personalities in your life! We’ve used these items ourselves, and we absolutely love them! By adding unique and memorable gifts like these under the tree this year, you’re not only guaranteed to stand out, but you’ll also be supporting Utah entrepreneurs.
“We’re starting a podcast!” said just about everyone during the pandemic. Podcasting has taken the world by storm in the last few years, some projecting over a half-billion listeners by 2024. During a period of uncertainty amid a worldwide pandemic, people searched for new ways to connect with the world. For some, podcasting helped fill that gap. So what’s the deal with this magic medium?
For starters, the surprisingly simple format of podcasts capitalizes on inefficiencies within traditional media, such as TV’s high attention requirement. Easy-listening podcast episodes, in contrast, are a great option for spicing up the menial tasks in our lives, like the morning commute, household chores, or waiting in lines. They also give access to authentic, real-world conversations on hyper-specific topics you might not find on your favorite streaming platform. And I think I saved the best part about podcasts for last: they’re almost always free.
I’m sure most of you reading this have at least considered starting a podcast of your own. If you’re thinking now’s the time to take that leap, here are some things to consider before you lay down a few hundred bucks for a new mic.
Step 1: Who is your audience?
If you’ve ever recorded a video of yourself, you probably know that without an audience, you’re just speaking to a computer screen. That’s why it’s important to understand who is going to tune in before you turn on that webcam or microphone.
For many subjects, your audience is a natural extension of the topic. Want to start a podcast about rock climbing? Your target audience will probably consist of rock climbers. But let’s say you’re breaking into the true crime genre—who will your audience be then? Hopefully the answer isn’t criminals; so in those cases you may need to do a bit of research to discover how many potential listeners are in your market, and just how many competitors have already saturated the space (in the case of true crime, the answer to both of those questions is a lot). Whatever your topic, it’s important you build a connection with your audience and understand how they think, then make content that’s relevant to them. When RevRoad and CBVault teamed up to launch The Midnight Founders Podcast, entrepreneurs and founders were the obvious choice.
Remember that most audiences also appreciate consistency, and it will help you too. If your followers can depend on a certain time of the week for a release, it’s easier to work your content into their schedules so they can make a habit of listening on a regular basis! Also, if you record at the same time each week, it’s much easier to coordinate schedules, invite guests in advance, and make preparations than if you’re just playing it by ear. For our podcast, we followed this advice carefully—recording every Wednesday afternoon and launching a previous episode that same midnight (an ode to our title). You might say we have distribution down to a science!
Step 2: What makes your podcast unique?
There were over 4 million podcasts as of March 2022 as identified by The Podcast Index. When anyone with an internet connection and a microphone (and yes, that includes many pairs of Apple earbuds) can start their own podcast, how do you expect to stand out from the crowd? This isn’t a question you can simply glance over during the planning phase—you need a hook to get people to listen. Don’t expect to replicate the strategies of big name podcasters and draw the same kinds of crowds within the year. Think of something that no one else has.
For some, that hook is exclusive guests who won’t speak to just anyone. Other podcasters concentrate on information or stories that have flown under the radar. However, what seems to be a popular hook that keeps listeners coming back for more is personality, the general feel that the hosts and guests exude. The right tone will draw out an emotional response in your viewers, whether that be rolling on the floor laughing, sitting on the edge of their seat, or lost in a sea of ideas.
On The Midnight Founders, our hook has always been focusing on founder stories, startups deep in the building phase of their lifespan, as opposed to those who have already achieved their financial goals. That way, we get to give and receive advice related to real startup experiences with those who are living it, down in the trenches of entrepreneurship life.
When users can really resonate with your podcast’s tone, it even becomes possible for your viewership to feel connections to people they’ve never met. Thanks to our “Where can we find you?” segment, we’ve had cases of our audience reaching out to our guests to take those connections into the real world. We’d recommend taking a similar approach at the end of each episode, letting your guest share their favorite platforms and build their audience as a thank you for being on the show.
Step 3: What form of podcast will you make?
Many people are surprised when they find out that some of the most downloaded podcasts in the world are long…like really long. The #1 Podcast in the world, The Joe Rogan Experience, frequently releases episodes that exceed 3 hours in length. And his podcast isn’t an outlier either; it’s not uncommon for other podcast fans to sit through two, three, or even four hour sessions in their entirety.
However, the question is whether long-format podcasts are right for you as you’re starting out.
Here are a few questions you should ask yourself before diving straight into a three-hour session:
Can you keep people engaged long enough to take on a longer format, or should you play it safe with content that’s short and sweet?
When it comes to stories, many people like shorter, more digestible segments that mimic television formats they’re normally used to. If you’re having a conversation, also remember that it’s a lot easier to go completely off the rails within a three-hour block than it is in just 45 minutes.
On The Midnight Founders, my co-host Jake McHargue from CB Vault and I decided to aim for around 40 minutes per episode so they could easily fit within a daily commute. We’ve found that this length is long enough to cover the meat of our various topics, while short enough to remain interesting and on-topic throughout.
Do you have a team prepared to record for long stretches? Is your guest willing to sit down for three hours straight?
Pay close attention to the resources you have at your disposal and avoid spreading yourself too thin, especially if you’re going it alone. Prepping for long-format podcasts obviously takes much more time than short-form episodes, so be ready for a hefty time commitment on- and off- record if you’re going for full-feature content, and don’t expect every guest to forfeit their entire afternoon for you.
Audio or video?
When choosing a format, either video or audio alone, don’t overlook the cost of video equipment. In order to capture high-quality video at a flattering angle, you may need new cameras, tripods, lighting, or even a videographer/editor to ensure the recording is smooth. You also need to start a YouTube channel or other platform to house and play these larger video files. And lastly for video, you must consider whether your host has the charm you’re looking for. Many people freeze up when they know they’re on camera, while audio is much less intimidating, leading us to our next point.
Step 4: Who is going to host it?
So you and your buddy are thinking of starting a podcast together, but can’t decide who should be the host. Maybe you’re both equally outgoing and want to take up the mantle, or both equally shy and can’t decide who to pass the buck to. Then you get an idea: what if you both bite the bullet and host the podcast together?
While the world of podcasting is filled with tons of multi-host programs, keep in mind your coordination must be on point to really pull this one off. Without proper preparation, it’s easy for hosts to accidentally interrupt or talk over one another, leading to either one personality dominating the conversation or just total chaos and narrative dissonance. Even Jake and I found this balance tricky at first. One of us would often ask a question that led the conversation in a totally different direction than the other was planning. While we eventually found our groove, it’s up to you to decide if the benefits of co-hosting outweigh the difficulties. You could even try using a single host and switch off until you find the best fit for the position. Then after more practice, you could consider joint hosting.
Step 5: What is your podcast’s “personality”?
As mentioned earlier, many podcasters rely on a unique personality to keep listeners coming back for more, week after week. But how do you discover your podcast’s personality before you’ve even started? You can’t just turn on your mic and wing it, can you? While many podcasts “find their voice” through trial and error, moving toward what feels best over time, it’s smart to go in with a game plan and an atmosphere you want to foster on set.
First, consider your subject matter and shoot for a mood that coincides with the topic. You probably don’t want to be cracking jokes during a serious discussion about history’s most brutal dictators.
Second, prepare a set of questions to ask your guests beforehand, especially when you’re just starting out. This may sound obvious, but it’s easy to forget your notes sheet at home, and you don’t want to be coming up with all your discussion topics on the fly; trust me.
Third, while I recommend keeping your notes sheet close, it’s also important to venture off the script when it feels right. Listeners can tell and are normally turned off when an episode feels forced or unnatural. Guests will open up more and often give their best material when the tone is conversational as opposed to a Q&A.
Finally, it’s helpful to have a set question that you ask your guest at the close of each episode. The audience and guests who know your podcast will cling to that consistency every week. Several questions include:
“What has your success allowed you to do?”
“What is one nugget of advice you’d give other entrepreneurs?”
“What is the craziest thing you’ve ever done as a founder?”
The question we ask each time is, “What makes you a midnight founder?” which ties into our theme nicely. We get some crazy, funny, and heartfelt stories thanks to this question.
It’s Launch Time
At long last. The podcast is ready and you have some nice mp3 or mp4 files just waiting to hit the world wide web. But wait. How do you make your podcast launch go off without a hitch? Don’t worry, we’ve got some tips for you there too!
Finding good guests is hard, especially when you have yet to prove yourself as a good podcaster. Start with personal contacts you already have a report with to get the ball rolling.
Identify your main team behind the camera (or audio equipment) while scheduling each episode, not five minutes prior to recording. You don’t want to have your guest sitting there waiting for your team to show up.
Make sure you choose a solid hosting platform to distribute your episodes. We use Podbean and highly recommend it. Some other options are BuzzSprout, Libsyn, and Anchor.
Be patient; getting your podcast approved by Spotify and Apple Podcasts can take one or two days, and in some cases even longer.
We know you’re anxious to get listed and watch the viewers pile in, but hold up. Build up at least 12 episodes before launch. If you want to maintain that consistency I mentioned earlier, you’re going to need some buffer room so you’re not scrambling to record each and every week to remain on schedule.
Before hitting publish, put some thought into a detailed intro for each episode so listeners can preview your content before they play.
There you have it! Everything you need to know to start building your podcast. We can’t wait to see what’s in store for your big launch!
Marketing teams. Some people love them, some people don’t. But every company needs one—even if it’s just one person. Whether you’ve got a team in house or are looking for an agency (or a partner like RevRoad) to be in charge of your marketing efforts, you can’t do it in the dark. Thousands of marketers throughout the years have studied and tested effective marketing strategies, and many have put together concrete plans just waiting to be executed. We’ll go ahead and call these marketing processes.
The Many Faces of the Marketing Process
One of the most difficult aspects of starting a new marketing team is deciding on the process you want to use to carry out your marketing strategy. Of course, what most people are looking for is the “best marketing process” but an ill-advised Google search into the topic will no doubt lead you down a rabbit hole of salespeople looking to sell you “the next big thing.” “Triple your leads!” “10x your Revenue!” “Live on a yacht like me in just six weeks.” When it comes to increasing your marketing productivity, it feels impossible to separate the wheat from the chaff, the gimmicks from the real insight.
In reality, finding that sweet spot with a marketing process requires a lot of trial and error. This is the exact route that the RevRoad marketing team has taken since its inception in 2017. Of course, we weren’t lucky enough to land on the right marketing process from the get go, so we had to experiment for the first few years. For every new methodology we adopted, we uncovered gaps the marketing team wasn’t quite filling for clients and new needs we wanted to satisfy. We tested marketing concepts from across the spectrum, some we ended up appreciating and others we wanted to avoid.
Contrary to what the aforementioned YouTube wizards might tell you, every marketing method has its own strengths and weaknesses, and in our line of work we need to be very picky with the framework we use. That’s because these marketing processes aren’t just for us. We progress through these steps alongside our clients, because the best marketing teams don’t work instead of you, they work with you! For that reason, it’s essential we take our client’s needs into high consideration, oftentimes even above our own preferences.
Before we began this rigorous search for the right process, a few things needed to happen to get us off on the right foot. First, our teams needed to be well delineated. Though we frequently work together, the RevRoad marketing and video teams would stay separate entities. That way we could easily break up the workload required for each service, and keep projects on course without trying to make everyone a “jack of all trades.” We understood from the very beginning the value of specialized professionals for each aspect of marketing.
Second, we needed consistent feedback from our clients so we could improve on the process over time, or to know when things just weren’t working out with the current methodology. We asked “What do startups want in a marketing team?” Without asking that question, it would be easy to get distracted by a strategy we loved, even when clients hated it.
And thus we began our journey to find the perfect marketing method.
Act I: The Pragmatic Marketing Method
Our first destination involved getting certified in the Pragmatic framework, a grid where marketing deliverables are organized from the stages of Strategy to Execution. Despite all the study, we quickly realized that it just didn’t work for our clients: young companies who needed a simpler system for starting out. What works for Apple may not work for startups at RevRoad.
The problem: too complicated.
Act 2: SOSTAC
Our next stop was to incorporate the famous SOSTAC method. If you’re not familiar, this acronym stands for: situation, objectives, strategy, tactics, action, and control. These six pillars were very comprehensive, which we loved, but once again, the length turned us off. This infographic should give you an idea of just how much is covered by these six topics.
While the total time commitment of this process was a bit daunting for both us and our clients, the biggest drawback is that it still didn’t cover some of the branding, website, and PR activities we commonly engage in.
The problem: too lengthy, and didn’t cover some concepts that were most important to us
Act 3: Primal Branding
Following the SOSTAC, we paid a quick visit to Primal Branding, which was interesting to say the least. It’s a system of giving your brand more personality, using distinct messaging to generate word of mouth and transform your brand into a belief system. As intriguing as the cultish undertones were, this system ended up being very flowery and high-level, not concrete enough for us in its application.
The problem: too theoretical and overly complex.
Act 4: StoryBranding
Starting to feel the effects of our maiden voyage, we stumbled upon the StoryBrand method. Based on the book Building a StoryBrand by Donald Miller, this framework focuses on two market groups you need to look out for: heroes and champions. At this point in our journey, we already recognized many of the drawbacks we wanted to avoid, and could point several out in the StoryBrand. Here we saw the complexity of Pragmatic, the unnecessary fluff from the Primal, and the lack of certain inputs we remembered from the SOSTAC method all wrapped into one. Ouch. Thanks to some consulting sessions to help us understand the method better, we knew we were headed the right direction, but all those hours spent in meetings only succeeded in proving this just wasn’t the process for us.
The problem: too complex, took too long, and was lacking certain important inputs.
Act 5: RevRoad’s Custom Three Phase Onboarding System
A true collaboration between the marketing and video teams, our team members developed this idea by taking inspiration from the Marketing Made Simple Framework by Donald Miller (the same author from the StoryBrand method!) and Dr. J.J. Petersen.
We loved the framework because it honed in on something very important to us: simple, yet comprehensive marketing. We began focusing on easy-to-digest questions, carefully laid out in a Google Form and standardized to work with any company and for any marketing service. Since we do it all here at RevRoad, these questions undoubtedly had to cover each of the main pillars of the modern marketing journey: branding, messaging, web design, social media, paid ads, and PR/promotion.
While we tout this process as streamlined and less painful than some of the other methods, our new process can by no means be completed overnight. We usually spend three to four meetings collaborating over the course of a month, all the while maintaining a constant back-and-forth communication between meetings to fine tune and narrow in on each answer.
We collect the input we get from clients, as well as our team’s insights, into three distinct Phases of Brand Development. First, who you are and what you do. Second, who your customer is and why they should be interested. And finally, what channels you need to use to communicate what you do to the people who will listen.
X Marks the Spot
It may have taken a long time for the RevRoad marketing team to get to this point, but the journey and the destination were both well worth it. Not only did we land on a process that molded to meet our needs better than anything else could, we also learned A LOT during the process.
Cater to the size of your client companies. Lots of these methodologies work very well for grand enterprises in the process of scaling, but fall short for those still trying to find their identity. We needed something that works great with the drawing board, because a lot of times, small startups need a blank canvas and an Expo marker to just go wild.
Founders can sometimes be a little impatient (of course we’re not talking to you! We’re talking about the other founders…). We needed something that they could make progress on quickly, not something that felt like it required perfection. If you’re asking a founder 50 questions about their brand, and their answer to half of these questions is “I don’t know” then you understand our pain.
Questions should have well-defined limits. Some founders can get a little long-winded with their responses (once again, not you *wink*), while forgetting that their customers don’t often have the attention spans to read a 5-page paper on their product. Clear and concise responses is the name of the game here.
We needed wiggle room. Every time a client fills out these forms, a new, working document is formed, giving us the freedom to write down rough ideas to start, then brainstorm and make all the changes we want later. While every answer might not give us perfect, world-shattering insights, they definitely lay the groundwork for the bigger questions that will certainly come later on.
As you probably all guessed from the beginning, the perfect method doesn’t really exist, but what you can find is the perfect method for you. Everyone is different and every marketing team is different, which means the method that works for us might not work for your situation and vice versa. However, one thing is for sure, when you’re first starting out, it’s important to give yourself time to try, fail, and modify your way to your own unique marketing method.
Be flexible. Partner with clients who are willing to give feedback to help you improve, because when your marketing process gets better, so do the marketing deliverables they receive. And finally, never lose sight of the basics; with the attention spans of our clients’ customers shrinking every year, it’s becoming easier to get lost in an ocean of messaging. Never forget: simplicity is your friend.
“Simplicity and clarity is the ultimate sophistication.” —Aristotle
If you have a scalable company that you need help growing, we’d love to get to know you. You can apply to join our portfolio via https://apply.revroad.com/.
On October 6, 2022 Brent Allgood claimed the seat on RevRoad’s blue couch at RevUniversity. Brent is the CEO and Founder of Adaptive Workshops, a local startup that uses virtual reality (VR) to facilitate team building workshops for employees seeking to strengthen communication and engagement.
BUILDING EMPLOYEE ENGAGEMENT
According to Brent, there are mountains of research regarding employee engagement. Data shows that about one-third of employees are actively engaged in the office, and approximately 51% of employees are disengaged.
“They are simply there to exchange time for a paycheck. If something happens, their response is usually, “That’s not my problem.”
At Adaptive Workshops, Brent and his team seek to foster more engagement in employees to be more actively involved—not only in their work tasks but also in the company culture.
“The whole point of having employees and a team in business is so you don’t have to do it alone. We are social creatures. People want to be with their friends and do things with their friends. They want to be in an office space where they have great company culture.”
Brent Allgood, Adaptive Workshops
What do you actually do to build that culture?
HOW VR WORKSHOPS BUILD TEAM CULTURE
Within the Adaptive Workshop’s VR team building workshop for employees, teams work together to protect their fortress from ogre and dragon intruders. Standing at their post, each team member aims their bow and arrow at the approaching enemies.
Brent chose to use VR as the medium for his workshop for two primary reasons. The first reason, he explained, is that people want to learn by doing—not by being told what to do.
Consider it this way. How did you learn to swim? Do you go to a classroom where a teacher showed you how to move your arms and legs, and then you knew how to swim? No. You got into the pool, experienced the water, and move your body around to learn what it feels like to swim.
People don’t want to learn by someone telling them what to do. We learn by doing. And that is why VR is an ideal medium for team communication workshops.
“We use VR similar to how I would teach you to swim, but instead we are teaching about communication. Rather than me coming into your workspace and saying, “You need to communicate with your team,” I’m going to put you in a VR experience. You naturally want to perform well in the game, and you can’t do well unless you are communicating. That is why we use VR as a tool to get teams to come together, communicate, understand who is good at what and then further develop those roles.”
Brent Allgood, Adaptive Workshops
The second reason is because it is fun! VR provides an environment for teams to come together, let their hair down, and have some fun together—within a structured workshop to help them bond. You are bonding in the foxholes so that when you come together in the office the next day, you’re ready to work together.
WHO THE WORKSHOP IS FOR
This team building workshop for employees is ideal for teams and companies who are changing rapidly.
It often takes companies months of even years to fully integrate a new employee into the team. By doing the Adaptive Workshops exercise, new employees can be integrated within half a day. The workshop can build that comradery very quickly but unveiling communication needs, identifying individual strengths, and developing friendships within a game environment.
If team members are unwilling to say, “I need help,” or, “What can I do for you?” during the workshop, they can take those communications skills back to the workplace to increase teamwork dynamics.
ADVICE TO ENTREPRENEURS
Brent shared his five pieces of advice to other entrepreneurs.
Figure out exactly what is you want to do, but don’t be afraid to make changes
Jeremy and Kristin Andrus took the stage at RevUniversity on September 1, 2022. As husband and wife, business partners, and parents, they shared their experiences building culture in business and at home. Jeremy is the President and CEO of Traeger Grills and Kristin is a fierce advocate for ending Period Poverty through her #SisterGoods campaign.
This couple divides and conquers together while turning challenges into growth. They are impacting their business and communities while raising 6 children. Read on to learn more about how they create balance in their crazy, busy lives.
Jeremy and Kristin believe that culture is the backbone of any thriving business. Jeremy said, “People won’t give more than their job unless they buy into the culture of the business.” The five cultural values at the heart of Traeger’s culture are:
Done done done. Believe in delivering quality to a customer.
Test kitchen mentality. The best organizations build a team of people who believe in getting better.
No reservations. We thoughtfully respect a customer in all of our touch points.
Stand in the fire. Good companies are born from risk-taking. Be willing to take smart risks.
Cook together. We want low-ego teams and people who are easy to work with. Rather than dictators for leaders, we want “servant leaders” that will help instead of just control. We want a team of people to show up and elevate others.
Part of creating the wanted culture in a business is hiring. In the beginning of Traeger, Jeremy said he interviewed, “99% of the first 400 people we hired.”
“I view a CEO’s role first and foremost as filtering and protecting culture.”
Jeremy Andrus, Traeger Grills
He demonstrated a long-term focus as he filtered people based on culture and values in order to build a culture that would allow Traeger to succeed in the business environment.
Philanthropy and fighting for a cause
Kristin actively fights for the rights of women in her community and around the world. Kristin is a board member for UnDEfeated, an organization that serves underprivileged youth and single mothers in Uganda. She is also an Instagram influencer and uses her platform to raise money for menstrual care products for women and girls all throughout Utah.
“When women use their voices and their resources and their talents and their energy— then we are the change.”
Kristin Andrus, Community Champion
Kristen highlighted the communities that Traeger supports such as Roots High School in West Valley City, Utah, and various other food advocacy groups throughout the state. Traeger believes that food brings people together to make meaningful connections—so what better way to get involved than to help diminish food poverty?
Kristin reminded all in attendance that you do not need to have money in order to make a difference. You can give your time and talents to help lift others around you—whether in a formal setting or simply serving in your own neighborhood.
Jeremy and Kristin both talked about work-life balance and the importance of spending enough time in each of the areas. Jeremy explained that he has a time that he leaves the office and is done with work every single day. He said that it “forces me to prioritize my day.”Kristin acknowledges that many women experience internal conflict knowing that they cannot be at home with their children and serving in the community at the same time. There is always a trade-off. She has learned that everyone needs to “create their balance,” and to remember that both things are fulfilling and worthwhile.
We are so grateful for Jeremy and Kristin and their willingness to share their ideas and experiences as business owners and philanthropists making a difference in the lives of countless individuals!