Everything is marketing and marketing is everything. Confusing? Yes. So let’s break that down into 8 helpful tips for beginners to pros.

After the success of the first “Everything is Marketing and it’s complicated AF” panel, Volta had the pleasure of having Katelyn Bourgoin, India White, and Ashley LeCroy back in to speak again, this time adding Digital Marketer, Ross Simmonds to the panel. Together they talked about what is marketing and what is its role in different businesses, and of course answered some of your burning questions.

Listen to the whole panel here:

Here we break down marketing into 8 helpful, must know, tips to give you a head start when you’re lost in the world of marketing.  


1. What is marketing and what is the role?

Ashley – Marketing is now more of a culture, not just a department. It is everything from greeting customers to making phone calls.

India – It is important for a company to have growth meetings, including the marketing team. Get feedback from your customers and integrate it across the entire company. Don’t just use it as the thing that promotes you.

Ross – From a fundamental level, marketing is our ability to influence the perception of our brand, through tools and techniques, which can lead to meaningful measurable results for a business.

Katelyn – Marketing is not just about getting customers, it’s about creating demand for your product. Marketing is something that should be integrated into every step, making sure customers have an amazing first experience with your product, making sure they are sharing it with other people and staying active users.


2. So where do you start?

India – You can’t figure out what strategy or tactics to use without first doing customer discovery, market intelligence, and talking to people to find out exactly who your customers are. Find out the personas in your market, where do they exist, what are they interested in, and what problems do you solve for them?

Katelyn – Most likely, you have multiple types of customers within your company. If you sell to them in all the same way, it’s all going to sound the same. Identifying a persona is thinking, ‘okay who do I sell to and what matters to them and how do I speak specifically to them?’ You’ll start to see a pattern in who you are selling to and then create specific communications for them. Talk to all your customers and you’ll see that they fall into different buckets. They all value your product but what drives them will be different. Your customers want to be talked to as an individual and knowing that persona will help you. If you’re a young company you won’t have the resources to market to multiple personas. Identify the high value customer and focus on them.

Ross – When thinking of who you’re targeting and you’re trying to reach them, don’t only think about the direct communication with them, think about their influences as well. Websites, events, podcast, they all influence us. When you think about your audience think about the influences that persuade their buying decision.

3. Is there a single moment when you know you found your customer?

Ross – Look at who gave you the fewest headaches, who didn’t need a lot of hand holding, who had the highest profit margins, who was able to use your product, run with it, get the most value out of it, send you the emails saying they love it. Those are the ones you lock down on and if you get a few of those people in a sector you start to know who your customers are and it makes it easier for you.


4. How do you market pre-product market fit?

India – Talk to your customers. Is your product useful to them? Does it solve their problem? Understand the industry and talk to the industry.

Katelyn – Know how your audience like to be contacted. Millennials won’t necessarily like a phone call, some prefer texting, so capitalize on your audience.

Ross – To be an entrepreneur, you need to be comfortable with being uncomfortable to get your name out there. Invest in the time to learn about marketing and understand it, then put in the work. Send direct messages even if you don’t want to.


5. How is marketing changing?

Ross – Marketing is going back to the old ways where people know who you are, it’s not just about the big fancy ads anymore. People are becoming more personable. We want to be spoken to like humans not robots.

India – The power has shifted away from the companies. Trust is now a huge thing. Our audience will talk to other people and read reviews before they trust a big billboard.

Ashley – Humanizing communication. Sometimes we get lost in speaking to the masses so making sure people feel like you are connecting with them and that they don’t feel like they are just one of many.

6. How do you see the future of video in marketing?

Ross – Right now, video is interruption-based but I think it’s going to be more value-based in the future. Far into the future, I think we’ll start talking about the virtual reality and augmented reality experiences. I don’t think video is solely the focus of the future. Audio is taking off, podcasts are growing, written word, people are reading more content because of the devices in our pocket.

India – Our attention span is shrinking and video is a way to grab it. The easier it becomes to create the content, the more we are going to see it in the marketing mix.  

Katelyn – Some people are too impatient to watch a video, you need to catch them in the first few seconds. Audio is a huge opportunity. Facebook is making moves now by releasing live audio. If you want to get in early on with what’s going to be the next big thing in terms of being paid to produce content, it’s going to be Facebook. But remember your audience and know how they want to consume content.


7. What is the best advice you would give?

Ross – First you should understand fundamentally what makes good content and understand the three e’s – engaging content, educational content, entertaining content. Once you know that, move from ‘content is everything’ to ‘distribution is everything’. Once you hit publish on Facebook, your job is not done, now it’s time to distribute.

India – 20% of your marketing should be experimentation. So stay on top of trends but don’t get too caught up in them. Know what works for you and your audience. Don’t change what works for you because someone says it’s the right thing to do.

Ashley – Keep marketing engaged earlier rather than later. There are so many opportunities to market while building your product.

Katelyn – Talk to your customers, no matter how big or small. You’re never past that stage. You’re biased because you love your product, but when you talk to your customers you find out the things they love and value. It could be completely different than what you were marketing as a feature or benefit.


8. Where can we find you and what blogs would you suggest to check out for more info on marketing?

Ross – rosssimmonds.com, moz, seo space, ahrefs, buffer

India – indiawhite.co

Katelyn – katelynbourgoin.com, coschedule

Ashley –  Ashley LeCroy on LinkedIn


So while marketing is everything, it’s manageable. Know what works for you and your customers and you’re already off to a great start.

“If you give value to the world, you’ll get value back,” says Ross.

Remember this when you are trying to market your product. You believe in your product and, of course, you want other people to believe and love it too. Show that value through marketing, listen to your audience, and in return you’ll get that value back.

Make sure to stay up to date with all the events that are held at Volta by checking out the website and giving a like on Facebook.

Happy marketing!


Ross Simmonds

“I’m passionate about technology, the future, good people, good coffee and storytelling. I write about a wide range of topics that interest me and teach people how to use content, social media and storytelling to achieve their business goals. As an entrepreneur, I often write about the highs and lows of entrepreneurship along with the lessons I’ve learned over the last few years.

I’m the founder of Hustle & Grind (eCommerce store for entrepreneurs), Crate (content marketing software) and offer content marketing services to brands and startups around the world. I use this site to share my thoughts on marketing, business, life and things that inspire me. I wrote Stand Out: The Content Guide for Entrepreneurs, The Hustle Manifesto and I share exclusive content to thousands of people on a semi-regular basis on my newsletter.”

India White

“I am a creative and tactical marketer with a strong focus on audience, innovation, and business results with over five years of experience in technology and B2B marketing. Working in high-growth technology start-ups has fuelled my passion for innovation in identifying, reaching, and engaging the right audience to drive business growth.”https://www.indiawhite.co/about

Ashley LeCroy

“I’m a socially dynamic, naturally creative, human-focused, technology-savvy marketing professional. Relying on heart and science, I develop and implement forward-thinking marketing strategies that matter — those that are engaging, memorable, build brand awareness, and lead to action.”  

Katelyn Bourgoin

“I create stuff. Pretty awesome stuff. Stuff that gets me named as a Forbes’ influencer and featured on the national news. I’m a serial entrepreneur and growth geek with experience spanning the marketing, tech and hospitality sectors.” katelynbourgoin.com

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