Yifat Cohen

Yifat Cohen podcast header

You’re going to have fun listening to this episode. Today’s guest is Yifat Cohen, a woman of many talents and many professional endeavors. She helps people sell more than they ever thought possible with her work at Viral Connectivity, she somehow is still creating a ton of conversation and engagement on Google+ (yes, GOOGLE+), and she will say whatever is on her mind. The latter makes for a very fun episode with plenty of laughter, yet a ton of takeaways. Listen in!

TL;DL (too long; didn’t listen) version:

  • 1:50 #SocialRoadTrip have ya heard of it?
  • 2:25 Becoming a (literal) kickass professional woman.
  • 4:30 How Yifat became BFFs with Google.
  • 10:00 What Google Plus did wrong, and how they’re fixing it soon.
  • 12:30 Guess what…our content calendars don’t talk to each other.
  • 15:44 Join the connector side and find people to geek out with.
  • 18:12 What are marketers screwing up right now?
  • 21:40 We are moving from passive viewing to interactive viewing. Whoa, those gamers are on to something!
  • 27:20 Why aren’t people taking action? Hint: it has nothing to do with your CTAs.
  • 32:43 Where are we missing on trust? Where does it really come from?
  • 35:55 “Fuck up online and everyone will love you.”

Find Yifat Cohen on, yes I’m saying it, Google Plus by heading here (or just search “Google Plus Expert” on Google and she’ll pop up!). Also, you can learn more about the VICE program at viralconnectivity.com.

Make sure to visit our sponsor ShippingEasy if you have an online business that ships items to your customers. You’ll save money on shipping and a ton of time with powerful automation and tools to grow your business.

Be sure to subscribe on Apple Podcasts (and soon to be wherever else you find podcasts).

Did you catch the last episode? Learn to build your brand by listening to the author of the new book Brand Now, Nick Westergaard!

Non-Austin Marketers, Podcast episode

Brand Now: Nick Westergaard and Building a Brand

Brand Now Nick Westergaard

Are there plenty of books about branding out there? Sure. Are most of them enjoyable? Ehhhh, not really.

Brand Now, the newest book from Nick Westergaard, breaks that mold, and that’s indicative of the kind of advice you’ll find in this book, too. Refreshing ideas, unique voice, and smart insights from Nick make this a must-read for managers of brands of all sizes.

I particularly enjoyed the chapter on community, as I’ve always felt that was the most important part of building a brand, and Westergaard knocks it out of the park, which you’ll find out in this week’s podcast episode. I highly recommend this book, and highly recommend you listen to this great conversation I had with Nick Westergaard, one of the busiest people I’ve ever met.

TL;DL (too long, didn’t listen) notes:

  • 2:42 Is Nick actually a wizard?
  • 4:14 What is Brand Now all about?
  • 5:50 Hello, community. Are you there?
  • 8:43 What does it all mean? How does it all mean? Find meaning.
  • 13:10 Oh, hey. Actually get to know customers and your community members.
  • 14:05 Get rid of the messy stickiness. Try a little gravity instead.
  • 16:12 It’s dangerous being called humorous. And it’s scary. Do it anyway.
  • 18:47 Looking at you, B2B brands. What if you tried being funny?
  • 21:47 Everything great is stolen from someone else…even a branding tooklit (Nick talks about a very helpful toolkit in the book).
  • 24:45 Any experience with Nick should leave you being able to do something better.
  • 25:55 Are Nick’s favorite breakfast tacos just the ones in the Courtyard across from the convention center?
  • 26:40 The most intense encased meat experience of Nick’s life.
  • 27:32 Where to find Nick, the book, and other important things.

Get the book by clicking on the cover image below. Also, see below for the concentric circles concept we discuss in the podcast.

Brand Now Nick Westergaard

Brand Now book concentric circles

Don’t forget to visit our sponsor ShippingEasy to learn how to build your e-commerce business with discounted shipping and powerful automation, robust inventory management, and in-depth customer marketing, all in one platform.

Austin Marketing Jobs, Austin Marketing Technology

Building Community From Scratch By Being Authentic

Creating community with Lani Rosales

Recipe for building community: start with smarts; add in some savvy; and top it off with plenty of sass. Put those together in a leader and you have Lani Rosales, Chief Operating Officer of The American Genius, a technology and entrepreneurship publication. She is also one of the founders of BASHH (Big Ass Social Happy Hour) and Austin Digital Jobs. The latter is one of the most thriving communities on Facebook, and THE place to go if you’re looking for a job in Austin that involves tech.

I had the absolute pleasure of chatting with Lani Rosales about how she builds the community around her three endeavors, how they tie together, and what unique elements keep all three thriving. Our conversation did not disappoint.

Short on time? Cliff’s Notes below so you can skip to what sounds interesting. Spoiler: it’s all interesting!

  • 4:00 How Lani got to where she is now with a shitty poem.
  • 6:30 Marketing has always been the core of what Lani does in life
  • 7:15 Why we should be thanking the Californians for moving here
  • 8:00 Austin Digital jobs–a meaningful Facebook group 6 years in the making
  • 12:00 Competing against hundreds of thousands of bajillions of groups
  • 14:00 How the Digital Jobs Facebook group feeds into other endeavors
  • 15:30 Give them what they want…and hey, they’ll hang around
  • 17:00 Having an honest voice and a very thick skin
  • 19:05 Keeping things human and organized through specific content
  • 21:10 Austin needs it, so someone has to do–community altruism
  • 21:35 Spinning digital into in-person events
  • 23:05 “I thought Twitter was stupid and I didn’t want to do it.” Networking for those who hate networking
  • 25:45 Keeping the online culture in person because we’re not good at turning on our filters
  • 27:45 What’s next in Lani’s world–retirement? Expansion?
  • 32:30 Where to find Lani, ADJ, and The American Genius

You can follow The American Genius on Twitter, and request an invitation to join over 38,000 members in Austin Digital Jobs (just behave, because Lani will bring the ban-hammer down).

Once again, I’d like to thank our sponsor, ShippingEasy. Visit the website and check them out to show your support of the podcast and find solutions to your e-commerce shipping woes.

Podcast episode

What does it all mean?

Austin Marketing Podcast Keep Marketing Weird

Weird: adjective

1: of strange or extraordinary character

The above is Webster-Merriam dictionary’s definition of the word weird. When we think of “weird”, our minds often skew more toward the zany, the bizarre, the outcast, or the unexplainable. When it comes to the approach of this podcast, I prefer to focus on the latter portion of that statement.

How often is that you come across marketing that you’d describe as being of “extraordinary character”? My guess is not often. But I’m hoping we can explore some instances where you might find it. Some marketing and marketers that go against the norm, break convention, and keep things, well, weird.

Welcome to Keep Marketing Weird, the Austin marketing podcast. This is the intro episode and accompanying show notes…even though it’s technically coming after a previous episode. Keep it weird, AMIRIGHT?

What’s up with that subtitle: the Austin marketing podcast? In this intro episode, I go into that. It’s more than just the place I live. It’s the community, the marketing community, that I want to build around this endeavor.

It’s a little piece of me that was missing during a major change in my life. I’m probably making it sound more Hallmark movie than it actually is, but who doesn’t love a little dramatic element?

So let’s dive into this short episode, introducing the concepts and approach of the podcast. Hopefully, you’ll listen to this one, the previous one (it’s a great interview, if you haven’t caught it already), and many more after.

One thing I forgot to do, and this is very important, is to tell you my favorite place to get breakfast tacos. This is a question I will be asking all my guests, because it says a lot about someone here in Austin. You know what I mean. My favorite spot is Veracruz Tacos (with El Primo coming in a very close second and El Tacorrido in third).

If you’re so inclined, join our weird marketing community, let’s build something, and get weird together.

Austin Marketing Strategy, Podcast episode

How Spredfast creates consistently memorable events

SXSW Spredfast

SXSW season in Austin, TX. The time of year when thousands of people flock to (hopefully) sunny Texas to experience films, rub shoulders with occasional celebrities, be the first to see new tech in person, and rock out to some of the best bands in the world. Needless to say, the stakes are high when you’re trying to stand out during this nearly three weeks of madness.

For the last couple of years though, that’s exactly what Spredfast has done. They’ve managed to create a sanctuary that is every bit as cool, interesting, Instagrammable, and worthy of your time to experience as most anything SXSW has to offer. From cool tech to savory food, queue-worthy swag (yep, we lined up to get it) to local booze, every experience feels catered to making visitors and locals feel like they’re home.

Read my wrap up of their 2017 SXSW event #SoSpredfast here.

They’re doing it again this year with the #SmartSocialSuite, an exclusive event celebrating current customers, potential customers, and partners.

Register before March 10 for your chance to attend this year’s event!

I sat down with Spredfast CMO Jim Rudden and Director of Events Grace Gittinger to talk about how they ended up where they are, their approach to SXSW and their flagship event Spredfast Summit, and how they manage to outdo themselves consistently year after year.

The TL;DL (too long; didn’t listen) highlights:

  • 1:06 How Jim traversed through the tech industry to Spredfast
  • 2:05 Grace’s path from agency events to Spredfast events
  • 2:35 So…why Austin?
  • 6:40 Where does the inspiration for these great events come from?
  • 13:10 Don’t forget about your vendors.
  • 15:45 The next step in a successful event⏤branching out.
  • 17:50 “It’s a people business, and we believe in it.”
  • 19:20 How do you prove the ROI of creating an awesome event?
  • 23:50 Jim discusses how the Austin tech scene has changed over the years.
  • 24:40 Jim and Grace’s favorite breakfast tacos in Austin

You can find Jim Rudden on Twitter at @JimRudden, Grace Gittinger at @GraceGittinger and follow @Spredfast and their SXSW shenanigans with #SmartSocialSuite.

Marketing Articles

Get out of your marketing bubble

Concentric Circles title graphic Get Out of Your Marketing Bubble
Unlike some last minute slackers (you know who you are), I knocked my taxes out early this year—refund ftw! I used TurboTax (not a plug, unless they wanna throw me some money) and at the end, they had those magazine offers you so often see. This time, I decided to take them up on the offer and picked out a few.

But my choices were deliberate. I wasn’t going to pick any business magazines. I wanted to get out of my bubble and research what I could learn from other types of publications. Consume content outside my regular world.

Ann Handley built a tiny house to do it, and often muses on her blog about how things outside of marketing made her think of marketing. Author and speaker Dorie Clark has started taking stand-up comedy classes. Jay Acunzo talks to creatives of all walks of life on his podcast. And they’re all fantastic marketers.

This is a theme I am hearing more and more often as we find ourselves constantly surrounded by work. People in our industry are also friends, and invite us to business groups on Facebook. Notifications from brands we manage outnumber the personal ones. We so often need a solace, an escape. And it can actually work wonders for our marketing. I’ll get into some of my lessons in a bit.

Why you should consume content outside your industry

But at the same time, maintain your awareness. Look for what works, what you gravitate towards. Keep your eyes and ears peeled for the things that draw you in, the ideas you find clever and intriguing, and think about how you could do something similar.

Podcasts are a great example of this. I love listening to podcasts about marketing, and am subscribed to a ton of them. BUT, I’m learning some great storytelling lessons from things like S-Town and Slack’s podcast Work In Progress, which focuses on telling captivating stories about real people rather than how customers use their app. They only use the very end to add a blurb, featuring a customer and not just talking about them. Now, onto the aforementioned publications.

National Geographic: find the story behind the thing

One of the magazines I nabbed with this offer was National Geographic. Storytelling is something that National Geographic nails in their content. They don’t just report on something, they tell the story behind it—and everything has a story.

🌍 The planet (there’s a little history here)
👣 An obscure tribe of people (fascinating cultural differences)
🐚 The Great Barrier Reef (its past and questionable future)
🤖 The future (spoiler: it involves us and robots)

This has encouraged me to look deeper into things myself. What makes us tick? What makes things resonate? What brings people together, and why do they stay? Some of this I hope to incorporate into my interviews on this podcast. Why Austin? What about it works? What makes it weird, exceptional, and how are we contributing to or deteriorating that concept as marketers and business professionals here?

Esquire & Men’s Health: cover the tangentials

I’ll admit to being a sucker for advice on how to look and feel better (even if I can’t afford most of the items they suggest). But taking a deeper dive into the content these two magazines produce, those things are only part of the story.

Both of these publications nail the tangentials. They ask “What else does our audience care about? What other questions can we answer? What funny stories can we tell to entertain and/or inform them?” And that can actually make up the bulk of the content sometimes.

Red Bulletin: Learn from your fans

I know Red Bull has been covered ad nauseum when it comes to content, but I still want to give credit where credit is due. Their publication is exceptional, and hardly focuses on the product, save for a few placements. The magazine is almost exclusively focused on what else their consumers are interested in. And they are finding wild success in that endeavor.

Let’s look at a different example. Let’s say you cater to ecommerce merchants. Sure, you could talk about ecommerce tips until you’re blue in the face. But what else could be valuable to your audience? What else might they be interested in or find useful? Internet is crucial to ecommerce, so perhaps you create some content on picking the best routers or internet providers for business, or offer your take on the latest changes in internet regulation. Also, they value time, getting home to their family, managing stress, as well as just the individual things people love. Think about how you can tie these things into your content to talk to people on a different and more relatable level.

I’m using this same approach with “stock photography” for this blog and podcast. Rather than finding the standard marketing stock photos, I’m going out around Austin and taking my own, finding new ways to incorporate local flair to each post. Some will be iconic, some, like the one in this post’s graphic, are just things I randomly find around Austin (this is a painting in the lobby of an apartment complex!).

Now it’s your turn. Tell me ways you’re getting out of your marketing bubble to create new and interesting things. How do people respond to it? Comment below and share your perspective!

Keep it weird, y’all.

Marketing Articles

How Spredfast Killed It With Their SXSW Experience

Keep marketing weird spredfast sxsw experience rocked in Austin TX

SXSW Interactive has already come and gone, seemingly as quickly as an Instagram, Facebook, or Snapchat story (my thoughts on Facebook stories in a later post). The festival brings with it unique tech experiences, smart speakers, and tons of marketers and technophiles looking for connection to others who share their passions.

This year was no different. Augmented reality, virtual reality, and artificial intelligence dominated the conversation, and there were really cool demos. SXSW Interactive parties were in full force. There was no shortage of things to do. But one of my favorite experiences of the weekend was Spreadfast’s #SocialSuite.

The treats were tasty

Seriously. I’ll start here and briefly explain how much goodness there was. But the photo below tells the story pretty well. Aside from these decadent milkshakes (provided by local favorite Peached Tortilla), there were free cocktails, beer, and wine, awesome candy sushi (rice crispy treat with Swedish Fish, fruit roll-ups, etc), and a Sunday brunch. You could not leave this spot without being in a slight food/sugar coma. They also had their standard fare of goodies, like SmartPop popcorn, Kind bars, candy, mints, and other snacks to keep you fueled for SXSW overload. But food and drinks were only a minor part of the experience.

They set up for social sharing success

One of the tricky parts to hosting any event is encouraging social sharing and creating buzz in a way that feels natural and authentic. Spredfast set their attendees up so well, you almost couldn’t NOT share the experience to social. They set up well-lit, Instagram-friendly stations for you to take photos of your sugary concoctions, including a hashtag on the back wall of the station (which I accidentally cut out of the below photo, sorry peeps). A particularly clever addition was pink Scrabble-like tiles that allowed you to create your own little message in the photo.

Sweet milkshakes topped with donuts and candy from SXSW at the Spredfast Social Suite

There were also selfie stations, again with great lighting and hashtag added to a fun and colorful background, with plenty of space to take a great shot with friends. At the time of writing this, there were nearly 2,000 Instagram uses of the #SoSpredfast hashtag to date, and countless others on Twitter. It can best be summed up in this tweet by Spredfast CMO Jim Rudden:

Snapchat was not left out of the equation either. Putting specific focus on nearby Austin landmarks—the Buford Tower on Cesar Chavez, the Frost Building, and the Willie Nelson statue outside of Moody Theater—Spredfast created three fun and specific geofilters and a contest for extra swag if you sent all three snaps to Spredfast’s Snapchat inbox. The filters played well into each landmark, giving cactus arms to the tall, slender Buford Tower; putting a kitchy owl face over the Frost Building (most locals get the joke there); and having musical notes that line up as coming from Willie Nelson’s head. Clever, fun, and it got people walking around the immediate area to explore a bit more of Austin. I love it.

The experience was second to none

As a marketer who has been responsible for attendee experience in the past, I was thoroughly impressed with the experiential elements of Spreadfast’s Social Suite. The photo above shows one element, but the one that really took the cake is below. Spredfast provided a stage with a spinning camera and confetti cannon. This then translated to a slow-motion video/animated gif that ended up being the star of the experiential show.

Augmented reality had a solid presence in the Spredfast Social Suite, with two very cool elements. One was an interactive “book” that displayed popular tweets on pages as you turned them. It was a large, blank book with a projector above it, but reacted to your turning of the pages. So cool. There was also an air-hockey-like game that used sensor and light to figure out where your hand was and allowed you to knock a light-created puck back and forth. Video of that one below. Spredfast tells me that these two elements were thanks to local design company argodesign!

All this, plus a couple official Interactive panels, and an all-female panel at the Social Suite itself, with women from varying backgrounds sharing inspirational wisdom and stories both funny and touching.

There was even a “giving back” element to the swag Spredfast gave away. With a goal of 10,000 mentions of #Spredwater across social, Spredfast planned to donate to charity: water in their mission to bring clean water to people in Ethiopia. That’s a cause worth taking an extra moment to share and support.

Now, the question after an experiential campaign or event like this is “Yeah, but what was their ROI?” I’m scheduling time to chat on the podcast with one or two marketers responsible for the shenanigans. We’ll talk about how they came up with the ideas, how it went on their end, and what kind of return they saw from the event. Stay tuned!

Were you at SXSW this year? What was your favorite part? Did you hit the Spredfast Social Suite? If none of the above, who is a company that has killed it in experience in your travels? Chime in below!

Keep it weird, y’all!


Coming soon! Keep Marketing Weird: The Austin Marketing Podcast

Weird: (adj) – of strange or extraordinary character

Often, when we think of the word weird, we think of things that are bizarre. Things that feel out of place or go against specified norms. But I prefer to think of it, in terms of this podcast, as the latter half of the above definition. This podcast is for Austin marketers who are of extraordinary character. It’s about Austin marketing (and other pertinent marketing discussions) that produce extraordinary results. About a town where extraordinary things happen. And it’s for people like you.

Hello, I’m Rob Zaleski, but my friends call me Robzie. I hope you will, too.

I’ve been in Austin for over five years and love the community here. After attending multiple marketing conferences around the country and helping to orchestrate the B2B Marketing Forum over my few years with MarketingProfs, I’ve fallen in love with the marketing community as a whole.

There is a void here in Austin that needs to be filled. One that can bring together marketing professionals in our digital-forward town, and encourage us to bring our weird out. That is the goal of this podcast. I plan to feature marketing pros here in Austin, TX (and a few providing value from outside of Texas) through audio and video interviews. I’ll let them share their stories, their approaches, and their favorite places to get breakfast tacos (because that is really important intel). All with the goal of inspiring you and bringing together the community as a whole.

This podcast will also hopefully provide some external resources through partnerships and sponsorships, as well. Even job postings, so you can use this as a resource to keep your career moving forward. Interested in working with me in either respect? Shoot me an email through the contact form!

So here we go. Let’s keep Austin marketing growing. Let’s keep Austin marketers connected. Let’s Keep Marketing Weird.