Strengthening Your Family and Your Business with Jay Feitlinger


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Running Your Business And Family For Success

Balancing work life and your family is a big challenge for some of the most successful entrepreneurs. Recently, our CEO Stacy Jones sat down with Jay Feitlinger, who is the CEO and founder of StringCan Interactive, a digital marketing agency.

Jay is also the author of “FAMILY 2.0: Harness Business Principles to Reboot your Family in 4 Days,” a book that helps entrepreneurs strengthen their family and their business. In this blog post, Hollywood Branded examines what mistakes to avoid in developing a digital marketing strategy, and Jay’s experience in balancing life in the office and life at home.  


A Little More About Jay

Jay Feitlinger is the founder and CEO of StringCan Interactive, a digital marketing agency launched in 2010 in Scottsdale, where he and his team help grow businesses that focus on offering products and services that improve people's lives. Jay has actually spent over 20 years of his career focused on connecting businesses to their right audiences and is the author of Family 2.0: Harness Business Principles To Reboot Your Family in 4 Days, which I bet we're going to talk a little bit more about in this podcast, where he outlines plans to help entrepreneurs strengthen their families and strengthen their businesses.

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Interview Transcript Highlights

Question: Can you share with our listeners a little bit more about what got you to where you are today, where your life revolves around digital marketing and helping businesses?

Answer:  Sure. Great question. Actually, this is my eighth company that I've launched and obviously I've had a couple failures and learning from that, but also some pretty big successes. But what I found consistently throughout all of them is understanding my audience and how to properly market and sell my business is really what made my companies do well or not. And so I just really quickly got passionate about how to really understand your audience, how to build a really smart strategy around how to grow your business, and really figuring out what people need. And so from that, I leveraged that through all my past companies and I found I was really good at it and I really enjoyed it. And so I turned into me actually creating a business, doing that now for other organizations. I've been doing that now for over 20 years and I'm really blessed that I found the job that I love doing.

Question: What is your happy place? Where do you think the sweet spot for marketers are in general that they really need to get a good understanding of to start when they are working on their business and saying, "I need to do digital marketing."

Answer: Awesome question. I think so not super sexy, but I think extremely valuable is strategy. I always use the analogy, which is cliche, but would you build a house, not having an architect in place? What I find often is people that get into digital marketing, or any kind of marketing, if they just jump in and look at the shiny objects and just try various different things, they have no clue what they're doing and why they're doing it. And then if it's working or not, they have no idea because they don't have any metrics to compare it against. That's probably my advice to give everyone is strategy before tactics first, and actually I built my entire company based around that philosophy.


Question: What is the next step that a business needs to start thinking about with digital marketing? Is it that they need to be like, "Okay, I have my strategy down, now it's time to figure out websites and Google and Facebook advertising or inbound marketing." Or, where do you go from there?

Answer: What my advice would be is first and foremost, focus on yourself, look in the mirror. I think that so many companies use the silly phrase everyone wants to buy from me or everyone should buy from me and that's not really the case, no matter what company you have. I think, again, back to you when you teased me before about the focus is so many organizations just try to do too many things and often they fail because of that. My recommendation first and foremost would be is look in the mirror and decide what makes you and/or your company special.

How are you different? How can you be the best in the world at something, a product or a service offering? And then really once you have that understanding and you build the foundation of your company around that mission and vision and values, then it's really all about who wants to buy from you. Because again, not everyone should be your customer. There are actually people out there that should not buy from you, that we call actually negative personas. I think really then diving in deep around creating connection between your company and your audience, I think that would really be probably the most important step from there.


Question: What got you to realize that instead being the digital agency that would work with all businesses that are out there, what made you decide that this was your path?

Answer: Powerful question. I guess in that one too, I guess so for me... I've had a couple of personal things in my life where I just saw close friends and family pass away or go through serious life changes and divorces and whatnot. I just realized my gosh, life is way too short. And as an entrepreneur prior to my last company, I had I was a typical entrepreneur where I just was like, the more that work, the harder I work, the more money I'm going to make, the more I can provide for my family. And I just worked myself to near death. It was exhausting and I was miserable and I really wasn't happier, the more money I made and the more people I hired and the more clients I sold.

I just started really figuring out that whole work-life balance, silly phrase, and obviously who wants to focus more on work than life but it became an important thing for me where I wanted to create balance and be present in whatever I was doing. I actually took a step back from my company and focused more on my family, which I actually turned into my book, which I'm sure we'll talk about in a little bit, but I had such a massive joy from focusing on how to really improve my own family life. I'm like, "Why can't I have it all? Why can't I have a great family life and a personal life and also a great business." And so what it came down to is I started analyzing all of our clients and we had a lot of different clients and we were mostly focused around businesses that were focused on improving lives and very family oriented.

The challenge was we're really spread way too thin and there were clients that we were working with that really weren't bringing us joy. And so we started analyzing the clients that we loved the most and they all fell more into like this wellness category and less about going after families. And so about three years ago, our team went all in around that where we put ourselves out there and say, "Look, we specialize in the wellness industry and we love working with companies that really care about improving lives." It wasn't a big departure from what we were doing before. We just got laser focused around that idea and then we honed in on exactly the companies we love working with, what their offering is and what their personalities are.

Our team can really connect and be an extension of their organization. I feel like the more I practice what I preach around being clear and focused on who you are and what you want to do, the better we are at our company and the more profitable we are, more efficient we are, the happier we are. My team is just really enjoying our company and working with our clients and so because of that, our end product that we deliver to our clients is better because of it. I really believe in some of those cliche mindsets but it's working very well for me and my team.

Question: What are some of the issues that seen along the way that your customers or potential customers have had when creating digital marketing strategies? Like what is it that people do when things just go sideways, when they should be able to just keep on going straight? I know we talked about the most important thing being strategy is your base, but what else happens with people with digital marketing?

Answer: Honestly, a story in store. I've been doing this now again for 20 plus years and I've worked with hundreds and hundreds of companies of all different, different types and sizes. So I have a lot of stories to share there, but I already mentioned. I do want to mention again just so we're on the same page, but first and foremost, again, it's your mission, vision and values. I think there is being clear about what you want to do and how you're special and not just a bunch of words that you copied off somebody else's mission, vision, values board. The second thing is on the customer side. So I can't tell you how many times I've been in front of my clients and we talk about your ideal customer and the CEO or the CMO is everyone.

Everyone's our customer, and I'm like, "Really everyone? Like a three-year-old is your customer?" And then they obviously think I'm being super condescending, but I'm trying to make a point. The more you can focus on who would really benefit from your offering, the easier it will be to tell them your story. That's really there and then from there... Now, to answer rest of your question is the channels. You alluded to that you know, about 15 minutes ago is once you better understand your customer or your client.

Again, a lot of times companies come to us and they see the shiny objects. They're like, "Oh my gosh, there's the new thing out there called Tik Tok," or whatever that the newest, latest, greatest thing is. We need a plan and how to leverage Tik Tok to get another a million dollars of business next year. And we're like, "Why?" You're a wealth management organization, your ideal customer is 52 years old. They probably know what Tik Tok is and they're like, "Well, everyone's on it. We need to be on it." And so we try really hard to use data, to help tell that story, to be like, "Look, we've interviewed your customer base, we've surveyed your current customers. We've done both primary and secondary extensive research and here's what we found. The customer journey starts with X and then it goes to Y and then it goes to Z." And we tell that story and we help them understand these are the channels that you should invest your time in.

Start with the things that are going to work and then build upon there from there because if you have a one or two or three marketing person team, you can't possibly be on 10 different social media channels and do blogging every single week and run a website and email and Google ads, all the are things that you think you should do. Once you have the attraction side figured out as far as channels go, now it's about how are you going to convert them? I love using the analogy that not everyone's ready to get married and jump into bed on that first date, except maybe some and people I know.

Check Out The Podcast!

Jay has SO MUCH of great information from his experience in digital marketing and business management. Check out the podcast below to learn more about how to drive your business from his advice and expertise!

Every week we have a marketing professional on our show to share their tips, tricks and lessons learned from their professional experience. Check out some of our other podcast blogs from earlier this year: 

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