Michael Utley: Hey, everybody, welcome. This is Michael Utley. And welcome to our guest today, Matt Streiff of The Budd Group. Matt, your title is VP of Sales, Marketing, and Specialty Services. Welcome to Episode 39. And happy Friday. How are you doing today?
Matt Streiff: Doing great, Michael. Always a pleasure to be with the GoEpps team.
Michael Utley: Good. Well, thank you. Yeah, we're glad to be with you. Wow, what a crazy year 2020 was. And 2021, we're recording this here just a few months into the year, and it's exciting because things are coming back. Spring is back, we're seeing the seasons change, and the climate is signaling to everyone that there's an opportunity for reality to come back. I'm hoping we can reflect on some of that today.
Michael Utley: You all are in a business where you're providing services throughout the Southeast around facility maintenance. You're doing a lot of janitorial services. We're really critical in the region for a lot of sanitation services with everything we just went through as a country. Landscaping. What am I missing? Air quality and safety.
Matt Streiff: Building maintenance and specialty flooring work and other services that are done in a facility. Yeah, I think you've captured most of them.
Michael Utley: Yeah, good. Thank you. So here's question number one for us today. How did 2020 change the world of serving customers? You all are a service business. You had a business before disinfection, disinfection came, it was a really big deal. But there's also this dynamic of people having to get into the workplace or people working remote and all the challenges. But how did it change life for The Budd Group over the last year?
Matt Streiff: That's a great question, Michael. We've been in the service business for over 57 years. Started in 1963 with Richard Budd when he struggled...or purchased a janitorial supply company that was struggling in Winston-Salem, and turned that into a janitorial service company. We're focusing on quality, safety. One of the tenets of our organization is to be God-honoring in things that we do, and like to translate that into meeting not only our customers' needs but our employee needs.
Matt Streiff: And that's what 2020 was really about, and 2021. Is understanding what the customer's needs were and then pivoting to meet those needs. In the same way, a lot of our folks needed to be reassured that things were good and in the pandemic that they could safely come to work. So not only do what we need to solve the customer's needs in, in making sure that they had a good, safe disinfected facility to come back to work to, we had to reassure our employees as well.
Matt Streiff: And that's a challenge, because do you lead or do you follow? There's a lot of guidance, a lot of interesting things that were said at the beginning of 2020 during the pandemic, and that are also being said now. We decided that we really need to take a front expertise approach with our customers. We worked with an epidemiologist and a former head of infection control for a large hospital, concerning really understanding the dynamics around that. And then translate into an understandable format for our customers, how it would affect their spaces and their people and what we could do to help.
Matt Streiff: We needed to be nimble. 2020 was a difficult year. Obviously, a lot of people didn't go back into the workplace, people are still not in the workplace. But we needed to give our customers options because some needed to continue their operations. They needed to continue to generate revenue. They needed to get kids back to school. And we needed to provide to them the guidance, expertise, and understanding [so] that they can do that safely.
Matt Streiff: So I would say, Michael, 2020 and 2021 was all about understanding your customers' needs, our customers' needs. And then pivoting our services to make sure that they were served and that we could provide great solutions for them.
Michael Utley: Yeah, that's helpful. Yeah. I think flexibility has been one of the words that I've been thinking about a lot in the beginning of 2021. I think it was a big part of our journey at GoEpps and Dodgeball. And then I think for a lot of our clients and a lot of the folks that we know that we're connected to around the country, like The Budd Group, we had sort of a bird's eye view of what was happening and flexibility was really the key.
Michael Utley: And that takes me to my next question, so I'm going to read this and then I'm going to add something to it. How do you consider local and regional factors in the delivery of your services? And that reminds me to ask what industries you all work in. So how does industry-specific and how does region-specific service factor into what The Budd Group does?
Matt Streiff: Everybody's got different needs and everybody has a different reflection on how they go to market or the area that they're in. The needs of our customers in Nashville may be different than those in Winston-Salem or Charleston, South Carolina. And certainly, there was governmental interventions and rules and guidelines around masking and other specifics for COVID that varied by state, but there's just a different mix of life and there's a different approach to life in each one of those markets. And we needed to reflect that.
Matt Streiff: Our business strategy, our marketing strategy, our sales strategy really dials in on that local flavor to really understand those customer's needs and the outcomes that they're looking to get. So that uniqueness to a market is critical. Nashville ... you guys have been in Nashville for how long now?
Michael Utley: Oh, yeah. I've been here since the 90s. I'm a longtime Nashvillian, yeah.
Matt Streiff: And that is it. You're a long-term Nashvillian. Somebody who just moves to Nashville, and there are a lot of people moving to Nashville, they're not quite yet part of that fabric, right? And you really need to build and understand that market and get into that fabric of life to be welcomed by customers, employees. And it takes some time, but it also takes understanding that that marketing approach for your market is going to be different than Charlotte or Raleigh-Durham, or Greenville, South Carolina.
Michael Utley: That's good. You're not saying this, but something that's being demonstrated by your answer is a lot of humility and empathy. Being perceptive to what's going on in that market and thinking about how it's going to change, and again, listening to those needs. So kind of like what we talked about before with flexibility, it's really about just understanding what's unique.
Michael Utley: And I know for you all with the healthcare industry, you all do a lot of work that's ... really, you all were essentially in the thick of it in the fight with COVID. It was creating safe spaces for stuff that just had to keep going. So to me, that's interesting and is very much an industry factor for you all.
Matt Streiff: Yeah. Different folks have different needs. And if it's a manufacturing plant that needs to be driving their product line throughout the COVID pandemic, we had a solution for that. If it was a school that chose to bring kids back and they needed to have some sort of scenario where they took care of ill children or students in a higher education facility, we helped them solve for that as well.
Matt Streiff: And again, customers need to know that you are putting them first. It's like dating. Bad dates happen when you talk all about yourself. And certainly, my wife didn't marry me because I was talking about myself. I found out all about her on our first date.
Michael Utley: That's awesome. Yeah. I think that's a really good ... that's the pull quote, right there. I can just tell you, that's going to go on the social media posts.
Matt Streiff: Uh-oh.
Michael Utley: Yeah. Next, where does The Budd Group look for innovative ideas? Where do new ideas feed into the mechanism of how you're thinking? Not just about your job, but just overall. Because you mentioned that you all worked with experts in the field when we were faced with what was coming with the pandemic, but where does that innovation come from? How do you all think about it, how does it get introduced into what The Budd Group is doing?
Matt Streiff: Everywhere. You cannot leave any stone unturned. We have great vendor partners. We have great team members who've got a wide range of experiences. We have a tremendous and rich customer set that we can talk to and understand what their needs are in things that they're doing that are innovative. Industry associations. Even repurposing thoughts or tools that are used in other industries to ours.
Matt Streiff: While it may not be innovative from a . . . as an example, product marketing perspective. . . utilizing that strategy, that innovation, the tools around product marketing to drive service marketing is an incredibly innovative way to do it. So innovation, I believe, is our differentiator. Now, every company that you've talked to is going to say innovation is a differentiator for us. So then that becomes very difficult for everybody to actually articulate as a differentiator.
Michael Utley: Right, yeah. It's like, there's a lot of lip service around innovation, but I can just say, as an outside party who's been connected with you all, it has been cool to see. I think when you all said, we're going to start with the science, and we're going to work from whatever's cutting edge in terms of the pandemic science. We're not just going to react to people's fear and panic, but we're going to get a real epidemiologist who can speak into what we're doing, because we've got to play our part in the recovery.
Michael Utley: You all were one of those entities that was critical to stopping the spread. And so I think that's ... to me, demonstrates a real heart for actual innovation, not just a buzzword.
Matt Streiff: Yeah. And innovation is hard, right?
Michael Utley: Innovation's hard, that's right.
Matt Streiff: Taking something and executing it can be difficult. And I'll give you a great example. So UVC light to disinfection technology is actually a critical underpinning of healthcare disinfection, particularly for operating rooms and suites in ER rooms. That light can kill a lot of different pathogens. And for the COVID-19, coronavirus, it kills it in about less than a minute.
Matt Streiff: Now, we were concerned we were going to run short on regular chemical disinfectants. And we bought UVC light systems and ended up using those in a variety of different situations outside of a hospital in commercial, often industrial. And that provided a real value to us, and it provided a real value to our customers as well. But it was hard, it wasn't easy for people to adopt that and think about it in a different way.
Michael Utley: Yeah. Yeah. You all were on the front edge of a number of different things. The experience I had in 2020 and working with you all was, Budd Group was talking about it and then I would see it in the news. And I thought that was pretty cool.
Matt Streiff: Well, I appreciate that. And it's due to great partnerships. Again, finding the right experts and really seeking to understand what's going on.
Michael Utley: That's cool. A couple of other things today. Next up, how do you all think about video? How does video play into your marketing? You all are doing a lot with video lately.
Matt Streiff: Yeah, but we're not doing as much as I really want to. I think video is a great and powerful way to communicate. And it can be overwhelming in some ways, but it also doesn't need to be too complicated. And I think you really need to think through from a video marketing perspective, how to right size it for the outcomes that you're looking for.
Matt Streiff: Not all videos need to be overproduced and polished. There is certainly authenticity that comes through when you're really solving a problem, and that can be executed in a lot of different ways. And that can be very powerful. If you just go and look at LinkedIn, some of the most watched or the most frequently viewed posts are around videos where a problem's being solved. People engage with our content.
Matt Streiff: So again, going back to what I said earlier, if you're putting the customers' problems first and you're talking about them and you're communicating that, the video can be extremely powerful. And we use it in marketing, on our website, in email marketing. We also use it in customer presentations. And we also use it as for follow-up for customer engagements. I think it's a really powerful thing. We're not doing it frequently enough. We're going to do more.
Michael Utley: That's great. Yeah. And a lot of the work that we do at GoEpps, which is the parent company of Dodgeball Marketing Podcast, we do a lot of client education. That's one of the things I'm most passionate about, is educating. And a lesson that I've been teaching lately is separating the fountain of content production from the fountain of publishing. Think of those as two kind of twin engines that are both doing separate things. In video, once you produce a good video, you've got really, multiple instances for publishing. And you all have been able to tap into that and make multiple uses of pieces.
Michael Utley: All right. Next up, this is a real quick question. But marketing tools, what do you like, how do you all think about marketing? What are the things that you like? Looking at any kind of tools or anything that comes to mind that you like having available to you?
Matt Streiff: Yeah. Well, we like having great partners to help us with SEO and pay-per-click marketing and advertising, like GoEpps. Our focus is really on the four pillars, SEO, pay-per-click, email marketing, and then social media. And we use a variety of tools to get from here to there. Pardot is a tool that we use for email marketing. It's connected to our CRM Salesforce, very happy with that. We use Wistia to host a lot of our video content and control the quality and the delivery of that content to people.
Matt Streiff: Soapbox, which is a platform similar to Wistia, that it's a resident on your browser for those authentic type videos and sales follow-up. And then Hootsuite, we also use that for our social media. I think the point that I try to drive home with everybody on our team is that we need to have purpose and intention around what we're doing. And it needs to be driven in accordance with the goals that we're trying to achieve for the customers. So it's sometimes hard to move all four ships at the same time, but if you can coordinate that message across all of them, then you build value in the market and branding with the customer.
Matt Streiff: And as a B2B customer, we have lots of different customer sets that we focus on. And in those customer sets, we have customers who have different roles. And if you put in the different industries that we serve, you've got all kinds of seasonal needs. And all of a sudden what's simple as, "Hey, I can empty your trash can or cut your grass" becomes a much more complicated marketing effort. And having good tools is critical, but having purpose, clarity of content and calendar, is really what's going to make the difference.
Michael Utley: Yeah, that's great. Yeah, that reminds me. I came across something . . . and we'll wrap up with this. But, trivia question, which number is higher, the number of possible chess games, or the number of atoms in the universe? And the answer is the number of possible chess games. So that's a little bit like B2B marketing. When you start to think about the touchpoints, the roles, the industries, you really do end up with a lot of segments and you have to decide, okay, what levels are we going to introduce . . . split testing or something. And how are we going to go into this in a manageable way, without losing our momentum with some of these channels?
Michael Utley: So those tools are helpful, but sometimes the tools can give you so many options. You have to back off and remember how to play checkers.
Matt Streiff: And Michael, I love your analogy there with chess, but the universe of chess is definable. You have to think through . . . and I love poker as a better analogy. Because you have decision biases, you have lack of information. And certainly, when I'm putting together a strategy for marketing for our services, I don't know what's going to work, right? I don't know how it's going to approach. Is it the right time? I mean, there's a whole lot of decision trees that you need to go through.
Matt Streiff: And I think that's the one thing that I would say, is that we're all trying this, we're all working hard to do this. There are some content ... I'm a big believer of, in email marketing that the subject line leads to the open, the header leads to the read, the read leads to the CTA, and if the CTA isn't great, you're not going to get that clickthrough.
Matt Streiff: But what is your subject line? What is the header? What's the read, what's the right CTA? And that's an unknowable. Like poker, you don't know what the other person is going to be doing. So you just got to try, and you got to try and have purpose, intent, and be memorable.
Michael Utley: That's great. Good. Well, I can't top that. That's tremendous, Matt. Thank you so much. Yeah. B2B and B2C marketing is more like a game of poker. Good. Thank you. I really appreciate the time with you. Happy Friday. And we're going to wrap up Episode 39 with that, and we'll be seeing you soon. Thanks, Matt. Thanks, everybody.
Matt Streiff: Thanks, Michael. Take care.