Presenting Sarah Walpert's "UnBoring" Marketing for Boring Industries

Luke O'Kelley  July 30, 2015


On August 13th, HUG Atlanta has the pleasure of hearing from Ingenium CMO and Atlanta Inbound Marketing Day Presenter Sarah Walpert. In preperation for the event and to get everyone pumped I interviewed Sarah about her presentation. 



Luke: "First off, thanks for doing this, I appreciate you volunteering. Could you give us a little taste of what you are going to be speaking about?"

Sarah: "We work with so many 'boring industries,' or b2b professional services where when we go and talk to them, they can't really seem to get past the fact that they are a chemical manufacturing plant, or a supply chain management consulting firm. So what we have done with Ingenium is help this niche of boring industries by using very creative ways to make them not boring.

I actually came up for the idea for this presentation in a session at Inbound... The session not only helped us come up with this presentation, but thinking out of the box for our own clients. In the presentation we go through why a boring industry isn't actually boring. So for example I say that the majority of our clients are engineering firms and that makes everyone want to cringe, but if you actually dive into it and learn about the boring industry, it's really pretty fascinating.

We talk about debunking the "boringness" and then we go through five tips for unboring marketing in boring industries, so we tell them to try and get past the fact that your industry is boring and solve a pain point. No matter what industry it is, when you're solving a pain point, all of a sudden it becomes really cool and really useful. Another thing I will cover is how to take a creative spin on something current or newsworthy, and using it to leverage marketing opportunities."

Luke: "What do you feel are the biggest challenges for marketers in boring industries?"

Sarah: "I think the biggest challenge would be if you don't understand your clients' industry. For example, when I got brought on a lot of these accounts for different engineering firms I had no idea what a civil engineer did, so I had to do a lot of research a lot about engineering, which didn't have anything to do with the marketing campaign I was working on, but I felt like if I didn't understand what was happening in this industry, and who the target audience was, it was never going to be successful. I feel like boring industry marketers are at a little bit of a disadvantage because they have extra homework. They have to actually teach themselves about what the industry does and who the industry is before they can even start their marketing job."

Luke: "How do you ride the line between not being boring but also not being too goofy or out there?"

Sarah: "I think it has to do a lot with knowing your audience and at the end of the day solving a problem and making sure that you're being helpful above all else and that you're providing useful information and not just fluff. Because it's really easy to just come in with some big flashy piece of fluff. But I think at the end of the day knowledge is power, so proving that you not only know what you're talking about in a marketing sense, but also show that you've researched their industry and their product and even their competitors...

I have a very different style than most people in the engineering world, and so when I started doing a lot of presentations, I mean the main presentations I do are engineering conferences and I cannot be more different than the rest of the presenters there. And the first few months of my job I was terrified that they weren't going to take me seriously or that they viewed it all as fluff or a joke and I was very serious about wanting real honest feedback, and a lot of the feedback I was getting was like 'This is the best presentation we've ever seen, and a lot of it was because you delivered real information and you weren't boring.'

So just because you work in an industry that's maybe a little more buttoned up, they could be looking for braggadocio, they could be looking for something different, but you have to have the knowledge and the actual data to back it up or no one will take you seriously. 

Luke: "What's a success story that you have had doing marketing in a boring industry?"

Sarah: "One example I gave at Inbound Marketing Day was that we had a chemical manufacturing client and the number one product that they were trying to sell was a bodily fluid clean up kit. We were literally scratching our heads thinking, how do we market a bodily function clean up kit? And then Ebola happened all of a sudden and we decided to leverage that as an opportunity to market this in a really helpful way for airlines and gas stations, and places where there are a lot of people, and sales took off. So that's an example of how we used current events to market something that was really disgusting. **laughs**"

Luke: Who do you think will benefit most from your talk?

Sarah: "People in professional service industries, any industry that's b2b and you're selling a service that isn't necessarily exciting or if it's b-to-b-to-c or b2c and the product isn't necessarily something that the main stream would be going after, you know, you're not selling a jacket at the gap... My sister tells me this all the time: it's amazing what people make a living doing, and at the end of the day, sales and marketing is needed for all those really weird situations, so I would say this presentation is really for anyone who is in a professional service role and doesn't know where to get started or they feel like they have a product, but they don't know how to leverage it, or they can't necessarily see past the blah. That's a very technical term."

Luke: What should people do to prepare for your talk?

Sarah: Sit back and think about why they think their industry is boring. Is it that they don't understand it? So that we can talk about it and maybe try and find an unboring angle... Also, think about your target audience and the people you're marketing to. 

Luke: Are you going to Inbound? If so, what are you most excited about?

Sarah: "Yea!... last year we bought the keynote speaker past because we thought we would just go hear the speakers and then play around Boston the rest of the time and then we heard Simon Sinek speak, and we dropped however many thousands of dollars to upgrade our passes right then and there because we were like 'holy crap this is the most amazing experience ever.' And we learned so much. This is our first year going as a partner agency. I'm really excited to go be part of the partner community, and do a lot of those breakout sessions, and I'm also really excited to hear Amy Schumer. I think she is like my spirit animal."

That's a wrap! 

Follow @sarahwalpert on Twitter and register for the meetup if you haven't already. Thanks!





Luke is the Content Marketing Specialist with Atlanta B2B marketing agency MLT Creative and is the community manager for HUG Atlanta.

Topics: HUG ATL

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