“I believe what marketing is, is it's definitely the story behind the person, the story behind the business,” Hilary Krueger said to local entrepreneurs during Coffee and Conversation on June 29.

More than 15 business owners attended the event at Liberty’s Restaurant put on by the Red Wing Area Chamber of Commerce, listening to Krueger’s insight on online marketing.

“It’s interesting,” Hollie Jennings, MBA Insurance Services sale agent said. “I’m here to learn.”

Krueger – a Red Wing native – has no degree in marketing, but has cultivated a successful business helping others market their products.

“I literally went to Aveda for hair,” Krueger said. “I have no degree whatsoever.”

Krueger started her marketing career when she and her husband opened a gym in their garage and an online parent coaching platform.

“My husband’s a behavioral analyst so the coaching was his baby,” Krueger said. “I love sports so the gym was great.”

She did the marketing for both businesses. The gym is now closed, and Krueger owns her own marketing consultant company, Hilary Krueger LLC.

“I [tell my clients] to always empower the customer and give them an exit,” Kruger said Wednesday morning. “Let them know that if they don’t want to buy [the product] now, that’s fine. We can order it when [they] want it. It gives people the ‘I’m here for you’ vibe . . .  it’s treating people as people not numbers and building real human relationships.”

Krueger shared the following advice at the event.

Making your brand

“There are three questions to answer when thinking about the heart of your brand,” Krueger said.

  • What upsets you?

  • What breaks your heart?

  • What problem are you trying to solve?

“I’m going to give you an example,” she said. “Let’s look at Sonicare.”

What upset them? 

“That people were spending so much money on toothbrushes that weren't getting the job done. What breaks their heart is that more and more people were drinking soda and getting more cavities. So they needed to solve the problem of making a really good high-end toothbrush so as to prevent cavities.”

Krueger suggests writing these out, giving them a long think, before starting to brand and market a business.

Four Vs

“The Four Vs are about you and your brand,” Krueger said.

They include:

  1. Visual identity. What does your brand look like? This can come in the form of photos, logos, packaging and more.

  2. Verbal identity. How would someone describe your brand?

  3. Values. What are the things that you stand for?

  4. Vulnerability. Share from your scars, not your wounds. Share what you feel comfortable with and things that others can relate to or learn from.

“For [verbal identity], I like to ask all my people on Instagram, Facebook, anywhere,” Krueger said. “You can send a text message to your best clients and send an email out to your clients. Just simply ask people the words that they would use to describe you and who you are.”

Once business owners understand their Four Vs, they should be included in online marketing, Krueger said.

Share a story in an email before promoting a product or caption social media posts explaining the values of a business. 

Be relatable

“Always be relatable,” Krueger said. “Tell a story when posting about a product and people will be able to understand that you are a person too. You aren’t just [trying to get] their money.”

In an example, she suggested not just stating, ‘I was broke in college,’ but painting the full picture.

“Show what it was like to be broke,” she said. “Like every time I would get paid I would run to Walmart and buy all the food that I could. Then I would go to dinner and treat my friends . . .  acting like I had all the money in the world. The next morning, I woke up and realized I just spent three fourths of my paycheck and had to make the rest of the week [on it].”

Krueger said the more businesses that do this, the more money they tend to make in the long run.

“Customers like interacting with people, not [corporations.]”

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