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S1:E1 Anna Anderson - Business Accelerators Podcast Sponsored by Owens Corning - PODCAST TRANSCRIPTION

Owens Corning Ann Anderson
December 21, 2020 at 10:10 a.m.

 

Editor's note: The following is the transcript of an interview with Anna Anderson, owner of Art Unlimited. You can read the interview below or listen to the podcast here.

Announcer:

Welcome to the Business Accelerators podcast, sponsored by Owens Corning on RoofersCoffeeShop.com. Today, our guest is Anna Anderson with Art Unlimited. Make sure to subscribe and keep listening.

Heidi Ellsworth:

Hello, this is Heidi Ellsworth and I am here today with a brand new podcast. And I can't tell you, I can't think of anybody better to do this new podcast with than Anna Anderson. Hello Anna. How are you?

Anna Anderson:

I'm doing fantastic. And I am also very excited to be just the first podcast interviewee for this new series. So excited.
 

Heidi Ellsworth:

And this new series is being sponsored by Owens Corning. Anna is the one who has really included me in so many different things and we've talked about all the great things that she's done over the years with Owens Corning. And so to really be able to talk about their business accelerators, that is the consultants, the experts, just the wise people who are helping this industry on so many levels because of Owens Corning, because of what they bring every day to their contractors and to the industry overall.

Before we get too far in this, I find it hard to believe that there may be a few people who don't know who Anna is. And Anna Anderson is a strategic partner with Owens Corning specializing in marketing, especially digital marketing. And she's also the owner of Art Unlimited, one of the premier agencies for contractors doing marketing, digital marketing. Anna, I'm going to let you go into all of that and talk a little bit more, but I mean, seriously, the top, the top of the line for contractors who are looking for marketing services talked to Art Unlimited and Anna.

Anna, tell us just real quick what you're doing for contractors out there overall, just so that they have an idea of your background, who you are and what you do with Art Unlimited.

Anna Anderson:

Yeah, no, thanks so much. We work with, again, contractors from across the nation really who want to accelerate their business growth. We first do a deep dive and assess where they sit and where were they would like to go. And you touched on that we specialize in digital, but I've grown up in marketing. My father started the business, hence the name Art Unlimited, back in the '80s, early '80s, late '70s. It truly was an art form, right?

And today we think of marketing as digital, but we can't forget that traditional marketing is still very much has a place in our daily lives. And so Art Unlimited is about 70% digital marketing and 30% traditional. And there's new faces of marketing that are expanding, especially due to the transformation 2020 has brought to our lives. And so Art Unlimited is continuing to expand and look at ways to not only consistently drive the growth and revenue needed for businesses to sustain, but also to expand and look at new territories and new offerings, because business is anything but stagnant. It should continually be growing and changing.
 

Heidi Ellsworth:

And if it's not growing and changing, you're going to be left behind today. It's moving so fast. Well, that exactly, what you just described is exactly why you're a strategic partner with Owens Corning, and the new program that they are putting out there called Business Accelerators, because that's what you're doing every single day, accelerating the business, roofing contractors across the country, tell us a little bit about Owens Corning and what they do with strategic partners like yourself and Rodney and Sue and also how you are really focusing in on that business acceleration.

Anna Anderson:

Yeah, so the Business Accelerators program is really looking at all aspects of the company. I, as we mentioned, dive deep into the marketing component, Rodney Webb and the Rodney Webb University and sales coaches, they drill deep into the sales and how to maximize efficiencies and make sure that you have a high close rate. Fantastic opportunities there for businesses. And then Sue Hawkes with YESS is an EOS coach and identifies growth opportunities and systems and processes to make sure your business is running at a peak functionality.

And so bringing these three consultants into your company really allows you to make sure that you are growing effectively, having the highest profit margins, providing the great customer service that your business is known for, and Owens Corning has just been a fantastic partner for myself and I know the other two consultants that we're talking about, Rodney and Sue. They really have helped embrace us and say, "Hey, we recognize the value that wisdom has to help businesses grow and expand," so I think it's a great program and incredibly honored to be part of the Business Accelerators new addition to the Owens Corning portfolio.

Heidi Ellsworth:

I thought your involvement with this as a strategic partner is so smart. I've watched you working with this, Anna, for the last couple of years, and I've been so impressed with what you do as a strategic partner. And you know what, just so that our audience out there, everyone listening to this understands, can you explain a little bit how this works with Owens Corning contractors? Once the contractor becomes an Owens Corning contractor and then a platinum contractor, how do they get access to these kinds of services?
 

Anna Anderson:

Yeah. Great question. Many of the Owens Corning contractors [inaudible 00:05:55] looking at working with Owens Corning will have a sales rep. And so those sales reps are really your liaison to accessing many of the Owens Corning services, but you don't have to stop there. You can go to the Owens Corning Contractor Connect, or as Heidi, I know you're working on, there's a whole plethora of information on Roofer's Coffee Shop that has direct links into many of the different resources. And you can make a request off of those links off of Roofer's Coffee Shop to understand how to activate the business accelerators for your business.

Anna Anderson:

But I would caution you, when we come in, we seriously expect to achieve the results that you say, "Hey, we want to go from this level to the next level," and then it takes work. It's not just saying, "Hey, we're going to flip a switch and expect ROI immediately." Rather, it's refashioning components of the business that might not make it comfortable for your team or you for a period of time, but it will create results. And I think that's one of the exciting opportunities that you could tap into by connecting either again through the Roofer's Coffee Shop landing page, Owens Corning Contractor Connect or your representative. Those would be my recommendations.

Heidi Ellsworth:

I think that is such a great point that this type of help, this kind of growing the business, really setting goals, and then getting the right people in there to help you obtain the goals is a lot of work. And it's also a little bit of a culture shift for the people within the company. I think contractors really being aware of that and the fact that Owens Corning doesn't just throw you into the deep end of the pool, they provide all the tools that are needed through these programs, different levels, of course, in different ways when you can access them, but they provide all these different tools also to go along with this amazing business accelerating consulting. Let's talk a little bit about that, about some of the tools that are out there and that you seen and as you've shared with your contractors who you've worked with.

Anna Anderson:

Yeah. We were talking about this prior to the recording of the podcast. There's this tech stack, right, that we recognize we need to utilize those at tech opportunities, talk to each other and like the Business Accelerators, Owens Corning says, "Hey, here's consultants that talk to each other. They work well together." For us, those tools that we have found to work really well, you need to have some type of chat functionality within your digital presence. And it's more than just your website. It's how are you managing your social communication? How are you managing your text messaging system?

One of the options that we are not only outside of Owens Corning, but to just with our customer base as whole, Podium is a great partner and part of the Owens Corning tools. There's that platform. CRM, making sure that you're connected to a good CRM in your marketing infuses and pushes that information directly into your CRM. JobNimbus, and there's other platforms that Owens Corning recommends such as AccuLynx, connecting those together.

We have some of our marketing platform, we're right now working with EagleView and making integrations with their API so when a form is submitted, it can pull some [inaudible 00:09:33] EagleView and push that information to the contractor and thus the consumer has a great experience. Those integrations are critical.

Another tool that I love is CompanyCam and leveraging CompanyCam for your business, making sure that you're properly documenting your jobs. And we were just meeting with a contractor two days ago, and we were discussing if you don't know what CompanyCam is, you take photos of your work and you upload it into a digital vault. And so this contractor said, "I don't know if I have the right images, Anna." We discussed, "What platforms do you use?" And I said, "I use CompanyCam." And from there, it was an easy conversation, right?

These tools easily integrate with other tools. And we were able to say, "Okay, grant us access. We can pull, we can integrate." And they themselves are working on API options. I really think there's a lot of opportunity that's untapped by contractors to leverage the tools that are available, and many times at a discount, to Owens Corning contractors.

Heidi Ellsworth:

Right. That, and those connecting with your manufacturer, like what Owens Corning does with our contractors, really define success. I can remember way back when I was working with contractors and Owens Corning was just, we would go through the business solutions ... and this is probably 20 years ago, Anna ... business solutions that they had, and today it is so ... I love how you talk about that stack, that tech stack, what's it looking like. You said something right before we started, you called it a consulting stack. We kind of gave the overview of, "Here's the program with Owens Corning. Here's some of the tools." Now let's get into what the contractors need, what they're looking for. And I think that consulting stack is one really important. Can you share your thoughts on that?

Anna Anderson:

Yep, by far. Let's just drill into marketing. Marketing feeds sales, sales feeds operations, operations, they have the accounting and collections and fulfillment. All of those pieces need to work seamlessly together. Order Limited as an EOS-based company, the entrepreneur operating system. We've done it for about five years now, and so we understand the components of how a company runs when it uses EOS. When we go in and we find out a company is currently using EOS, possibly Sue Hawkes or another EOS consultant, we are able to immediately embrace some of the initiatives that they're working on expanding or developing within their company and say, "How can marketing support that?"

And then if you're an EOS business, you already recognize when we come in and we say, "What are your quarterly initiatives? What does your ETO state? What are some of your team members rocks? Does marketing need to provide supporting material, digital assets?" And the list goes on. That seamless integration and just awareness of how you're expanding and growing your company seems to, for many businesses, just lift this load and go, "Oh, we speak the same language." And speaking the same language from the Art Unlimited team to the Rodney Webb team to the EOS YESS Sue Hawkes team just has allowed fluidity and I think that's very exciting to be part of the Business Accelerators program.

Heidi Ellsworth:

I do too. I love that. And you know what? Just for the contractors or the listeners out there who maybe don't know what EOS is, because I think that is critical, just real quick, give them a high level ... because they're going to hear more from Sue, obviously in our future podcasts, but what is EOS?

Anna Anderson:

EOS is the entrepreneurial operating system. If you haven't heard of this buzz term, I would recommend that you pick up the book called Traction by Gino Wickman, it is that how to guide. It says, "Here's what EOS is and how it can bring value and really accelerate your business so you don't just keep spinning your wheels, but gain traction and understand who you are, what you're doing, where you're going and how to bring your entire team together so that you are all working on the same page."

Heidi Ellsworth:

That is excellent. And yes, I've read Traction. I'm reading it again, actually-

Anna Anderson:

Awesome.
 

Heidi Ellsworth:

... because we want to do the same. We're pretty small at Roofer's Coffee Shop, but we're growing, so it's exactly what we want to ... all speaking the same language of success and of how to put things together. That's huge.

I want to talk a little bit about what's going on with marketing right now. I'm a traditional marketer too, although now we're all into the digital age. What are you seeing with the contractors who ... I find it really interesting, Anna, right now. It seems like there's contractors have been adopting, who've adopted, who are already on that digital plane, but there's many who don't even know where to start. What can they do? What should they be doing as contractors in their marketing program right now with where we're at in this crazy world?

Anna Anderson:

You are definitely right. There are contractors who already had an awareness of the impact of digital and there's a lot who are just starting to say, "Wow, maybe that's something that either we just started or we need to start working on." And anytime you are starting something new, you're going to have a lot of unknowns. And I think 2020 has taught us that there is always something new to learn and it has shook up what Google would call the home and garden category. And you might say, "We are so not home and garden. We are roofers. We are construction. We are skilled workers." All of that is very true, but think of it from Google's perspective. This is a very big bucket.

And so I just reported to our clients in our annual going into our 2021 summary of the transitions that have happened in 2020. And what we have seen is this vertical, called again home and garden, as industrial also connects to the commercial, there have been a massive amount of algorithm modifications. And usually we will see two large changes within this vertical. This year, we have seen three, not just three big shifts, but rather March was a big month. June was a big month. September was big, but we are on pace to yet again in October have significant changes almost every day to our algorithm. And that in itself speaks to Google's recognition of this vertical having a significant role in the American consumers' lives. No longer are they going to different forms of entertainment. They are unable to travel like they used to be. Real estate is also a very hot one, and we're in a political season.

But all of that being said, this little category called home and garden and construction, its world is getting turned upside down. Social media is also modifying all of their rules and regulations for this industry as well, and so I think it is a great time to get involved because longstanding marketers are also having to reinvent their campaigns, so the playing field is semi-leveled. Although longstanding campaigns have more data coming into this, we are seeing newfound opportunities.

Google themselves have said that in the first three months from March moving forward, they rolled out two to three years worth of updates and modifications to their platform that they didn't think consumers would be able to embrace at such a rapid rate. We were everything digital as soon as we went to work from home, right? And so these are huge opportunities for contractors to dive in. But again, like you said, don't predict traditional. Because of so much change the American consumer, both professionally and in our home environment, we want some form of stability, some form of normalcy, and that traditional media holds that for us.

We still think, oh, radio, does it have an impact? It does. TV, does it have an impact still today? It definitely does. And we have streaming services. They're rising. We're on a podcast, right? We have on-demand TV. It's rising by all means, but has the cards turned and now that's all we should do? It's not there yet. And I think portfolio diversity is the one thing that has helped many of our contractors be successful in 2020. The contractors that didn't have it were aggressively working on building out. That's why we're talking about the tech stack and the tools Owens Corning provides.

But all that being said, I'm excited about what 2020 has brought because it's this heightened awareness that we cannot simply expect referrals and repeat business to be the lifeblood of our company. We've got to get out there and we've got to expand our wings and we have to start marketing.

Heidi Ellsworth:

And to your point, I think there's a lot of noise. Getting a beautiful four-color postcard in your mailbox with a house on it instead of a politician might be a great thing. There's just so many different ways to think about it, or hearing the good news over the weather report. In the old days, roofing always seemed to be with the weather reports. But I think that is really wise in that contractors, Owens Corning is offering tools across the board and consulting across the board that really can allow them to see what's best for their market because number one rule, know your audience.

Anna Anderson:

Right. And I know that when we were at the height of the transition here early in 2020, I was able to call the other accelerators and say, "Hey, what are you seeing? And what data are you collecting?" We began to see search query changes towards the end of February. And everybody was like, "Anna, this is not a thing. I don't think it's going to affect the American consumer." And I'm like, "I got a gut feeling it is going to affect us."

And so those conversations are critical. And I'm not saying that the consultants, Sue and Rodney, were saying that because they weren't. They also were concerned, but others in the community were. And I think having that network, having those tools, it helps you have a solid foundation. There's wisdom when you are able to consult with others.

Heidi Ellsworth:

I think so too. That networking is so important and seeing what the different things, different parts of the country, the Owens Corning contractor network is just so powerful for everyone across the country and in Canada and everywhere else.

One of the things I'd like to dive in just a little bit deeper is you're talking about the algorithms. I mean, I really look to you. I am always excited when you're going to speak, talking about data, because we don't get to hear data as much as we want to. And data analytics can really help you understand where your market's going. I'd like you to maybe back up just one step, Anna. In very simple layman terms, what does a roofing contractor, how do they understand why algorithms are important and how they can interpret that data?

Anna Anderson:

Yeah, no, great question. Algorithms are where Google will make modifications to their platform to provide, in their opinion, a better experience for users. We have seen a significant amount of modifications to the algorithm that connect to localized search queries. Why? Because users are at home and they're demanding a better, more robust experience for their current location rather than where they're working or traveling. And so those changes have significantly affected the service-based businesses, which is the roofing contractor. Those key months, March and then June, and then September and October, are critical.

Interpreting the data, I will be honest, it's hard to understand until you have a big picture, a broad perspective. It is like the stock market. Algorithms go up and down all over the place. There's high volatility right now in October and it could sustain until November just because of the large volume of search queries. But all that being said, you need to make sure that you have that long range strategic plan in place, because with EOS, that's why we like to align it, our marketing strategies with EOS, because although algorithms move and change and flex, you still need to have a consistent focus and strategy for the content that you're producing.

Your visibility on different platforms may modify or how you push that content out, maybe it's not 100% organic. You might through Google's algorithm or Bing, you might be running more paid ads, or you might be supplementing your social media strategy with boosted posts or ads, be it either on Facebook and Instagram or possibly it could be LinkedIn and maybe you're going to play around with Tik Tok. We don't see a lot of traction on Twitter.

But all of that being said, I would strongly recommend in the midst of all of this volatility, look at two metrics. What is your visibility as a brand? And then what is your ROI? Because when Google has been going through these massive changes and Facebook has been going through significant changes as well, if you're a brand, your level and recognition and volume of engagement hold steady or increases, it simply means that the consumer probably isn't ready to convert. They're going through so many transitions right now.

But if your ROI then accelerates a couple of weeks later and your awareness surges forward yet again, it's good. we check in with all of our contractors and look at their numbers on, at a minimum, a weekly level. And that helps give us a great pulse. You cannot just look at your marketing on a 30, 60, or 90 day window. It needs to be every seven days. It's like your EOS scorecard.

Heidi Ellsworth:

That is such great advice. And I really want to come back that follow-up that I love hearing is this focus on local. I was talking to somebody the other day who even talked about Amazon, that they wish that when they search with Amazon, local businesses would come up first, that they would get an opportunity to work locally. I think that is a huge push, and along with the sanctity of the home and sitting there, looking at everything you want to do and work on in your home, this is one of the best time for roofing contractors to be really engaging on a residential level across the board.

One of the things that we talked about a lot with Owens Corning is we want people to come in and engage with you. We want them to community engage with Rodney and engage with Sue. I can't ask too many questions because we'll give away all the good stuff, right? Because you know I could go all day long on this, but I do want to really finish up this podcast with talking about how this program works because I think that's really important. Sometimes it's just a fear factor, like, "I'm already so swamped. I don't have time. I don't know what to do if I get involved with one more program," because if you're not in Owens Corning contractor, we definitely want you to go in and look at this and see all the opportunities.

But there's a lot of Owens Corning contractors who are not taking advantage of all of the tools, all of the consulting and the resources right now, and we want them to get involved to really take this on. Anna, I'm a business owner. I own a roofing company. I'm sitting here thinking there's no way I have time for this. What do you say to that?

Anna Anderson:

I'd say I think 2020 taught us that. If you're not engaging, you're not growing, you're not changing, you're dying. And if it was easy, everybody would do it. But sometimes the right thing takes work, but the rewards are big and we are seeing just massive opportunity out there but there's few that want to go in and really do the work. And so if you want to do the work and you want to win big, that's what the Business Accelerator program is all about.

Heidi Ellsworth:

That was excellent. I think that is absolutely perfect because I have found the same thing, running a small business, you own your own business. We're both entrepreneurs. We know how much work it takes. This isn't something we're just saying, "Yeah, it's easy. Go do it." We know the work that's involved in it and it well worth it.

Anna, thank you. Thank you for being here today. We're going to do this again. We'll maybe do some different topics, and we're really going to continue to drive these opportunities to continue, as always, roofing respect, professionalism roofing, and that's what Owens Corning and the Business Accelerators are all about.

Anna Anderson:

Definitely. Thank you so much for having me on.

Heidi Ellsworth:

Thank you for being here and thank you everyone for listening. Please follow our Business Accelerators program with Owens Corning. Find out how it can help your business. This is really what it's all about and you can find all this information on Roofer's Coffee Shop. You'll find it in the Owens Corning directory. You'll find it under our read, listen, watch initiatives, where you can learn the way you want to and really get in touch and network, even if it is all digital. Have a great day.

Announcer:

Thanks for listening to the Business Accelerators Podcast, sponsored by Owens Corning on RoofersCoffeeShop.com. Make sure to hit the subscribe button and keep listening. Thanks.



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