I'm Sari, Kimbell. And I've done just about everything in the food industry. I have helped hundreds of packaged food business entrepreneurs. And now I want to help you make your delicious dream a reality. Whether you want to be successful at farmer's markets, online, or wholesale on the store shelves, Food Business Success is your secret ingredient, I will show you how to avoid an expensive hobby, and instead run a profitable food business. Now let's jump. You guys, the content on this podcast is so freaking good. I have really enjoyed going back and listening to these interviews, doing the edits. Anna and Peggy were both recorded a while ago, and I listened again, it was like, Oh my gosh, this is amazing. This is so good. And you guys are gonna get so much out of it with my guest today as we dig into exploring your creativity, and kind of getting outside of the usual marketing box. And especially because we're in food, right? It's so fun, we can make this really fun. But I want to give a nice plug here for the Small Business Development Center. If you live in Larimer County, you are fortunate enough that you can go and see Peggy and talk with her directly meet with her for free through the Small Business Development Center. But that said, I have been working with different sbdcs around the country. I'm working with one in West Virginia, Faster, West Virginia. And there are so many free resources available to you guys, I highly recommend you go in and look up your Small Business Development Center, I am pretty sure every county in the United States has one. So I highly encourage you to do so. Not every SBDC will have a food consultant like I was when I was consulting there, or somebody like Peggy who really focuses on the creative arts. But they all have business consultants, and many of them have marketing consultants. And they have great courses and workshops. So I highly recommend that you at least go check it out and see what kind of resources they offer like that is what they're there for. Use them as a general level and then come work with me inside Food Business Success for that detail work. Those things like the FDA, right, and how to get on store shelves and branding and marketing specifically for packaged food. But again, I just wanted to as I went back and listen to this episode, I just thought I really want to point out to folks, if you don't know, go use your small business development centers. And many of them will you have access to, you know, potential loans through the Small Business Administration that runs the sbdcs. And a lot of times they have grants going on they have access to capital. So at the very least going and having a business consultant that you have a relationship with so that when that capital comes available, definitely you want to be one of the first people to know about it. So there's my plug. And let's get into today's interview with Peggy Lyle, welcome back to the podcast. And I get the privilege of interviewing one of my favorite people on the face of the earth. Peggy Lyle, she is fantastic. And you're gonna see why as we get into talking about all things marketing and focusing on your target customer. And just we're gonna get creative today. So Peggy, let me just do a quick intro. Peggy has been a creative force in Fort Collins and Northern Colorado for over two decades. Peggy serves as the director for downtown Fort Collins creative district, and she is passionate about the arts and creative approaches to business branding and communications. She has over 20 years of event production, marketing, entertainment, programming and business support in Fort Collins. She is also consultant for the Small Business Development Center in Fort Collins where she aids entrepreneurs, musicians, performers, artists, nonprofits, small businesses and events, helping them to navigate promotion, audience cultivation, programming, creative thinking and overall business strategy. She is a powerhouse and I'm so happy to get to talk with her today and welcome Peggy.
Peggy Lyle 4:57
Well, thank you Sari, this is wonderful to be here, and I have to admit, I'm blushing. That was quite the intro. Thank you so much.
And you do make a pretty mean Margarita as well. Oh, yes, yes, we,
Unknown Speaker 5:11
I was gonna say, you know, it's kind of unfair, because we get a chance to have this work conversation at the same time, I really just get to visit with you, you're one of my favorite people around and I miss you so much miss seeing your face.
I know, hopefully, we'll get to do garden parties soon enough
Unknown Speaker 5:28
garden parties and all kinds of good parties.
So some people might be wondering, like you're not specifically in the CPG, or food world, but you and I have always had a lot of fun bouncing creative ideas off of each other. And like I said, You are a consultant with the Small Business Development Center. So you help all types of entrepreneurs. pretty much anyone, pretty much anyone who walks in my door, I'm willing to help them. Yes, and I think every entrepreneur can benefit from your knowledge around marketing and just making people the the touch point of your, your, your marketing strategies, but I love your take on kind of the culinary arts. So maybe just start with that piece of like, Yeah, what is your connection? How do you connect art and food and creativity?
Unknown Speaker 6:25
Yeah, well, and then I know, that's something that we have had quite a few discussions about. And, you know, when I would try to loop you into some kind of art related activity, you'd be like, Well, no, I'm in food. I'm just in food. And like, this is the Culinary Arts. I mean, this is art, we just forget, because we're consuming it. I mean, we're really, you're creating so many things with food, you're telling stories, you're creating experiences, you are, you know, allowing your creative freedom to kind of speak it's true through your food, there's so many, there's the art to putting things together so that people have that kind of instant, feeling. I mean, all of that stuff that is art, I think art is easily explained. Well, it's never easily explained. But it's more easily understood. Thinking about that art allows for complex ideas, to be delivered in simple consumable ways, oh, I even use that word consumable. I think food is the same way. I think about all those like the history, you know, the centuries of tradition, if you're looking at artisanal foods, you could even look at at creating new types of food as a way of kind of being that, that upset in the market, right? You're saying, Hey, we're not going to make caramels like we used to do, we're going to do it this way. Or you thought your grandma's pickles were like this, this is the new age of pickles, I think there's a huge amount of creativity that goes into food. And even though there's a lot of the sciency part of it, too, you know, there's calculations and timing and all kinds of very precise steps to it, there's still at the end of the day, a real heart, and a real creativity that goes into people who create food for us.
So good, I'm probably just, you know, guilty of spending a lot more time in the like, Alright, guys, you know, we got to pull our heads out of the clouds and put on our CEO hat and turn this into a formula. We need to talk money and profit and all of these things. But we are going to spend time in the creativity world.
Unknown Speaker 8:46
We're going to be in the creative zone. Well, you know, I have to say, as a, as a creative myself, I don't know if I would really classify myself as an artist in any way. But I am definitely a creative. And I've often found that what people need to remember is, if you're in the arts of any kind, you can be in the you can have a hobby, or you can be in the business of art. And if you're in the business of art and the business of food, there's a business element to that. So you do have to be organized and have a structure and think about bottom lines and have strategies. But you can't forget why you're there. And you're usually there because of a passion. And that passion is that's the art part. That's the part that you want to get back to and, and what keeps you sustained through all of the tough times of being an entrepreneur and kind of being out there on your own. Ah,
that is so good. And I think it's such a great reminder and that's what you do is help. You know in addition to your other you wear a lot of hats.
Peggy Lyle 9:52
I have a big closet for hats.
Literally and but um but that's what you do and people come in to your office, especially at the SBDC, where you do work with a lot of artisans and all sorts of industries, and you help them say like, yes, you can still be passionate, and you can still have this. But we're going to turn this from a hobby into a business, and all of the pieces that you have to wear, and certainly in your own business, I'm sure you've had to do that a little bit. Yeah, and those,
Peggy Lyle 10:26
and those are often the thing that you're less good at, and the things that aren't as sexy or appealing to you. And how do you balance that, while still kind of keeping that? that excitement in your business? And I think, you know, it's also the thing I find the most common, and that's why even though I'm a creative business consultant, honestly, the things that I'm talking to creatives about are the same things that I would hope all of the consultants are talking with their business clients about. The only difference is that I have to be able to speak creative. And what I mean by that is sometimes, you know, spreadsheets are not what the way that they think they want to do mind mapping, or maybe there are, they're just different approaches. And I think of it like a different language. And honestly, I think that you're really focused in on food businesses, there's a whole nother language that's assigned to that kind of entrepreneur too. But those basics of getting yourself organized, making sure you have a viable product. You know, identifying your customers, all those kinds of things are the same regardless of industry.
Yeah, absolutely. It is that balance of I've been thinking a lot about that piece of like, we got to wear the CEO hat. And then we have to wear the brand hat, the brand identity, which we're going to talk about next. But there's, you know, you as you have to run by the decisions around the brand by the CEO, and you're, you're the same person, you're constantly having to say like, is this right for the brand, and then the CEOs that the brand has said, you know, or the CEO has to say, is this right for the business?
Peggy Lyle 12:17
You know, I find a lot of different techniques that we associate with the arts are actually very helpful in regular business. You know, for instance, that would be role playing, you need to put on a different hat. And you need to think about things through that lens. Are you able to do that? Are you able to distance that from your own personal kind of wants and desires from the other role that you're kind of looking at, again, if you're a business of one, or a business of two, regardless, you're still going to have to wear all those different hats. So that's a good example of a technique that you would think of as kind of a, you know, that's theater, that's art, why would I do that. But that's actually a good way to assign yourself the ability to make, make tough decisions. You know, another one that it makes me think of is improv for business. I have some really wonderful theater, friends up here that run their improv in their theater business, but they offer offer it for entrepreneurs and for business folks. And it's a way for them to actually have better, that are mindsets and better internal conversations and be more productive as a team. For instance, you know, one of the monitors that everyone hopefully knows about from playing improv is you say yes, and you don't say no. So how can you take that little piece and assign that to your food business, to your, you know, invention business? How can you do that, and as an entrepreneur, you know, all the tools you could possibly get your hands on do, but I think we need to just sort of redefine and have a little less siloing between everything to make ourselves more productive. So that's a way to at least role play between the CEO, and you can't forget in a small business you're hanging in your small business, you know, you're often the janitor, too. So I mean, you need to, you're gonna wear a lot of hats. And if you need to physically put on different hats to get yourself in that mood, think of them like costumes, and it may help you focus in on your, your different duties that you need to try to complete and your short amount of free time.
Yeah. Oh my gosh, so fun. I love that. Um, so let's talk about let's shift into branding. And you're so great at this, that it creativity around storytelling and branding. So talk to us about how you see brand identities. I mean, it's something I touch on a lot but I think you bring a unique perspective and I always love to for you to talk about features. benefit. So make sure you draw features or benefits. That's great.
Peggy Lyle 15:05
I do have a, I don't know if it's a strength or if it's a habit that I needed to get rid of. But I love metaphors. I think metaphors really help drive things home and help people understand lessons. I'm sure that's a an old tried and true fact in the world. But I think telling stories are sometimes how we understand things. Well, the first thing I would say is, I think you shouldn't start anywhere without understanding your own story. What's your own story? What's your own? Your own product story? and not so much that it's just kind of got these a list of things, you know that the benefits and features again, we're going to get to that in a second. But what's the origin story of your product? What's the origin story of your company? And how can you tell that with the passion that you feel, right? I mean, that's, that's kind of the trick. That's the trick. And I always challenge all my clients to have a mission statement. And I find actually, I find mission statements just fascinating. Because often, I'll have new kind of young entrepreneurs come in, and they look at me, like, I'm from the, you know, 18th century or something, when I say, where's your mission statement? And they, I try to kind of go into explaining that, without that they have no grounding, it means they'd have no sense of why they're doing this, if you can't answer that question of why you're doing it, you have no hope of actually having a convincing marketing kind of effort that's going to connect with a customer that's going to result in a sale that's gonna make you successful. So you can want all that stuff at the end, you can work a ton for that endpoint. But if you don't really know your own story and your own mission, then you're, you're going to be lost. A kind of tell, I'll tell one of my metaphors before I get to features and benefits. And this one, I love sharing with people, I say, it's kind of like going on a trip and you get really excited you tell all your friends, hey, I'm going to go on a trip. I, I can't wait. And they say, great. That's awesome. I'm so excited for you. Where are you going? You say, Well, I don't know yet. I'm just I'm not sure. But I know I'm going to go on a trip.
Oh, well,when are you going to go?
Peggy Lyle 17:29
Well, you know, I don't know just yet. But I'm going I'm so excited. So then you go home and you buy a suitcase, you start packing your clothes, and you realize that you have to pack your snow shoes and your bathing suit, you're going to have to go get a bikini wax and your shots for malaria, you have so many things to do your passport, you don't know how much money you need, but you're going to start saving all the money, you're going to research every kind of place you could go. And what's happening is you're doing a lot of work. And you have a lot of work to show. But you're not actually going anywhere, you're you're sort of spinning your wheels. And again, you're working super hard, you've invested in all of these things. But if you make a simple decision of deciding where you're going, what your mission is, what your goal is, then all of a sudden it starts to come to fruition. So if you just pick one thing, and I always let my client pick a location, so Sari, pick a location for me of where you want to travel.
I always choose Provence, France every time.
Peggy Lyle 18:35
I love it, okay, so so if you decide I'm going to Provence, all of a sudden, when you tell people where you going, Oh, I'm going to Provence, they go, Oh, I've always wanted to go there, can I go with you, or I know a great place there or my cousin lives there or make sure to eat at this restaurant. And just by doing that one thing, people all of a sudden understand how to connect with you. And they're either going to go on the journey with you or they're going to help you go on the journey. Next, see, you know, you know how much it's going to cost. You know what time of year you should go, you know where you should stay. And, and then in a blink of an eye, you're there and you actually made it to Provence. But if you didn't make that decision to figure out where you're going, you're gonna just work a long time maybe have mild successes here and there and go nowhere. So, so long. It's a long story. But I think knowing your own story is important.
Yeah, it really helps with your decision making. And I think brand identities are the same as well, but it just it eliminates all the spaghetti throwing against the wall and clear on what it is you're doing, why you're doing it what your goal is so super important. It's that and I think that's a great metaphor, because yeah, I immediately was like, Oh yeah, if I know where I'm going, I'm going to provide I know exactly what I need to pack
Peggy Lyle 19:58
and then sometimes I feel like you don't always pick the right location, but you can modify that along your along your route. So I think it's just important to make that decision. So I'll kind of touch on what I think one of the core things that I think people need to remember is that there's a difference between features and benefits. And features are the list of all of the assets that your product brings. So, you know, is it where was it manufactured? And what ingredients are in it? And where were those harvested? And how was it packaged? And how many calories does it have in it? And does it have any sugar does it not. But the those, those features are kind of irrelevant to the customer who's not already interested in your product, the way that they become interested, is understanding the benefits. And those benefits are, when I taste this, I feel a sense of, you know, of adventure, I feel like I'm in Italy, or I love that this brings me back to a farm in Colorado, right? Like, all of a sudden, it's helping, you know, like, this makes me feel loved or warm, or these emotional things. And those are the actual benefits that someone's looking for, you know, they're looking for that label that they identify with their own personal brand, right, they're looking for the words that you might be choosing to use like organic, or, you know, locally sourced or whatever, whatever you're choosing to align with your brand, those emotional things happen first. And then once they're interested in that, it's just like dating, once they're like, hey, you're good looking. And I like I like how you smell and that the you know, you look like we could be really happy together. And next thing, you know, you're going to dive into those features. And that's when you're going to start asking some of those more questions, you're going to pick up the package, turn it around, you're going to taste it at a tasting kind of event, you're going to take a chance on it. And that's that's the features. And people often list the features first. And they get kind of lost in forgetting that they should talk about their benefits, what are the benefits of being in a relationship together, you and that brand. And that, to me is the most that's kind of the most exciting part. And it helps me kind of bring back the thing that I always try to tell people to have them understand a little bit more about brands, they often think a brand is just a logo or it's something else a brand is a personality. And and I think of brands as people, you should fully flesh them out. What do they do? Why do they like this? Why do they make these decisions? Who should they be friends with? You know, what are their assets? What are their downfalls? I mean, you should like completely flesh them out as a person. And if you do that, then you know who should be friends with them. It's very easy to see what outlets what stores, what customers, what types of customer decisions are going to you know, who's going to be my brand friend. And if you kind of again, simplify it and say, let's make them people, then, for some reason, that kind of, again, that metaphor, that putting the hat on of kind of thinking that way helps you design your messaging in a more appropriate way helps you really dive down into who your actual customers are, and talk to them as if they're people too.
Yeah. Yeah. And we do a lot of that in Food Business Success, where we talk about a brand identity and create an avatar. And I love it. If you're super creative, you know, like, really, I always want people to at least find an image that looks like their person give them a name, yeah exactly. But yeah, it's so important to like, speak their language. And on a previous podcast, it all kind of clicked for me where it's like, why do we want to do that? It's because otherwise, I mean, I know I say it over and over again, because then you're trying to be everything to everyone. And it's like people like Yeah, but what what's the problem with that, and the problem is that you're trying to get everybody in your funnel, and it's too much you end up a funnel is designed to weed people out. You might as well weed some people out and weed people in by being really defined, I guess. It's ...
Peggy Lyle 24:30
Exactly. I mean, there's so many kind of historic or traditional sayings that kind of go along this, you know, are you a mile wide or a mile deep? Are you, you know, jack of all trades and Master of None, right? All of these things. Again, it's to go back to the metaphor of traveling. Are you going to go everywhere? No, you need to go somewhere. Pick somewhere and the same thing goes for your customer pay Someone and talk to them in a genuine way. And if you've made you know your best possible guesses as to who they are and what they want, then you're going to start getting a lot more attraction and validation. And again, if you've done your work on your own, your own kind of definition of your brand, then you're going to connect better. I feel like sometimes people have a really good sense of who they think their customer is. But they don't actually know how to talk about themselves yet. They don't know how to talk about their brand, they don't know their voice. So I think, you know, it's kind of again, just like being human beings, we sort of need to know who we are, before we can enter a healthy relationship, for instance. Right? so so again, it kind of is all happening at the same time, but it's about being honest, I think that's a key part of, of this whole thing. And honest and honest sometimes doesn't mean that you get to hear all the nice, wonderful things about yourself. That's why focus groups and surveys and, you know, people giving you raw feedback is really good, because it'll help help it grow.
Yeah, I often I've been thinking a lot about, like, I think I want to do a podcast called like, it's not about you like that, right? Or it is, it's really about your customer. And storytelling is important. But I think oftentimes, people just see that as like, I'm going to tell my story, like the history of the company, or why I got started. And they want to put that first and foremost on the website or something. And it's like, your customer doesn't care about that until you make it about them first. Tell them all, like you paint that story for them. First of all, the ways they're going to feel when they're eating this, you know, this product. And I could definitely, I'm thinking of one of my clients better than provisions. And we've been painting that story of like, you know, take this granola with you on on hiking and vacation and you're gonna feel so much more confident knowing you have a snack that you know that it meets your dietary needs and lifestyle choices, and it's healthy and, and so we're painting that picture first, and then we can tell the story about why we created this.
Peggy Lyle 27:28
It's It's so brilliant, you know, and I know you have a lot of listeners that are from all over the country. But I'll give a little bit of a Colorado, a little Colorado share. Subarus are just huge here, right? Everybody either has a Jeep or a Subaru, especially all the people that have just moved here. And that's because they're you know, good in the snow, whether or not they actually go into the mountains or do anything in the snow is to be debated. But Subaru is a great example of a brand that does exactly that. When you see commercials and stuff they have, you know, they're loading their dogs into the back of the Subaru, they're on the beach, they're going up into the mountains, they're camping, they're happy, they have their family, it's really reinforcing all those things that that that that customer wants, they want that sense of adventure, but safety and you know, all these pieces, and they're just brilliant, they almost never tell you anything about the car. Right? But you have to dive in. And again, that's the features, they they're going after those benefits. And every time I see those, I always think this is the perfect, it's just the perfect connector to that audience. And people really resonate with it. And and then worry about all the stuff that you want to lecture somebody about, you know, just barf all that out onto a page, put, you know, kind of bury it into your website somewhere. So you feel good about it. But that's they don't care your customer is, how do I say this in a nice way your customer is selfish. They're there for themselves. They're not there for you, unless they're your, your mom or your cousin or your best friend. They're not there for you. They're there because they want something and you have to kind of be able to figure out what it is that they're looking for. And that's that's what you're doing so brilliantly with your clients.
Yeah, it's providing value, right? And that's ultimately, like, you're asking people to open their wallet of some kind, whether it's cash or card or number on a computer screen, and you're asking them to part with their money. Well, why why do any of us want to do that? It's because we're going to get something that we feel is valuable to us. So in this case, it's food but it's not just food, it's an expense. Usually if we're going to spend extra money, it's an experience. It's giving us something, right.
Peggy Lyle 29:58
It's something it's something more I mean, if we We just needed sustenance, that's that that goes back to this the culinary arts, right? If we just needed sustenance, then it would be a really different like kitchen, you know, you would have a much different set of meals. But you're not you want that experience that memory, that adventure, that kind of full mouth experience, you know, and I think there's so much emotion tied to food, there are smells, there's taste their sight, there's a lot there. And so I think it's a huge, a deep well that you can kind of dive into and be and have fun while you're doing it.
Peggy Lyle 30:41
well, and actually, you know, it's interesting, when you were talking about wanting to make sure that people are getting something of value. I find, too, that people often, especially in the creative realm, they don't want to be salespeople, they don't want to feel like the word sales, or marketing or having to kind of do those functions they don't want to. And I actually have found that the reason that they don't want to do that is because they have an association that selling things is bad. And that's because there are sales, people who sell you stuff you don't need. They are people who want to exploit you and give you stuff that you don't need or want or will enjoy. And they don't care about you. And that those are usually the ones who are, you know, you bought at once you'll never buy it again. And that kind of exploited people or they say, I could sell snow to Eskimos, well, that's a horrible thing. Like, it's a horrible thing that you just said, That's not, that shouldn't be a good trait. But I believe that if you find the value in what you're doing, and what you have, and you really have that self worth and self confidence in it, that you know what it's going to do for people, you know how it's going to make their life better, and the value that they're going to see. And then all of a sudden talking about it is not hard, you might have to get over being shy, or you're kind of a behind the scenes person that you want someone else to be your sales person. But if you're really selling something that you believe in, then it's not a dirty thing. It's not a bad thing. And people kind of have to re kind of redefine that word for themselves. Because that's an integral part of being a business. I mean, business is an exchange of goods, right? Like you give me this for that. Whether you're doing it with trade, or that's interesting. I see a lot of people are very good at trade, but they're not good at asking for money. Well, what's the difference? One feels like you, you probably are, you don't have enough self worth or self value around yourself or around your product to actually ask for money. But once you discover that, it's it's, you know, again, it's easy, you just have to be honest with yourself and really dive into that.
Yeah, oh, my gosh, so many good things to unpack there. Because I often say like, you know, I mean, I deal with this with my own program, like getting over myself and, and be willing to tell people about it. And then I've kind of come up to the place of like, it's like, if you have a cure for cancer, you would not be shy about it, you would not? Like, oh, I don't know if anybody's gonna want this. And will people want to give me money, you're like, I have a cure for cancer, like I have the cure for your food business and help you so of course, I'm going to tell everybody about it. And some people are not my people, and that's okay. And so same with my clients and people listening. It's like, you're gluten free, keto granola is not going to be everybody's bag, but the people who want it are going to be like, thank you, I have been searching for those those amazing. Where do you bet all my life
Peggy Lyle 34:07
again, again, I'm gonna brand back like to a dating metaphor. It's like date the people who want to date you and the rest of them. Don't worry about you know, just to find that customer who's like, Oh, my gosh, I'm, I'm keto. And I love to go hiking and I'm so all about this granola, or, I love this, you know, kind of approach to pickles. And I absolutely love pickles. I mean, people go to a lot of lengths to find a relationship with a product and then they want to hold true to that product. I mean, think about when people when they changed coke. The world was gonna end when they are glad. But I had to come up with new coke and then classic coke. Yeah, you know, for all intensive purposes, they probably did it on purpose. But what it did was it made everyone go oh my gosh, I really love Coca Cola, like I really do. And now that's a huge expense. Example. But I think the same thing goes for if people have a genuinely wonderful experience, like you do making your product and eating your own product, if you can have them do that you're connecting with the right person. You got a customer for life. Yeah.
Which is such a good segue. It's like you teed me up, but I don't think you're on purpose.
Peggy Lyle 35:20
I didn't, I didn't endorse anything today.
But I want to talk about because you are like marketing Maven, like promotions, that experiencial events. And obviously, we can't do events the way we used to, I know for now, but you know, you and I have done a lot of events, marketing, a lot of events, events in general, and you are so good. I mean, you have such a long career of creating experiential moments for people that so let's just talk about, yeah, where are you seeing promotions, event marketing being used successfully, when it goes into a great campaign?
Peggy Lyle 36:04
Well, you know, event production is such an interesting area, because it really spans a wide variety of types of events, you know, everything from the large community festival, all the way down to throwing a dinner party. I mean, really, those all fall into events. You know, promotional events, I think, I'm glad that you mentioned that kind of event marketing, people often forget that events, a lot of times are designed now, some of them are more obvious than other ones, but they're designed to have you to market a certain thing. So a lot of my experience has all been kind of in a more public sector and a community event realm, you know, but my job was to promote our downtown Fort Collins historic core, that's what my job was. And to have people connect to that well, so we through huge music, music festivals, and beer festivals, and tiny, you know, Trick or Treat events and Santa Claus. But each time they had those things, we were delivering something that they wanted. But we were actually developing a relationship between the downtown brand and them. So the minute that they had someone, like come into town, there, they know exactly where they have to take them, because this is the most important part of their town. So that and I was definitely on the shoulders of plenty of people that went before me. So it was an easy thing for me to dive into. But that all was built through that experiencial marketing. Now you have to think differently, obviously, if you have more of a tangible product that someone can buy consume in their house. But, um, you know, think about like pairings, think about ways to have them understand how to use your product, in a way like that, right? Like,
in some ways, this is kind of cheesy, but like Tupperware, that's a good example. Tupperware, it was like, let's have Tupperware parties. And everyone can, you know, get their Tupperware and then you're going to use that when you're throwing your own parties at home. You know, there's lots of those kinds of Pampered Chef is another really great one, that they're going to give you things that you're going to utilize in throwing your parties. Well, what if you took that same approach with your food product? Right? How could your food product kind of incentivize an entire meal? How can it inspire? A themed a themed kind of get together or making treats for friends that you're going to leave for them? Like what are those are a morning ritual? Like if you have like a, you know, a chai or a tea or a coffee? Like how can you ritualize that experience, all of that, to me is an experience. And that would be experiential marketing. And then there's the obvious the most the more obvious, external versions, where you're actually at a farmers market, for instance, I think this is actually a key thing. That's your own little mini event, you get to be your own mini vendor in this big festival, that's going to be your market. So what's the experience that someone's going to have when they come into your booth? Then I mean, gosh, there you've been in charge of and at so many farmers markets, I'm sure you've, you've seen this so many times. But there's that there's some people who took the experience to the max, and you really like get involved with their product and you look at their booth and it's gorgeous, and you really kind of are consumed by that and it's a memory that you have. And then you have other people who may even have an amazing product, and they took no time to decorate their booth to put a tablecloth on their table to talk to you when you walked up and you even watch patterns of people just kind of walking by those products. And again, that product actually might be a rock solid, great product. But no one's gonna take the time to go experience it, and then they're not going to consume it, and then they're not going to buy it. So I think that business owners can think about their displays places this way they can think about going to some of the live interactive things, how can they put themselves in that consumer shoes, and entertain them? I mean, maybe this is maybe this is why I enjoy event production is because at the end of the day, I'm an entertainer, and I really enjoy posting and entertaining, and making sure that everyone had a fabulous time. If you take that same mindset to your display is to your, to your website, you know, experience and going shopping for social media, right? There's so many ways even though right now we're limited in our ability to be physically together, it doesn't actually limit the ability to connect and create an experience. You just have to get more creative. Yeah. And, you know, the, this isn't going to last forever, either. I know it feels like at some days, but it's not. And so how are you planning to? Like, once we're let out of this cave? What are you going to do? Like, how are you going to get out there? How are you going to start connecting with people? And yeah, I think people just need to remember like, you know, host a party and what better way to host a party than with amazing food. Like you have it right there. But little things like, is there music playing when you're, you know, like if you're able to do things like this, but you know, is there music playing? Do you have kind of a setting? Do you have a sense of if you had oh, like I love I'm just gonna call out one of your customers and I just absolutely adore. I love Jay Brady and how boys shake is like my favorite spice and I literally am that's just filled with spices. And I think that that's one of my favorites and my husband now that's his favorite too. And literally everything I make I go hey, what do you think? What do you think is in this and I make him play the guessing game of telling me what's in the thing I just made every single time it goes cowboy shake. Just like it's I love it. It's not in everything though, sweetie. Anyway.
So but he does a great job of how can you take that kind of the whole essence of the cowboy atmosphere or he has kind of the English I can't what it's called but kind of an English gentleman any shake Yeah, gentlemen, shake, you know, and all these things and the the grill and the steak or you know, if you're using a vegetables you could still have all these really great emotional and experiential elements to that brand. And I think you know, as as brands mature and and have opportunity, they can do more of that. But again, it's about that personal discovery. You know, decorate the set. If you're taking pictures of your product make sure that they're really sexy pictures. It's like a dating site don't put up a horrible picture like get a little light box and you know put your product in there make it look super sexy and fun. If you you know if you have an outdoor like Jay Brady, he might decide to take his shakes out onto a ranch and take a picture you know on a on a fence with you can see the rolling hills behind him. All of that is about building a set and building experience. So again, even though we can't all do it in in person, I think there's lots of ways to still get at those things. Virtually to Yeah, that was a long answer.
No, I love it. I just it kind of got my juices flowing of like yeah, like having even like creating a Spotify mix for your particular brand or like how can you create How can you bring all five senses even online even in the social media? Right?
Peggy Lyle 44:23
Right. Well, I think that I mean if you had had a great product that you thought would be good for dinner parties, let's say that that is you know something that you were even just for dinner. I mean look at how you know we're looking for inspiration everywhere and everyone loves themes. Come up with a wonderful little theme of Hey, I made this Spotify list and you can use this and this and this and you can make dinner have this playing and next thing you know you have a fun European night out or you know, conjure Italy in your kitchen. Those all all those little things. create memories. For people, and your product was aligned with that memory. And that's ultimately, that sounds very technical, I guess. But that's what you want to do is create memories together. That's why we have best friends and your again, to go back to people, we want your product to be the best friend of someone who's looking for a friend. Right? So yeah, and I think if you're too shy for a lot of those kind of events, or experiential things, which is totally realistic, I mean, Know thyself, right? If you're too shy for that, then you need to do a trade or hire somebody or figure out a way to get someone who that is there. That is their winning kind of space. They're really rocking it when they're visiting with people, find that person and have them help work with you. You know, put yourself out there. That's, that's hard. But again, you're talking about something you love, and that's okay. Oh, yeah. So I get so inspired.
I know doing little videos and things. And again, I know that sounds scary for some people, but like, just taking little steps out of your comfort zone, right. But it is really important. We can't just be like, here's my product. Do you like it? Like, most of the time, people were like, No, no, it's not worth the price, right? Until you wrap these experiences and these identities and these emotions around it. Like you said, otherwise, we would just be eating chicken breasts and broccoli. Yeah, I know.
Right. I know. I'd be super boring. So I know. That sounds like a horrible world. I don't I definitely don't want that. Yeah, I agree. And I'll
put a photo of you in front of your kitchen, cuz you're the most amazing kitchen. in your kitchen. But yeah, well, maybe a horrible world for you and me.
Peggy Lyle 46:55
Well, you know, it fires me my kitchen like conjures fun things for me. And that's actually why I know I shouldn't have so many dried spices, you know, real chefs always say you only use fresh stuff. And I, I usually bring my whole gardens worth of herbs inside the house for the winter. And sometimes they survive. And sometimes they don't. But I actually love one of my favorite things to do is just have a plethora of spices in the cupboard. Because at any given time, I could just pick a location and look at the protein I have, and then figure out a fun thematic way to make dinner.
Yeah, Morocco tonight. Exactly.
Peggy Lyle 47:38
Exactly. I think that's I think that's wonderful.
I love all the dating advice I'm getting from you. Here, here Welcome. It's access.
Peggy Lyle 47:52
Right, there goes those metaphors that get me in trouble sometimes.
Funny, have you seen some interesting things that some of your artists are doing during COVID? to kind of create some of those experiences and, and sell their product? The dirty?
Peggy Lyle 48:11
I have I actually, it's really strange. You know, during COVID, I feel like we're all we're all potentially in this place where you know, it's a little Groundhog Day, I definitely hear that, you know, out in the ether, but also that sometimes you feel less creative because it's you know, you might be depressed about this, or it's just feels like nothing's going anywhere, or when's it gonna change, then I also get so inspired to be creative right now. Like I love the challenge of, you know, hosting festivals that I had before in virtual ways. What's a way to connect? How can you deliver and you, you have to adjust your you have to adjust your metrics and your goals because they're going to be different, right? They're just gonna be different. But you are able to let your imagination kind of go, like just do it. And so I've seen so many artists, it's interesting. I see the resilient artists shifting and doing really neat things. And I've had lots of especially in Visual Arts, people that are having like their best years ever, because people are saying, Hey, I really, I value this and I really connected with that, or I liked your story or I want to get back to basics. I feel like food is definitely one of those two, right? Like we're all cooking for ourselves. So they're kind of getting back to that. And then I've seen other folks who kind of are just waiting out the storm and I don't know if that's psychologically as healthy and I think it's okay to, to kind of explore new places. And get sort of successful, I think it's also a good time to get a little more educated. You know, if you don't have, you know, if you don't have an operating website, get one, make one, build one, figure it out, take a take a webinar, so many free things you can learn from, you know, if you aren't very good with Instagram, well set up an account and start going, like, there's no excuses, you know, you, now's the time to kind of learn and make up for some of those deficits that you didn't have time for before. So I think everybody was like,
going, going, going, going, doing all these events. And like, that's like, let's go back to some of the foundational work. I know that right? When COVID hit, I was doing a lot of like, let's go back to cash flow. And exactly, yeah, like resetting our foundations, how's this
Peggy Lyle 50:54
And getting getting organized, right? Getting organized. And, and I will say, Now, I mean, there's more competition, because that's the primary way that people are getting information. But it's also a great time to be, you know, in the digital space. And if and the reverse, if you're not in the digital space, or you're not well represented in the digital space, people take note of that, and a lot of times, customers really, they have so many options, they're gonna give you one chance. And if you didn't have all your stuff in a row, then that one chance is gone. And they're probably not coming back. So I think that this is a great sort of reset a couple of really cool food, things that I experienced this last year. There was a virtual Farmers Market up here in Fort Collins. So that was really wonderful to see all of these folks pulled together and figure out. And this sounds so commonplace now where it's like, Hey, you just ordered your food online. And we, you know, go pick it up at the store, or you go do this and that, well, this was new, it felt really new, you know, just, what, nine months ago. And they were having this way for local producers to all get orders through this Facebook group. And again, it felt it feels simple as I explain it now. But it felt very connecting at the time. That was really cool. I also saw another really neat experience, it was all about minority and immigrant, farming farmers and kind of cottage food industry folks who all they were kind of organized through an order system where they were helping to support all of these women, immigrants and people who that was kind of their only mean to means to sell some of their foods. So everything from tamales to, you know, pumpkins and chilies and, and they had this really neat way that you could kind of feel both that you were helping in a social justice way, but also connecting with really wonderful Heritage Foods that are grown right in your community. So I think there's just a lot of creativity trying to get us through this pandemic. But I mean, the thing, honestly, that's gotten me through is being able to cook and that sounds like you paid me to say that, Oh, I'm just enjoying making food. But honestly, this is my, that's my creative time. That's my time for kind of diversity in what we're doing. I've had lots of themes, dinners for just two of us. Because it's just, it's just that wonderful. They and I go out of my way to make sure that I'm supporting all of my local producers, because those are, those are family members. And those are community members and partners. And they're all a wonderful system of supporting each other.
Yeah, and discovery and getting tired of things. So fun. I love looking at.
Peggy Lyle 54:00
I know that you have so many wonderful brands that you work with. And I just, I can see how you wanted to be a champion for all of them. You're like, well, I need this and I need this and I need that.
Yeah, yes. I try to be very generous at farmer's markets. And I'm helping others and I'm getting great food. Right? well in advance. Yeah, they feel like they're, they're authentic.
Peggy Lyle 54:26
I think there's a real space for authentic food. Now, I think tolerance in in people who can afford it? The tolerance for anything less than authentic and really wonderful. Exceptional food is pretty, pretty low. I don't think people want to tolerate just kind of subsistence eating,
right? Yeah, no. Yeah. Well, this has been so fun Maggie, it just has time chatting about our favorite thing.
Creating variances and I miss you, we,
Peggy Lyle 55:08
you know, I was thinking about all of our events, including women who succeed, which was a really fun, happy hour. And you're just succeeding wildly and I'm just so proud of you and so glad that you're out there helping everyone else do the same.
Thank you. Well, thanks for being here and have an amazing day.
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