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Home Builder Digital Marketing Podcast Digital Marketing Podcast Hosted by Greg Bray and Kevin Weitzel

35 Understanding Your Value Proposition - Jennifer Cooper

Understanding Your Value Proposition - Jennifer Cooper

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Production by:  KT Maschler and Josh Williamson

Editing by: KT Maschler 


This week on the Home Builder Digital Marketing Podcast, we were honored to welcome Jennifer Cooper from Truland Homes. She joins Greg and Kevin to discuss the importance of understanding your value proposition as well as how to discover your brand influence and what your company stands for.

Throughout her career, Jennifer has provided excellent marketing leadership to three home builders: Richmond American Homes, Oakwood Homes, and Truland Homes. She knows that the housing industry is truly her “home” for the rest of her career. Today, Jennifer is the Chief Marketing Officer for Truland Homes where she leads all marketing vision and efforts for Alabama and Florida along the Gulf Coast of Mexico. She is an exemplary leader brought into the C-Suite to take the company into the next stage of growth. 

Jennifer has also owned a small consulting business over the last seven years, where on a limited basis, she offers her time and perspective to help other businesses with marketing advice in the homebuilding industry. Outside of her professional career, Jennifer and her husband have a son and a daughter. She is active in their schools and her neighborhood community. She is a runner, wine enthusiast, enjoys public speaking, and loves to travel across her beautiful home state of Colorado and abroad.


Greg Bray:  [00:00:00]Hello everybody. And welcome back to another episode of the Home Builder Digital Marketing Podcast. I'm Greg Bray with Blue Tangerine, 

Kevin Weitzel: and I'm Kevin Weitzel with Outhouse. 

Greg Bray: And today we are excited to welcome Jennifer Cooper, the chief marketing officer of Truland Homes. Welcome, Jennifer. 

Jennifer Cooper: Thank you for having me.

Greg Bray: Pleasure. Thank you so much for making time for us. And for those who haven't met you yet, or  been introduced, give us that brief introduction of who Jennifer is. 

Jennifer Cooper: Well, who am I? yeah. So thanks for [00:01:00] the introduction. I have worked in the home building industry for about half of my career. I've been in marketing and advertising.

For, Oh my gosh, I'm gonna start aging myself here, for about 22 years. And I absolutely love it. And, I've had the blessing and honor of working for three great homebuilders over my career and just continue to embrace our industry. And, outside of that, I stay pretty busy. I've got two kiddos, one a five-year-old son who's six sorry, six he's now six-year-old son and a 13-year-old daughter. And I also have a consulting business on the side cause I like a lot of challenges, but I consult specifically within the home building industry in my quote-unquote spare time. 

Greg Bray: And is that consulting on the marketing side as well?

Or are there some other specific area you are marketing?

Jennifer Cooper: Yeah, it's with marketing.

Greg Bray: Okay. Okay. 

Kevin Weitzel: Great. Well, that's the business side of you, but can you give us just a little bit of the personal side of you? And I know we know you have two kids, but give us something juicy. Something that nobody [00:02:00] knows, nobody in this podcast knows. I mean, are you a juggler?

Do you, are you into archery? Have you murdered your neighbors? I don't know something interesting. 

Jennifer Cooper: No, COVID brings up some interesting sides of people. yeah. You know, I'm pretty much an open book, so I feel like people know me a lot, but yeah. You know, one thing I'm actually pursuing and daydreaming about right now is creating a product line.

So, more to come on that, but, you know, I love, I'm kind of a foodie and a wine enthusiast and just spend a lot of my time with the family, you know, and the limited spare time we have, nowadays, but yeah, I'm kind of excited about this new idea about a clothing line.  

Kevin Weitzel: So what's your 13-year-old and your five-year-old's favorite wine?

Jennifer Cooper: Oh, they know they can't try, mommy's special juice,

Kevin Weitzel:  Mommy special grape juice. 

Greg Bray: So you want to get into clothes? Well, that's definitely a different angle then the whole a [00:03:00] side thing.

Jennifer Cooper: I've got an idea for kind of fun product line. So more to come on that. But, the creative side of me always is thinking of something new to experiment with.

Kevin Weitzel: That's super cool. And you know, it's nice to where you can take something that could be considered a hobby and turn it into a passion. And then, you know, it makes it something that could be profitable. So it could be another stream of income into the household. But, but I have a question for you. Cause you mentioned that you have worked for three great builders.

Obviously you've left on great terms because, you know, when you go from builder to builder, that can be straining or, you know, can be challenging. But do you find that, you've had any kind of, added stress going from one builder to another. Has it been geography or what was the reasoning why you had to go from one builder to another?

Jennifer Cooper: I must mentioned that cause explain the breadth of my career, but it was definitely spread out over 22 years. I've worked for a monopoly utility. I've worked in the retirement realm. I've worked for national restoration [00:04:00] contractors. I have a really broad Acumen, which I think actually makes me a better marketer because I'm not kind of stuck in one vertical, but, then I have kids and just all that fun stuff.

So it's been, you know, it'll change over the years, but, you know, I worked for Richmond American back before the recession, so I got to see the height of, you know, monumental time in our industry. And then I got to see the low and, you know, some people are still, kind of bruised from the experiences of the recession, but that was really the staple of my career.

The building blocks, I learned so much there. I'm still so connected to what we call our Richmond American family from back in the day. And honestly, that was a pivotal time for me, with growth and just saying, wow, this is one building industries where I want to be. You know, and then I've recently transitioned out from working for a lot of people, know me from being a vice president role for Oakwood Homes.

They were smaller, but I really applied a lot of the best practices. I learned working for a national builder and to working for regional builder. And [00:05:00] my time there, my goal was really to reinvent their brand give them a fresh look and change a little bit of their voice and help grow their product lines and help grow their footprint in their markets. And, I'm pretty sure I accomplished that and always looking for new challenges. And now I'm working for a smaller builder. It's interesting. I'm going down in size, but actually the opportunity has risen with some of that growth. And, now I'm working for a smaller builder and we're rolling up the sleeves and trying to again, look at the brand positioning. That's so important and understanding your value propositions, what you offer to the customer, and trying to get them very technologically savvy, because that is the direction that our industry is going. 

Kevin Weitzel: You know, I actually admire that because, one of the things that, and this question comes up from time to time on some of the different, various chat channels and social media channels with us marketers and stuff, but, I admire people that will accept the challenge more so than taking a job where they're just coasting and, you know, I don't mean that, you know, the job is [00:06:00] coasting.

I just mean that you know, to go into a place that's already established, all you have to do is make sure that the wheels are turning. You know, the gears are engaging. I mean, you have to actually establish, you have to say, I need to get right here. I need to put these wheels on this axle to make this car get down the road.

So I admire that. 

Jennifer Cooper: Thank you. Yeah, it's you know, I just definitely a roll up the sleeves person. Some days I'm being the chief marketing officer and other days I'm literally being the coordinator because just stuff has to get done and I think it's, you know, just it's part of my work ethic, part of my drive, but also it keeps me in the trenches and it keeps me ultra curious about how we can get better, what we do just down to the tactical things that we do as marketers.

Greg Bray: So Jennifer, for those who are not familiar with Truland Homes, can you just tell us a little bit more about, you know, the areas that you're building in the particular buyer that you're targeting with your offerings? 

Jennifer Cooper: Yeah. So, I like to say we are small but mighty up and coming builder. Now that I've got, I've been with them about five months.

And so we build in [00:07:00] Alabama more importantly, Baldwin County. So not the overall state, but more along the gulf coast, into the panhandle. All the way from Pensacola to, this beautiful sleepy bedroom town called Port St. Joe. And it's all along the you know, from Pensacola along the panhandle.

And, we've been in business, building homes for about just a little over 10 years. the company was started by our founder, Nathan Cox, and we are now led by our CEO and president Charles Shedder. Who's very, well-known in the industry. Two very smart, smart men, gentlemen that I work for and I work with.

And we are, I guess, an up and coming builder, smaller builder. Traditionally born and bred as more of a custom home builder, transitioning to the production side over the last few years, especially under Charles' leadership and based on my production side of single-family building. They just felt like it was a good fit because I worked for different sized builders and you had to bring some of the best practices

and really understand the business. And so, [00:08:00] we're marching towards some great goals to grow at scale over the next couple of years. So I think you're going to see us moving on to the builder 100 we're on the builder 200 list right now a lot, a lot of movement. 

Kevin Weitzel: I love quoting Bob Schultz.

I love Bob Schultz. He's down there. He's actually not too far from you. He's down there in Florida. He's, I think he's over, closer to the other side of the state, but either way, he says there are three kinds of builders. There's production builders, custom builders, and right there in the middle that little tiny sweet spot there's SIM high-profit builders.

And what he means by that is that. You have to make sure that if you are transitioning from custom into semi-production or semi, you know, a custom standardization of your customization, that you need to standardize those processes, otherwise, all that hand-holding and that special treatment that you're accustomed to giving to somebody all that extra time comes out of.

The cash comes out of your bucket, not the buyer's bucket. [00:09:00] So you wind up eroding your own profitability to try to maintain that relationship all the while trying to compete against production builders. Yeah. So I, you recognize, it sounds like you recognize that you have to have tech and some processes in place to make sure that you aren't losing that.

Jennifer Cooper: Yeah, that's exactly 100 percent, what you just said is so true. And I think that's part of their, our growth and our development right now is to go from custom and wanting to give choices always important, but defining that choice so that you can get those bumpers and those rail guards up to make sure that your profits aren't squashed and keeping great customer experience.

So we're going through those learnings and I'm definitely getting some great traction. We've got great division presidents. With background working more on the production side so that we can build a great product have a great choice, have great design packages, and our quality construction is just phenomenal.

It's some of the details we put in our home, make it feel like custom, but we're following a production process. 

[00:10:00] Greg Bray: So Jennifer, tell us now a little bit more about, you know, let's dive into the marketing team and kind of how you set that up. You know, are you broken up with people responsible for different geographies?

Do you kind of run it all from corporate headquarters? What's kind of your method?

Jennifer Cooper: For right now, the sleeves are rolled up all the way on top of the shoulders. 

Greg Bray: Let me, digress in. Is there a team or is it just Jennifer, me, myself and I?

Jennifer Cooper: It's a small team, and we're already growing again. I have such gracious leadership that is trusting and letting me build our little small, but mighty team.

So yeah, I have a marketing manager. I just, made an offer to marketing coordinator yesterday and we're hiring, a web person because I want a very strong digital acumen on my team. Since that's a big part of where I'm taking this little bus. I, you know, what I do is I rely a lot. I've done this in my consulting role where I didn't necessarily even hire outside people full time, but I just find the right partners to make up my team.

And I [00:11:00] hire agencies on very specific. I identify their sweet spot. And then they are as an extension of my team and, you know, having weekly meetings. And I just really kind of, it helps me mentally feel like I've got the support, even though I don't have the bodies, you know, sitting in chairs or sitting in cubes down the hall.

I really build up that, that bench, if you will. By getting the right partners involved. So I feel like I have a team. I've got a great social agency. I've got a great digital agency. I have long with partners and some of the other mediums that I use that are not digital and I just feel supported and that's how you, get a lot of things done really fast 

Greg Bray: Now related to that, how do you connect your marketing team with kind of the sales team? Do you oversee sales as well? Or do you have somebody else who sometimes they got VP of sales and marketing and sometimes they're split?

What's your role there? 

Jennifer Cooper: I always fight to have a dedicated focus, cause I think I've had this conversation. You can't really be an amazing [00:12:00] sales manager and amazing director of the marketing. It's it's just too much. You really need to be all in and focus. So I come on board with all in focus on marketing, but I've worked so closely in tandem with sales directors and VPs of sales.

I've worked on a lot of sales training in my history, and so I'm just as engaged and committed to the success of our sales teams. So I work very closely in tandem with the sales directors. 

Greg Bray: Awesome. No, I think that's a great insight because there are some, a lot of places that kind of lump those together.

And that can be a lot to keep up with. 

Jennifer Cooper: I mean, you want to spend your time on getting through a contract, making your salespeople perform better and inspiring them, or then how do you switch gears and all of a sudden. Worry about your analytics and worry about how you're getting people in the door.

I mean, they're really two full-time jobs, but I understand a lot of companies tend to lump them together because they work so closely. 

Greg Bray: Sure. So of course, we are the digital marketing podcast. [00:13:00] So, dive in a little bit more from a digital standpoint, Tell us a little more about how digital kind of fits in your overall plan and how that's evolved.

Is it, you know, half? Is it 90%? Is it 10% kind of where does digital kind of fall in that plan? 

Jennifer Cooper: It's where you gotta be today. And I know a lot of the home building industry is catching up and it's intimidating because it's something that's always changing. but we are, I'd say we're, we're moving towards chugging towards about 60% of our spend towards digital and bringing on a ton of technology.

Everything from virtual tours, we just implemented a chatbot on our website and reinventing our websites. And I spend a lot of time, honestly, over the last few days with the election, I sometimes will just pull up Google analytics and watch my box. I've been real curious to see, how interested the world is in buying homes during all of the craziness going on in the world.

So digital has gotta [00:14:00] be where it is. And I'm so curious, and nobody has this crispy answer to this crystal ball or doesn't have the crystal ball is where is the customer going to go post-pandemic? And I think at the end of the day as consumers, I like to say we're consumers of all things, that we have been trained by other industries on what we want and what we're expecting, and we're just really catching up.

So I think a lot of ways we're looking to sell and things. We're looking that we need to add in a marketing path, right. Isn't going to go back to the way that we used to do it as an industry. 

Greg Bray: What are your thoughts, Jennifer? Looking ahead towards the whole buying the home completely online.

Are you guys, looking towards that? Are you working on already or do you feel like, maybe not yet? 

Jennifer Cooper: As a company, we're not putting all of our eggs in that basket. I think we need to offer the opportunity. So, especially since our buyers, 40% of our buyers come from out of [00:15:00] state because of the melting pot of buyers that we get and the demos that we pull in.

So we should be growing to offer that in the future, but I don't think anybody, any builders going to go 100% of that. I mean, there might be some, there's some European builders and people have different models. Like. you know, like if there's like a Tesla of the industry that decides they want to do everything one way and that's what they're known for.

And that's one thing. But, I think we will offer more choice to get people down the checkboxes of home ownership, but we will never go a hundred percent there. 

Greg Bray: Sure. Well, I know, the panhandle area of Florida around Pensacola is a lot of like military buyers and things that are moving from far away to, 

Jennifer Cooper: yeah. It could be changing. 

Greg Bray: So do you see, you know as the folks have embraced more digital, do you see resistance or challenges within your own team and trying to say, Oh, do we really [00:16:00] need this or not? Or do you feel like everybody's, Oh, we want the new technology? Let's do it. Let's go.

Jennifer Cooper: You know, I'd say it's 50/50, it's changed is hard. It doesn't matter what it is. It doesn't matter what agent or what, what, the industry you're in. I think changes is difficult. And especially for our sales folks that have sold for a very long time with a very particular pattern and way of doing things.

When you come in and say, well, we now have these new steps. and if you think about this technology, even I personally have had to get used to having. More screen time and conversations like this. And, so that was a, you know, a learning curve, a comfort curve, whatever you want to call it. And so you have to get salespeople who I worked with a lot of salespeople that didn't even want to text anybody.

But, you know, if they were strong salespeople, you're like, well, whatever you're doing works. and we're getting to the point where it's really, a non-negotiable if this is where people are right now, based off of their comfort levels and being out and about. But again, we are starting to train [00:17:00] them that if you go and visit, you know. Taylor Morrison loved that company, highly admire their leadership and what they do as a company, but they're pushing the bar.

You know, they've sold over 400, I think, or, sorry. I don't even remember how many homes, if it was like a hundred thousand or a lot of homes, there's still a lot of homes. but they've sold a lot of homes virtually and everybody's like, is that the new way? But again, you're starting to see what the customer, these different opportunities, for how they're seeing homes being offered up.

And so we've got to keep track. 

Greg Bray: So when you think about some of the technologies recently that you've tried to add or implement, have you had some just big challenges that you had to overcome that you weren't expecting as far as, you know, rolling out some new technology? 

Jennifer Cooper: You know, I think, I can't say there's like anything that like, wow, this is really an odd challenge, but I think the challenge always is how do you get everybody to [00:18:00] jump on the wagon and adopt it.

And understand why you're doing it. And then there's a whole education and learning curve. I think you've got to set expectations because sometimes, I found with a lot of excitement and I'll get on the soapbox about we're going to do this. And then, you know, it takes sometimes three months, six months.

You gotta have a lot of patients because you've got to work out bugs. You've got to learn from your technology. You've got to, you've got to, you know, tighten some of the screws and make sure everything's just. Just working if you had to set up demographics or, um, there's just always some patients and some time you've got to put into technology and say, we're going to start to track, we're going to start to benchmark.

And then we're going to really start to benchmark when we get through the bugs. And so, you know, that was a challenge that I've had with some of my implementations this year. everything from us, working in a new CRM to working with the chatbot, and that those are just part of implementing anything new is you've got to figure it out, learn it, and [00:19:00] have patience 

Kevin Weitzel: Out of curiosity,

If you don't mind mentioning, do you know or not? Do you know, which, CRM did you go with, and what were your major reasons as to why you went that direction? 

Jennifer Cooper: So we are with, Lasso. So a lot of people are for familiar with that. And honestly, being five months in, it was already in the process of being implemented when I came on board.

But it's one that I was a fan of. We definitely have some great relationships with some of the folks at ECI and it's a great platform for our industry. you know, like anything, there's a lot of competition in the marketplace and, and they don't all maybe serve everybody's needs, but you find the one that works for your business at the time.

And, again, I think there's a lot that like Lasso, so they're, I think they're always looking at how they can innovate and, get feedback on what's working or not working. And so that's been a challenge is that you have to go from people we've also implemented an EE registration process. So you go from people [00:20:00] taking paper registration cards and it's, I'm sure some of my sales and marketing people will laugh at this, but we know their shoe boxes underneath the desks.

you know, and so you say, guys, we need, I need this data to help you sell the more people I can quickly access and send out information, whether it's a text, blast, an email, or, or just get some more information on your buyers. Let me help you and get to let's get those out of the shoe box. And so I'm having things that are talking to each other.

Your registration connects to our CRM and our CRM helps us deliver more marketing. you know, has been great. But sure, it's a little clunky, just getting all of the cylinders to work together in the beginning. 

Kevin Weitzel: I don't like to refer to the paper users as dinosaurs because when the internet crashes, they're still cranking and firing on all four cylinders or all eight cylinders, depending on the size and motor you're using.

But what they need to buy into is that once those systems are in place, it [00:21:00] adds, yeah, there's some tasks task with cracking going on, but the task management side of it adds your efficiency. Exponentially. So it will become their best friend. It's just like, you know, an OSC, you know, they're like, Oh, I don't want to know.

It sees me talking to my customers, mess up my sales process. Well guess what it doesn't they become your best friend. They're feeding you. They're just they're shooting clients at you. So yeah, the efficiencies are so much better when you employ implement tech.

Jennifer Cooper: Oh, so much when you think about I'm like you can hand this.

You can hand this pad to someone, iPad or whatever device it is, and let them start to do it, or you can get backlogged and all of these red cards you'd need to enter. So there's that and yeah, setting up their drip campaigns and the CRM. And, now that we've got some people chugging along with it, you know, we're seeing the adoption rate go up and again, They're great sales professionals.

So I hate to, you know, not dogging on them, but it's just a change in process. And [00:22:00] it's funny, you know, I can compare and contrast with my own behavior. I'm very old school with how I've been doing, like do my expense reports. And my husband's like, You can just use Expensify. And I was so like, no, this is how I do it.

I go home and I scan my special report get on my receipts to dah, dah, dah, you know, and he shows me this app and he's like, save your time. And, I'm like, okay, that was a perfect example of how I just was stuck in an old way of doing something and just use technology to make my life easier. 

Greg Bray: Well, I think Jennifer, you said a couple of things.

Yeah. We wanted to key in, on one is you talked about fit with technology, right? Just, just because there's not necessarily one vendor, one partner, one that works for everybody. You've got to spend some time to make sure you pick the one that's the right fit for you. and I think that's great.

And, and the other ideas you were talking just a few minutes ago, we were talking about how you're not the sales manager, right? You're just marking, but yet. Marketing has a lot of value. They can add to a [00:23:00] CRM, which is often viewed as a tool for the sales team. Right. And not so much as a tool for the marketing team.

Talk, a little bit more about how the marketing team, you know, is able to leverage that data and that information that the sales folks are collecting into the CRM. 

Jennifer Cooper: Well, I always have like several dashboards that I'm looking at overall. And so one, obviously as a marketer, we're like, what's our traffic coming in the door, where are they coming?

And then when I look at leveraging where I'm spending my dollars, you know, if it's on Zillow or if it's with BDX or. If we pushed out a very specific campaign in a couple different ways, what's our main message is that we were championing in the last couple of weeks. And so if I can see who's got the activity coming in the door, whether it's E registration, whether it's online leads through our online OSC or if it's, you know, just like phone call and things of that nature.

That gives me some insight. If what I'm building in the machine over here is, you know, outputting on the other side. And then we also just want to watch [00:24:00] our lead list. So if I'm watching what our sales goals are and our production or our projections are for sales for community, and I don't see them in getting the, what I'm going to get in the traffic in the door to convert to sales. I got a little bit of a problem and I know I've got to throw some more people into the lead funnel. So what is it that I can do? And then sometimes it's just going, even going back farther to leadership. You know, if you're having a traffic problem that you're seeing in your CRM, that's not converting.

And you know, you're spending the money and the dollars to get people in the door. Isn't a value proposition. Is there something wrong with your product? Is it, then I'm now having a conversation with the division president and with the sales leader and saying, is there something not firing on the cylinders with our price?

What's the competition doing over there? Is there something going on with development over there that we're not aware of? Are we having issues with construction? You know, are their happy customers, do we have a batch here of voice in the marketplace and that's where you get into more of the strategic part.

So as simple as it is as me just looking at numbers, [00:25:00] it could really drill out to a bigger strategic conversation on what you're trying to achieve in a certain community. So it's so important, just like any other dashboard to see traction on what we're doing. 

Greg Bray: I love that. And, again, I'm gonna say to Kevin, right?

She can't do that just by measuring how full those shoe boxes. she just can't get the datasheets, but I mean, Jennifer, you'd be amazed at the number of builders, we talked to that they can't even find the login for the Google analytics account for us. You know, to actually get, you know,  what you're talking about, you know, checking your web analytics.

You're talking about having dashboards and be able to see the results of your campaigns. And it's beautiful. I love it just because it's so critical to be able to connect back and be able to figure out what's working. 

Jennifer Cooper: And part of that, again, it's like I said, I have the sleeves rolled up to my shoulders right now.

But it makes me better what I, what I do at any level of the job. And it's, I think it [00:26:00] just comes from the curiosity of connecting the dots. And so, you know, you're right. Oh, there are a lot of marketers out there that know how to put up great signage. Right. They know how to run a radio ad or send an ad to a public print publication.

And we know that those things do garner a percentage of awareness. And I am all for the rule of seven, which I think is now the rule of 15 or 20, because of all the noise and the digital stuff that we're exposed to a day. But I really challenged the marketers out there is going to time. Like you guys got it.

You guys have to roll up your sleeves and you got to learn it because this, this industry is becoming in this, this position, this role, this department, and for a home builder is becoming more and more critical, more and more important and more and more analytical. And so I challenge everybody to go out there and get Google Analytics certified.

Listen to these podcasts, make friends with people that are super, super smart. The biggest thing I've learned to do in the last five years of my career is, surround myself with super smart [00:27:00] people and ask a ton of questions. And I'm still not like the most digitally savvy person, but I'm smart enough to know at least what the data's telling me.

And to just always be curious and we have to raise the bar as marketers or in our industry just to stay afloat and to stay ahead and to go where we need to go to catch up. 

Kevin Weitzel: Here's the beauty of it. You don't have to be the expert in all the digital stuff. You just have to be smart enough to know when to deploy the experts and utilize them to be part of your team.

But, you know, what's really funny I'm really worried that the brass at Truland is going to worry that we are going to release this podcast because you are polished. You are a true marketing director of marketing professionals.

You know, it's not about do we put balloons up on Saturday or not? That's so, you know, elementary, I mean, you're talking about so many different angles that [00:28:00] time and time again, I run into people that aren't even considering. Cause they're so concentrated on getting out of their own way

that, they're not implementing these systems, so I applaud you. Okay. And you might have some phone calls you're gonna have to turn down.

Jennifer Cooper: Okay. Don't say that, but, I am still all about balloons, but yes, it's not. I love to be beautiful and polished and I love a beautiful event, but it is so much more than that.

And, so yeah, you're right. The smart partners are going to help you. Shine and help you do amazing things, but you've got to be curious. Curiosity makes us so much better than what we do if we just don't check a box every day.

Greg Bray: I would add to that, Jennifer, that as you pick those partners, you've got to find one who can take that expertise that they're bringing and explain it to you in a way that makes you comfortable understanding it, right?

You don't necessarily have to be able to learn it all or do it all yourself. But, I see a [00:29:00] lot of people, they start getting frustrated with things like analytics or SEO or things like that because the partner starts throwing all these acronyms and there's techno-jargon and everything.

And they're like, Oh, nevermind. I just, I don't even want to try. And so you need partners who can communicate it at the level that makes sense. I'm not trying to say dumb it down. That's not what I mean, but, be able to explain, the technical stuff, such that, that's my high-tech term technical stuff,

in order to be able to make it clear, what's going, why they're doing what they're doing, what they're expecting it to do for you and how we measure success. 

Jennifer Cooper: You know, and another thing that I do with my, my partners and sometimes, and I just always say, I know there's no such thing as a dumb question, but this might be a dumb question.

Right. And you just put it out there and say, explain this to me again. Or I didn't quite understand why this worked this way, but another thing. again, where I think I've picked really great partners, is that don't just [00:30:00] look at our industry. Right? I, again, I champion that the consumer is a consumer of all things.

And so like one of my digital firms that I do work with, they do a lot of in the auto industry. So I'm like, What are you doing this month in the auto industry? That's performing super awesome. Or what have you learned? East Coast versus West Coast. Or I'm getting a lot of traction in this market. If you worked with anybody there and seen what works because again, we're all buying stuff. So there's so much data and so much insight. And so I would say, find an industry and look at your own behavior. I look a lot of my own behavior. Why did I just see that ad? Very interesting. why, did this pull me in versus, Oh, I've seen stuff from them before. Why did this pull me in today versus yesterday?

And I think about that in my B2B discussions, in my B2C discussions that I have with peers in the industry. And again, it just comes from that curiosity, always ask the why. Again, and again, you might get a better outcome than just saying, okay, I'm just going to [00:31:00] try option a love it.

Greg Bray: And then, of course measure the results and see if it worked right with your reports and your analytics and everything else. Well, Jennifer, we really appreciate your time today. So we want to be respectful of that, you know, you already kind of mentioned some of the places you go to look for inspiration, but as you look ahead, what are some of the trends you're watching closely, you know, maybe for next year or the next couple of years?

Jennifer Cooper: Again, I think this online selling thing, we're going to get better at it. I think, and industry, even in the last six months, I had to really engage in conversations with people again, that I just reached out because I was curious what they were doing to service our industry. I think it's going to be interesting to see how our online portals and things are going to morph to be more self-serving, um, and more integrated with our sales process.

I think the meaning of home is so different right now. And I think it's just, maybe people will [00:32:00] reflect on what's important to them. So, you know, I'm even pushing my merchandising. Like, let's just really think about how someone is living in this home and how we're needing to use the spaces. I know other people are talking about the students, isn't brilliant, but you know, how can homes be smarter in the future?

We've had dabbled with some technology, but I think there's more opportunity there, more opportunity for the health of home and how we use materials and what this space means for us. And that's going to all transcend our marketing message or value proposition. Are we modifying? I think value propositions are going to be challenged in the near future because it wasn't always just about sticks and bricks.

It's still roots. Now it's really not just about sticks and bricks of the home. it is connecting to people more than ever. So I think how technology is going to be integrated in the home is going to be really important. And just how we're, however, modifying this online selling opportunity will be different.

I can tell you right now. Watch Truland homes, because in the next nine [00:33:00] months we're gonna have a lot of new things and I'm beta testing a ton of stuff right now, out there because we're small and we're nimble and we can, and so I don't have the crystal ball, but. that's all I can say, 

Greg Bray: We're going to have to put you on the calendar for nine months from now for a comeback.

And then you can report back on how so that'd be awesome. 

Jennifer Cooper: The pressure's on, 

Greg Bray: Do you have one last piece of advice, Jennifer, that you'd like to leave with our listeners today. Anything we didn't touch on yet that you really want to? 

Jennifer Cooper: I, again, I think I was just starting to focus on, it would be just again, thinking about your, your brand influence, and what you stand for. And if you're thinking about.. I've had some constructive conversations, we'll say with other folks in the industry about brand, doesn't matter. I've heard a lot of CEOs say brand doesn't matter, and that just hurts my heart, but I think it's important what you stand for and how we pivot.

As an industry, [00:34:00] and we really pay attention to transparency with the customer, your value proposition, not only the quality of your home, but the quality of your experience not selling, but. But being that concierge and the experience is important and how every part of marketing influences every department in your, in your company.

And don't forget that because you have the opportunity, I need to go in and influence so many communication pieces to make sure that that brand proposition that you really champion right. Well, it's true. So, you know, I would just always get on a soapbox and represent that in your various departments and, and make sure that your value proposition for how you guys want to your companies want to grow in the future really rings through 

Greg Bray: Well, Jennifer, if people want to learn more about Truland Homes or want to connect with you, what's the best way they can reach out.

Jennifer Cooper: Well, our website, which is under development, I've a huge asterisk there, is a trulandhomes.com. And, we are [00:35:00] on LinkedIn, Facebook, we're on Instagram and I am a huge advocate of LinkedIn. I was, especially during the pandemic, it's how I've connected and grown my followers, and my influencers.

And, we'd love to get a message from you if you want to connect. Love doing virtual coffees and virtual happy hours. and I'm JCooper@homes.com.

Greg Bray: Well, Jennifer, thank you so much for your time today and for sharing so much of your experience and insight has been terrific. We really appreciate it.

Jennifer Cooper: Awesome. Well, thank you so much for having me. This is fun.

Greg Bray: Thank you everybody for listening and please join us again. Next time on the Home Builder Digital Marketing Podcast. I'm Greg Bray with Blue Tangerine 

Kevin Weitzel: and I'm Kevin Weitzel with Outhouse. Thank you.

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