Last Updated on June 24, 2021 by Amy Geldean
Darren Fox is the President and Founder of Idea Marketing Group, an agency specializing in web design and development. Darren is also the host of the Pitcher This! podcast, where he gets the scoop on brand marketing with beverage industry leaders. He has over 20 years of marketing experience and is a leader in many areas, including brand development, strategic planning, creative production, and web development.
Darren’s agency has been rated as a top web design agency in Chicago by Clutch and awarded Small Business of the Year by the Yorkville Chamber of Commerce. Darren is a husband, father, and outdoor enthusiast who has a passion for business and loves to explore.
Here’s a glimpse of what you’ll learn:
- Darren Fox shares how he got into the marketing industry
- How did Darren develop his company?
- The importance of web development in your marketing design
- How has the pandemic reshaped user experience on websites?
- Idea Marketing Group’s approach to website engagement
- Using your website as a recruiting tool
- What’s one of the biggest pitfalls people make when trying to DIY their own website?
- Darren discusses his life outside of work—and his favorite beverages
- How Idea Marketing Group is partnering with Hope for the Day to destigmatize mental illness and help with suicide prevention
In this episode…
Is your website getting your business the traffic it deserves? Are you utilizing all aspects of website engagement? If your answer is no, then this episode of Legends Behind the Craft is a must-listen!
For many business owners, website development can fall by the wayside when trying to juggle other growth and marketing strategies. According to marketing and web development expert Darren Fox, investing in your website now can save you money down the road.
In this episode of Legends Behind the Craft, Drew Thomas Hendricks talks with Darren Fox, President and Founder of Idea Marketing Group, about the different ways your website can effectively market your brand. Darren shares why web development is important for your business, how to reshape your website to fit your customer’s needs, and how you can use code to increase engagement with potential clients. Plus, someone reveals an SEO trick to help improve your rankings. Stay tuned.
Resources mentioned in this episode:
- Barrels Ahead
- Drew Thomas Hendricks on LinkedIn
- Darren Fox on LinkedIn
- Idea Marketing Group
- Idea Marketing Group on Facebook
- Idea Marketing Group on Instagram
- Idea Marketing Group on LinkedIn
- Pitcher This!
- Shana Bull on LinkedIn
- Steven Hartenstein on LinkedIn
- Amy Ulivieri on LinkedIn
- Haley Langer on LinkedIn
- Len Bradley on LinkedIn
- Paul Mabray on Twitter
- Nicole Henzel on LinkedIn
- Phil Stefani Signature Restaurants
- Rosebud Restaurants
- Mother Earth Brewing Company
- Belching Beaver Brewery
- Illinois Craft Brewers Guild
- Hope for the Day
- THINGS WE DON’T SAY: Craft Beer For Mental Health
Sponsor for this episode…
This episode is brought to you by Barrels Ahead.
At Barrels Ahead, we know that your business is unique. That’s why we work with you to create a one-of-a-kind marketing strategy that highlights your authenticity, tells your story, and makes your business stand out from your competitors.
Our team at Barrels Ahead helps you leverage your knowledge so you can enjoy the results and revenue your business deserves.
So, what are you waiting for? Unlock your results today!
Welcome to the Legends Behind the Craft Podcast, where we feature top leaders in the wine and craft beverage industry, with your host, Drew Thomas Hendricks. Now, let’s get started with the show.
Drew Thomas Hendricks (00:19):
Drew Thomas Hendricks here. I’m the host of the Legends Behind the Craft Podcast, where I talk with leaders in the wine and craft beverage industry. Today’s episode is brought to you by Barrels Ahead. Barrels Ahead is a wine and craft marketing agency that propels organic growth by using the powerful combination of content development, search engine optimization, and paid search. At Barrels Ahead, we know your business is unique, and we work with you to create an actionable one of a kind marketing strategy, one that highlights your authenticity, tells your story, and makes your business stand out from your competitors. In short Barrels Ahead helps you unlock your content so you can enjoy the results and revenue your business deserves. So what are you waiting for? Unlock your content today. Go to barrelsahead.com to learn more and schedule a strategy call.
Drew Thomas Hendricks (01:00):
So before introducing today’s guest, I want to give a shout out to Shana Bull. Shana was just named by LinkedIn as one of the top 16 digital markers to follow. Shana helps wine and food brands tell their story through social media. Be sure to follow her on LinkedIn.
Drew Thomas Hendricks (01:14):
Today’s guest is Darren Fox. Darren is the president and founder of Idea Marketing Group, an award-winning marketing agency known for web design and development. And I’ve known Darren for a few years, and what I admire most about his agency is they’re not afraid to roll up their sleeves and dig in deep. What they say on their site’s true, they eat, sleep, and breathe code. Darren’s got over 20 years of experience in the industry, and he also runs a beverage focused podcast called Pitcher This!, where he talks to leaders in the beverage industry about how they got into it and what they love about it. So, Darren, thanks for jumping in and joining me.
Darren Fox (01:46):
Thanks for having me. It’s nice to be on here.
Drew Thomas Hendricks (01:48):
So how did you get into this industry?
Darren Fox (01:50):
Yeah, sure. So it was kind of an interesting story there. I was working at another agency for a little while, and I always had this itch to kind of go off on my own and start an agency too. So I had even done this logo design and it was just sitting on a pad of paper for two years before I finally decided, “Now’s the time to do it.” And I finally did it, I went off on my own, and one of the ways that that happened is I was kind of thinking about it, I’m like, “Well, I’m not really going to be able to just start an agency right out of the blue. I’ve got to do some freelance work and build up my portfolio.” And it was something that when I was at another agency, I wasn’t really allowed to do moonlighting or freelance work or anything like that. So my thought was, “I’m going to go apply somewhere that I can do marketing. And then at night I can slowly start to build my portfolio.”
Darren Fox (02:44):
So I actually went and interviewed at a restaurant group in Chicago called Phil Stefani Signature Restaurant Group, and they had an opening for a marketing position. So I was there and I was interviewing with the marketing manager and the chief financial officer at the time too. And he kind of threw a curve ball at me, which is kind of that standard question that you get asked at all the interviews is like, “Where do you see yourself in five years?” And you know me, I’m brutally honest about everything. So if somebody asked me a question, I’m just going to straight up tell them.
Darren Fox (03:20):
So I tell them, I’m like, “Well, I plan to start an agency and go off on my own doing this stuff.” And he’s like, “Well, what if we became your first customer, and instead of us hiring you, you could just do the brand sites for us?” And then I was blown away because that was a huge opportunity for me because-
Drew Thomas Hendricks (03:40):
Yeah, what a [inaudible 00:03:41].
Darren Fox (03:42):
Yeah, at the time they had 12 different brands making the group. So right out of the gate, that was like 12 website projects that I was able to get. And I was ecstatic about it too, because I didn’t have anything like that, and to have a brand like that, to be able to just dive right into from the very beginning, was awesome. And from there, I built the websites. I was just a one man operation. There was a lot of sites that I ended up building and delivering. And I think like four or five months, I was just cranking through them. That was really all I was doing.
Drew Thomas Hendricks (04:16):
When was this? Back in 2008 or?
Darren Fox (04:20):
Yeah, 2009. So right when the economy tanked was the time I decided to start an agency.
Drew Thomas Hendricks (04:28):
I did too. I started [inaudible 00:04:29] called Nimbletoad in 2008. [inaudible 00:04:31].
Darren Fox (04:32):
Yeah. So not really the best time to start a business, but a lot of things is like, whenever you start at a challenging time like that, is usually those are the companies that survive the longest because they know what it’s like working in that kind of environment.
Drew Thomas Hendricks (04:46):
Absolutely. So you had that unique opportunity. You just skipped the whole freelancer and went straight to agency.
Darren Fox (04:52):
Straight in. Yeah. So, it was cool. And then from there, they even helped put me up with an office space too.
Drew Thomas Hendricks (04:58):
Darren Fox (04:59):
So I’m going to be forever in debt to them too. So shout out to Steven Hartenstein, and I’m still friends with the marketing manager, Amy Ulivieri, as well too. It’s just been an awesome relationship. And what’s crazy is Amy even came and worked with me for a little bit when the agency was a little bit bigger too. So, it was just a lot of cool relationships that were formed. And as soon as you get somebody in your portfolio that’s like that, others started coming on board too. So we had just a lot of restaurant clients, that’s pretty much what we were doing. So all sorts of restaurants in Chicago. And then we landed another pretty big restaurant group, Rosebud Restaurants, which is also really well-known in Chicago, and about the same size too, with the different concepts that they had. And yeah, that’s kind of how I got into it.
Darren Fox (05:50):
And then it was about year three or so is when I made my first actual hire. Well, it’s kind of funny, and this another shout out for Haley, who’s on my team and she’s my support manager, but it’s kind of funny that she started with me as an intern and now she’s our support manager and it’s been nine years now that she’s been with the agency.
Drew Thomas Hendricks (06:12):
Wow. That’s [inaudible 00:06:13].
Darren Fox (06:14):
Yeah. So it’s awesome to have somebody like that. And she’s, so many clients speak highly of her, but her and then Len are some of the original core team members that I had. And they’re still with me today too.
Drew Thomas Hendricks (06:29):
[inaudible 00:06:29], what’s your secret for keeping employees around for so long?
Darren Fox (06:35):
It’s really created an atmosphere that people want to be a part of. And they can see the opportunities that we have and the growth that we’ve had, even from our early beginnings of we’re working in this tiny little house. So after Chicago, that commute was eating away at my soul. So I live about an hour Southwest of Chicago, but the problem is when you would go to work during normal times of rush hour traffic, I was usually driving about four hours a day, and I just couldn’t do it anymore. So I was like, “You know what? After this first year-“
Drew Thomas Hendricks (07:12):
You ran out of audiobooks.
Darren Fox (07:16):
Yeah, “… I’m going to go back.” I started working out of the house for a little bit again too. And then I came across this small office in Oswego, where we were able to set up shop. And that’s really where the team started growing too and we added some staff. So yeah, we worked in this little 10 by 10 room that was in a converted house and it was just upstairs. So we just each had a desk in the corner of the room and that’s where we were. There was like, it’s kind of funny, we joke about it, but the bathroom upstairs even had a bathtub because it was a house. So it’s like, “Yeah, we’ve got a bath tub just over there in the bathroom.” But yeah, it was cool.
Darren Fox (07:53):
And then we just started growing and growing and we had to move out of that place, went into another office, outgrew that office, moved again. So we just kept bouncing around. And as we were growing, we started to kind of shift our client portfolio too. We started to do a lot more healthcare, industrial, and manufacturing, and nonprofit. And we kind of drifted away from food and beverage, which is kind of sad because that was a passion of mine. So within this recent year or so, I wanted to go back to that too and start to bring that back. And that’s where the podcast came into play too, that we just started this year. It’s really just focused on beverage brands because it’s something that’s … It’s fun because so many companies that are in that space, the amount of energy that they put just into their brand is awesome. The creative and everything.
Drew Thomas Hendricks (08:51):
Darren Fox (08:51):
And it’s fun because it’s a brand that people, they live that brand, and the community is so awesome too, and everybody is so helpful.
Drew Thomas Hendricks (09:00):
And one of the jokes that I, I’m going to murder the quote here, but Paul Mabray, who runs a wine intelligence tech company, he’s very active on Twitter. And one of the challenges we face on the wine side and the winery side of the industry is that most wine makers and winery owners, they’re pretty resistant to the term marketing. Yet as Paul mentions, “I’ve never seen one industry that’s so composed from the ground up other than the juice. It’s completely built on marketing yet be so resistant of marketing.” Everything from the label, to the bottle design, to the packaging, everything’s marketing, yet that’s the one word they don’t want to mention. So, [inaudible 00:09:41].
Darren Fox (09:41):
Yeah. It’s weird too. It’s because the connection to digital, I think is what triggers that too. Because they do so much for point of purchase and what you see in person. And even the bottling itself, just being able to hold it, you can tell that so much thought and energy is going into that. But then when you start to go online and you look at some of these brands, besides Instagram, I would say the rest of the, even the social platforms, and then some of the other things, are just not there because there’s so many creative people that are in the industry too. That people in beverage have some type of artistic background, whether it be music, or arts, or photography. And that’s why usually the visuals are really good. They’ve got that nailed down, but a lot of them don’t have the data side to it.
Darren Fox (10:31):
I was going through analytics and understanding that, and that becomes the challenge, is like … And maybe that’s why, as you’re saying, it’s such a scary word. It’s like, “Oh man, this just sounds expensive because I don’t know what it’s going to be like to do,” all these analytics and the data side and everything else, but it’s really not that bad as you start to dig into it. And that’s something-
Drew Thomas Hendricks (10:52):
Yeah, [inaudible 00:10:53].
Darren Fox (10:53):
Yeah. And I’m passionate about it too. It’s kind of exciting to nerd out on the data.
Drew Thomas Hendricks (10:58):
Yeah, for sure. So as you’re helping brands and as your company has expanded and grown, what I really like is how concentrated you are on the web dev side. How does the web development translate to what you’re doing on the marketing side?
Darren Fox (11:12):
Yeah. So, web design has been our core. So actually when the company first started, the actual name was Idea Web Design and Internet Marketing, Inc. It was a super long name.
Drew Thomas Hendricks (11:23):
Darren Fox (11:23):
So, I even shortened that when we started hiring. Yeah. So now it’s just Idea Marketing Group, but that was the one thing that I saw, is when I was at the other agency, we were just cranking out websites, but then there’s nothing else really happening afterwards. And SEO had just started rolling out and becoming a thing. So when I started the agency, that was something that I wanted to make part of that core service offering, is we’re building websites that can be found, and scale, and grow. Really websites are the foundation of all marketing.
Drew Thomas Hendricks (11:57):
Absolutely, for digital-
Darren Fox (11:59):
When you’re doing social, you point it back to the website. If you do email, it comes back to the websites. Print design still comes back to the website. So, that’s just kind of in our core. And I did a lot of it because I was a one-man shop too, so it’s also my background, and it’s something I really enjoy about it too. Yeah. And we just kind of stuck with that because it’s what we know best. So that’s really what we do, is for brands today, is we come on and we build custom solutions. So, we take a deep dive into their brand to really get to know them and understand them, find out what their challenges are, what their goals are, and then create solutions for them. Because there’s so many-
Drew Thomas Hendricks (12:42):
Yeah, too often you run into agencies that just kind of slap up a website and then they start their social media, or they start all the marketing around it, but the website isn’t built properly to support any of those initial … And what you have is four or five. And we ran across that too, where we inherit or you get a new client and you’ve got five or six completely disconnected marketing things, and then there’s a website. And what I like about what you guys have done, and I’ve seen it from some of your past work, the website, you brought the website back to the central post of the marketing, and that’s the command center. From what I can see is all the digital initiatives go right back to it.
Darren Fox (13:19):
Yeah. And we don’t use any themes or templates just because it really does take the time to build it the way that the business should be. You shouldn’t be taking your brand and trying to fit it into a template because you should be unique. And we also focus a lot on user experience, and the user interface of a website is critical for lead generation. I mean, essentially everybody owns a website because they want more business, that’s plain and simple. But then when you start to challenge them on, “Why did you do this?” Or, “How come did you just buy a template that was $80 and that’s what your whole business runs on for your success?” And it’s kind of mind-boggling to hear that because, yeah, though custom web design is expensive, it really is an investment in the business, and it’s something that’s going to probably even save you money on doing all of your other marketing down the road too.
Drew Thomas Hendricks (14:18):
100%. We’ve all had clients come in that they bought this $80 template. And what they don’t understand is it probably takes just as much effort to make that $80 template look like their brand than if you just started from scratch. Because the one thing about this template is you’ve got to put something in every single one of those boxes. Otherwise, it doesn’t look anything like the template that you purchased, and you may not have services or the ability to fill all those boxes. So I definitely think, I mean, especially with today’s builders, it’s easy enough to start from the ground up and just build a truly bespoke site that speaks to the brand. That’s awesome you guys are doing.
Darren Fox (14:54):
Yeah. Because all those templates, I mean, the other thing that a lot of people that just don’t know the technical side, or even privy to this, is when you view the source code of a templated themed website versus a custom built one, the code is so much cleaner, and it actually does matter, especially in the eyes of Google, as load speeds are one of the highest formulas that they use for ranking websites, is like, how fast does the website load? And where’s the first point of content on your website, because a lot of these template sites just throw so much garbage code in there.
Drew Thomas Hendricks (15:32):
Yeah. Well, they give you a dozen variations. You can have a blue theme, a green theme, a yellow theme, it could go … And then you can have this there, but they’ve got to create the code to support all those variations. And very few, if not any, eliminate all the excess code when they display your site. There’s just all this cruft that’s just sitting there. It doesn’t need to be there, that you get … Most people-
Darren Fox (15:54):
Yeah, and that’s what’s frustrating. Yeah, because you could look at the source code and you’ve got to scroll … I’ve seen somewhere, I had to scroll almost 1,500 lines before I finally got to where the actual content on the website was. And those are the key phrases that the search engines are trying to find and rank your website for, but they’re buried so far down in the sloppy code that you’re just wasting money because yeah, maybe you saved money building a website and getting it live and posted, but it’s not being found and it’s not working the way that it should be for your business.
Drew Thomas Hendricks (16:30):
Yeah. So going into 2021, we’re all, hopefully COVID, we’re slowly kind of moving out of it. People are coming back into the world, restaurants are opening, we’re all thinking very positively. What sort of user experiences are you … What are you building into the websites today to help that user experience and maybe aid in that transition of going back into the world?
Darren Fox (16:52):
Yeah, definitely. And it’s great that things are going to be opening up too, but we’ve been in shutdown mode for so long that this is now part of who we are. A lot of people have just gotten used to the convenience of doing things from their home. So even though, yeah, it’s going to be great to go out and visit restaurants, or sit on a patio with friends and just have large groups again, this isn’t really going to go away. This is going to be part of it. So focusing energy on-
Drew Thomas Hendricks (17:21):
I guess I should rephrase that. Over the last year, how has this pandemic reshaped the personal nature of websites? Because we all, our agency included, had to really step up that sort of engagement because a physical interaction was no longer possible. And you’re right, that would stick, that’s going to stick going forward.
Darren Fox (17:41):
Yeah, and it’s here to stay. So, looking at your website of how can you create that same experience, but online. Maybe it’s a virtual tour of showing the facility, or doing an online tasting, where you’re inviting people. A lot of the online ordering has skyrocketed because that’s one of the best ways to do it. Or even just the ability to online orders, but with in-store pickup, or curbside pickup, where you’re just going there. And we’ve been doing that on websites too, is like, what can we do to make the user experience as seamless as possible and as easy as possible. So a lot of times it’s just looking at a website and just analyzing it.
Darren Fox (18:25):
So we use heat maps, which is a great tool for us to actually see how are these users actually using the website. So then we can make adjustments and be like, “You know what? You’ve got all this stuff at the top of your page, but nobody is engaging with it. We need to take this content that they keep scrolling down in the page to click on and bring that higher up on the page to improve that experience.” So, it’s really like, and then the thing that I’ve seen a lot over the years is, people are finally now realizing that they need this data for their websites, and like, “All right, let’s do these tools. Let’s …”
Darren Fox (19:03):
We’ve got another piece of software that we use that does reverse IP lookup, which has been great for B2B companies, because you can see who’s coming to your website, even if they don’t engage with your contact forms. So now, your sales team also knows these people are visiting, but there’s something wrong. We’re seeing what pages they’re going to, we can see how long they’re spending on the page, but they’re not taking that next step. But now, here’s a name that you can have to go and reach back out to them and be like, “Hey, we saw you on the site, but you didn’t find what you were looking for. Is there something we can do to help you?”
Drew Thomas Hendricks (19:39):
Is that a custom software that you use or is it something that a small person that doesn’t have an agency can subscribe to?
Darren Fox (19:46):
Yeah. So, we have an affiliation with Leadfeeder, is the name. So it’s a great piece of software.
Drew Thomas Hendricks (19:52):
That’s super powerful.
Darren Fox (19:52):
It’s not expensive. No. And it’s really based, the pricing is based on the amount of traffic that you have coming to the website, and essentially the leads. So, they treat the leads as the unique visitors coming to the site.
Drew Thomas Hendricks (20:06):
That’s great. I mean, I would imagine through dynamic content and user experience, you could even shift some of the messaging that’s on the page based on that reverse IP lookup.
Darren Fox (20:17):
Exactly. And that’s something we even did for our own website, to where we were able to make changes. But yeah, it’s something that a lot of brands, especially in the beverage world, are not doing. They just have a very basic website that says, “Here’s what we carry. Here’s a rough about page, and then see you later.” But then you have the big players in the beverage brand that are a complete night and day difference with the quality of the website. So it’s like, how do we get some of the small to mid size average brands to really step up that game to deliver that same kind of experience because it is possible. There’s a lot of tools that are out there that allow you to compete with the big players, and that’s the best way to start to gain additional market share.
Drew Thomas Hendricks (21:03):
Kind of playing field has totally been leveled, at least since … I’ve been developing websites since ’93, ’94, everything’s changed, but now it’s … Before it would take just mountains of code. Now there’s already code available that allows you to create this dynamic experience that’s different for everyone that comes into your site. And for us, we deal with a lot of wineries, and even in different industries, but with wineries, the biggest thing to do is convincing them that you know who this person is when they come to your site, because they’re club members, what they’ve done on the site, or they’ve purchased on the site before. Show them something that is relevant to them.
Drew Thomas Hendricks (21:38):
If they’ve only bought Chardonnays and they’ve only bought white wines, why are you showing a Cabernet on your homepage? You can show them the next release of that Chardonnay because you know their purchasing history. And that creates a more relevant experience, and I believe that’s, you’re doing some of the same type of stuff. How are you guys using that?
Darren Fox (21:54):
Yeah. Exactly. Yeah. So we haven’t dove into dynamic content quite as much. So we’ve been doing a lot of just SEO landing pages that are targeted. So that’s probably the most effective way that we’ve seen it, is because we’re looking at what the users searches for right now, and then we’re delivering a landing page that’s relevant to that search. So that’s kind of the route that we’ve been going. And then looking at what are the click funnels that they’re doing? That’s something, previously years back, you would just have a simple contact form and that was it, you submitted it and they were done. It’s like, when someone fills out that form, the journey does not end there. There’s so many different things that you can do.
Darren Fox (22:39):
You can add things to the thank you page to get them to do something else. Maybe it’s follow you on social. These are people that have already engaged with you, so why not leverage that? Or put them into a CRM. There’s so many people that just are not using CRMs, which is kind of crazy, because even like HubSpot has a free CRM, it doesn’t cost you anything. And it allows you to track those interactions with your websites and collect that data, which is going to be huge because those are audiences that you can sell to later on.
Drew Thomas Hendricks (23:16):
Yeah, through, as you were saying, [inaudible 00:23:19], describe it as a choose your own adventure. So you’re just kind of guiding someone through this story, and how they get to the end, you can kind of make them walk through the story to your own goal, and they’re selecting it and they’re in charge of their own journey, you’re just guiding them through it. That’s a great way. I mean, when I use my content, usually what you’re describing is a rock solid way of that dynamic user experience, which is super powerful and too few people are doing it in the beverage space right now. That’s great to hear that you’re going that route.
Darren Fox (23:54):
Yeah. And the other big thing that brands should start to look at is use the website as a recruiting tool. That’s one thing that is going to be needed as places are opening up and everything is like-
Drew Thomas Hendricks (24:06):
Yeah. Good point.
Darren Fox (24:06):
… “Now we’re ready to bring on staff again, but how are we going to attract the staff?” Is use the website to show your culture. Use it as a recruiting tool, because that’s one of the areas too that people just don’t really leverage websites enough that way. You don’t really come across a careers page on a beverage brand, unless it’s a pretty big company.
Drew Thomas Hendricks (24:29):
It’s also a hidden SEO trick. Search engines do, they gravitate towards career pages, and if you put all the different roles that are up there, you’re able to embed a lot of those keywords into those job descriptions as well.
Darren Fox (24:43):
Exactly. Yeah. Even if you don’t have an opening and you just, this is, you’re saying, you create the position, which you create a page, and now you have a word of like head brewer, or something along those lines. Or you can just say, “There’s no positions at this time, but submit your resume,” so you have something on file for when you guys are ready to start hiring. Now, you don’t have to start from square one and try to post an Indeed link or something and spend all that effort of trying to find somebody.
Drew Thomas Hendricks (25:14):
So other than starting with a stock theme, what’s one of the biggest pitfalls someone can make when they’re just trying to DIY their own website?
Darren Fox (25:24):
So, I think the biggest challenge is really when you have somebody that’s almost more of an owner/operator, that’s running point on the website build, is because they’re building the website the way that they want to see it. When really a successful website, you have to build it in the shoes of the customer. And that’s usually the biggest problem that I see, because-
Drew Thomas Hendricks (25:47):
Darren Fox (25:47):
… a lot of them are like, “Oh, I want my logo to be bigger.” And I’m just like, “Well, is your logo really the reason that people are coming to the website for?” I’m like, “We got to take a step back.” I’m like, “I understand you’re proud of that logo, and you spent a lot of time on it, but they’re here for the content. We need to make sure that we’re addressing the pain points that your audience has, but then providing the solution that they need right away.” So I would say that’s probably the biggest number one challenge, is people are designing it for the problem that they have.
Darren Fox (26:20):
Maybe it’s a sales guy that says like, “Well, this is what I want on here, because it’s going to help me get leads.” And I was like, “Well, it doesn’t really, because you’re not at that point yet. We have to do some more engagement on the website before we can nurture them to that level that you’re ready to have that phone call with.”
Drew Thomas Hendricks (26:40):
That is an excellent point.
Darren Fox (26:42):
Yeah. So I would say that’s probably the biggest challenge that we see, and the lack of data. There’s so many companies that, maybe they already have a website and it’s just a redesign project, but then you find out they don’t even have Google Analytics, or they don’t have access to it, they don’t know what it is. That’s so much data that determines the next step of a redesign of the website architecture. Like what’s the outline that we’re going to work off, that we’ve seen your users want? So, I’d say those are the biggest pitfalls, is designing it for yourself and then not using data to drive your decisions.
Drew Thomas Hendricks (27:25):
And thinking of what you like and not what the customer likes. I love that. Too often, especially, even as agencies, I always say, some of the hardest thing you can do is to design your own site, because all your personal preferences are suddenly magnified. Even as agency owners, I myself forget about that sometimes. So, excellent point. I like that. I hate to be reminded too all the time. So yeah, shifting. So what’s keeping you busy these days outside of work?
Darren Fox (27:53):
So, the podcast, which has been awesome. So being somebody that’s behind a computer for most of my life was a little weird to all of a sudden just switch gears. I mean, obviously we’re still behind the computer right now, but it’s just a different experience and it’s been fun. I’ve already started meeting people that I would have never met before. I can already tell I’m building connections and friendships that are going to last a long time. And just hearing the stories too, I mean, entrepreneurs love to hear success stories from other entrepreneurs, because they understand the challenges that have been faced and what’s happening. So just being able to hear all the different stories of the challenges that people have had, how they’ve overcome them, it’s been inspiring to me too to reignite some of that passion, because after so long of doing it, just like anybody, you start to feel kind of burned out.
Drew Thomas Hendricks (28:52):
Sure. And I mentioned it’s called Pitcher This!. Now, where can they find it?
Darren Fox (28:56):
So Pitcher This!. So you can just do pitcherthispodcast.com. It’ll just redirect to you right to our website. So it does live on our agency website, which is ideamktg.com. And then we’re pretty much on Instagram and Facebook as well too. So we’re posting a lot of recaps there, and then as well as a LinkedIn as well.
Drew Thomas Hendricks (29:19):
Okay, great. And I know you’re a big fan of beer and spirits in general. What are you drinking these days?
Darren Fox (29:25):
Oh man. Well, right now I’ve got a Monster, because it was an early start today. So let’s see, I’m trying to think of what I recently had. Oh man, I can’t think of the name of it right now, which is killing me, because it was a vanilla milkshake IPA that I had the other day, and it was so good. And it’s just torture that I can’t think of the name of it.
Drew Thomas Hendricks (29:48):
Vanilla milkshake, I like that. Sorry. I was just going to say, speaking of vanilla, there’s a brewery out here, does a cream IPA, a vanilla cream IPA, a mother brewery. It’s local here in Carlsbad, Wisteria.
Darren Fox (30:08):
Drew Thomas Hendricks (30:09):
I imagine it’s not kind of cream style. We also have Belching Beaver that does a peanut butter stout that you might like.
Darren Fox (30:16):
Hmm. Yeah. That sounds good. Yeah. Peanut butter is right up my alley too. Probably one of my favorite. Sweet.
Drew Thomas Hendricks (30:22):
One of those stouts you don’t necessarily think is going to be good until you try it, and then it really has just got a nice, dry, just a slight peanut butter finish. Anyhow.
Darren Fox (30:32):
It sounds good. Yeah. I’ll have to check that one out.
Drew Thomas Hendricks (30:35):
Yeah. So, any other things keeping you busy today? Or any other things that we want to kind of leave on? I know you talked about a few things in the pre-show, I know you’ve got a charity that you’re very passionate about. Maybe you want to give them a shoutout.
Darren Fox (30:47):
Yeah, definitely. Yeah. So I’m really excited about this. It was something, we started looking into charities because for a long time we’ve done some volunteer work at various charities and everything, but I’m like, “I want something consistent that hits home for us and our staff.” And there’s this one that we came across that’s called Hope For The Day, and just what they’re doing for increasing awareness around mental illness and talking about suicide prevention-
Drew Thomas Hendricks (31:19):
Darren Fox (31:19):
… has just been something that’s so cool. And I got really excited about it too, is because we’re part of the Illinois Craft Beer Guild and we joined it recently, and just seeing how friendly people are and helpful with each other is like, you can see an email drop of like, “Oh, my label machine just broke. I need some help. Could somebody help? Could I borrow somebody’s?” And within like an hour, someone’s like, “Yeah, just swing by our place and grab whatever you need.” And just seeing that community is so cool.
Darren Fox (31:50):
But then this email came through and I was reading it and it was Nicole with Malteurop and she’s like, “Hey guys, I just wanted to throw this out there to the Guild, is there’s this collaboration that we’re doing where we’re partnering with Hope For The Day.” And it was so crazy because we had literally just gone through our presentation about becoming Partners In Prevention, with the organization, and then to see that email within just a couple of days. And I was like, “Holy cow,” and they’re creating this hazy IPA that’s called Things We Don’t Say. And it’s so cool because all of the sales of this beer are going to go straight to the nonprofit, and it’s a beer that’s really just meant to help increase awareness about mental illness.
Drew Thomas Hendricks (32:42):
That’s fantastic and so important. So, definitely everyone check that one out.
Darren Fox (32:47):
Yeah, so we’re recording next Friday. So the episode should be out, I would say probably by the end of March.
Drew Thomas Hendricks (32:56):
Awesome. Keep a lookout for that. If this episode isn’t, I believe this will come out right up, but definitely go check out Darren’s Pitcher This! Podcast, support Hope For The Day, what a great, great initiative. And if you’re looking for a website build in the beverage industry, I got to say without reservation, Idea Marketing, if you’re looking for the solid, solid foundation for your business, look to them. And Darren, once again, where can they find you?
Darren Fox (33:21):
Yeah. So our website is idea, and then it’s the abbreviation of marketing, so it’s mktg.com.
Drew Thomas Hendricks (33:28):
Awesome. Well, thank you so much, Darren, for being on the show.
Darren Fox (33:31):
Yeah, definitely. Thanks for having me, Drew.
Thanks for listening to the Legends Behind the Craft Podcast. We’ll see you again next time, and be sure to click subscribe to get future episodes.