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44: Breaking Barriers in E-commerce for Manufacturers- with Nicole Donnelly
Episode 447th February 2024 • a BROADcast for Manufacturers • Keystone Click
00:00:00 00:24:53

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Meet Nicole Donnelly

Nicole is a fourth generation entrepreneur and the owner of DMG Digital - a content marketing agency for manufacturers. Nicole is the host of the Tales of Misadventure podcast where she invites successful entrepreneurs to share their stories of failure and how they turned lemons into lemonade.

You have two different cultures attempting to make something totally new together. Do you mind speaking to that challenge a little bit? And then what were the things that you did to navigate those two different cultures working together? 

They're to the point of education. These technical partners are sometimes so technical that they're way up here. And they've gotta step down and really try to meet these manufacturers where they are.

So, the first thing I think is so important is to help them in the discovery phase, really understand what are their business constraints. What's their pricing model? How are they shipping products now? And really understanding those constraints very, very well. That you can architect a solution that's gonna address and taking a crawl, walk, run approach to say we can't solve all these problems all at once. So Magento is an incredibly robust platform, so extensible. You can customize it to the nth degree, which is beautiful.

The great thing is that it can grow with the organization as they continue to evolve. But you gotta really understand upfront as much as possible what all of the business constraints are so that you can make sure that over time that's gonna be built into the platform.


Where would you advise that it makes good sense to put that 20% when you expect to go over budget? There's lots of places that money can go. 

You hit the nail on the head about it always going over. You have to set that expectation with the clients up front. 

Anyway, where would it go? It definitely depends on the manufacturer. Being able to integrate your e-commerce platform into your ERP is huge. And of course that's not something that you can always do right out of the gate, right? You gotta start with just getting their products catalog in there and everything.

But I would say that that would be something that you could invest in, like in a phase two or a phase three type of situation.


And so much more… 


Connect with Nicole!

LinkedIn

DMG Digital

DMG Digital Manufacturing and Marketing Insights


Connect with the broads!

Connect with Erin on LinkedIn for web-based solutions to your complex business problems!

Connect with Lori on LinkedIn and visit www.keystoneclick.com for your strategic digital marketing needs!  

Connect with Kris on LinkedIn and visit www.genalpha.com for OEM and aftermarket digital solutions!

Transcripts

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[00:01:15] Erin Courtenay: Well, it's official now. I've been talking about this for what, two, three years and we finally signed on the dotted line. Listeners What's your number one piece of advice for a person undergoing a massive home renovation, remodel, addition type thing?

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[00:01:35] Lori Highby: I guess we did a big remodel in our basement, our old house, but we did it ourselves. But the one thing I would, it took like a year and a half 'cause we did it ourselves. Whatever you're budgeting, anticipate spending about 25 to 30% more than that. I know you didn't wanna hear that.

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[00:02:07] Lori Highby: Today we have Nicole Donnelly. Nicole is a fourth-generation entrepreneur and the owner of DMG Digital, a content marketing agency for manufacturers. Nicole is the host of the Tales of Misadventure podcast where she invites successful entrepreneurs to share their stories of failure and how they turned lemons into lemonade.

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[00:02:28] Nicole Donnelly: It's awesome to be here. Thanks for having me, Lori and Erin. I've been looking forward to this conversation all week.

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[00:02:35] Erin Courtenay: Same, same.

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[00:02:43] Erin Courtenay: When I saw your name. You know Nicole, for those listening who aren't aware, get on LinkedIn. First of all and follow all of us. But there's a nice community of people that serve manufacturers on LinkedIn that really support one another Nicole is one of those folks. So it's been great to get to know you through that format, and I'm excited to have you on the show today.

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[00:03:16] Look how people, we're gonna get deep.

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[00:03:19] Lori Highby: Yeah, let's do it. So Nicole, you recently gave a keynote at the Meet Magento E-Commerce event in New York City. What was the topic and what inspired you to speak on that topic?

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[00:03:47] So excited. So the message was about breaking barriers in e commerce for manufacturers. And so it's such a different world to implement an e commerce solution for a manufacturing company than it is for a retail or any sort of B2C application. So it was a topic very near and dear to my heart.

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[00:04:18] As you're going through that transformation, identifying what that tradition is and and honoring it, and figuring out how to position eCommerce as a support and a way to elevate the sales reps rather than in being in competition with them. And then the third was just. Educate. It's so important to educate these manufacturers on e-commerce and how it works so that they can be prepared.

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[00:05:19] Erin Courtenay: So it was a Magento event. One of the things that I noticed during our work implementing Magento solutions for manufacturers was you have two really different cultures attempting to make something totally new together, right?

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[00:05:36] Erin Courtenay: Do you mind speaking to that challenge a little bit? And then what were some of the things that you did to navigate those two different cultures working together?

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[00:05:57] So the first thing I think is important is to help them in the discovery phase really understand what are their business constraints. Like, what's their pricing model? How are they shipping products now? And really understanding those constraints very well.

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[00:06:26] And that's a great thing is that it can grow with the organization as they continue to evolve But you gotta really understand upfront what all of the business constraints are so that you can make sure that's gonna be built into the platform.

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[00:06:38] Erin Courtenay: But what I kind of noticed is it's also an education for the manufacturers themselves because there are a lot of things that become almost like water to a fish.

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[00:07:24] Nicole Donnelly: There's so many assumptions that get made on both sides. You have to ask kind of what you think are the silly questions. like, wait a second. Can you explain exactly how you typically ship this out? And Tell us more about your pricing model It's really getting into the nitty gritty of it in that discovery phase so you don't get eaten later. And it happens every time, but the worst thing is when those things don't get addressed in discovery and then they rear their ugly heads in the middle of implementation.

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[00:07:52] Lori Highby:

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[00:08:04] Mm-Hmm. And you have to kind of explain them. Well, that site cost over a million dollars to build. So like you have to educate them to understand, there's a lot that went into this store like all the configuration capabilities. The first step for you is you've gotta build out your product catalog.

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[00:08:46] Erin Courtenay: Or they'll be upset, but they have the tools to manage their disappointment. I learned a lot working on Magento for manufacturing, and I'm bringing that knowledge to my renovation work one of those parallels that Lori alluded to is that you're gonna go over budget.

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[00:09:14] Nicole Donnelly: Oh, and you hit the nail on the head about it always going over. you have to set that expectation with the clients, I think up front. Anyway, where would it go? It definitely depends on the manufacturer.

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[00:09:40] But I would say that that would be something that you, you could invest in, like in a phase two or a phase three type of situation.

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[00:10:03] But it's gonna be a real genuine payoff.

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[00:10:28] Erin Courtenay: Yeah. I mean, whether you're considering e-commerce, whether you're in the middle of it or at some place along your journey, or whether you've just wrapped up, just know that we understand that it's not easy. And there you are going to, you're getting beat over the head right now with how important it is and how necessary it is. Right? We're all hearing that. And I'm sorry that Kris isn't here 'cause she's an expert in this area. But I wanna get the message out there that there are amazing abundance of experts ready to help you. It is going to be painful, but at this point, there's not really an alternative, is there Nicole?

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[00:11:15] Okay. Don't have a problem. We're fine. It's just, you know, the economy, supply chain denial. the second phase is okay, there's a problem, but it's resistance. We don't think that e commerce or whatever is gonna be the solution, you know? The third phase is, okay, finally we're gonna acquiesce somewhat a little bit grumbling. okay, we're gonna do this, we're gonna invest in it.

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[00:11:49] We're like, oh my gosh, we have to get our product catalog all organized. We need new pictures. And who's gonna manage the store internally? What's all this business constraint nonsense? Like total overwhelm. And then the next phase is frustration. Like, wait a second. This looked a lot easier in discovery.

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[00:12:17] Getting everyone on the bus. And then finally it's like integration. you finally reach that integration phase where it's like you don't even have to think about it. Right? That's like the holy grail. But I think you hit the nail on the head, erin. That frustration phase and the overwhelm phase, you have to go through those phases.

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[00:12:38] Whenever you go through a change or a transformation like this, there's gonna be pain. You're gonna be letting go of things, you're gonna have to do things differently than you've done before. And all of that. So, I love that you said that.

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[00:13:02] what kindled that in your soul?

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[00:13:29] Like I wanna be part of creating that wherever I go. So my grandfather and my great-grandfather owned a successful oil company. I found out my great, great, great. Grandmother, her name was Sophie. She was from Denmark. She owned a deli and a bakery in Copenhagen.

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[00:13:49] Lori Highby: Wow.

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[00:13:52] Nicole Donnelly: I've always had this dream for like the last 20 years. I was like, I wanna own a business. I wanna be the first woman in my family to own a business and carry this legacy forward. There's always someone who's done.

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[00:14:04] Nicole Donnelly: Hundreds awo a female entrepreneur in the 18 hundreds. Like her husband's little like cobbler shop or store right next to her, whatever. Oh, I love that. Her bakery. I mean, anyway, I just always wanted to celebrate small businesses, entrepreneurship however I can.

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[00:14:31] Yeah, that's what inspired me. So every day I get to work, I just think about my dad.

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[00:14:44] Lori Highby: I love that.

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[00:14:57] Erin Courtenay: I just learned that Ivan The Terrible, who was one of the first Monarchs in Russia. I've been like obsessed with Russia for forever, and so I just got a hold of this podcast called Empires and I found the Russia episode, and so I learned about Ivan The Terrible.

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[00:15:38] And that's how the Romanovs came on the picture. They were like way distant cousin, and they begged them please and they were like, why? It's horrible over there. I do not want to live in that Kremlin. It is, it's a hobble. And they built the empire that we know of from Peter, the great, the Romanovs forward, so.

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[00:15:59] Lori Highby: I'm gonna go the AI route again. AI companies are investing more and more dollars to market their products.

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[00:16:25] advertising dollars for all these startups to get whatever market share they can right now, which is really interesting to see. .

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[00:16:36] Lori Highby: Yeah, there was another interesting article that I read recently, and it's basically saying that we're, moving into phase two of generative AI adoption. So phase one was where every startup available is out there and people are trying to take market share. But phase two is more leaning into like very specific use cases and industry segmentation of the platform. And I think that's where we're gonna see more success and adoption instead of just being a generalist like chat GPT. The platforms that are probably gonna have greater successes are ones that are niching down, which is, I think, the tried and true method of any product and service offering .

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[00:17:30] But yeah, I'm geeking out over it. Nicole, what about you? What did you just learn?

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[00:17:48] his book was really fascinating. Historically, whenever you're doing, SEO, you're focused on keywords and keyword strategy, But his approach is very much like focused on really using the search engine results page.

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[00:18:43] Lori Highby: That's a great strategy to instill. why focus on trying to just have one result where you can take over the entire results page and then you're gonna see way greater successes.

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[00:19:09] here it is. This is the answer to your question. making sure that you are showing up as the absolute best answer to that question is, challenging With voice search too, people using voice isn't responding with here's 10 specific options related to your inquiry. It's like, here's the one we recommend is the best. So it's changing the game a little bit.

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[00:19:49] Erin Courtenay: How is that gonna work though? me and my buddy Bard, we've been hanging out a lot and I don't need Bard to tell me where he gets the information from. I just need the information. the whole search engine thing for content seems like a dead end.

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[00:20:23]

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[00:20:33] that credibility is so important. I don't think that's gonna go away.

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[00:20:45] it didn't always get down to that how to or what about very specific nitty gritty. the bloggy type content is not what is going to have the value, it's going to be that nuts and bolts, verifiable content that's going to have the value. Because I don't verify on what do people generally think about XYZ?

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[00:21:14] Erin Courtenay: You should, because I think of myself as a user. And we gotta be responsive to users. I think there's just going to be such a huge, huge, in terms of just information acquisition on the part of a user. and any of the forecasters are working with the same level of ignorance because we just don't know. And I, I just I think we need to have another episode is what we need to do. Otherwise, we'll be doing this all day long, and our listeners are ready for that.

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[00:22:04] So I think, and that's, you know, you have to take an Omni-channel approach to that. you can't put all your eggs in SEO. You've gotta be doing social, have a social strategy, but your website is always gonna be that home. And you need to have a good home.

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[00:22:27] Lori Highby: you wanna be the trusted source. Your brand is a trusted source for that specific challenge, pain inquiry that is out there. That is the shift in marketing that is painful because everyone was just trusting Google to show up for whatever, where now that world is changing again. And the other argument, then we can put a lid on.

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[00:23:00] So it's making sure that you're still showing up at all those stages as that trusted brand and resource. And there's, so there's a lot of strategy that goes into that. you may not realize that you are looking for information that is trusted source because you may look at something and that's not what I want, and then look at something else again.

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[00:23:28] Erin Courtenay: I look forward to it. it's very interesting and important. we're going to continue to explore this right alongside you.

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[00:23:46] Lori Highby: A hundred percent. Hey Nicole, if anyone was interested in getting in contact with you, what's the best way they can reach you?

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[00:23:53] It's dmgdigital.io. You can also find me on LinkedIn. Nicole-Donnelly-DMG. I love LinkedIn. I'm very active there, so come be friends with me and I'd love to connect with you.

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[00:24:11] Nicole Donnelly: Thank you for having me. I had such a fun time talking shop. Thanks, ladies.

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