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Recent Podcast Episodes

How To Make Marketing Fun For Your Audience! With Max Branstetter

Episode Summary

We hear a lot about marketing tactics and the importance of that in your business. Today Max gives us a fresh look at the world of marketing. I found it refreshing and it gave me a whole new look at something that I’ve been doing for years!!!

Learn Why marketing should be fun! Why you are your biggest asset in the marketing game! How to offer something no one else can!

Join The Community:
Win The Hour, Win The Day!
Podcast: Win The Hour, Win The Day Podcast

Company: Hippo Direct
Podcast: Wild Business Growth Podcast
if you have any questions for me or if you’re thinking about starting a podcast and want help saving time or using it as a marketing tool, you can reach me at

Twitter: @maxbranstetter
Instagram: maxbranstetter
YouTube: Hippo Direct
Apple Podcasts: Wild Business Growth Podcast

Max Branstetter – NYB Podcast_Transcription


GREEN – best lines of the guest

CYAN – Links to the guest business

YELLOW – Introduction of the guest

RED – opening teaser


Kris: (20:38)

Hey everyone, it’s Kris Ward and this is now your business. I am excited about today’s guest Max Branstetter is the host and of the Wild Business Growth Podcast where he interviews a new entrepreneur or innovator every Wednesday morning who’s turning wild ideas into wild growth. He’s the podcast producer and digital marketing dude for his second generation family business, Hippo Direct, and he helps small business owners use their podcast as a marketing tool. Welcome to the show Max. 

Max: (21:11)

Oh, thank you so much Kris. That was such a warm, welcoming intro and you pronounce my name correctly, which I think Branstetter is much more difficult than word to pronounce. So that was a job well done. 

Kris: (21:22)

Yeah, Ward is pretty straitlaced. Okay, so I’m really excited to jump in here. So you’ve got this big background in marketing. So you grew up in a family business and then you decided at this point in your life to join the family business, Hippo Direct. And that’s all about marketing. And you guys do a really, I mean I know I got my package, I was so lucky I was on your podcast and I’ve got a really fun package from your direct mail pieces and your swag. So that was really fun. And now you also have this podcast and I know you had a background, a corporate background in marketing, so corporate background marketing, the family business and marketing and podcasts. So tell us Max, what are some things my audience can learn right away from you about marketing? Tell us some things that we could take away today and maybe lessons you learned. 

Max: (22:08)

Yeah, I think one of the biggest things that I’ve learned so far is that people need to be entertained. So no matter what you’re trying to tell, whatever story you’re trying to tell on them, no matter what platform you’re using, what form of content you’re using, there needs to be that entertainment value there. And when you think about it, it makes sense. Duck. It needs to be good content out there. So you know, one of the biggest things to me is how, you know, when I was searching for how to, how to market the business and how to get our name out there and how to, how to break through this space and all the, you know, all the noise that’s out there, you really got to look intrinsically internally in think, how can they make our content better? What can we do to make our marketing and our stories better? So that goes back to looking at yourself and putting out something that’s really clever and creative but good content. What goes into that? So much of it comes down to that entertainment value and what can you, what can you do to tell fantastic stories? 

Kris: (23:17)

You know, that’s interesting to me cause you say entertainment, and I’ve talked about this on the show before and for me I struggled for a while, you know, with social media where I would feel like when I’m on social media I’m have my academic presence on or I’m trying to present to people and look like I’m all growed up and I’m a professional. And so I would feel like kind of like that was maybe like dating that was date one and then you would get to know me or it’d be like, okay, I’m trying be fun or I love to laugh or do all this stuff. But that’s not something I was really comfortable with putting out on social media. Like I see my job is to be entertaining cause I thought I am trying to be professional and have you take me seriously. And I have to say when I finally just let all that foolishness go, like this is my tr, you know, my regular Kris and I, it’s not like there’s, you know, we all have different versions of ourself, right? Like the, you know, so when I got a little bit less connected to work Kris and just made it, you know, casual, fun, Kris, I really was much better received. And that’s so shocking to me. I think we all get in our head of how we’re supposed to present. So. So you say duh, it should be entertaining and have good content. But I tell you I missed the boat on that for a number of years. 

Max: (24:32)

Well, yeah, well I’m with you. I mean, I think when everybody kind of reaches that point, you know, before, whether it’s embracing social social media platforms or before you start blogging or doing a podcast like this, everybody has that point where they have all this knowledge in their head and marketing expertise and wisdom value to share, but they haven’t made that jump yet of putting themselves out in public and getting themselves out there. And so that’s, that’s a major hurdle and a major pivot point for, for, for anybody. But I think so often when you finally make that jump, you want to look at what other people are doing and you want to look at sort of the best practices in the industry and you kinda, you kind of become similar to everybody else. And as you know, Kris has, as we all know, the more similar you are to everybody else, the more boring you are, the less interesting you are. And so, so much value can come from just embracing your passion, embracing who you are, putting yourself out there. Be silly, be fun, you know, be fun, lose that self consciousness and give people a reason to follow you or people, a reason to pay attention to you because just because somebody knows you and follows you for that reason, that’s only going to get you so far. You obviously you have to scale, you have to grow, you have to meet new people and connect with new people down the line. And if they’re looking at your profile or your blog or your website, your podcast, and you just seem like everybody else, then they’re just going to go on and, and go to somebody who’s, who’s better at content or better provides more value to them. So I really got to embrace that 

Kris: (26:04)

and true. And I know when I would do speaking gigs, what happened is those people would know of me. So they’d invite me somewhere. So then I would be a little bit more liberated with my humor or whatever. Or if you came to my webpage, that would be another thing. But it was just social media. I’ve always felt like people are walking by and you’re tugging their sleeve, so you should be professional first. Right. Um, which I didn’t even articulate. I don’t even, I never really said that out loud. It wasn’t like a rule I live by. It was just somehow I got in my own way. So what you’re saying is be entertaining. Have good content. Okay. So be entertaining. Have good content. So can you break that down for us? Can you give us maybe some lessons that you, things that you know, you’re a marketing guy. I assume that every single thing you ever did was not a complete roaring success. Can you tell us about some lessons you learned? 

Max: (26:51)

Yeah, of course. I think one of the things is to be creative and clever with let, let, let’s look at the element of, of copywriting and the words that you use for a second. Because everybody, you know, as a friend and Hanley says, everybody writes and no matter what you’re doing, you’re writing. And so the words that you use, whether you’re posting something on social media or a blog, they’re so important and you need to draw people in that way and, and share your story that way. And so the, when I started doing the blog for our family business, Hippo Direct, I would look at other blogs out there. I look at other companies and other Mark my articles, actually I just invented a word, articles, marketing articles or the articles and marketing and say, you know, how can we increase traffic to our website by doing something similar to what somebody else is doing? So we’ll say like, Oh, you know what? Maybe there’s a good article on digital marketing. Maybe there’s a good article on engaging with people on Instagram though I can put out there, maybe I can do this, maybe I can do this. And the more I started writing and then when I take a step back and look at the blog post that that had put together and that we’d put out there, the more I realized, you know, there’s a little bit of my voice in here, but I’ve written things in the past that have much more of my voice and I know that I can really get the voice and that unique personality out there more. And so the initial, some of the posts that put out there, I looked in, I said, you know, this really doesn’t, this doesn’t sound like me or anything special. So now when I do our, our blog posts, when I do our newsletter and writing out different social media posts for our company, I try to be as unique as possible. Add some elements of personality in there and whether that’s, you know, for me, like I’m addicted to pun. So there’s puns in there, there’s puns in our posts, there’s, there’s goofy jokes, there’s dad jokes. Um, there’s, there’s a lot of things that have those elements that are just kind of goofy or silly, but it really resonates with people. And so I try to work that into our, our writing in our content wherever I can now. And you know, from the podcasts, like not a podcast episode goes by where there’s not a dad joke or some silly joke or something. And sometimes, you know, in your case, when you’re a guest on the wild business growth podcast, sometimes the guests gets all the jokes very well and resonates very well. Sometimes it goes right over their head. And, uh, that’s, that’s, that’s when it can be a bit funny. 

Kris: (29:23)

That’s again, you know, this has come up more than once. So, and I’ve said this where, so what you’re talking about is don’t present to people and talk to people. Right. So just, I know it sounds so simple, but this whole just be you, even in writing. And I think writing has another, like we all were taught in school to write, you know, firstly, secondly, and you know, they make it sound even more academic even when you’re in grade parsley. Yeah. So now we’re, we’ve been taught right from the get go to write different than we talk and we know that. And now really everything is becoming stripped down more and more and more with social media. Keep the social and social media. And what you’re telling me is, that’s the same theme with marketing is just really allow your voice to breathe. And don’t, you know that everybody’s writing copy and everyone’s, you know, putting their stuff out there. But it has to, what you’re saying is that you came back a week later and if somebody yourself or somebody that knew you, it didn’t sound like you then it, then it wasn’t your, it wasn’t yours to put out, is what you’re saying. 

Max: (30:25)

Right? Yeah, yeah, exactly. I think you have to, I mean, consistency is obviously very important. You need to be consistent with your brand. And when somebody, you know, whether it’s your podcast or newsletter or whatever it may be, somebody eventually should be able to look at that and without even seeing your name, no, it’s from you. So that’s super important. But in order to develop that, in order for that to happen, you need to embrace that personality, embrace your quirks, embrace the silliness and, and get that out there because that’s what, that’s what’s unique to you. That’s what’s unique to your story. And that’s what helps you stand out from everybody else and not be boring as, as we keep going back to the boringness. 

Kris: (31:06)

Yeah, well yeah, go ahead. My apologies.

Max: (31:09)

I was just gonna, just from your examples from before, I mean, I remember when you were on my podcast using those terms, we talked about using those terms like firstly, lastly and hence like you should not ever, you know, use, hence when you’re talking around like that, like there’s a way that people think you should write in the way that writing has kind of been historically. But I don’t think that’s the case anymore. And uh, and I think podcasting has helped and a lot of that sense of just getting used to talking and getting all your communication more in that conversational sense. 

Kris: (31:41)

Yeah. I know when, I think we were talking about my book Win The Hour, Win The Day when we were talking about that and what I was saying is the big thing was my editor all that time and went to college and university and the editor kept saying to me, you can’t write things like cannot or you have to say can’t and you have to shorten it and make it sound more conversational instead of proper, proper language. Right.

Max: (32:01)


Kris: (32:01)

So I, so I have learned, you know, to make it a more digestible sentence, make it shorter and say things like, you know, I won’t instead of will not. I got in trouble for that. But now when I’m hearing from you is even different than that is not make it just digestible and so that you, people can sort of scroll through it and read it quickly, but to have your own voice and I have to say, gosh, when you’re standing behind the computer and you’re going, Oh, I’m in work mode, I’ve got to get this stuff out and all these things, I’m not sure I gave that the spotlight, the things that you’re saying is resonating with me. I’m not sure I gave that the spotlight, the attention shined a light on it like I should be. I’m not sure in my writing, I think it sounds like me, but, but now I’m going to go back and revisit that cause that’s a really good point. I think that really does matter. 

Max: (32:48)

I appreciate it. Yeah, it’s, it’s a funny thing. I think it takes a while to get used to, because I think of this in the podcasting world, people talk about a radio voice. There’s like the good radio voice, which is where you sound good and you sound just a natural conversationalist. But there’s also what I call the announcer voice, where every time you talk, it sounds like you’re promoting something like, Hey, Kris, here this new article. You know, top 10 ways to say, you know, people, you know, announcers and newscasters contend to talk like that sometimes. But that doesn’t resonate with people when they’re hearing a podcast or hearing a story or because that’s not how people talk in everyday life. So there’s something about that aspect that I think applies to the writing. The written word as well is when, when you’re sending, when you’re sharing a post, when you’re sending something off into the world, you kind of have this natural inclination to think of it as, Hey, I have to yell this and get this out there and yell about it. So people will pay attention to it. But the more you think about it that way, the more you’re writing and your messaging is likely going to turn into like, Hey look here, look here. Promotion, promotion, promotion. Look. It’s going to have that more, that more spammy language, which if you take a deep breath and think about it internally and think how can I evoke my personality into this and our brand into this? That’s where it makes a difference. And that’s where your, your messaging and your content and your posts become uniquely yours as opposed to being boring. 

Kris: (34:20)

Well that is interesting, especially in the world. If you’re not lucky enough to be an entrepreneur you might be in one of those carpet or cubicles. And so it is really hard to be unique. 

Max: (34:28)

I’m, I’m, I’m shaking now. Looks too soon. 

Kris: (34:32)

And you know, it’s really interesting when you talk about radio voice and all that stuff cause I know when we’re not on the air Max that you actually sound like a 12 year old mouse. I am. Your voice is very different off hair. So 

Max: (34:42)

no thank you. You just wanted to hear a mouse impression. I think. 

Kris: (34:48)

Listen to you talk, what a radio voice when you have such a strong anchored voice. So yes. Okay. But he does sound like that all the time, so that’s fine. You know what, those are really powerful, but subtle points you’re making. And I think it’s really easy to get lost in the busy-ness of your work and be, you know, I think business should be fun. I talk about that all the time, you know

Max: (35:09)


Kris: (35:10)

high management. But even when I tried to have fun now I think what you’re saying is, ah, you know, there’s just a lot there. I don’t think I gave any of this, the attention that you’re talking about when I like to think I’m the queen of, Hey, have fun at work and laugh and do all this stuff. But then when you sit down the keyboard, now I’m working and I’m trying to put something out that has a certain, I don’t know, a certain level of something to it. Professionalism, whatever. So, okay. Just let it go and have fun and remember that we’re doing business with other people like humans, right? 

Max: (35:42)

Yeah, yeah. There’s the human side. You’re talking and this is you back to your point on being social with social media. That’s so true. And when you get into that super work productivity mode and if you’re trying to do this much, you know this budget an hour and obviously you are like the key expert on time management and productivity, you, you can tend to get in this mode where even on social media for example, if you’re trying to go through comments and posts and you know, liking posts and replying to different people so quickly, you can think about it as more of a, from a tax basis, a task basis or as a productivity basis and trying to get things done in a certain amount of time. Um, but you have to remember that most of the time, you know, we’ll excuse the box out there. Most of the time there is a living, breathing person on the other end of that line and they’re getting the notification when you responding to that. And so these are there. Yes, it feels like it’s all in your hand and it is, you know, physically all in your hand when you’re interacting with people on social media. But there’s real people on the other end of that and so you need to have that empathy and think about it from their perspective saying, you know, most of the time the person on the other end is say for example, somebody left a comment on one of your posts and you’re thinking of how to get back to them. If you leave a personal message to them and it’s, you know, in addition to saying thanks, you say something, you know personal about them or something that ties back to your relationship in the past, that’s gonna go much better than just saying like, uh, thanks and moving on. Like there’s, when you, when you keep that personality in that it just bodes so much better. And so on the social media side, it’s definitely, there’s a person on the other end, same thing where you’re getting your podcast out or blog or newsletter. There are people on the other end of that that are, that are reading it. And they’re real people. So it’s never, you can’t stress it enough. It’s, it’s, you always have to remember that 

Kris: (37:32)

and they’re good words to live by and yet you forget, I forget them so frequently. Cause it’s really interesting when you said that, I was thinking about like if I’m scrolling through the post, I noticed one of the things I’ll say is like, I think we all have a certain amount of vocabulary that we reuse all the time. And one of mine is, yeah, one of mine is, I’ll say, Oh, that’s awesome, where you know, good for you or you’re awesome or whatever. And I really do mean it. But then what will happen is now I’ll shake it up and add different emojis, or I’ll tag the person’s name. So I do shake it up so that it looks like it’s different. But I sit and sincerely mean when I said, you’re awesome and said, Oh, that’s awesome. I meant it. But then now you’re telling me, make it sound like your voice. So my voice is, I do say that a lot enthusiastic. They’ll go, Oh, that’s awesome, that’s great. But then what I started doing is I would look and say, Oh no, I’ve said that too many times. You have to come up with another word. And now you’re telling me is like, I should sound like Kris. Now I’m overthinking how I sound and I’m trying to add different words and now I’m getting academic. So isn’t that interesting? Like B or like yourself? And then when I’m being like, I think, Oh no, there’s a pattern there. I should shake that up a bit. So I’m back to thinking again, 

Max: (38:40)

right? Yeah. And you, you don’t want, you don’t want to overthink it. Um, I think it’s, it’s, it’s more about what comes to you quickly or what’s, what’s, what’s a way to mix it up so you’re just not saying the same thing over and over again. But for you, I mean [inaudible] and the amazing brand that you’ve created in your amazing personal brand, like there’s so much excitement and positivity there. Like for you, it makes total sense to use a lot of exclamation points and have these such a positive person on social media because what you’re doing is you’re saving people time and, and you’re focusing on people’s time and happiness. And so it’s a, it fits really well with your brand and it’s, uh, I think the overthinking strikes literally everyone is, once you get into it, there’s a tendency to overthink stuff or worry about it too much. And as you know, in the time management world, you got to go, you can’t spend too much time thinking about any particular thing or any particular message no matter, you know, how important at the time that may be. 

Kris: (39:38)

That is a good point cause it’s almost like scheduling spontaneity. So you know, like the alliteration there. Yeah. So you’re right. Like I, I, I, I do try to be a very positive person. I think there’s always something to be thankful for. I love to have fun. I love to hear people laugh. Um, you know, I often get more bloopers. I often get more of a kick out of bloopers or outtakes than I do of the actual show. So, right. That’s my language is, is I am trying to be supportive and cheery and cause I just think there’s always something to be happy about. Right. So that’s a, that’s that is a good message. Okay. So just be who you are. It stopped thinking it out so much. So throw another tip our way. What’s another thing as far as marketing, what’s some things that you learned with all your experience that could help our listeners? 

Max: (40:25)

I think another thing that, another thing that stands out is being, okay. Well, I’m trying to think of the best way to describe this.

Kris: (40:37)

Take your time. I love dead air. 

Max: (40:41)

Yeah. Well I just want you to sing again. Um, I think another thing that stands out is seeing what you can learn from others out there. So I kind of spoke about it before that you don’t want to, you don’t want to be exactly the same. Okay. As, as other people out there, you don’t want to, you don’t want to be boring and, and feel like you’re the same thing as everybody else. But I think there’s so much creative marketing and there’s so much creativity out there in the world that you need to be diligent with taking in articles and taking in podcasts and content and, and there’s content has never been in a better place as far as how easy it’s been delivered. And so, you know, we got this massively growing. We have this massively growing audio and podcasting world now where you can literally be at the gym or driving or on a train or in shower and you can hear a story that is literally about anything. You can hear a story about whatever you want to hear. You can also hear and learn things about whatever your passionate subject matters are. Right? So just to give you an example, so, uh, I mentioned we’re recording right now at my parent’s place in Florida and while I’m usually in New York, I’m in Florida now. And on the flight down here, I was thinking that I want to mix of business stuff but also things outside of business. Some strange and bizarre things. I was in the mood for some unusual. Uh, and you know, I like to discuss the unusual from time to time. And so, um, I actually check to see what my buddy Jim Harold was up to and Jim Harold is the, he’s the paranormal podcast King, believe it or not. So he’s all about, you know, he’s got over 40 million downloads. Like he’s a legend. Met him at podcast movement from Cleveland. Anyway, he’s got several different shows, but he deals with the paranormal and the unusual and everything from, you know, I mean everything from ghosts to, you know, aliens UFO is, which sounds really, really out there. And like I’m not, I’m not like a guy that’s, you know, was like storming area 51 like these aren’t, that’s not me. But the reason I bring this up is because he’s so out there as far as the, the experts in the listener stories that he brings on that is really, really interesting to hear. And sometimes it’s, as opposed to listening to business stuff all the time, it helps to kind of mix and do a mix of something. So I listened to him and he had this a dream expert on call J M I think his name is J M D bear. And he was going through analyzing your dreams and when you have recurring dreams and everything in that room. And so it’s totally different than everything that comes across and data day to day life and the things I listened to for the most time. But the fact that I was able to flip on a podcast, you know, fly in a plane down to Florida, listened to people, talk about analyzing dreams and get some real insights out of that. And it really makes you think, and something to share back with people is really amazing. And that that’s a pretty obscure out there example. But it just goes to show that we can literally be doing anything and be taking in content, taking in stories these days. And there’s no shortage of information out there. And so I love to listen to podcasts while I’m at the gym or while I’m walking around New York city. Um, and I love when I have free time to go around and look at tons of stuff on Twitter as well. Cause Twitter is such an amazing aggregator of the things you’re interested in, the articles you’re interested in. 

Kris: (44:13)

So I think what you’re saying is, you know, regardless of what you’re doing, even if you’re something not work-related or a different platform of podcasts or Twitter, that they’re, you know, are things to learn from the creative acts aspect of it, right? That there’s creativity, even if it’s in a TV commercial, even if it’s in a book or a chill child’s storybook or whatever is just be open to how can you implement that into your business. 

Max: (44:36)

Right. Exactly. It is. And I think the key here is you don’t want to take something you here or take a, you know, article or somebody you see out there doing something. You don’t want to do exactly what they’re doing. But you can find inspiration from a number of different places and then put your own spin on it. So for example, this, you know, maybe just listening to that, and I’m literally spit balling here, but just listening to that maybe that could inspire me to, to work with our, our creative guy and to put together a post about dreaming or a post about getting creativity, unusual places, things in that regard. Or there’s, you know, maybe something will inspire you that you hear or see in the next week or so, and that will inspire you to say, Ooh, you know what, that would be a fantastic podcast guests, or this would be a great topic to talk about in the podcast. So you just never know where inspiration’s gonna strike you. And I think we just have so many amazing tools and the ease of hearing these amazing stories and seeing amazing stories and valuable stories is it’s just out there and it’s never been a better time for that. And so it really, really helps to, to embrace that and just be a sponge and soak things up. You know, shout out SpongeBob. 

Kris: (45:46)

Yeah. Awesome. All right, Max. So tell us, where can people find you? Let us know where can they find you?

Max: (45:54)

Yeah, so I am, you can on, I’m on all the social media platforms. So on your favorite social media platform you can search max brand stutter, which I’ll just do it really quick. Max. And then B, R a N. S, T, E. T. T. E. R, a little spelling me there. Um, and then our company accounts are Hippo Direct. That’s Hippo, like the animal and direct like direct mail or the word direct. And also the wild business growth podcast is on all major platforms. Um, episodes, episode 72 was featuring Kris Ward. 

Kris: (46:25)


Max: (46:26)

I think you’ll get a kick out of that one. And uh, you can also reach me. 

Kris: (46:31)

He came prepared with your notes. Sorry. Good for you.

Max: (46:35)

Of course. So, yes. Um, and uh, well it was such a fantastic episode and you can reach if you, any questions you have for me or if you’re thinking about starting a podcast and want help saving time or using it as a marketing tool would love to help in that regard as well. So that is how you connect with me and be a sponge. 

Kris: (46:58)

Okay. Yes, the motto of the day be sponge. Thank you Max, very much for joining us today. We’ve got lots of little takeaways and then we’ll add up to really just having an online presence that resonates not only with our own, you know, a sense of self but our, our audience and new adventures. So thank you again. Thanks so much for joining us for on now your business. 

Max: (47:18)

Of course. Thank you so much Kris. You’re the best. 

Kris: (47:21)