Gini Dietrich Dishes on Entrepreneurship, Social Media & Marketing

To end my week-long “Freedom Week” interview series, I’m pumped to have the super-smart Gini Dietrich on the blog today!

If you don’t know Gini (is that possible?), she’s the
 founder and CEO of
 Arment Dietrich, the author of
 Spin Sucks, the founder of the soon-to-be-launched
 Spin Sucks Pro, and co-author of the forthcoming
 Marketing In the Round.

And, it’s only fitting that she’s here today because it’s here birthday!!! So, after you check out her awesome interview, please
 head over to her blog or Facebook page and wish her a very happy birthday!

I don’t recall when I first came across Gini online, but I know I’ve been an avid reader of her blog for quite some time. I really appreciate her smart and straight-forward insight about marketing and public relations.

And, even though we’ve never met, I’ve enjoyed getting to know her on Twitter. She’s a real treat and I look forward to finally getting to meet at Social Slam in a couple of months!

Without further adieu, I bring you some excellent insights (and a whole lot of fun) from Gini. Check it out!

* * *

Tell us the story of how you started your own business. What made you decide to strike out on your own?

I didn’t really make a calculated decision to go out on my own. A few years prior, a client made an off-hand comment that I’d be good at running my own business. Until then, I’d never even thought about it. I was on the fast track to making partner and getting a BMW company car. But then I had a few life changes that forced my hand a little bit. I got married, my husband moved to Chicago, we bought a condo, and I was getting a little tired of fighting with the advertising folks on what did and did not constitute news. So I quit. And I freelanced. And then one day I needed help. And then more help. And the rest, as they say, is history.

It seems in today’s world, entrepreneurship has become very glamorized. But, entrepreneurship isn’t for everyone. What advice would you give to someone considering to taking the plunge into entrepreneurship? Should they run for the hills???

HAHAHAHA! Glamour. Ha! Well, if you don’t mind working 90-100 hours a week, having some years where you don’t make a dime, and having the pressure of supporting employees, then by all means, it’s glamorous! Entrepreneurship definitely is not for everyone. You really need to know your strengths and weaknesses. You have to be willing to take risk. You have to be willing to lose it all. And you have to, have to, have to have someone behind you supporting everything you do, even when you have three straight years of misery.

What have you enjoyed most about being a business owner?

The most? It’s pretty darn rewarding to answer to yourself. I mean, you have clients and employees and you’ll always work for them, but if you want to pivot your business because the current model isn’t working, you don’t have to ask anyone. Sure, you make a lot of mistakes, but it’s rewarding to have that kind of freedom. It’s also rewarding to hang out in your cycling clothes all day if you want and not have anyone tell you it’s inappropriate.

For anyone that follows your efforts online, you quickly discover that you are everywhere! How do you find and make the time to blog, comment, tweet, Pin, Facebook, etc., all while running a business?

Clones, Laura. I have clones. I’m not going to pretend it’s all done in a 40 hour workweek. I average 80-90 hours a week. The week between Christmas and New Year’s I worked 38 hours and thought I was on vacation. It was great! I’m also uber-connected and have figured out a way to use technology to be really efficient. But my team is AMAZING at helping me. They’ve created a process for which I can coach, mentor, and provide strategy when needed without overwhelming me.

(***Laura’s note – My money was on robots, but clones make total sense!)

Even though social media isn’t new anymore, there are still plenty of businesses – especially smaller ones – that struggle with how to use it effectively. What advice would you give to a small business owner about how to get started?

Not just smaller ones. We work with a Fortune 10 company that isn’t yet using it. I’m still astounded by the business owners who won’t let their employees use the web at work. The only thing they can do is email. The very best thing to get started is to monitor the conversations happening online and really listen to the types of things that are said. Set up Google alerts for your company, the industry, and any competition. You’ll soon find some interesting things that will help you develop a strategy.

It’s no secret that you’re a huge fan of Pinterest. It’s clear you think the network has vast potential for businesses, but do you think the network has staying power? Will it still be around a year from now – especially with rip-offs like Pinspire nipping at its heels?

I LOVE PINTEREST! I mean, what? I do think it has staying power. Not because the social media geeks are on it, but because my mom, my sister, and my cousin are on it. In fact, the social media geeks are the late adopters in this case. The women who need help with ideas and creativity because they’re working full-time and managing a family are the ones who are using it. Plus it REALLY appeals to the way most human beings learn – with visuals.

Spin Sucks has been recognized as a top PR & Marketing blog. What do you think has been the secret sauce for its success?

Crap. I wish I knew. I think it’s a combination of a few things: Our guest bloggers who bring different expertise than we have, the fact that I’m not afraid to say what I really think, and I also have zero problem making fun of myself…or letting others do it for me. I’d love to get it to the point that people are debating the opinions on there, but we’re still only attracting like-minded people. At least in the comments.

Okay, let’s switch over to marketing and PR. You talk a lot about PR blunders on your blog. What do you think was the biggest blunder of 2011? Was there just one?

The biggest one? Dang. Let me go back and look in the archives. Hold please. It’s kind of a toss-up between Marie Callender’s and Penn State. On one hand, Marie Callender’s completely created a crisis because their PR firm didn’t know their blogger audience. On the other hand, Penn State didn’t bring in PR counsel when they first learned Sandusky was being investigated. From an emotional standpoint, Penn State wins hands down.

What do you think will be one of the biggest marketing trends we’ll see in 2012?

We’re going to see a lot more integration of the online and offline tools. If PR and marketing pros can’t prove the dollars ROI on their efforts, they will be fired. The big companies won’t stand for it and the small companies won’t be able to invest in it. The whole “social media is measured by sentiment and engagement” is baloney. The people who say that are doing so because they don’t know how to tie their efforts to the P&L. It’s so much easier today to measure our results than it was even five years ago. We have to figure it out.

You have a book – Marketing in the Round – that’s coming out in May. Tell us about it! Why should business owners rush out and pre-order it?

I do? I do! It’s about marketing in the round, which means all of the disciplines work together. The silos have to be broken down for good. PR and marketing need to work in tandem with sales. Advertising and direct marketing need to use social media. We actually use a visual of a wheel where marketing is in the middle and the other disciplines are the spokes. It’s all about figuring out which strengths the people inside your organization have and working with those to create a truly integrated program.

Please don’t pre-order it! Wait until it comes out! No, I’m just kidding. It can be found on Barnes & Noble and Amazon.

* * *

Before you rush off to wish Gini a happy birthday, what questions do you have for her? What’s the biggest think you took away from her insights, other than getting your very own clones?!

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Laura Click

Laura Click is brand strategist, speaker, podcaster and the founder of Blue Kite. Learn more about Laura and her work at Blue Kite.

22 replies on “Gini Dietrich Dishes on Entrepreneurship, Social Media & Marketing”

Pinterest is good? This GUARANTEES it will be success as Gertie’s been predicting the demise of Twitter for how long???
PS the birthday girl needs a new pic… the power shot on stripes is getting old…
Good catch Laura- this chick seems like she might be going somewhere… where I don’t know…
this might ACTUALLY spur me to come to social slam, think Gertie can sit my kids?

Gini knows stuff; but she’s smart like that anyway……..and you are right, not many people don’t know of her. Good choice to feature, I’m surprised she didn’t show up in her birthday suit………:)

Gini knows stuff; but she’s smart like that anyway……..and you are right, not many people don’t know of her. Good choice to feature, I’m surprised she didn’t show up in her birthday suit………:)

Gini knows stuff; but she’s smart like that anyway……..and you are right, not many people don’t know of her. Good choice to feature, I’m surprised she didn’t show up in her birthday suit………:)

“HAHAHAHA! Glamour. Ha! Well, if you don’t mind working 90-100 hours a
week, having some years where you don’t make a dime, and having the
pressure of supporting employees, then by all means, it’s glamorous!”

That quote sums it all up. There is definitely an industry out there devoted to selling the myth of entrepreneurship — and yes, it’s incredible! But it’s also incredibly difficult in most cases, and it does not always take people where they hope it will.

Great questions and answers!

Yes, Gini nailed it with that question (and all of them, really!). Entrepreneurship is VERY rewarding, but it takes a lot of hard work. If you’re not willing to put your blood, sweat and tears into it, then this isn’t for you.

Thanks for stopping by, Adam!

Great interview series, Laura! I’m just now checking in and catching up. 😉 It’s been a crazy month lately, but I can clearly see that you’re doing a great job here and I’m really enjoying the interviews.

And of course, the lovely Gini D is always a great interview! Can’t wait to see you both in April!

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