Stacie Porter Bilger is the Founder and President of Proof Digital, a business growth-marketing agency that blends modern marketing tools with traditional sales funnel processes. She spent the first 20 years of her career working with businesses to strategize development and connect them to investors. Before founding Proof Digital, Stacie worked for several Chambers of Commerce and startups like the Indiana Venture Center.
Here’s a glimpse of what you’ll learn:
- [03:01] Stacie Porter Bilger discusses Proof Digital and the services the agency offers
- [04:29] How Stacie’s role at the Indiana Venture Center prepared her for her role at Proof Digital
- [09:13] Common mistakes most companies make when trying to launch a product
- [10:32] Why Stacie started her own company
- [13:57] How to acquire new customers
- [17:15] Stacie breaks down a roadmap for success
- [27:01] Her process for hiring a director of operations
In this episode…
Do you have a product or service that you want to share with the right audience? Have you figured out the marketing tactics you’d need to capture the attention of your audience?
If you still need to figure out these and many other related questions, you need to work with an agency run by experts like Stacie Porter Bilger. These agencies bring in years of expertise in product positioning and marketing. Partnering with these agencies gives you the right start and the boost you need to break through the competition and get ahead in the market.
In this inspiring episode of the Inspired Insider Podcast, Dr. Jeremy Weisz welcomes Stacie Porter Bilger, Founder of Proof Digital, to discuss strategies for understanding who purchases brand products and why. Stacie talks about Proof Digital, the motivation behind starting her own company, and shares her roadmap for success.
Resources mentioned in this episode:
- “[Top Agency Series] Expanding Your Brand Impact Through Social With Duncan Alney of Firebelly Marketing”
- “[Top Agency Series] Navigating a Merger and Becoming an End-To-End Digital Partner With Kevin Hourigan of Spinutech”
Sponsor for this episode
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The relationships you form through podcasting run deep. Jeremy and John became business partners through podcasting. They have even gone on family vacations and attended weddings of guests who have been on the podcast.
Podcast production has a lot of moving parts and is a big commitment on our end; we only want to work with people who are committed to their business and to cultivating amazing relationships.
Rise25 Cofounders, Dr. Jeremy Weisz and John Corcoran, have been podcasting and advising about podcasting since 2008.
Insider Stories from Top Leaders & Entrepreneurs…
You are listening to Inspired insider with your host, Dr. Jeremy Weisz.
Jeremy Weisz 0:22
Dr. Jeremy Weisz, here, Founder of Inspired Insider where I talk with inspirational entrepreneurs and leaders. Today is no different. I have Stacie Porter Bilger of ProofDigital.com. And Stacie, before I formally introduce you, I always like to point out other episodes, people should check out of the podcast and we have a mutual friend, Duncan Alney. So big shout out to Duncan for introducing Stacie. Duncan runs FirebellyMarketing.com. And they help lots of different types of food and beverage companies run marketing, and get more exposure and sell more product, right. And I also had Kevin Hourigan of Spinutech on, he is an agency owner since 1995. So it’s interesting to hear his journey, and what he went through, and just a variety of interviews, from SaaS to authors to leaders and everything like that. So check out more on inspiredinsider.com. And this episode is brought to you by Rise25. At Rise 25 we help businesses give to and connect to their dream 100 relationships and partnerships. And how do we do that we actually help you run your podcast, we are an easy button for a company to launch or on a podcast we do Strategy, the accountability and the full execution and production of a show. So the person can just really build the relationship and run their business and not worry about all the other stuff. We call it our magic elves. You know, we just are in the background. So you know, Stacie, for me the number one thing in my life is relationships. I’m always looking at ways to give to my best relationships. And I found no better way to do that in the profile of people and companies I admire and share with the world what they’re working on. So if you thought about podcasting, you should. If you have questions, you can go to Rise25.com to learn more of a lot of free resources also on Inspired Insider. And without further ado, Stacie Porter Bilger. She is Founder of Proof Digital. She helps companies understand who buys their product and why. Okay, which is the strategy right? So, you know, really get digging deep on those companies so they can best serve their customers is mission critical. And she spent over a decade honing the strategy of Proof Digital, and even before that, doing Strategy and marketing. So Stacie’s strategy was to turn brute proof digital into a data driven business growth marketing agency that has a strategic approach. So what she does is she blends today’s marketing tools with traditional sales funnel processes, and you could check it out at proofdigital.com. And Stacie, thanks for joining me.
Stacie Bilger 2:54
Thanks a lot, Jeremy. It’s so great to be here.
Jeremy Weisz 2:56
So, start tell us a little bit about Proof Digital and what you do.
Stacie Bilger 3:01
Sure, um, I mean, you gave a great intro there. Proof was birthed out of basically the, you know, the idea that there’s so many people out there who just have, you know, a new product, a new idea that they want to get found. But the biggest problem that we came across, when I before I started Proof, I worked for an organization called the adventure Center, which was in Indiana had a lot of high growth companies, and their biggest issue was, you know, how do I have marketing? How do I get my people to find this great product or service I have? And they, you know, we’re looking to sell it to everybody. And that was mistake number one. And number two is, you know, what problem do they solve? And? And how are they going to make the life better of those who can consume it. And so this basically helping companies understand that as well, as well as use data, because there’s a lot of data out there that kind of tells you the story of how to get in front of that potential customer. And so that’s really what proof was birthed that this really our addiction to help companies in nonprofits and organizations overall, instead, to be that answer. When somebody’s looking for they’re the problem that stays off.
Jeremy Weisz 4:18
Yeah, I mean, it’s not the Field of Dreams, build it, and they will come situation, right, you got to drive people to those services and products. And, you know, I know that you were at the Indiana venture center, and did a lot of your social entrepreneurs and other things. Talk about what you did there and then what you’re up to, with your experience there to prove digital.
Stacie Bilger 4:40
Yeah, I mean, it was a great incubator of ideas and talent to be transforming. You had people who all the way from you know, had a solution for you know, kidney dialysis to people who actually thought they saw cold fusion. That’s another story which they did. Not, but just a lot of ideas. And really the big thing really was working with these companies pulling talent. And across the board, we work with universities in our state, Notre Dame, IU, Purdue, who were leaders in innovation together with these companies. And is, is there a market there and I mean, putting the team together finding capital for these companies.
Jeremy Weisz 5:27
So it was like a soup to nuts type of situation, where company would come you to help make the connections for them, they’d also meet these in and try and find like a product market fit or see where that was at. And also fun, like, seems like everything, and there was coaching
Stacie Bilger 5:43
involved. There was and, and I hung out with, I mean, folks who actually, were really successful, I mean, the founder of it, he developed the technology for fiber optics. So serrant and had sold that 99 For 7 million. So people in the room work six had done it before, and knew what it took. So I hung out with all those folks, and then also worked with folks who said, I might come up with an idea, you have to listen, you shouldn’t poopoo any idea. I shouldn’t say that correctly. But I mean, ever, there’s always an opportunity. And so I mentioned that cold fusion idea. Well, I had no idea if it was right, I figured it wasn’t. But I had a meeting in the basement of Notre Dame with a physicist and connected that was to realize real quick that he was, you know, not on the right track. But you know, when you come across those things, you just kind of connect people, and then you figure out if they actually have something?
Jeremy Weisz 6:41
Yeah, I mean, a lot of times in business, I feel like what someone starts with is not what they end with, right? I mean, I always think I like the post it note, I think they were trying to invent something else. And then the post it note came out of it. So who knows, the person has tried to, you know, work with full fusion and some other invention comes out of it, right?
Stacie Bilger 6:59
It does. And so you start connecting people to those ideas. And, and the big thing really was okay, my role was putting teams together and understand the market Strategy for these companies and to really dig deep and see, okay, who, what problem are you solving? Is there somebody who’s got some cash in their pocket to actually pay for it? And where do you want to position yourself? Who are your competitors? I mean, can you can’t take on the big guy, Amazon, but there’s a position for you to be to be found. And so we’re working in you start positioning yourself. And it’s not our end, you should never it’s not a race to the bottom, if you have the race to the bottom is that that’s not a good winning Strategy, either.
Jeremy Weisz 7:41
What did you take Stacie from working there, the Indiana Venture Center to what you do Proof Digital?
Stacie Bilger 7:50
A couple of things, one is leaving the step process of listening and not I mean, under listening to those clients and or those companies that have that dream that want to be that solution, and then be able to get the connection piece and connecting them with some folks out there from who it’d be helpful to say at the same time is that you really have to hone in. Again, I’ll repeat it again. But problem do side solve, how can you really under communicate how you’re going to like make me my life better as a consumer of your product, and target those those emotional points, that gets me to say, Okay, this, this, I have to work with this particular company, and that you’re credible, because you have to point out that you can actually solve it. And then how do I work with you, and helping companies do that, and then what then positioning them online, or wherever it is, when somebody’s looking for them? And there’s dirt, various tools that exist for the digital space? So when they find you, you’re they’re the people who are actually looking for your services. They’re so just taking it to the next level, helping define it. But then actually, when somebody is looking for you’re there, and that’s the that’s the marketing piece, too, and making sure that’s what you do.
Jeremy Weisz 9:13
What are some of the common mistakes? You’ve worked a lot of companies, what are some of the common mistakes you see them make? You mentioned one, which is like a company trying to target everyone, right? So what are some common mistakes?
Stacie Bilger 9:26
Common mistakes, one is, again, you focusing on to mean that you’re you can solve everybody’s problem, and then also not. It’s a balancing act between niching down, you’re not everybody’s going to and then also when you’re early on, you don’t want to close the door on other other things. So looking at the data, there’s a company in northern part of our state. They’re called your space and they kind of birthed out of the pandemic, in which they have Office pods, right and so, but there’s a There’s a market actually, not only in office pods, but the education community libraries educated from the standpoint of cost of, of expansion. And so there’s not a lot of people playing in that. But because the data is says there’s not enough competitive data that a lot of competitors in there, so positioning those looking for the opportunities in the market where they can position where you have multiple buyers, so I think looking at the balancing the act of not being everybody’s answer, but then also starting to niche down along the way, does that make sense? What made you start your own?
Jeremy Weisz 10:36
I’m sure, it seemed like exciting work, you’re probably working with amazing people. What made you branch out, and I’m gonna, I’m just gonna go off and start my own company.
Stacie Bilger 10:45
A couple things. One is, I’m I’m a mom to be truthful. And I have kids. At the time, when I started the company, I wasn’t feeling great. I was having immune issues. And so I think I’d had to think differently about my dad. And so I had to, I had to be more entrepreneurial. And then I was hanging around all these people who were really creative. And I really kind of thought, well, I don’t have the bug, I caught the bug. I don’t have a not solving ColdFusion. And I’m not doing fiber optics, because I don’t have that gift. But I, but I can help others. I mean, even when I was before I started my company, I was a social entrepreneur, I helped start charter schools, health programs, and all of it same thing. It’s the same formula. One is that you I mean, you have to listen, and you have to connect people to make, you know, and build a team around that idea. And I just got addicted to seeing an idea come into actually, you know, changing lives and changing companies, it’s just a fun thing to say,
Jeremy Weisz 11:59
when you first started, you know, knowing what you knew. And you seen so many stories, sometimes it’s different when we do it ourselves, right? And who did you focus on? Like, what were you? You said, Okay, here’s the service, what were you thinking your original service was compared to what you do now?
Stacie Bilger 12:21
Well, early on, it was in the 90s. And this is when Google was going. I mean, that’s when the birth of Google and something called SEO, search engine optimization. And, and that was when we were first looking at these companies have been the answer. I mean, this was the early the first time that you could be an answer if you did it right, a lot easier, without putting a lot of capital and cash out. And so it with with the growth of the data, and I was always a data person before and so that I I just really got addicted to that process of that, that new tool in which we had. So that’s really kind of where we birthed out of it just really leveraging the data and helping companies be that answer with a tool that gave you that answer pretty quickly.