Interview with Cara Meiselman – The Power of “Reverse Franchising” + Growing Your PR & Content Skills – Episode #52

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Cara Meiselman is the Director of Strategic Content & Performance at Slice. She is a seasoned marketing leader with 10+ years of experience working at high-growth startups. Cara has experience leading brand strategy for several large companies as well as creating custom training for corporate clients and their employees. Cara is a frequent speaker at conferences including INBOUND and Social Media Week and has featured blog posts on sites such as Mashable, Inc. and Forbes.

In this episode we talked about Cara’s journey from law school to the marketing world, the unique challenges from marketing a B2B2C business, the hardest part about managing a content calendar, how to major a brand strategy’s impact, how to reach out to journalists and influencers, how marketers can get their writing featured on major publications, and much more!

 

Full Episode Transcript:

Kenny Soto  0:00  

Are we are now recording in a 54321. Hello, everyone, and welcome to the people of digital marketing with your host Kenny Soto. And today’s guest is very, very awesome. Her name is Kara miles woman. And she works as the director of strategic content and performance at slice. Hi, Kara, how are you? 

 

Kara Meiselman  0:26  

Great, how are you?

 

Kenny Soto  0:28  

I’m doing good. So I start off this podcast, as all other episodes go with a simple question just so the audience can get a better understanding of who you are as a person and as a professional. So my first question for you is what got you into digital marketing.

 

Kara Meiselman  0:48  

It’s funny because I actually went to law school. After college, I was halfway interested in joining the workforce as the other way interested in pursuing a law degree. And so I decided to do both. I went to law school at night and worked at a Social Media Marketing Agency during the day. 

 

And after one year, it became very quickly apparent that my day job as a marketer was a lot more fun, a lot more interesting than my night classes as a lawyer. And so, you know, it was pretty apparent to me that working with different brands coming up with interesting challenges getting the chance to be creative. I just loved it. And so it was something that I was interested in. In college, I explored different career paths and ultimately decided that the way I wanted to go was to pursue marketing full time.

 

Kenny Soto  1:43  

And how would you describe your current job at slice?

 

Kara Meiselman  1:50  

Sorry, can you repeat the question? It broke up a little bit?

 

Kenny Soto  1:52  

How would you describe what you do at slice right now.

 

Kara Meiselman  1:57  

So slice is a the largest network of independent pizzerias. We are the technology that backs up to 16,000 different shops across the country. We think of ourselves as a reverse franchise in some ways. So the tools and technology that Domino’s has for their franchisees, we like we want to create those for the independent pizzeria, the mom and pop shop, the family owned business. 

 

And so you know, there are lots of different ways to order pizza and different ways to get pizza online and online ordering. My job is really to give you the why of why would you choose slice over these other options? You know, we want to tell the brand story that Fleiss is the preferred method for online ordering. When it comes to pizzerias. We have the lowest fees, we charge, you know, a flat rate of 225, where you know, other aggregators are online delivery sites are charged up to 30% per order. 

 

And so, you know, there’s no reason a consumer would choose slides other than knowing our mission, our backstory, and also sort of the ease of how we work with independent pizzerias. And so my job is really to educate the consumer about what slice does our mission, why we were created? Why do you need a pizza app as opposed to an app that you can order all types of different foods? And so it’s a really fun challenge. And it’s a really mission driven company. And so, as the content director, I get the opportunity to tell that story and bring it to life in different ways and through different channels.

 

Kenny Soto  3:30  

Correct me if I’m wrong, but would you consider slides to be a B to B to C business model?

 

Kara Meiselman  3:37  

That’s exactly right. We definitely consider ourselves to be b2b. b2c, we work with the independent pizzerias, like I said, we’ve got 16,000 shops across 3000 cities in 50 states. And our priority is really to help them do better business. A lot of online. 

 

You know, Domino’s does up to 70% of their business through online ordering. The percentages for independent pizzerias that do their business through online ordering are much, much smaller. And so we want to help them you no pun intended, get a bigger piece of the pie and bring in more business to help them thrive.

 

Kenny Soto  4:14  

What are the unique marketing challenges that come from having to promote a b2b to see business?

 

Kara Meiselman  4:24  

Well, one of the challenges is really just one explaining the mission. I think with any mission driven company, there’s sort of what the product is on the surface. And then if you dig a little deeper that why behind why this company exists is really your motivator for using it. 

 

I think when it comes to working with in a b2b b2c format, it’s helping the consumer understand the shops flight and like how they want to support small businesses. You know, people have co opted this term shop local or shop small, but you know, Over the years, like, what does it really mean? 

 

And so, at slice, we’re thinking about how do we bring this idea of how people want to shop small shop local, support local businesses, and actually bring it to life in the action that they do. And so, you know, for a consumer to understand that by choosing slice, you’re actually putting more money in the pockets of your local pizzeria and your favorite independent shop. That’s sort of one of the challenges that we have. But it’s also one of the exciting things about working here.

 

Kenny Soto  5:29  

Speaking about brands story, and the why, what’s the hardest part about creating and managing a content calendar?

 

Kara Meiselman  5:40  

I think it’s really the idea that we want to do everything, you know, with every marketing team. There’s so many different marketing channels, social media channels, video, audio, podcast, blogs, it’s figuring out what’s working and what’s going to be the best bang for your buck. I think that many companies, particularly slice, you know, a startup, we don’t have unlimited resources. 

 

So we really need to be selective and smart about how we spend our time and the content that we invest in, you know, what is going to have the most impact for our consumer? Is it going to be a blog post? Or is it going to be a video profiling a local shop, you know, getting them to tell their own story. Maybe it’s investing more in Tik Tok or clubhouse or any of these new ways that we can connect with users and people. So it’s a matter of prioritization in my mind.

 

Kenny Soto  6:35  

Now, impact is a key word that dinged in my brain, if you will, when you were giving your answer. How do you recommend marketers go about measuring impact?

 

Kara Meiselman  6:53  

Yeah, there’s so many ways to measure brand marketing. And, you know, I think there’s a misconception that it’s very challenging to measure success on social media or through brands. And that’s just not true. There’s so many levers at the top of the funnel that can ultimately impact your bottom line. And so figuring out what those levers are for your business is super important. 

 

And looking at things like impressions, traffic, lead, capture all of those sort of top of the funnel pieces of the puzzle. We do a lot of like brand awareness surveys as well. So doing a survey, you know, before you enter a market, and after you enter a market to see, you know, did the things that we did here make an impact if people know the slice made more than they did three months ago. 

 

And so those are all very important pieces of the puzzle, and ways that you can measure impact that aren’t necessarily direct ROI, or, you know, first time downloads or first time buyers there. There are a lot of different metrics and ways that you can see if what you’re doing on the brand level is being impactful.

 

Kenny Soto  7:59  

When reaching out to journalists and publications for PR opportunities, what are some common mistakes marketers should avoid making?

 

Kara Meiselman  8:10  

Oh, man, there’s so many, I think you have to put yourself in the reporter shoes, they’re getting pitched constantly, they are getting sent free products all the time. And so if you really want to stand out, your story just can’t be salesy. You know, you may be doing a really fun, cool creative campaign.

 

 Unfortunately, that might be interesting just to your brand, and people who already love your brand, there needs to be another hook or something interesting, that’s going to make the publication want to share it. And the only upside can’t be that you got brand awareness or you got coverage, what is the upside for the consumer or really for their readers that makes them want to cover what you’re doing in a meaningful way. 

 

And so I think that’s just like one of the bigger mistakes is not just coming up with a cool creative idea, that is a fun way to showcase your brand, but then not taking it the extra step and being like, Okay, if I had never heard of your brand, why would I care about this still, and so figuring out like what the readers and ultimately the consumers are going to be getting out of this campaign that makes it newsworthy.

 

Kenny Soto  9:18  

On that same vein, what are some common mistakes marketers make when they reach out to influencers for brand partnerships?

 

Kara Meiselman  9:28  

I think it’s very similar, you know, influencers are, you know, the new media, that’s this is how we’re consuming information. We’re not just reading publications online or, you know, magazines, we’re also now spending so much time on our phones and on Instagram and Tiktok and all these places and, you know, for an influencer, their motivations are very much the same. 

 

They don’t want to put out content that their, you know, their readers in quotes, really, their followers aren’t interested in. And so you know, when you do a sponsored post, and it’s just a straight I’ve sponsored posts of download, slice and you know, get $5 off your order that is not as interesting and you’ll see it and the engagement numbers, it’s really going to them and being like, we love your content. 

 

We love the stories you put out on Tik Tok, the videos you create the pictures you’re posting, we want you to take our brand and reimagine it in a way that your followers are gonna love these people who come to you for a certain type of content, we don’t want to make it a different type of content that’s just promoting us, we want to be more native and integrated into like your overall content strategy. 

 

So I think rather than sending influencers, a long list of talking points, 10 things they need to cover and, you know, send me the post before you put it out. Like I think we just need to put more trust into the hands of influencers and let them create the content that they think their audience is going to respond to because they know their audience is.

 

Kenny Soto  10:58  

In your opinion, what is the hardest social media platform to grow? And this is in the context of slice, and just in general?

 

Kara Meiselman  11:10  

Yeah, I think that with Facebook and Instagram, it’s more and more become a very much like pay to play space, it is challenging to grow an organic audience on these channels. That being said, it’s certainly not impossible. I think it’s interesting to see platforms like Tiktok, where you could be posting content every day for weeks and weeks and weeks, and then one video hits, you know, shows up on the for you page, and then all of a sudden your growth has skyrocketed. 

 

I think that’s definitely a byproduct of, you know, this early products in the stage of Tik Tok where, you know, anybody can have the hype, anyone can go viral, you just need to sort of make the right video. Whereas on Instagram and Facebook, where it’s been like sort of years and years of established edits to the algorithm change the news feed, and also the desire of like, there’s too many brands here. 

 

And so when Facebook and Instagram are thinking about optimizing that is the they don’t want it to feel very salesy. And so as a brand, it makes it very challenging to grow an organic audience, but again, not impossible.

 

Kenny Soto  12:19  

Going into the realm of personal branding, if you will, what’s your advice for marketers who wants to get featured articles and or guest posts on major business publications?

 

Kara Meiselman  12:34  

I think it’s really just being proactive and submitting. So a lot of these websites are looking for contributors. Right, yeah, idea for an article or if you’re looking for an article that doesn’t exist, why not write it? Why not pitch it? And so I think it’s a, something that you wouldn’t necessarily think to do, because as marketers, we’re always thinking about the brand, and how do we promote our brand. 

 

But as a marketer, myself, I’m always looking for tips and tricks and things about new channels, or different ways that I want to read about what other marketers are doing. And so, sometimes, if that article doesn’t exist, maybe that means you should write it.

 

Kenny Soto  13:15  

Two more questions. What are some of the core skills and these could be hard skills or soft skills that you have leveraged throughout your entire career?

 

Kara Meiselman  13:26  

hard skills and soft skills. I would say one of the skills that is maybe controversial or played out is this idea of fake it till you make it. And I say that in the sense that so much of marketing is new, never done before, maybe your brand has never tried this channel. 

 

Maybe this is a new platform that just launched two months ago. And I think just having the confidence to go all in and really give something a solid go is very important. Because you’re never going to know what works for your brand, if you don’t try it. And I think, you know, what’s made me successful is trying to push for things that I believe in, even just I if I can position it as a small test, if I want to test a different podcast or a new platform, I’ll say, you know, here’s a super low budget way for us to just get an indication or directional data of whether this could work for us or not. I think most marketing leaders are looking for ways to scale their efforts. 

 

And so if you can find a new channel that will unlock opportunities for you. That’s a huge win. And so creating the space for you to find those places and test different avenues is going to be super important to your career and to keeping fresh like if you’re just doing the same stuff over and over again, even if you’re doing it well. It will eventually become unsuccessful for you because the marketing channels, people’s interest. people’s attention spans are always changing. 

 

And so you kind of need to be on the pulse of what’s next and what’s going To be the most valuable for your brand. And so you’re not going to do that unless you push and try and test things. And really fight for what you believe in.

 

Kenny Soto  15:12  

Last question, and this is hypothetical, of course, if you had access to a time machine, and you can go back 10 years into the past, knowing everything you know, right now, how would you speed up the path of your career to get to where you are today, just faster?

 

Kara Meiselman  15:32  

I think I would really just ask for things more, you know, over my career, I’ve seen that the people who move forward in their career do best, are we just asking for opportunities, so they’re not waiting for promotions to be given for them, they’re not waiting for raises, they’re asking for them. 

 

And I think that keeping those questions open is so important, where you’re constantly looking for, you know, to your manager to be like, What do I need to do to get to the next level, or I’m looking to grow my career in X, Y, and Z wave? I think I need more exposure in these areas, can I shadow someone or take on a project that’s maybe outside of the realm of my job description? You know, asking for those opportunities? I’ve rarely seen people say, no, like, people are certainly not going to turn you down if you’re looking for growth opportunities, and ways to get smarter and what you do. 

 

And so if I could go back, I would just ask for a lot more opportunities than I waited around for that someone would hopefully give to me. And I would ask for what I want. And you know, you know, and sometimes you’ll get a yes, sometimes you’ll get a no, but hopefully with every No, you get a better understanding of like, why it’s a no right now. What do I need to do? Or what do I need to learn to make that no into a yes.

 

Kenny Soto  16:50  

That’s amazing advice. And I’m definitely going to take you up on that advice and keep it keep it in mind when I’m trying to grow throughout my career in the startup that I’m working at. So I definitely want to thank you for your time today, Kara. And if anyone wanted to connect with you online, where can they find you?

 

Kara Meiselman  17:11  

Sure, you can find me on LinkedIn, it’s just linkedin.com/in/caraMeiselman also just carameiselman.com But it was great chatting with you. I love talking about this type of stuff, and I can’t wait to chat some more and keep the conversation going.

 

Kenny Soto  17:33  

This has been episode 52 of the people of digital marketing with your host Kenny Soto. And as always, I also have to thank you the listener for listening to another episode, and I hope you have a great week. Bye.

 

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