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Alex Divine: Social Media, Marketing, Leadership, AI, Analytics, and Communication


Innovate Marketing featuring guest Alex Devine

Alex Devine is a marketing expert and business consultant providing a unique bridge between Old School Business ideals and new generational perspectives. As the president of VSG Marketing, Alex leads the VSG Marketing team and provides executive oversight to all service offerings. In addition to making sure clients remain on the cutting edge of their industries.




MyPodcast.Media 0:00

The following podcast is intended for people who are intent on growing their business. And welcome to Innovate Marketing, where we are bringing you interviews with the people that are making waves in the world of marketing, branding, and business growth. I'm your host, Shawn P. Neal. And we are brought to you by MyPodcast.Media. So if you're a brand and you're considering podcasting, or even revamping an existing podcast, make sure you visit my MyPodcast.Media. Now we've got a great show for you today, so without further ado, let's get into it.


SHAWN P NEAL 0:42

All right, thanks so much for joining me today. I'm really excited. We've got a great interview. My guest today is the president of VSG Marketing. And we're going to be talking about everything from social media to the past, present and future of marketing and what this means to affect your business. What should you be looking out for and paying attention to as we go forward? So first of all, let me introduce you to our guest, Alex Devine.


MYPODCAST.MEDIA

Alex Devine is a marketing expert and business consultant providing a unique bridge between Old School Business ideals and new generational perspectives. As the president of VSG Marketing, Alex leads the VSG marketing team and provides executive oversight to all service offerings. In addition to making sure clients remain on the cutting edge of their industries. She uses technology and data insights to help companies and individuals define their sales strategy and manage their digital presence. After nearly a decade in the heart of a fast paced agency, she's gained expertise in high level marketing strategy, sales enablement, digital performance, and MarTech.


SHAWN P NEAL

Alright and Alex, welcome to Innovate Marketing. And thanks so much for being here. How's it going today?


ALEX DEVINE 2:08

It's going great. Thanks for having me. I’m excited.


SHAWN P NEAL 2:11

Absolutely. So we've got a lot to talk about. But I think first, I really want to just kind of familiarize ourselves with you know, you a little bit and kind of your history here. Because you come into VSG with a lot of experience; a lot of time there. If you can just kind of walk me through, let's start at you and I talking about Pacific Lutheran and some of the things that you did there, and just kind of what led you into the space that you're in now with VSG.


ALEX DEVINE 2:45

Yeah, it's a fun story. And I would say it's probably not a common story. So I love to share. So I was raised by small business owners. My parents have had many different entrepreneurial adventures throughout their lives from like a tree service, my mom's a CPA. So you know, grew up talking about business at the dinner table. So I would say I was probably more business driven as a child, than probably most people have the opportunity to. So I knew I was gonna go into school for business. At 16, I job shadowed at a marketing agency and thought, well, this is the coolest thing ever. I love art, but I can't really make it myself. So if I'm an account manager at an agency, right, I get to use persuasion and business skills and presentation skills and pitch art to people. So fusion of sales and art, which I thought was cool. I didn't know it was a job you could have. So at 16, being very determined, I did Running Start in Washington States, we were running start here and started studying marketing and went to Pacific Lutheran University to get a marketing degree. So I dabbled in PR and advertising. While I was there, I was the president of the American Marketing Association, I was in a work study, just wanted to work at an agency. So I threw all my attention at that. Ended up getting an internship at VSG Marketing before it was a Spindustry Company while build up to that. And then, you know, did a summer internship said, “Hey, this is pretty cool.” Got my feet wet. And on my last day, I said, hey, thanks so much, like see around, thanks for the opportunity. And they said, Oh my gosh, please don't leave. We have lots of stuff for you that we can do. So then I became an account coordinator. And then quickly after that a manager so I came up in the agency side on the account side and client service. A lot of strategy. A lot of multiple stakeholders. Advocating for the team, advocating for the client; really hone those presentation skills, and just the marketing strategy. You know, you talk with hundreds of businesses year over a year over a year. So crash course in business and marketing from the age of 20, I think I was when I was an intern. Did well, got a lot of hard knocks, got beat down a little bit in agency life, got humbled. Life humbled me, and then quickly kind of accelerated there. So over the nine years I've been at VSG, I was an account manager, as I mentioned, a Marketing Director, I was the Vice President for several years and got strongly into business development. And then we kind of built that business up to be acquired actually. So January 1 of the this year, we were acquired by Spindustry which is a larger agency based out of Iowa, we’re in Tacoma. And now we operate as kind of a division of that company of which I am the president. So I just turned 30. And here I am, it's been a whirlwind. So I'm kind of picking my head up, looking around, you know, celebrating accomplishments. And I just love to share about like, what I've learned that a very like to probably too young, of an age. So although I consider myself mature, got lots left to learn, and it's been wild, it's been crazy.


SHAWN P NEAL 5:28

And that's a huge testament also to, you know, your leadership, to be able to, you know, lead that company into getting acquired. So congratulations on that. That's huge.


ALEX DEVINE

Yeah, it's been fun.


SHAWN P NEAL

You talked about a couple of things that kind of struck my interest there and I'd love to just explore these a little bit. First of all, you know, marketing-on one side, we've got data, you know, everything's data and strategy. And on the other side, we've got persuasion and psychology. And I'm curious where those two intersect for you. And what maybe is the more predominant driving factor in your in what you do.


ALEX DEVINE 6:07

Oh, incredible question. I love it, it is quite fascinating. You do have to… I say all marketers should start as psychologists, or at least look into psychology as a principle. Because when we understand how people are motivated, and why they might take action, write messages that resonate with people and provide them value. So data allows us to see if what we're trying is working. So you do have to have both. So I kind of describe the marketing process as the scientific method. So you know your audience as well as you possibly can. You make a hypothesis about what is going to work best to drive them to action, you try it. And the more knowledge you have about people inherently and how they act, the better your first shot is going to be, your educated guess. And then we track, we have to track everything, what worked, why did it work? When did it work? What happened after, and we look at that data for key insights. And then we adjust, we make small adjustments and we tweak it, we keep a control group, and we try again, and we rinse and repeat. And the closer we get to action every single time, the more lucrative our marketing efforts become. So they really are hand in hand. And the insights we draw from data should be driving what we do on the psychology and really the creative side, I would say. So they they go together inherently almost any marketing you do and sales as well. Sales is very closely related there as well.


SHAWN P NEAL 7:26

Yeah. Now is there either one of them that you would say you lean more heavily into just personally in your own interest? Are you more driven by that psychology side? Are you more of an analytics/data person?


ALEX DEVINE 7:38

That's a great question. (I) Dabble in both; you have to in my job, but I am certainly more on the emotional appeal side, the psychology side. Love people, have a lot of empathy. I tend to gravitate there first. And that's a part of intuition that's important in marketing and sales. But it's really nice to have that data to back you up. So I would say probably feeling more, but I got the data in the back if I need it.


SHAWN P NEAL 8:00

Yeah, absolutely. Yeah, I think that's one of the things that I've really been interested in throughout my life is seeing how and, you know, we can say persuade, we can influence maybe another, you know, way to put it. But knowing what speaks to people's emotions, it's just, it's a really cool thing to then be able to help. And I always look at it, as you know, we're really just guiding them to the place that they want to be. And we're creating an easy pathway for them to get there.


ALEX DEVINE

For sure. And value is critical. So it's all in the market, right? See a need, meet a need. So when you're doing sales and marketing correctly, you are helping people with a need get their needs met, whether that's with the product or service, so they're probably already searching for it, or they've indicated some type of behavior that shows they need a product or service we have, and we're just matching them together. That's the beauty of it.


SHAWN P NEAL

That's awesome. Now, how many do you have on staff there? VSG.


ALEX DEVINE 8:57

In our kind of division of the company, I think we're up to 12. We have 12 folks. In the larger agency, we're close to 50. I think 47/48 was last count I heard.


SHAWN P NEAL 9:05

Very nice. So we're not talking about small operation here. This is obviously, you know, growing and moving forward.


ALEX DEVINE 9:11

Yeah, pretty good size for an agency, we were, you know, 12…10 to 12 for a long time, like probably 20 plus years. So it's new to us to be a bigger company. I'd say.


SHAWN P NEAL 9:20

That's so cool. Now, let's talk a little bit about kind of the time span because, you know, you mentioned coming out of college and you know, stepping into the space. So you were there. What I would say is that latter part of social media. This is going to date me but I remember in 2008 and 2009 I was consulting with small business owners and we were talking about “don't put your nephew on your social media account just because they know how to work a computer.” What things have you seen that have evolved in the years that you've been in this industry? And you know whatkind of things I guess are you seeing that are changing? And are they changing more rapidly now than ever?


ALEX DEVINE 10:04

Yeah, a really interesting question. I would say, people are still putting their nephew in control of their social media and they they should stop doing that unless their nephews very qualified, of course. But you're absolutely right. As I came into my, you know, formal education and marketing, social was everything. It was you have to be on Facebook, we have to be pursuing LinkedIn. We need to talk about Twitter. Twitter: got a live tweet, every event, it's all connections. So that was highly prominent. And it used to be, you know, before the algorithm was more defined, simple posts. So the advice was okay, you gotta post three times a week. And it needs to be Throwback Thursday, it needs to be, you know, Topical Tuesday, and everything had themes to it. And it was all about calendar, calendar, calendar. And I feel like this is the same kind of trend we see in almost any marketing channel is we try and templatize it just to get something out there. So it's very, very prominent that came out of school and into my early career. More and more, just like any other marketing channel, it should be about value and connection and community building, we should, you know, be creating brands that speak to our audience and provide them value in the best way. So now, as you're seeing platforms, like Meta become more complicated to use, lock their data down more, like I remember when you used to be able to target whoever you wanted to on Facebook ads, and you could upload lists, and it was wild in there. Now, you know, far more regulated, a little bit more close to the chest with their data. And just they deprioritize business profiles, right? It's not just post three times a week, you may never see any return on that. So in general, social media should absolutely still be a part of your overall strategy; depends on where your audiences and what you're selling. But it's become almost a necessity to have a better organic plan with a paid plan on top of it, versus just organic driving leads. So it's still an important tool. We saw throughout that time an incredible rise in video, you have to have moving pictures, talking connection, needs to be exciting, and it needs to be shorter. So we've also seen our attention spans get shorter, because right in the middle of that time, between when I started to now we had Snapchat, we had Vine, we had, right ,we had all these things. Now we have Tik Tok. So the value of the content needs to stay the same, but we're seeing a huge push towards visual elements rather than static posts. And it's just very obvious to users when you're just doing it to do it. So you better be providing value and thought leadership as a business or you're just posting to post. So we talked about that a lot in budgets. What about my social media? Say, what about it? When's the last time you had a lead from social? We’re willing to explore it? Right? But organic is very different than like a paid lead strategy. And we just have to get smarter about where we spend our budget.


SHAWN P NEAL 12:48

Yeah, exactly. And you said Vine… oh, my gosh.


ALEX DEVINE 12:52

Oh, yeah. Another one in college, and it was… now I’m going to forget about it. So now we have there's Be Real also, although businesses aren’t on Be Real yet. It was like, Yak, or something where you could like post anonymous, you know, that was in there, too.


SHAWN P NEAL 13:08

Yeah. Do you think that platforms like that condition some people because, you know, Vine was was probably more, you know, a younger demographic, but did it condition some people to that, you know, three second video view. If you don't have me in three seconds, then I'm gone.


ALEX DEVINE 13:25

It absolutely did. I think we wrote a blog post about this. Actually, I'll have to find it. I'll send it to you. But yes, there's a psychological research done that like the average American market anyway, attention span for marketing materials has shortened rapidly and Vine was the primary reason for that.


SHAWN P NEAL

That's amazing.


ALEX DEVINE

Isn’t that crazy?


SHAWN P NEAL 13:43

Yeah, it really is the so as we as we look at some of this, and I think what's fascinating, especially if we can dive into social media for a few minutes, I think what's fascinating is we're seeing the repercussions of the wild, wild west that existed, like when I was talking about in 2008, and when you entered the market. And we've seen the repercussions from, you know, a societal point of view. You know, we've seen how mass influence without structure can damage, you know, and I'm not talking politically or anything, I'm just talking, you know, our own self esteem, watching all of our friends and family post all the great pictures. And so there's a lot of noise. And in that noise, there's also now a lot of things through the algorithms that you are either seeing or not seeing. So I guess the question kind of goes, you know, what, what are kind of the 2023 approaches to being relevant, and being able to really stand out as a brand, and all of that noise?


ALEX DEVINE 14:48

Yeah. For me, it's always going to be how well do you know your audience? And if you don't know your audience, it's time to start reaching out to your customers or your evangelists, right, and figuring out what's important to them. What they like about your company. And have a really strong baseline for what the people who love you actually want from you. And that's going to tell you a couple things. It's going to tell you where they're at. So you don't need to be on every channel- what channels are they on? But don't don't start in channels unless you're acquiring a new audience, which is expensive to do. Maybe they're not on one of the channels we're talking about. Like, is your audience actually on Facebook? And making business decisions there? Maybe we don't start there, then. It's also going to tell you what type of content to make, what do they want to hear from you, what's important, and go straight to the source. Like it's so critical to have that strong relationship with your audience and for them to feel like they have equity and buy-in into what you're creating. Because when it feels like it's for them, you only strengthen that evangelistic, you know, Brand Champion relationship, which is great for long term sales in return. For me, it all starts with “audience.” That's going to tell you a ton. And I would say now, business owners, they really struggle with the idea of paying to play. Depending on the size. I'm talking more about small to midsize companies who maybe are thinking about getting into social or taking that more seriously. Large companies have been doing this for a long time. It's pay to play if you want eyeballs unless your content goes viral, which you know, there's a chance that it could, it depends. It might take 12 years, it might happen tomorrow, try it. But if you want eyeballs, be prepared to attach budget to your content, at least initially. And there's a pretty low cost entry point and a low barrier to entry on that.


SHAWN P NEAL 16:29

Yes, and for crying out loud, don't fall victim for people or organizations that promise they can make a viral video.


ALEX DEVINE 16:38

Right? If it was predictable, we'd all have bought, you know, GameStop stock or whatever, right? If we knew these things, you can kind of see the trends. I don't doubt there's agencies that identify trends and can jump on them quickly. That's another great idea. Like if you're wondering where to start with your content, just follow trends, look at social media yourself and figure out how you can apply that, but trends happen in a single day. So you better be reactive, and then hopefully you get lucky.


SHAWN P NEAL 17:03

That's good. So I recently was just reviewing if you remember, I think it was called Billion Follar or Undercover Billionaire. Maybe that was the show. Yes. Yeah. Actually, yes. So Grant Cardone, there were three guests on that show. Yeah. And Grant Cardone was one of them. And, you know, he chose in his… the premise here is very simple. They get kind of stripped of all of their money- all of their assets, and dropped off in a town that they've never been to with 90 days to build a million dollar business. And so he went very old schoolin the series that he did. Went very old school traditional guerilla marketing, like he got out there blood, sweat and tears, and did it and he worked. It worked. Can you talk a little bit? Because I think that that's becoming a lost art. Can you talk a little bit about just how that plays nicely into what we just got done talking about, which is, you know, all tech online. Data, Data, Data?


ALEX DEVINE 18:05

Yeah, absolutely. Humans are still humans at the end of the day. So again, it's audience connection. Think about yourself. I think businesses get a little bit too in the weeds on sales tactics, and the digital piece of all that. All of those are tools that help you connect better with your audience, but it's still connecting with your audience. And sometimes that requires face to face interaction. So if you just put yourself in a consumer's shoes, it’s one of the best things that you can do, or invite them in if you're not able to see through their eyes and ask questions. So guerilla marketing or grassroots sales efforts are still a critical factor in business. And the more remote we get in a work environment, the more special and rare those, you know, person to person moments are, so they can be really helpful. I think it just depends on your audience. And if that is important to them. Where we talk most about grassroots and making personal connections is actually on the sales side. And I would say philosophically, we believe that sales and marketing should be best friends, instead of separate departments. We need to share data, we need to be on the same action plan. We need to see how marketing efforts funnel through and are impacting the bottom line, like when we get those two teams on the same page, really, really good things happen, revenue wise and sales wise. So if the marketing team can do all the data gathering and worry about digital channels, let your salespeople who are traditionally great at relationships and relationship building, let them have the interpersonal interactions. Equip them with good questions, and make sure they're tracking all of it in their CRM, right. So your marketing team can look and say, Oh, here's the feedback we're getting from our audience. We should come up with a campaign that addresses that. Like, that's a symbiotic relationship that's very siloed too often, I think. Yeah,


SHAWN P NEAL 19:48

absolutely. And one of the things I hear you talking about is communication which you know, will make or break the system. Can you tell me a little bit about how you run your communication channels there?


ALEX DEVINE 19:58

Yeah, as far as between the teams.


SHAWN P NEAL

Yeah, just in your own world.


ALEX DEVINE

Yeah, for sure. So we are consultants, right. So I have a sales team and I have a marketing team. So this is true for me internally as a business. And now I just added four or five service lines. So I have more salespeople, and that has become a more and more complex process. And then we counsel and coach other businesses of various sizes on this. And we actually, although we are, you know, personable, and people's people approach it from a technology perspective. We start with the CRM, data governance. You're doing all these wonderful activities every day in all different teams: operations, sales, leadership, C-suite, and marketing. Where's all that going? Could we go pull a report on what's happening and what's actually closing deals? When's the last time you followed up with that prospect? Where are we at in the pipeline? If we can't answer any of these questions, then no matter how motivated we are or how well we get along, we don't have a vision, or we're guessing. So for us data is the basis for which we start to communicate. So a CRM is a critical. A marketing automation platform is critical to log all of that, and reporting about how the company is doing is critical. So there's lots of different ways to do that. And we could talk about tech stack curation, but I should have what we call a single source of truth, where I can at least go look at where all of this is and have a direction. As far as communication, our stance is early and often. So use tools like Slack, Teams; whatever you got. Set up specific channels, making sure you're checking in and coordinating and set up weekly meetings. Communication sometimes does not get done or done well unless you set parameters to ensure it well. So kind of identify internal champions who are great communicators and know themselves and your team really well, and then set up parameters for success.


SHAWN P NEAL 21:47

Oh, that's good. That's rich…I like that. So I know, it's something that we don't talk about often, but it is a make or break component of whether or not you know, we succeed. I would love to, you know, talk a little bit about your particular leadership style and some of the things from a philosophy standpoint, what you believe and how you practice. Can you talk to me, just about what this looks like, in your daily at VSG, how you personally keep teams connected, what you do to make sure that that emotional component of the workday is there.


ALEX DEVINE 22:27

Absolutely. And thank you for asking. So I'm, I would say, still developing my leadership style. Again, I'm 30. But I've been in leadership positions for a decade at this point within this company. So I really have had the unique ability to come in fresh as almost peers to a lot of people that I work with, and establish rapport and trust. So a lot of what I have learned, I had privilege because I was able to build relationships and learn them on like a colleague level before I took leadership. So there's a lot of respect. I would say, My leadership style is very direct and straightforward. I'm going to over communicate, but I'm not going to blow smoke at you, right. So when we have a relationship of trust, and there's a lot that goes into that trust is I respect you, every time I talk with you, I have an appreciation and understanding of what it takes to do what you do. So whether I'm talking to a designer or a developer, I think it's important that I don't have to be an expert at those things. But I have to at least know what it's like to sit at your desk every day, and understand the challenges that you face, and maybe some misconceptions that people have about you. So as you build that rapport and that trust, when we have a sidebar conversation or tough conversation- “Hey, I really don't think you hit the mark on that. Not gonna make excuses for it. Can you tell me why?” So I think it's directness. So there's no questions, no games, but also give people the benefit of the doubt. Could you in your own words describe to me why this didn't work out? Let's talk through it. And then I think it's just underlying support. Great, thank you for your honesty, what are we going to do about it? Solutions oriented, let's move forward together. I'm on your team. So I'm sure there's like a name for that leadership style. I tend to be operate on trust and to be very, very direct and transparent. So the other thing that's critical for leaders in an organization comes back to data again. If we go with how we feel… “how's that account going? Well it feels good. I think the client’s good. That's great.” Then they fire you the next day, and you had no idea. Like what are the data points that show us that we're being successful? What targets are we hitting? What organic growth goals are we hitting? What have we done for that client? So in our world, we, as long as you're performing, you're hitting metrics, usually things are good, and we're just going to check in every so often. A few other things, I do one on ones every single week with all critical members of my staff and then I empower my managers to have one on ones as well. That's something we're seeing across the board and market. We work in staffing and talent retention a ton from the marketing side of things, of course, but higher visibility. So like no longer we're doing annual performance reviews. It's too long to wait annually and then it's always tied to, you know, the dollar amount. I think this is kind of widely understood at this point, but early and often, talk every week about what's going well. It can be a personal check in.. how you doing, how are we performing, have those metrics in front of you. And then other things that have helped me are psychological actually… predictive index, MBTI, Enneagram. Go through exercises where you're doing personality assessments with your team. It's gonna give you as a leader a great understanding of who they are, how they operate, why they're communicating with you that way, why they're different than you, why they shut down. So you don't just lump them in like, well, they're just not a good fit. No, they're nuanced - they’re people. Let's learn as much about them as we can and how to communicate with them. So personality exams and tests, huge fan, do them all. Find the one that works for you.


SHAWN P NEAL 25:49

Absolutely. And you know, by the way… Predictive Index, I did that about two years ago? Yeah, I was I was blown away by I mean, all of them, you know, are exceptionally good at what they do.


ALEX DEVINE

Do you:remember what you were and the predictive index?


SHAWN P NEAL

Oh, gosh, no, I would have to go back and look at it now. I have a friend who gave me… she was a navigator or whatever, and she gave me one of the tests. And she's like, here, just try this.


ALEX DEVINE

Yeah, it’s very powerful.


SHAWN P NEAL Oh, yeah. That's, that's almost freaky. Yeah. So with that being said, I would love to start to look at what the future looks like. And since we've talked so much about social media, and you know, online, I would love for you to first of all, just kind of give me your forecast from the world of marketing, what the next year or two are really looking like, what kind of things should we be paying attention to. And then after that, we'll come back and talk about you personally,


ALEX DEVINE 26:47

I love it. Well, we can't talk about the future of marketing without discussing AI, right? Hottest topic on the block right now. And we've been fans of AI for a long time. So my, I'll just give you kind of my take on it. There's a lot of noise. People are scared, and they're excited. And they should be as long as there's any technological advancement, there's going to be mixed feelings about it. I would say, we should approach AI with caution, because it's not regulated. And we have to be aware that any information we're putting into this machine learning system could be out there for the world to see. So just be cautious. Just use common sense. Think about paid tools versus free tools. It's really cool. I think there's lessons we can learn from it. Ultimately, it should not replace people, it should empower people to do more with less. And I'm going to talk about that as a trend. In the next two years, people are going to try and do more with less, everything is expensive. It's expensive to keep staff, expensive to make decisions. Paid ads are expensive. I read an article the other day that says the threshold, like you better be spending $10 grand a month on paid ads or forget it. And like I know many companies who are not and cannot spend that. So it's scary in the marketing environment. So AI is going to allow you to automate processes and still treat people with a personal touch that's friendly, that's in your brand, so that your team can focus on other things. So use it as a tool much the way you would use any other kind of tech. And because it's a tool that's not regulated, just be careful and protect yourself. So I met with a group of agency leaders a couple of months ago, and they had a brilliant takeaway about AI and it was have a point of view in your company. Think about how you're going to use AI, how you feel about it. Make a statement on your position. Are you pro - con? Why? Have a policy? Who can use it? What email should be used to sign up? What should you not put in? Be very sensitive to data privacy; those laws will only get stricter in the coming years. So be aware that's also a trend. We could talk about compliance and data privacy. And then pioneers in your organization, you don't have to have all the answers, but pick a couple folks who are passionate about it, have them try some AI tools. Let's see what they come up with and have them present to us kind of internal champions. So I thought those the three P's Those were great. Yeah, I think we're just going to continue to see a heavier reliance on technology as we should. The data is great, we should have a healthy dose of fear and caution when we use tools and really think about data privacy and consent. And then speaking of users or marketers, consumers are going to have much more control over what you can track, email clicks, probably going to go away. Email open is probably going to go away. Cookie tracking going to be turned off. So start mining first party data now, like yesterday, because we're just not going to have the same access to data that we have. And for good reason. As a citizen, I fully support that. I would love to have the opportunity be more private. As marketers, we're going to have to get smarter about knowing our audience and that should start today. Yeah, I miss anything.


SHAWN P NEAL 29:47

No, that's right. That is great. I'd love to kind of just wrap this up with a little bit. Let's go personal and professional. So what's on the market for you in the next 5 years personally? Professionally? What do you hope to see with VSG? And where do you want to go?


ALEX DEVINE 30:06

Great question, I'm still figuring it out. Like we were acquired about six months ago. So that the change has been great, integrating teams, figuring that out, I feel like I'm getting a crash course and acquisition and merging teams, which is great. So always learning, always growing. You know in the last probably three or four years, we've really doubled down on being a MarTech agency, it’s what we're passionate about and where we see the greatest need in the market. So it's all applying great creative, applying great messaging with a strong tech infrastructure that you're not overpaying for and doesn't have a bunch of redundancies. So we execute and strategize and consult MarTech steps. So where I'd love to see that for myself and for VSG is just further become consultants, and just real people, cool people you can talk with and give you actual answers and then can build out infrastructure. Because this stuff is complicated. It's a little bit scary. A lot of people don't know where to start, or they have tools they're in contracts with, I can't get out of them. What do I do? And so I love for VSG and spend history at large to be the company that comes in with care and compassion and says, “Hey, it's okay to not know we're gonna figure it out. Let's help navigate that together.”


SHAWN P NEAL 31:12

That's good. That's good. Alexandra, I cannot thank you enough.You have been amazing. And I think that you are obviously just an incredible resource for people listening. So I'm going to give you a quick chance here. Just tell them where they can find you, where they can find VSG, and how to get in touch with everybody.


ALEX DEVINE 31:34

Yeah, absolutely. And we'd love to help. So that care and compassion… if you have any questions, it applies to pretty much any business topic, not just MarTech. Like I geek out on marketing and sales. Let's chat. Let's get a drink. If you're in Tacoma, we'll hang out. So you can find us at https://vsgmarketing.io. That's the VSG marketing kind of division that I've talked about today. Our parent company is Spindustry. So https://www.spindustry.com/ is where you can find them. We're on LinkedIn, Facebook, Instagram. And that's it. So far, we're managing our resources carefully, like we talked about, but you might see us in other channel soon. A large part of what we do is education and webinars and training. So keep an eye out on Spindustry.com for upcoming webinars. They also have on-demand. They have a beautiful, robust library of previous topics that they've kind of coached and educated on from a SharePoint perspective and marketing in general. So rich resources there. Check us out. We'd love to hear from you.


SHAWN P NEAL 32:26

Awesome. Alex Devine. Thanks so much for being on Innovate Marketing.


ALEX DEVINE 32:30

Thank you, Shawn.


SHAWN P NEAL 32:35

Here are my takeaways from my conversation with Alex. Number one: Social media should be about value, conversation, and community building. Number two: a good organic social media plan with a paid plan on top is almost essential. Number three: if you don't know your audience, it's time to start reaching out. And number four: data is the basis for which we start communication. Now I want to say a special thanks to my guest, Alex Devine, for being here on Innovate Marketing and to you for tuning in. Until we meet again, my friends, stay safe and be well. See ya…



Intro / Outro 22:39

That brings us to the close of this edition of Innovate Marketing. We're glad you tuned in. Innovate marketing is brought to you by MyPodcast.Media. MyPodcast.Media produces podcasts for brands influencers and nonprofits. Find us online at MyPodcast.Media. Your producer for innovative marketing is Beth Fried. Executive producer Shawn Neal and your host is Sherry Peak. We'll see you next time. Be sure to tune in...





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