She calls herself a hype-wrangler. Leave it to Kendra Wiig to bring spunk and creativity to something as mundane as a job title. Getting the word out there, making sure she is representing her company as best she can, bringing in new users, but making sure the hype doesn’t get out of control (i.e. to never promise something and under-deliver) are a few of her responsibilities as the Social Marketing Manager Closely, a technology startup based in Denver. Closely builds products for small businesses, notably the app Perch, which delivers a live, personalized stream of social media and promotion activity for businesses in the neighborhood, helping keep tabs on one’s competition.
Kendra, whose Twitter handle is @downtowndtown, is also a prominent voice on Twitter with a pension for all things hip and happening in the mile high city, her hometown. Kendra’s passion for Denver and for the startup culture she is proud to be a part of is palpable. You might be thinking how you’ve heard the passion hoop-la before, but here is an example. Kendra once applied for a job at a company working on a Lego-themed game. Rather than send of the token cover letter and resume word doc and hope for the best, Kendra crafted up an idea to make her resume really stand out. She built a model of the company’s mascot out of Legos, and delivered her resume in the mascot’s jaws (it was a fish if you were curious). Her passion and originality did not in fact land her the job, but it did land her on countless lists for brilliant job resumes, and who knows what other doors it may help open. Watch the Zenzi Asks interview with Kendra above, and read on for more of Kendra’s wit and wisdom.
Zenzi: If you could impart one piece of marketing advice to your clients what would it be?
Kendra: Test everything. You have intuition, you can rely on your gut to a certain extent, but a key thing I have learned is to iterate on an idea, experiment with an idea, and monitor your results. Anything you do that doesn’t work out is not a failure if you learn from it. But if you’re not monitoring it, you’re not learning from it.
Zenzi: How do you go about creating content?
Kendra: The most successful content is answering the questions that your customers are asking but that no one else is answering. With a little bit of research, and if you know who your customer is, you can find those questions. And if they are being answered, there’s a good chance they are not being answered well. I think that’s where people can spend time on content marketing and have it deliver results.
Zenzi: What is it like being surrounded by entrepreneurs?
Kendra: Energizing! The people I work with are into this lean start-up mindset, so we approach any project with asking ‘how can we get a product out there that we can test, evaluate and most importantly show incremental results?’ Being here at Closely and being in this space at Galvanize (A co-working community space – see next question for more info), helps you learn how a business or product is funded and built. Learning how business is actually conducted helps me be a better marketer and product evaluator because of that.
Zenzi: What is it like working at Galvanize?
Kendra: I guess I call it an incubator, or a co-working space…but there are a number of different companies that rent here, and you have this whole little world of innovation happening here at any point of the day. It reminds me of the kind of things that people go back to school for. Sometimes what they really mean is they want to be in a place where people are thinking about bigger problems, and solving new things and working outside of the day to day (humdrum). Here I feel like someone is always working on an interesting problem 10 feet away, and that’s really cool.
Zenzi: Okay, I think I need an Evernote tutorial. I’m not sure how to use it!
Kendra: Here’s the tutorial: Here’s a bunch of stuff out there in the world, and you can put it in here, and then you can search it! That’s the tutorial, that’s Evernote, and its brilliant.
Zenzi: Who are your top 5 recommendations to follow on Twitter?
• William Gibson @greatdismal is a writer that I am a big fan of. He’s taken to Twitter in the way that I think Twitter was meant to be used and he shares a lot of great content.
• If you live in Denver you should follow @IknowDenver, it’s excellent and shares everything you’d want to know about what’s going on in town.
• @kumailn because Twitter is basically the perfect medium for stand up comics, and this guys is one of the most effective comic users out there. Mad lolz.
• @jayrosen_nyu for real time, relevant news media criticism. One of my top sources of ‘meta-news’ i.e. the story behind the story, political players, news media, economics, etc…
• @MistyMontano. I love her feed because she is constantly discovering, investigating, and sharing local news as it happens. She is very interactive and aware, and just generally awesome.
Zenzi: What is your favorite social network?
Kendra: Twitter. It is this world of information that is happening right now that I have an opportunity to discover right now, in real time. I get these moment- to- moment updates if I know the right words to ask, which is kind of magic. I could watch someone else’s wedding, or there are people having political rallies, and you can see it in real time. It’s a serendipity engine, which I couldn’t give up.
Zenzi: What is your prediction for the next big thing in social?
Kendra: I’m not going to say ‘the next big thing’…people that do that are invariably wrong, but I will say mobile and local. More people are accessing the web through a mobile device vs. a desktop, which changes everything. The breakdown between virtual and real world is pretty much obsolete now that everyone is walking around with tiny computers in their pockets so it’s something that’s important to be aware of now.
Please note: A few responses have been abridged, and responses are not direct quotes.
Video production and interview by Phoebe Legg.