Gregg L. Witt is the Chief Strategy Officer of Engage Youth Co. and co-author of the insightful new book The Gen Z Frequency: How Brands Tune In and Build Credibility. He was named a “Top 5 Youth Marketer to Follow” by Inc. in 2016 and has also been featured in Forbes and Fortune. Witt is also a VansWorld Champion Amateur Skateboarder who defied critics while growing up in the Midwest and at age 16 launched the Goodtimes Intelligence Agency, a skateboarding and apparel company that became a globally recognized brand.
- Who is Gregg Witt?
The moment when Gregg found his identity was when he picked up skateboarding and went down the path to becoming a professional. Skateboarding was his love as well as his connection to a bigger world. Work wasn’t necessarily in the plan for him, work was what Gregg’s busy dad did. He didn’t have an aspirational career goal but he knew he wanted to keep the community of fellow skateboarders connected which is why he started his own skateboard company.
Gregg is someone that likes to problem solve. He has a natural ability to engage youth in a way that connects.
Gregg didn’t start off with a lot of confidence, he was made fun of a lot as a kid and the more people told him that he wasn’t going to be able to make it, the more it drove him to succeed. Even by the fifth year of his business, Gregg was still figuring things out which filled the role of real world university and taught him the ropes that most people never experience. Each lesson and obstacle that Gregg encountered brought him further along the path to what he does now, which is creating youth-focused marketing.
- Building an Audience
You’re building an audience or you’re risking being a one-hit wonder. Pure convenience and utility have their place, but if you want to build a business you have to focus on building an audience.
The fundamental function of building an audience is to share stories that will increase awareness and break through the noise. A lot of business is done with people who like you. If you’re building a quality audience, you’re establishing trust and there is no industry that doesn’t benefit from having your customers trust you.
You can’t measure that you’re reaching people through the marketing methods of yesterday. You can’t tie television to conversion at the bottom of the funnel. A mix of integration is required.
What is the purpose of your company and what you’re doing? Who are you and what perception will your market have of you? Authenticity is the foundation to trust, and trust is everything.
When you’ve established an identity that’s relatable and that your audience cares about, now you’re ready for relevance. The most successful brands are helping their customers reach further in an aspirational way.
If the experience you create is memorable and brings people together with a sense of belonging, that’s pure magic. It’s hard to create but extremely powerful, it takes a village to execute.
- What are the most common mistakes entrepreneurs are making?
We get caught in our head and believe we have a great solution when we might have missed the mark by not involving our customer in the process. A lot of big brands still focus on broadcasting. It’s easier to push messages than it is to spark a conversation, which is a common mistake.
Social media is supposed to be social, don’t treat the feed like inventory.
Reference: The Gen Z Frequency: How Brands Tune In and Build Credibility, Gregg Witt
- Gregg’s Takeaway
Anything you do, get really good at communicating your solution. Know the what, the how, and the why, and tie your outcomes to the what and the how. Your audience cares about the why, and if they do and things go wrong you will increase the odds of you being successful.
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