Episode 30: Connecting with Equine Brands with Kelly Artz
Welcome to Episode 30: Connecting with Equine Brands with Kelly Artz
Kelly Artz is the founder and CEO of Entrigue Consulting, a dedicated full-service marketing company. Her company specializes in helping brands connect with brand ambassadors—businesses sponsoring riders, for example. Kelly’s company offers a variety of services to small businesses, particularly in the horse industry. Kelly herself is a horsewoman, and we’re excited to talk with her today about how she started her company, and how marketing for equine brands is a different breed. Kelly, welcome to the show!
Kelly, tell us about your horse interests!
Described as a “typical horse girl that got older” and former Pony Clubber, Kelly rides and competes in Dressage aboard “Winston.” She also loves trail riding and attending other events.
Upper level dressage is a draw for Kelly. However, she likes to take adventure trips that include riding, ones that allow her to see the world on the back of a horse.
Tell us about your motivating moment to create your higher-level marketing and consulting agency.
After working on a documentary about female jockeys while finishing her thesis in graduate school at UCLA, it inspired her to look at the business side of how riders can monetize sponsorships. Her first client was Arias Whips that made jockey bags, and she thought eventing would be a great way to cross-brand. She took a step away to work in finance and advertising consulting, which gave her another view of the equine small business world.
Overall, Kelly saw a lack of branding or professional help in the equine world. In order to do successful marketing, whether personal or a company, all of the pieces of branding and marketing (website, social media, etc) have to work together, Kelly says, and a lack of professional support hindered riders monetizing opportunities with sponsors. It started with Kelly assisting with a logo or with a website, then providing analytics, to now providing all the components needed to market and brand ones equine company or oneself to companies.
Can you walk us through the process to connect a brand and rider?
There isn’t a cookie-cutter formula to connect a brand and rider, according to Kelly. Take into account a product budget or the funds a company has avaualble with a rider that provides enough reach or eyes on their product. Kelly says her approach is to give the brands an offer that includes a rider’s social media engagement, event attendance, or opportunity to interact with fans. She believes it starts with a conversation that includes finding out the company’s goals.
Entrigue is all-inclusive with services, meaning social media, web, etc. That helps steer away from the one-hit and forgotten problem many companies have with sponsorships, meaning they send product, receive one or two posts from a rider and that is it. There need to be regular posts between the two (rider and sponsor) to keep the relationship alive. Kelly says there is a certain responsibility with a sponsorship and her company provides content strategy and social media management to help riders with regular content.
Kelly’s biggest piece of advice is not to insult a company by reaching out for a sponsorship if you’ve never used their product. There needs to be a long-term understanding of the product before trying to build a sponsor relationship.
Has the team you’ve built been a result of what you needed to build a brand-rider relationship?
Kelly has a background in producing films from her time at UCLA and building a brand partnership is like all the parts needed to create a movie. All departments have different needs and specialties, but need to work together. Kelly says that you’re only as good as the creative team—website, advertising, analytics, etc. She blends team members with an artistic eye along with members that can help create an LLC and manage a business. Kelly says some of their abilities to reach out to others that can help her reach a goal is a skill learned from freelancing.
Kelly works on small businesses that are non-equine, too. What keeps her excited is when monitoring the back end of a website for analytics produces a positive Google search that leads to one of her clients connecting with a business. For example, a photographer that lands a client in another country that wants to use the photos in a hotel. Her specialty team members help fully support her rider-brand relationships. The biggest role agencies provide, she says, is to keep the information flowing.
For our freelancer listeners, do you ever need freelance work or do you do it in house?
Kelly keeps a group of freelance specialists that help with different projects. Recently, she brought on several freelancers to assist with podcasting. She is always looking for people in all areas.
From your point of view, what is the most common misconception for marketing companies in the equine industry?
That marketing is stale, she says. (It’s a pet peeve!) Clients want to see direct conversion, meaning if a promo code is provided, the client bases success off how many people use that code. But, Kelly says marketing is about getting in front of the right customers in an appealing way. Kelly makes riders more appealing to clients, customers, fans and sponsors.
Put the product in front of a market by having the right rider wear the sock, helmet or shirt, and the fans will see it. It is not always knowing the company gets X amount of sales, but rather, they receive XXX reach and engagement. The purpose of marketing is not to sell but to make the product desirable to sell to the right group of riders.
Kelly’s team members are always working to ensure likes and engagements are “real” and not purchased or bought. She has one team member monitoring four analytics programs (!), a caption wizard team member and another that focuses on hashtags on Instagram. Her campaigns are targeted and focused, and ever evolving. A brand can monetize how much they spend on a sponsorship based on engagement of real followers. She runs between 75 and 100 campaigns at one time.
For our freelancer listeners that have their own company, what are some small branding/marketing changes they can make?
Know the problem your product or service is solving. Kelly says to answer and define: what makes you different? What do you want to do for your customers? Find what is unique about your product or service and promote that.
Kelly recommends having a good logo, consistent colors, and recognizable elements when your portfolio of work is expanding. Also, provide social media followers with valuable content but don’t kill yourself to create a lot of content. Be consistent. She likens freelancing to indie movies because the quality is so spot-on it overcomes a big budget movie.
She also says not to feel limited by restrictions on budget, time, etc. Continue to beat the pavement to get jobs, like jockeys have to do to get rides. Think about what is needed in your industry and find a way to provide that service, and in the end, it will pay off.
To clarify, for listeners, can freelancers contact you for help with logos, websites or business services?
Sure! Kelly and Entrigue work with clients of all sizes. The team provides website, logo, photoshoot, production projects, and business assistance.
How can people find you online?
On Instagram, @entrigue_marketing
About The Freelance Remuda
The Freelance Remuda was founded by veteran freelance professionals Abigail Boatwright and Kate Bradley Byars. Beginning with The Freelance Remuda Podcast, which explores the trials and triumphs surrounding life as a freelancer in equine media, while sharing valuable tips from equine media editors and creatives doing what they love; Abigail and Kate also offer a mentorship program for aspiring freelancers in equine media.
The dictionary lists a remuda as: re•mu•da (noun): a herd of horses that have been saddle-broken from which ranch hands choose their mounts for the day. The goal of The Freelance Remuda is to help train up a herd of professionals specializing in equine media, from which editors and businesses can hire to do great work. Find and subscribe to the podcast on iTunes, and for more information on The Freelance Remuda Mentorship Program, go to freelanceremuda.com.