Several years ago, I traveled the search engine and online marketing trade show circuits and made friends with some very smart people in the space. Over time I was able to weed out those who simply were part of the marketing echo chamber (a great majority of the so-called “rockstars” fit this category) and others who really really thought for themselves, citing real data and experiences and developing notions and strategies that could and should be implemented. The latter group I would call my marketing heroes.
Over time my heroes’ value to businesses has grown to the point where they are now getting hired by Fortune 100 companies more than not. But this has ruined them for me. Back in the day, they were a God-send for small and mid-size businesses (SMBs). They were immersed in the SMB world and had great empathy for their needs and requirements. Unlimited budgets weren’t part of that paradigm.
Now many of these heroes of mine are writing articles and blogging about much more philosophical topics and less about pragmatic effective strategies to be implemented on the cheap. But there are two exceptions to this worth pointing out. Continue reading “Where Did My Heroes Go?”
[Editor’s note: I’m excited to share this guest post from John W. Ellis of Crescent Interactive, a Nashville, Tennessee PPC and SEO consultancy. A successful hands-on practioner of SEO and PPC for more than a decade, John is a frequent blogger, article contributor, speaker and consultant able to empower companies seeking to improve and expand their online marketing efforts.]
For over 10 years, I have been managing PPC (per-per-click) advertising. By far the most utilized PPC resource has been Google AdWords. At Crescent Interactive, although we are familiar with multiple channels and platforms, we spend the vast majority of our time in Google Adwords.
There are two primary methods of marketing, ‘push’ and ‘pull.’ Push marketing uses intrusive delivery methods and has served us well for decades, even back in the 50s, 60s and 70s when it was simply a game of whoever could afford to ‘push’ the most direct-mail, print and broadcast advertising in front of consumers won the battle. Pull marketing is a whole different beast that relies on things like value, relevance, informative content, and, yes, entertainment value to create significant gravity to pull in, willingly, your best prospects.
I’m a cheapskate by nature. That means while I may miss a good opportunity now and then because it is too expensive, it also means I always gravitate towards the most effective and efficient marketing methods. That’s what I do for my clients in an effort to gain them Fortune 500 visibility and strategy on a mom-and-pop store budget. Even back in the days when I sold advertising, if I thought the client was asking me to waste their money (e.g. when they’d say, “Let’s run a couple ads and see what happens”), I preferred to forgo the commission than to be party to wasting their money.
I have been asked about QR codes a few times now so maybe it’s time to put it out for public discussion.
First, what the heck is a QR code? If you understand store scanners you probably have some idea. In short it is a symbolic means of making information available to someone equipped with the ability to scan the symbol. QR codes differ from bar codes in their ability to hold more information, greater scanning accuracy and a smaller footprint.
I just visited the web site of a decades-old marketing agency. I was excited to learn about their offerings and who their staff were. They were located in the Northwest so I thought it would be worthwhile to tuck away their contact information for future reference. But then I saw it. It made me twitch. It made me realize that I’d most likely never want to ask this company to assist a client.
Do you put your shoes on before your pants? No, of course not. Things get a lot more difficult if you did, right? So why do you, mister and missus business professional, always insist on creating logos, graphics, signs, web sites, emails, and other business / product identifiers before you know who your target market is, what your best offer to them is and how best to reach them?
Committing to visual and messaging elements of your company’s marketing before understanding your market is much like putting your shoes on before your pants (or “handing a blind man a gun” or “the tail wagging the dog” if you love metaphors). You may be able to ultimately get your pants on but you’ll struggle, work really, really hard and look silly doing it.
It’s the greatest source of frustration for business owners. You pay a pile of money, provide a great valuable offer and you get little to no response from your advertising. Is it the advertising venue’s fault? Is it the wrong time to do this? Is it that you didn’t spend enough money?
It’s probably because your advertising did not stand out enough to be recognized as relevant to your target market. In short, while they may have seen it, they didn’t SEE it.
I’ve used radio recently to advertise promotions occuring at the same time the ads were played. They were very successful at driving 30-50 year olds to the promotion. There was some print and direct marketing done ahead of time which hopefully helped create the success with the radio spots.
But even with such evidence to the contrary, I have to ask, is anyone listening to radio these days? I see my wife and kids plugging their music players into the car’s auxillary input jack all the time. And when home, their music players are their source of background music. I’ve noticed coworkers streaming Pandora and other music websservices for music at their desks unless they are using their music players too. I just don’t see/hear people listening to local radio stations any more.