I have always considered myself a problem solver and leader. I have always been the team member that just went ahead and took the reins of the group project and got that ball rolling. I have always been the critic that can tell you the ways to make your creation better. I have also been “that person” that wants to offer up a solution that fixes your problem. Carry over into real life. Marketing style.
The Dark Ages
Long gone are the days when I designed garments for the fashionable masses to either, accept as works of art- genius, fashion forward pieces- or conversely, direct me back to the sketch pad as an epic failure. My creation needn't be accepted by everyone, as tastes vary wildly when dealing with clothing and fashion. Such is not the case when dealing with marketing- success hinges on mass appeal and winning over consumers.
I moved into the world of marketing, starting that life with AT&T Advertising Solutions or more commonly (and less affectionately) known as “the yellow pages.” There we positioned ourselves as "Media Consultants" who were consistently expanding the products sold under our umbrella- print and online yellow pages, PPC, direct mail, text message advertising, Yahoo Online Display Ads, websites, and on and on. An effective pitch of all our products to a potential advertiser would take no less than 4 hours, and I guarantee that we were never allowed 4 hours for “Yellow Page” meetings by clients.
Whenever customers did buy in on our new products, it didn’t take long for them to realize the fulfillment of said product typically fell WAY short of expectation. I knew there had to be a better way of seamlessly and quickly making revisions or changes to their products, instead of filling out a form and sending it to an inbox somewhere in cyberspace. Adding to the frustration of my advertisers, the ever-widening placement options for marketing dollars and the increasing prominence of the all-powerful Google created a very tense and confusing meeting for me with my advertisers. I wanted to offer them that “silver bullet” that answered all their marketing questions and showed them how their dollars were turning into customers, and I tried. I really did. I was handcuffed by the products that I had to offer my advertisers. I knew there had to be something, somewhere that DID provide these answers and numeric proof of actual effectiveness in advertising and marketing.
I moved from AT&T Advertising Solutions to a highly respected business news publication, here in Baton Rouge. There I sold 2 products- print ads for our bi-weekly publication and online ads appearing on our twice daily email newsletter. The best tool for positioning these products was the readership- niche and targeted. However, the products are quite cost prohibitive and have an extremely short period of exposure with minimal conversion to buying customers. These are great media for “Branding Campaigns.” However, I didn’t come across too many companies that actually needed branding, and who were able to afford the lack of permanence in the most expensive game in town (as far as print publications go). Also, any company needing exposure to our audience was likely already landing on our pages. One thing I consistently heard was a desire to know how the marketing dollars spent with us were translating into customers…well, er, Mr. Customer, I can’t really show you that (but I really, really wanted to). Most prospects would ultimately decide to reallocate their marketing dollars to website redesign and/or "old-hat SEO" so that they could be found on Google (or so they were told/sold).
My Renaissance Period
A funny thing happened one day, in a client meeting. I happened to be talking to a company that was doing EXACTLY what I had wanted to offer clients for years and what business owners and marketers had been TELLING me they wanted instead of whatever I was selling at the time. This company wasn’t just riding the "buzz-word" phrases and techy sounding marketing necessities, like optimizing your website, SEO, Google Analytics, keywords, etc. This company was actually showing their clients how their marketing efforts were translating into customers. This company introduced me to Inbound Marketing. This company was BlinkJar Media.
There are so many great things about Inbound Marketing that I could go on for pages and pages. I won’t, but I will spill the beans on my favorite parts of Inbound Marketing. More than anything, I get all geeked up about Marketing Analytics. This is where I am actually able to show our clients from where they received traffic, what that traffic did, if that traffic converted to leads, and if those leads became customers. This is what I have been asked for by business owners and marketers for soooo long now, and I have it! I have the answers to their questions, the product to fill their need. Marketing Analytics is most fun for me because I can directly tie traffic/leads/customer successes to a marketing action- a blog post, an online display ad, searches on Google for specific keywords and phrases.
As a marketer with advertising experience, it always made me a little sad to produce a great, creative ad and have it run, only to disappear as if it never existed once the campaign was over. Well, not with Inbound Marketing- no sir. Forward equity builds up on everything created and optimized for any one of our clients, serving up quality information, premium relevant content. A blog may be written today and accessed for years to come by people NEEDING that information, all because we have optimized their content to be found and answer the questions that consumers have of our clients.
Bringing me to the topic of Google- the behemoth and seemingly end-all, be-all of business marketing success. Everyone wants to be found on Google, and everyone knows about their super-secret algorithm. The problem that businesses run into with Google is actually making their site work with their algorithm which leads to the ubiquitous “optimizing” strategy. Most companies offering SEO will optimize your site initially, but they aren’t set up to manage ongoing additions or changes with optimization for free (there is usually an additional charge). Well, my lovelies, here at BlinkJar we can do all that with the click of a button, no additional upcharges, and we actually proactively prepare and optimize the content then just send it off for client approval. These constant “refreshes” of optimized info on your site make Google LOVE indexing your pages. In no time (in SEO standards), you will begin to be viewed as an authoritative source of info by Google. How cool is that? And, I do that now!
Lastly, and most importantly, Inbound Marketing allows tension free client meetings where I can answer the ever present question of “How is my marketing investment translating into customers and revenue for my business?” Our software allows detailed analysis of each aspect of a clients’ marketing for better comprehension of what has worked in the past and what we should do more of in the future. So, instead of trying to sell a client on what I may think will work or what has worked for another company, I can help each client customize a tailored course of action based on what we have gathered statistically. Inbound Marketing provides sound reasoning and good measure for our clients in their marketing and in their relationships with us at Blinkjar Media.
And that, my friends, is why I <3 Inbound Marketing.
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