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Building and Managing Your Audience : The Marketing Drive ep 8

There’s a lot of doing in the day-to-day of the modern marketer, so much so that there isn’t much time to stop and think about our audiences. I’ll be talking about:

  1. How to build an audience a.k.a the “Minimum Viable Audience”.
  2. How to identify your existing Audience.
  3. Why we need to know our audiences.
  4. The importance of build a relationship with our audiences before we try to make a sale.

Handy References for Building Your Minimum Viable Audience

Props and high fives to Bastian Ernst from WildAudience for his excellent post: I’m building an engaged Audience First before starting my Company – And Why you Should too – I couldn’t agree more.

The See Think Do Care framework by Avinash Kaushik.

Welcome to Episode 8 of The Marketing Drive!

I’ll be covering the latest and greatest marketing, business and start-up tips every day from the road.

Dan Nedelko Living the Agency Life: the ups, the downs of agency life. How to build your agency successfully.

Marketing Execution by Honeypot Marketing: every day we’re launching, reviewing and optimizing marketing campaigns.

Marketing and Business at Marketer Knows: marketing resources from the trenches by real Marketers who do it everyday.

How to survive as an effective marketer without losing your sanity. Marketer Knows is a community for marketers who are in the trenches each and every day.

In today’s episode I’m talking about sticking to a Marketing Playbook, executing “on point” in an agile manner and a little bit about what I’m going to be talking about in the Drive every day!

Subscribe to my YouTube channel
Subscribe to the podcast on iTunes

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Beautiful sunsets in Algonquin Park

Is your brand communication strategy back asswards?

When we think about brand and communications messaging often the tactical “feature” message wins out over the motivation a consumer might have when making a decision about where to align their loyalties. In reality, the most effective brands in the world start from the motivation and move into the tactical “features” the deeper you dig. Some brands that do it right? Apple & Tesla. Food for thought.

Communications and brand marketing communication direction.

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Why I’m the Marketing Guy and That’s OK.

Marketing is Business

Image courtesy of GapingVoid

I’ve been an entrepreneur for many years, it’s chaotic, hectic, painful, stressful, fun and rewarding – if I’m lucky I might even make some money at it. That’s where I’m personally at today, and again it’s ok.

After one of those extremely hectic days recently, me and one of my partners decided to grab a drink in the local watering hole where we ran into a local business figurehead who will remain nameless.

It was an interesting exchange since I had met this individual no less than 5 times in past 6 months and was quite quickly forgotten. That’s OK as well 🙂 I’m busier on a daily basis than even I can imagine and spend a significant amount of time awake until 2am or 3am on what I like to call my night shift.

Back to the story. After re-introducing himself the light blub then came on and I was greeted with “Oh yeah, you’re the marketing guy”.

You could call it insecurity (I don’t) but I quickly replied that I’m not specifically a marketing guy, although I do believe marketing in new companies and start-ups as a critical element that is quite often overlooked.

Marketing is business, it’s how you sell your product and how your clients and prospects feel about you. It’s also a way to get the world to know who you are, what you are doing and to create a mindshare with the world-at-large.

It’s business, and it’s critical to the success or failure of any new venture.

Back to the story: apparently (according to our good friend) I was insecure about my abilities. Which I both found amusing and ridiculous at the same time.

So why tell the story?

I do a hell of a lot more in any given day than marketing. I’m working to make all of my ventures succeed just like any other entrepreneur. I’m doing it without investment, all of my companies are (currently) cash flow positive and growing.

I’m happy with that. Marketing is key to the success of all of the ventures, particularly at the early stages. Marketing is also a whole lot more than some perceived bolt-on that happens after you’ve figured out financing, an office, a product, a message and a team.

From day one think about your marketing, how the world will see you, what they say and what they will believe about you and your company.

Even more fundamentally it’s about who are you selling product to, will they purchase it, what are you saying to sell that product and how do we make these companies viable, profitable and long lasting.

Develop your business plan and execute with those elements front of mind. It will make a world of difference much more quickly than you may realize.

Yup. I’m the Marketing Guy. Hell, I’m the Twitter guy as well. I also get coffee, clean the office, don’t take a pay cheque when needed and stay up all night whenever needed. I love it. I’m an entrepreneur and I wouldn’t have it any other way (although my wife and family may sometimes disagree!).

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You need an email marketing plan.

In today's drive, my intro and outro music are pretty much awesome. Someone drive off the road on the 401, thankfully everyone was fine. Email marketing is still a very important part of your communications and marketing mix regardless of your start-up size. It costs no money to get started, it takes time.

The Startup Drive

The Start-up Drive Ep.2 : Email marketing still matters.

Start-ups, small businesses, medium sized, and companies of any size will benefit from a strategic plan for email marketing (if you heard yesterday’s podcast then you’ll get that one). Here are a few ideas for making sure that you’re not discounting the powerful and low cost addition to get your communications consistent and relevant.

Any additional thoughts, tips or experiences for those just getting an email program put in place?

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Planning for marketing versus a marketing plan.

Planning for marketing versus a marketing plan. I cover why a marketing plan written in stone will do you no good at all, especially when you’re moving quickly and defining your product or service. I give up a process I’ve used successfully dozens of times in both the online and offline business worlds. Press Play below to get started listening to the podcast!

Planning for marketing not a marketing plan.Introduction and Summary – Episode 1: Planning for marketing versus a marketing plan.

I’ve decided to resurrect my podcast in order to be more relevant to a wider audience, in addition to it being easier and more convenient for me to record a short ten to fifteen minutes podcast on my drive into the office every morning.

I’m anticipating that it will be a podcast full of tips, anecdotes, gripes, strategies, tactics and techniques that I’ve used over the years and in my day to day adventures in the world of startups and marketing.

If you know me then you’ll know that I have a number of concurrent projects happening all of the time. The concept of the “lean startup” is not new to me. It’s actually called bootstrapping, or, “starting up without any money” – this concept is as old as commerce itself.

For some reason it’s the new rage in the world of technology startups, so I’ll refer a bit to that audience but in reality this should be useful for any entrepreneur, small business owner or marketing/business professional making their way in this new digital economy that has developed.

Episode 1: Planning for marketing versus a marketing plan.

I cover why a marketing plan written in stone will do you no good at all, especially when you’re moving quickly and defining your product or service. I give up a process I’ve used successfully dozens of times in both the online and offline business worlds.

Click the play button to get started, and please forgive the noise, I really am driving while I recorded this!

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Yahoo is a disaster thanks to Carol Bartz.

I’m not going to be smug about my previous (and much more in depth) post about Carol Bartz being nothing short of the fifth horseman of the apocalypse as far as Yahoo is concerned.

Ok, I’ll be a little smug. According to TechCrunch it looks like her tenure is going to be coming to an end, and with that she should never, ever run a tech company again.

If you want more in depth analysis then read my previous post or the amazingly titled “Yahoo’s 360 degree turnaround” on TechCrunch.

Stop. Carol. Now.

Please. (I say that on behalf of all current Yahoo shareholders).

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Social Media Strategy – June 21

Today’s tip is pretty simple and doesn’t require brain surgery – don’t use it as an after thought.

There are well over 500 million people on Facebook and a shocking number of them log in every single day. This is an incredibly powerful communication medium, not a “nice-to-have if there is any budget left over”.

So how is interacting with your consumers (ie social media) still an ‘elective’ marketing activity for some brands? Simply put there are many people today who would have said this the following if they were in their marketing positions over a hundred and fifty years ago at Western Union:

“This ‘telephone’ has too many shortcomings to be seriously considered as a means of “
communication. The device is inherently of no value to us.”

That’s a real quote from a Western Union internal memo from 1876.

Today’s social media strategic tip – create a full fledged program, don’t use already overworked staff to fill in half heartedly and definitely do not expect to become a star brand without any effort (meaning no resources, plan, communication strategy or tactics to engage your audience).

At the end of the day you’re not interacting in social media at all, you’re simply talking to the people who buy your product. People (ie consumers) like to deal with (read: buy things) other people (example: that’s you!) they know.

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Work from Home – Short Task Review

If you’re like me you might have specific requirements for small tasks for a client or a project at any given time. Now that doesn’t mean I want to hire a number of full time employees (to be honest, I can’t afford that and the projects simply don’t require it).

So off an on I am constantly looking for low cost ways to have a temporary workforce out there for any number of tasks. It could be some content I need written, link built, social media mentions. The list is pretty much endless and it also causes me some headaches.

It’s tough to find a group of people out there. I could easily place Craigslist or Kijiji ads but that’s time consuming and a pain.

That’s why when I ran into Short Task I was pleasantly surprised. The basic idea is this:

  • You have some tasks you need performed online for a specific project.
  • Short Task connects you to a marketplace of people who can complete that simple task for you.
  • Your workforce will work at home.
  • You pay.
  • Task is completed.
  • Everyone moves on with life.

It’s a cool idea and uber convenient so I thought I would include a Short Task Review for those of you who have never used it before.

Short Task divides their site up into “Seekers” and “Solvers” which is pretty straight forward. If I’m a solver I can perform the tasks that are in their Marketplace.

Once you login into http://shorttask.com you’ll see “Tasks” in the Main Menu. Select that and then you can filter based on Keywords or Amount Offered.

I just checked a few of the tasks and started at $9.00 – I also got a few hits for $15.00 tasks. Not a bad payout if you get yourself into a system and become quick and proficient with this. You won’t retire tomorrow but you could make a nice supplementary income from this type of work if you take it seriously plus you can work from home.

Having looked through the Marketplace I’d also suggest you stick to the $3.00-$8.00 categories. These could be completed relatively quickly (less than 15 minutes) if you’re a decently quick writer and are relatively good with a search engine (so you can find the sites you need to find).

The higher paying categories look like they want some pretty in depth research done for $15.00. If you think about it, if you can post a quality comment in 10 minutes for $3.00 you can make $18.00 in one hour easily. Instead of spending that single hour on one in depth research article.

That’s just a thought though.

From the perspective of a Seeker, I like it. I can assemble a relatively strong human work force in minutes by posting tasks and having people complete them for me. If I took $300.00 of a budget here and wanted to build some links for instance I could easily post it for $3.00 and would be able to get 100 human edited inbound links.

Neat idea. You should check out Short Task whatever side of the coin you might be on.

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Seth Godin on Commission

Image representing Seth Godin as depicted in C...

So I was going through my normal hundreds of morning emails and although I generally breeze through Seth Godin‘s posts (I’ve found them to be the equivalent of Tweets, short, uninformed, the internet equivalent of a sound bite without substance) this particular post made me pause:

Everyone gets paid on commission

Beyond the fact that it’s about 5 lines long I have a number of issues with what Seth is proposing here:

  1. Being paid on commission implies that every function is customer facing. In any company there are support, infrastructure and secondary functions which make an organization actually work. How would you propose calculating their commission. Generally Seth, these are referred to as bonuses.
  2. Not every post, article or piece of news media is directly measurable. Example: Sunday Morning Political Talk Shows, they have a very low directly measurable audience. However their influence through syndication, media discussion is substantial. Should these shows and their hosts be measured on commission?
  3. Doing great work does not neccessarily mean that there is a definable B2C conversion rate attached to it. You often mention branding, customer loyalty and the like in your books and blog. Now you seem to contradict yourself by saying every action must have a measurable conversion to a sale.
  4. In the world of journalism it isn’t always about appealing to public appetite. In fact it is about the media informing the public, in your world I would predict that many journalists would simply write what is convenient to increase rating (or traffic).

Those are a few of my reasons that Seth Godin is way off base here. Seth, take a couple of hours off and watch Glen Gary Glen Ross then think about your post, your position and the fairly shallow insight you provided. Is that thought leadership?

Unless of course you meant bonuses and incentives rather than commission.

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Boss Media Fines Licensees

So here’s some good news in the world of eGaming, specifically online poker. I read this article on EGR this morning and through I had to write a post on it. From the article:

BOSS MEDIA HAS introduced fines for poker network licencees that rely too heavily on rakeback and don’t bring in enough casual losing poker players, or ‘fish’.

The rule will focus on the monthly payout ratio of individual Boss Media licencees, analysing the percentage of winning players against losing ones. The payout ratio is calculated by dividing the total cash game winnings by the total cash game stakes recorded for each site.

Now there a few things here that I wanted to chirp about. I’ve been involved with eGaming Marketing now for 7 years, over those 7 years I have worked with alot of providers all over the world. Since it’s a fairly unregulated market in certain areas (read: full of shoddy operations) there are some pretty interesting marketing practices.

For instance I have seen “retention” marketers that rely on heavy gamblers “move” these players from one “brand” to another and call it an increase in business (that is specifically for a single company that has multiple brands or websites). Frankly I’ve seen that so many times over the years that it makes me want to vomit.

PKR.com screenshot
Image by JohnSeb via Flickr

That’s not marketing, that’s saving your own skin because the out dated marketing practices you are using are not driving in the recreational players (or in the world of Poker the “fish”). Boss Media has it right, absolutely and completely right. The fine structure they are putting in place will force it’s licencees to invest in marketing and become mainstream – appealing to normal people out there.

Far too many eGaming companies out there rely on a stock of heavy gamblers to sustain their business. When they do this they can continue to provide crappy customer service, slow payouts and treat new customers like garbage. It’s a stigma that this industry needs to get through in order for it to be come mainstream.

Think about it, if I’m a normal person and become interested in Online Poker do you really think I’m going to deposit $100 or $200 into an operation that has outdated philosophies of customer service and marketing? Those days are gone.

It’s time for eGaming and Online Poker rooms to put the customer first, market to recreational players and get with it in all areas of their operation.

Good Job Boss Media. I wish that more providers would implement similar policies and weed out the dinosaurs of the eGaming industry.

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