Marketing Works Today

Integrated Digital Marketing & PR Consulting from Brown Ltd.

The Little Secret Outside Marketing, PR and Ad Agencies Don’t Want You to Know

I’ve had in-house marketing and PR agencies at IBM, Motorola, and Pulte Homes.

I’ve always found that the cost of an in-house agency is about 1/3 of the cost of using an outside agency. I operate exactly like an outside agency, having a core group of hands-on managers and creatives and using the top freelancers and sub-contractors just like an outside agency does.

Cost is Important – And Other Reasons Too

Speed
In an in-house agency, our time to produce and roll out content and campaigns is much shorter.  We know the customers and their hot-buttons, subject matter, the benefits of our products and services, have the internal and customer contacts, can get teams together faster, get approvals quicker, etc.

We don’t have to constantly get an agency(s) up to speed and arrange formal approval sessions.  Often, we just quickly, and many times informally, meet the division president or principle that needs the content for a quick one-on-one, and approval is done.  No outside agency has that kind of access or speed.

Cost
I built an in-house TV & Multimedia Studio at Motorola (Business & Government Division) and the cost to run that became 10% of what it costs to go outside.  In fact, we spent $5 million to build the studio and equip it and paid it off with savings in less than 2 years.  It would be shorter now because of the lower cost and higher quality of broadcast quality equipment and software.  I’ve replaced a post-production system with less than $1,000 in software on my laptop.

See the Quick Case Study below for an integrated in-house agency example.

No Such Thing as a Free Lunch
As a CEO or marketing executive, you may like those lunches and perks that the outside agencies provide; but, you’re the one paying for them with your own budget.

Bottom line, in-house agency cost per customer acquisition is much smaller than using outside agencies.  Our cycle time is shorter.  And our brand awareness and equity expands much faster.

I understand that not everyone can afford a full-blown agency or a TV studio for his or her business.  However, hiring 2-3 key hands-on marketing and PR folks, with agency experience – and that also produce content for you in-house – will help you get the benefits for about 1/3 the cost of using a strictly external agency.

Strategy
In-house works especially well when you use an integrated marketing strategy that includes brand journalism, social media, and measurement systems.

Brand journalism is one of the best methods for getting believable content to stakeholders, prospects, and customers.  Producing that content from the inside makes more sense. There are so many moving parts and interactions, it’s hard to get a great story from multiple sources using an external agency.

Measurement
When you concept, create, distribute, and measure in-house, your results are more believable.  I’m not saying every external agency is like this, but they have a financial interest in getting you to buy more media.  They make more money.  I’ve seen campaign measurement results from outside agencies that were spun to recommend a larger media buy.  The goal of an in-house agency is to CUT cost.  The goal of an outside agency is to MAKE MORE MONEY for the outside agency.

Quick Case Study

As an example:  When I took over DiVosta Homes and then eventually Pulte Homes and Del Webb in Florida, we had 80 actively selling communities in the state.  We needed to sell over 4,000 homes a year for over a billion dollars in sales.

The annual marketing and PR budget for Florida, broken up in 7 divisions around the state, was over $20 million.  There were a dozen external agencies involved with the local divisions. I moved all the marketing and PR in-house and had 7 people total: graphic designers, writers (including me), traffic manager, and media buyer (me) to produce and place content.

We did web, email marketing, newspaper, magazine, radio, TV, outdoor, pitched stories to the press, events, etc., all in-house with some outside freelancers.  We produced hundreds of ads and stories every week… placed thousands every month.

The first year we cut $9.8 million from the marketing and PR budget, almost half.  We went from $3,000-$7,000 in marketing expense per home sale to less than $1,200 per home sale.  Our cycle time was much shorter to concept, produce, approve, and place.  All done with 7 great in-house people – and sales continued without skipping a beat.

In fact, when I took over they had 70,000 qualified contacts in their prospect system.  After the first year, we had over 300,000.  That’s results.

Think about it… those 7 people replaced a dozen expensive agencies.

In today’s world, it’s all about content marketing.  Getting out your honest and clear message by creating once, and publishing everywhere – and doing it for the lowest cost is the formula for success.

Contact me if you want to learn more:  MikeBrown@BrownLtd.com

 

Filed under: Advertising, Blogging, Brand Journalism, Branding, Content Development, Content Marketing, Email Marketing & PR, Integrated Marketing & Sales, Internet, Lead Generation, Marketing Measurement, Mobile Marketing, Non-Profit Marketing & PR, Print, Public & Media Relations, Real Estate Marketing, Search Engine Marketing, Social Media Marketing, Traffic, Video & YouTube, Websites, Writing, , , , , , , , , , , ,

Real Estate Marketing That Is Working Right Now

Before I explain the marketing mix that has worked for me in the last few years of a disaster market, you must understand that the fundamentals of real estate sales are still the best marketing: price and location

If the property is in a place people really want to live, work, and play – and it’s priced right, then this marketing mix will work right now.

First you have to find the customer types (profile them) that fit that location, price, and situation. Who has bought recently? What are their demographics and psychographics?  What type of person was the best customer? 

This info will help target your mix.

Events drive this success.  That’s the key to getting traffic and sales.  Instead of having a “Grand Opening of Sales,” “Grand Opening of Models,” or an “Open House” — have a “Family Fun Day,” “Meet the Local Community,” or “Join us for a Taste of the Town.”

I don’t mean spending lavishly.  For Family Fun Day we’re talking about a bounce house, face painter, a few games, and an iPod with speakers.  For the other events, cooperate with charities, local schools, and local restaurants to get them to participate and share the cost and effort.

Then promote the event with this mix:
– News Releases
(not necessarily to the press – go to your email list and websites)
– Web Promotion (news, community, and real estate sites)
– Radio Advertising (stations that match your demographics – Don’t bother with a remote. I’ve never had them work for real estate.)
– E-blast Newsletters
– Direct Mail Newsletter Postcards
– a special kind of direct mail that works better than all others (target demographics)
– Search Engine Marketing (SEM)
– Social Networking (Social Media Marketing, SMM)

All must be highly targeted at your top purchasing demographics and done as a campaign – not a series of unconnected media activity. It works right now!

There is no magic bullet. You have to promote for weeks ahead of your event and for weeks or months following it. When traffic starts to drop, have another event.  It’s a marathon, not a sprint!

For new home sales, in the last couple of years, I’ve had over 1,700, 1,800, and 1,900 attend for 3 different communities and events.  That’s a lot of people during a recession.  Sales were strong considering the market with over $91 million in revenue.

For re-sales, get a group of sellers and agents to cooperate in a master planned community or neighborhood to promote the inventory together with these low-cost events and the marketing mix outlined.  You will all benefit together.

What has worked for you?  Your thoughts?

Filed under: Advertising, Traffic, , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Marketing Works Today

This blog is to help you learn how to connect with customers. The goal is to show you how to get the most qualified leads, traffic, relationships, and sales for the lowest cost/customer. I'll write and aggregate content that relates to the goal. You're welcome to subscribe, comment, and post. Send me your news tips!

What’s In A Title?

I've had a lot of titles [Director of Marketing, Communications Director, Advertising Director, Multimedia Producer, Managing Editor, Reporter, Copywriter]; but, I approach every project as a digital producer... what does the audience need and how can I deliver it most effectively and for the lowest cost?

Sometimes I write with pictures or video, sometimes with words. I always keep the goal in mind: sales, leads, traffic, a better brand image or awareness, or just a really good story, etc.

Yeah I create content for money. But you'll see from my background that I'm way better at making money for others than I am for myself.

I wish I had 1%. I'd be surfing with my kids all the time now.

Contact me and I'll make some for you.

Mike Brown
www.BrownLtd.com
MikeBrown@BrownLtd.com

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I have 8 years experience setting up, writing, and managing small business and simple product campaigns ($100/week Google Adwords) and large business campaigns with multiple divisions and product lines (up to $20,000/week in Google Adwords – more than $1.1 billion in annual sales). Contact me to create your campaign! MikeBrown@BrownLtd.com

R. Michael Brown
Marketing Consultant, Public Relations Consultant, Freelance Writer: West Palm Beach, Florida

"I help organizations increase sales, and pump up the value of their brand, using media, for the lowest cost per customer."

Digital Marketing and Public Relations consultant, writer, and producer with over 20 years experience launching brands like DiVosta Homes, IBM Multimedia, Nextel, Motorola business and government sector, and SunFest Jazz Festival.

MikeBrown@BrownLtd.com
561-756-1674

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