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, , , , , , , , , , , ,

Need A Freelance Writer, Editor, Blogger for Recession-Proof Results?

Mike Means Business

You need a pro. Someone that can see today, and the future, and act on it before it happens.

I’ve been a writer, managing editor, the first multimedia producer at IBM, and I started the first professional corporate blogging group at IBM in 1988 with 15 full-time writers.  That’s right, it’s not a typo – 1988.

“That kind of future-vision experience will get results for your business.  My recession-proof marketing writing will get more traffic, leads, qualified prospects, and sales for you – for the lowest cost per customer – in today’s market.”

From there I went on to win a NY Film Festival Award in 1989 for showing the world what the Web would become 6 years before the Web went live in 1995. My 1989 production was featured on Good Morning America, The Today Show, Discovery Channel, magazine covers, and local TV affiliates all over North America.

Editors at the NY Times looked baffled when I showed it to them in 1990. They still haven’t caught up.

“How did I know?  I’m plugged in. I have 1,478 real contacts in my smart-phone including thought leaders, teammates, future visionists, media pros, and entrepreneurs. Together we see the flow, the trends, and select strategy wisely. I’m an early adopter. I learn new technologies, channels, and techniques before most others and implement at the right time – not too early, never too late.”

Then Motorola stole me away from IBM and I used the Internet to launch a little company called Nextel. I got them Business Week Magazine’s Product of the Decade in the 1990’s.

“Do you need these kinds of results?  Hire a pro. Someone that is plugged into the markets, knows how to research for now and the future, uses cutting-edge information strategy, and can drive traffic to you.”

Since then I’ve been helping organizations take advantage of the Internet. I cut $9.8 million from the Pulte Homes Florida annual advertising budget by moving them out of traditional media to the Web. In that same year, I increased their lead-bank from 70,000 leads to over 300,000 qualified leads for 80 communities. Their sales went to 4,200 homes per year – over a $Billion. In 2009, they had 3,200 home sales. Down, but not out, still using my methods and systems.

During the worst real estate crisis since WWII, I helped a boutique new homebuilder grow from 24 home sales in all of 2007 to 204 home sales [in 6 months] in 2008 – for $84 million in sales. What real estate bubble bust? Not when I use my methods.

“I’ve specialized in tech, science, healthcare, real estate, non-profit, and public policy. Call me right now to get a free quote!”

If you are looking for a REAL pro, that has the strategic vision, background and skill, and hands-on writing experience to increase traffic, leads, qualified prospects, and sales, see my portfolio:

www.RMichaelBrown.Wordpress.com

“You won’t get the same winning results from part-time bloggers, students, interns, or all the posers working from home out there. Getting $million results is not like writing a letter to home or an email to the boss. It takes strategic thinking, creative talent, and a track record of big wins to give you the confidence in the decisions you make.”

Hire a pro.  Get results.  Call me today: 561-756-1674

Mike

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

Art vs. Results

My recent article about “How to Find and Hire a Professional Writer” is directed at copywriting and commercial writing, where the goals are to increase traffic, leads, prospects, brand perception, and sales.  The goal isn’t art.

Although we use similar techniques that artist’s use, the content that copywriters create must focus on driving results. It may in fact be quite artful, but it may not. A couple of examples:

One of my productions, “Everyday Heroes and Leaders” brings tears to the eyes of the audience quite often – especially the police, fire, and military crowd.  It has an “art” feel to it.

I believe the best commercial messaging in all media types has an emotional appeal as the primary tool of persuasion.  Logic kicks in after the emotion driven decision is made, usually to justify the emotional decision… a truism about almost all commerce.

But the goal was not art. The goal was to use the devices that artists use to change the perception of the Motorola brand in the business and government sector from a two-way radio technology company to a full-service communications company – that helps people work together.

You can see the spot on my portfolio here:

http://www.rmichaelbrown.wordpress.com/2010/05/02/everyday-heroes-leaders/

The campaign was so successful that the Business and Government Division was the only profitable Motorola division during the tech wreck before and during 9/11.

An example of less artful content is what is usually offered in direct response/direct mail sales letters. The wording still entices the emotions, but maybe not using techniques that appear to be art.

Again, the goal of the language is to drive results. The language might be artfully used; but, it doesn’t appear that way when you read it. You know they are trying to sell you something.  It’s obvious.

I’ve learned to use fictional techniques, 3-act plays, etc. in non-fiction, news, and marketing.  But I wouldn’t call what I do art.  I’m informing and selling stuff.

Mark Twain, Michael Shaara, and Somerset Maugham – that’s art.

My world is about the goals. The math is more important than the feelings and entertainment.  Clients pay me to bring them more traffic, leads, prospects, better brand perception, and sales.  If I create something that looks and feels like art or entertainment, and doesn’t do what they pay me for, they won’t be clients for long.

I hope that makes what I meant more clear. What do you think?

Filed under: Advertising, Branding, Content Development, Content Marketing, Marketing Measurement, Print, Public & Media Relations, Reputation Management, Video & YouTube, Writing, , , , , , , , , ,

Newsletter Postcards – Direct Mail that Works!

2010 Annual Meeting Newsletter Postcard (Front)

Newsletter postcards are the best way to attract an audience with direct mail.  This piece brought a record crowd to the Annual Meeting.  It doesn’t look like we are “selling” but the Annual Meeting is the biggest event to get memberships to the organization.  The larger the audience, the more members renew or sign up for membership.  

Guess how much it cost to produce, print, and mail?

The cost is much less expensive than printing a folded newsletter that has a tab or comes in an envelope, postage is cheaper, and readership/response is much greater because the receiver doesn’t have to open anything to get to the content.
 
  

You can do them in any size card.   This is 8 1/2″ x 11″.  I also like 5 3/4″ x 11″.     

Like what you see?  Go to my “Box” for shared files on the right and download a PDF to show others.  And if you need help creating a newsletter postcard campaign or content marketing program to increase traffic, leads, or prospects, contact me today! MikeBrown@BrownLtd.com  Print works when you use it the right way!          

  

Newsletter Postcard (Mail Side)

Contact me today to find out how much it cost to produce, print, and mail town-wide!  

 

Filed under: Advertising, Content Development, Content Marketing, Non-Profit Marketing & PR, Print, Public & Media Relations, Traffic, Writing, , , , , , , ,

It Takes More than a Single Bullet to Win in the Marketplace

Barney Fife, the deputy on “The Andy Griffith Show” was the only person that I’ve ever seen that was successful with a single bullet.

Of course there wasn’t much crime in Mayberry so he didn’t need the bullet for anything; but, he had one just in case.

Over the last month I’ve heard one employee after another, one senior executive after another, and one consultant after another tell me that they are looking for a magic bullet to solve their marketing and sales problems.

They didn’t phrase it that way.  They said things like:

* “We’re jumping all over this social networking thing.”

* “I’m trying TV. I think that’ll bring in leads and traffic.”

* “I’ve got this really hot sales exec coming in. She’s going to make our numbers soar.”

* “The guy I was going to hire a year ago is available now so we’re ‘bringin him in’ because he’s a market maker.”

I asked, after each one of these statements, what else are you going to do and they each said, essentially, nothing.   That’s it, nada.

Doing more than one thing makes it more complicated… harder to imagine.

I still remember Barney Fife pulling that one bullet out of his top pocket quickly in an “emergency” and watched him fumble it all around and eventually drop it on the ground before he could load his weapon. By then the crisis was either over, or it had escalated, and Andy would have to save him.

That’s the outlook most have.  “If I can just find that one magic bullet……”  …that one relationship, that one method, that one technology, whatever…

Our culture is trapped in hero worship, the rugged individual that will save the day.

As one of the top leadership consultant’s, Dr. John Maxwell said, “If you want to do something big, you must link up with others.  One is too small a number to achieve greatness.”

That goes for both people and weapons in your strategy.

No single person will sell you to success.  No single marketing channel or component will make your marketing work.

An integrated marketing and sales approach works every time, in every market condition.  A team of highly qualified marketing and sales pros working together, under solid leadership, will sell more.  Period.

It takes everyone (not the magic one) rolling their sleeves up to work hard:

– Deciding who is going to do what – VOLUNTEER – Don’t wait to be assigned, no boundaries, no silos, get involved!

Don’t sit in your office!  Find out about the market situation.

– Work together to figure out what the best buyer types would be for each situation.

– Formulate an INTEGREATED MARKETING PLAN (not the magic advertising channel) to reach those buyers, including a marketing MIX and a measurement system to quantify and qualify lead results. Think out of the box and get everyone involved.

– Put the budget, tools, and systems in place for successful marketing and sales execution.

– Create and approve marketing material based on what sells to the customer you identified as the best buyer type, not your personal opinion – or the opinion of the boss.

Don’t sit in your office!  Address issues as a team as soon as they come up. SOLVE THEM!

– Execute those marketing plans and change tactics based on measurement.  If something works, keep doing it until it stops working. Don’t change it for change sake.  If a component or channel is not getting measurable results, kill it and move on.

– Put a SALES PLAN in place that fosters teamwork, not competition, among sales execs and marketing, including rewards and recognition.

– Execute the sales plan with a feedback loop to marketing to continue to get more and more qualified leads.

– Sell with excellent customer service – beyond what is expected. Astonish your customers.

Don’t sit in your office!  EVERYONE visits customers to learn, help, encourage!

– Create a post-sale customer service and marketing program and get ready for referrals and repeat buyers.

It’s a lot of work.  It takes energy, organization, and leadership.  But it is ALWAYS more successful than the magic bullet!

Even if there is not much business out there, you’ll get it and your competition won’t; because, they’ll still be sitting in their office looking for the magic bullet that doesn’t exist.

Filed under: Advertising, Integrated Marketing & Sales, Lead Generation, Marketing Measurement, Traffic, , , , , , , , , ,

3 Sources to Help You Take the Guesswork Out of Marketing & Advertising

I’ll bet you want to find out how to get more qualified leads, prospects, clients, and sales?

I’ve received a lot of questions in the last couple of weeks about what are the best sources for practical information on marketing – especially online.

One of my specialties is to look across industries, find best practices, and test to see if what I learned applies to a particular industry.  This method has helped me introduce new marketing methods and systems for many products and brands.

There is NO magic bullet for marketing, especially in this economy, even though there are a lot of marketing pros searching for it, and a lot of hucksters promoting it.

Like many industries, marketing is an evolving science.  I say science because if you are doing it right, you don’t spend a dime on marketing without a strict measurement system in place – that means a well-thought-out-system [including Math] to check the results!

This next statement is going to surprise you. Please let me explain.

Two of the best sources of advertising knowledge today come from an early advertising copywriter, John Caples, that wrote “Tested Advertising Methods” in 1932, and Claude Hopkins, an engineer and inventor that wrote “Scientific Advertising,” also in 1932.

Most of their principles for testing marketing and advertising work today – you just apply their methods to traditional advertising AND online.  I read these books early in my career and have worked to apply what they taught me to direct mail, traditional advertising (print, TV, radio), and online.

I use systems to measure and quantify results to find out if a marketing component or campaign is working.  It’s extra work but it takes most of the guesswork out of advertising and saves huge $$ in the marketing budget.

The more recent book that will help you learn the new marketing and PR paradigm is written by a friend, David Meerman Scott.

There have been thousands of books written about marketing, advertising, and PR from 1932 to today.   I’ve studied a lot of them.

If you will combine the fundamentals from the earlier books and add New Rules, you’ll go a long way to gaining an in-depth knowledge of practical advertising and marketing that works to increase your qualified leads, prospects, clients, and sales – for the lowest cost / customer.

Let me know what you think!

Filed under: Advertising, Marketing Measurement, , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

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

Twitter Updates

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Search Engine Advertising

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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