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by Bob Hutchins, Brad Ayres & Ken Ott
Agency Exposed Podcast

The end of marketing as we know it… now what?

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Summary:

Diversification is a hot topic for us- and for digital marketers especially, the coming years are going to be filled with challenges. Today we talk about our experience with single-platform marketing strategies and share the benefits and drawbacks of focusing on a single channel. We discuss how marketers need to be diversifying away from their laser-focus on platforms like Facebook and Google- and instead, focus on the messaging and VALUE they are adding to the lives of their customers. We discuss our thoughts on what the future holds for digital marketing, and give suggestions for how you can actively work towards a holistic marketing message across all platforms.

Top 3 Curtain Pulls in this episode:

  1. It’s no longer easy! Businesses have to be committed to figuring out how to use multiple marketing channels. To do this, they must break their addiction to immediate ROI. To find new channels, you have to invest in figuring it out, many times with no immediate return.
  2. Get back to the fundamentals and break your reliance on platforms! A benefit to the age-old frustration consumers have with advertising - agencies and marketers are required to be excellent practitioners of their craft. The power of storytelling is the real value of a great marketer- now is the time to revisit those skills instead of relying on targeting tools and platforms.
  3. Encourage your clients to make a concerted effort at diversifying their marketing channels- this will only become increasingly important and necessary as technology continues to shift and change.

Resources Mentioned:

For more tips, discussion, and behind the scenes:

About The Guys:

Bob Hutchins: Founder of BuzzPlant, a digital agency that he ran from from 2000 -2017. He is also the author of 3 books. More on Bob:

Brad Ayres: Founder of Anthem Republic, an award-winning ad agency. Brad’s knowledge has led some of the biggest brands in the world. Originally from Detroit, Brad is an OG in the ad agency world and has the wisdom and scars to prove it. Currently that knowledge is being applied to his boutique agency. More on Brad:

Ken Ott: Co-Founder and Chief Growth Rebel of Metacake, an Ecommerce Growth Team for some of the world’s most influential brands with a mission to Grow Brands That Matter. Ken is also an author, speaker, and was nominated for an Emmy for his acting on the Metacake Youtube Channel (not really). More on Ken:

Show Notes:

[0:35] Bob opens the episode by asking Brad how his back is doing- his bike riding hobby gave him a bit of pain over the weekend. The Guys chat about their own biking accidents- Ken has flown over the handlebars recently!

[2:33] Ken updates us on his New Years fast- he did this last year as well. The first few days are rough, but today’s episode has found him feeling good and energized. His fasting is deeply tied to finding mental clarity and inner strength for himself at the beginning of the year- and he talks about his belief that nutrition and exercise are foundational to running his business well.

[5:55] Brad chats about the “easter eggs” he’s dropped about investment advice in recent months- Bob and Ken regret not taking his advice when he gave it!

[7:05] Ken shares that Brad’s financial wisdom and philosophy has been interesting to learn about over the past year- future episodes will definitely be featuring some of Brad’s expertise.

[7:49] Bob recaps the conversation The Guys were having before the start of the show- as agency owners, as business owners, there are some things to be thinking about as the New Year begins. One thing is how to market your expertise- focusing in on the reliance on certain platforms that may or may not be around in the same form in the next 12 months.

[9:03] Bob asks Ken: “There are so many agencies that are really really good at Facebook ads… but does that make them a good marketing service for their clients?”

[9:54] Ken says that in order to truly diversify, you have to look forward and really consider: “What does it mean for these platforms to either go away or lose their effectiveness in how easy it is to advertise?”

  • From this experience talking with potential clients, not many people are truly thinking about this.
  • Trends come and go in seasons, and it would be unwise to say that doesn’t apply to marketing platforms. Already there are signs of instability- privacy changes overnight, legal challenges, overcrowding and oversaturation, increased cost, etc. These instabilities are not easy to overcome, and it’s not a quick route to diversify away from one platform that is doing really well.

[11:54] Bob shares that he was doing an audience analysis recently- a client had a TON of great engagement on Facebook Livestream, with thousands watching at once. But the accompanying website had only been viewed around 3,000 times. So that client is in danger of losing a LOT of their business and following if Facebook were to suddenly tank.

  • He talks about the early days of Facebook marketing and how lucrative it was- until it wasn’t. People pronounced Facebook marketing as dead, but really marketers had to adapt to the new algorithm.

[15:29] Brad shares his concern for younger marketers who are getting the majority of their experience on one platform, like Facebook. They aren’t learning multi-channel marketing strategy. “If you’re on a single platform and that’s all you do, it can be challenging if that platform in two or three years starts to diminish…. the strategic side of things could get diminished a bit, because people just don’t have that wealth of experience.”

[16:23] Ken agrees, saying that a lot of marketers have become more of platform manipulators- it’s easy to get bogged down in the details. But really if an ad isn’t working, the first question should be “Is our message resonating with an audience? A great message with the right audience will resonate no matter what.” He talks about how the process of stepping back from reliance on a single platform is difficult.

[18:18] Bob shares a quote from David Ogilvie. “As a practitioner, I know that television is the most potent advertising medium ever devised. And I make most of my living from it. But as a private person, I would gladly pay for the privilege of watching it without commercial interruptions. Morally, I find myself between the rock and the hard place.”

  • The mindset of people hasn’t changed much- many of us would still pay extra to not be marketed to with commercials. This speaks to the globally fragmented world that we live in- the pockets of frustration with people who would rather just tune out completely.
  • To a marketer, this means that “I’ve got to be really really good at my craft, so that I can communicate and speak on behalf of a client without relying exclusively on paid advertising. That’s the exercise we really need to be thinking about for ourselves… how can we tell… good stories? How can we be... good communicators in a world where maybe Facebook did go away, maybe Google did go away- Would we still be able to bring value to our customers?”

[22:45] Ken shares something he took away from a recent Masterclass he watched. It featured the creators of the “Got Milk” campaign Jeff Gooby and Rich Silverstein, and they shared their philosophy regarding advertising- “Advertising is art serving Capitalism”

  • This is an interesting concept, and really adds to the idea that people don’t want bad advertising- if we have to have it, at least make it entertaining! People on Facebook often don’t understand that the platform is run on ads- so unless your ads are good, helpful, useful, providing value to people, they’re just not going to work. In order to create good ads, you have to step back from reliance on the platform itself.
  • “There are a lot of people unaware that they’re more platform manipulators and not really marketers.” If you’re not creating an ad or a campaign that’s genuinely interesting and people want to watch, it’s not going to work!

[24:26] Bob shares an ad that he watched recently that made him emotional and was done very very well- THIS is the kind of response you want from your viewers.

[26:45] Brad talks about how YouTube has begun serving more ads on the videos that he watches- he asks the guys if they pay for the ad-free version. The Guys discuss their likes and dislikes about ads- YouTube creates a need for advertisers to get your attention quickly, so they have to put a lot of effort into their production.

[28:38] Bob brings the subject back around to his David Ogilvie quote from earlier- there really is this pressure that you’re working against in advertising- even on paid platforms people get served ads that are frustrating to them, so your quality naturally should improve.

[29:57] Bob asks Ken if there will be more grassroots advertising efforts in the future, because of the imperative of diversifying your platforms.

[30:40] Ken says that in the future, creativity will be more of a necessity because as we become less reliant on a single platform, that growth requires new ideas and different approaches to past messaging.

[32:28] Brad talks about the changes in marketing strategies since extreme targeting abilities within platforms like Facebook became widespread knowledge.

[33:54] Ken predicts that moving from digital to traditional principles in the coming years will be more challenging that when the industry moved from traditional to digital. “I think it will revert back to where there are less knobs we can twist, there’s less we can do. And so it’s not as much learning a new platform as it is learning how to advertise again or learning to do business differently.”

[35:22] Bob talks about the way that styles and trends come back around, and that pattern applies to the marketing industry as well. “The key to winning there is everything comes back around, but it has a new slightly different twist.”

[36:06] Ken discusses the strengths of email and owning it as a marketing strategy- but like everything else it won’t work if you don’t have a good message.

[39:00] Brad talks about how advertising on screens in cars is a whole new medium of advertising that will only get stronger and more powerful over time.

[40:00] Bob shares that optimization for voice search devices is only going to increase, and optimizing your business for those searches will become a niche.

[40:40] Ken talks about how many agencies and businesses aren’t looking into those investments because they are addicted to ROI. “Its been a race to the bottom for a lot of agencies…” in regards to cost.

[42:20] Bob asks what would happen if visual advertising went away. We’re entering a world where people take time off of their phones, and so the only way to advertise would be through other voice devices. This is the time for businesses to prepare for a future with only voice search or streaming platforms instead of phones.

[43:57] Ken asks- What should businesses do to prepare right now?

[44:05] Bob says think outside the duoploy of Facebook and Google- keep developing your skills there but don’t become reliant on it.

[44:30] Brad says that direct mail campaigns that are hyper-targeted to specific levels of your funnel is a great way to create “human touch” for your brand and business.

[45:37] Ken stresses that breaking your addiction to ROI is at the top of his list. Learning to invest in creativity and being willing to step outside of that box is SO necessary to surviving and thriving as an agency.

[48:37] Brad says that while these alternative routes may not be as trackable or measurable, creative marketers will find ways to measure. “When you’re trying to build a brand, they all work in conjunction with each other and eventually you’ll see the results of your efforts.”

[52:18] Brad talks about working with startups who have no idea what their lifetime value is- it can be a difficult thing to determine that and move away from ROI as a business owner or brand manager. Getting clients to think more long-term is the difficult part.

[54:10] Ken talks about “stepping back” from your process and your message. “I think you see a lot of opportunity once you start playing that game of understanding what message is going to connect with the person and not really worrying about the medium… then the fear of things going away gets diminished a little bit.”

[55:19] Brad “A brand is a promise, but a great brand is a promise kept.” If you’re doing ads, the best thing to do is keep that promise.

Details

Episode 55

Season 1

by Bob Hutchins, Brad Ayres & Ken Ott