3 Key Points in this Episode:
- What a comprehensive marketing department includes.
- The tools have changed but the game is the same.
- How to set up a media department in your business.
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Let’s get started with episode 108.
It’s 2019 and the business landscape has dramatically changed in the last 25 years.
We’ve crossed over to a post-digital age where businesses have never had such easy access to a plethora of potential customers and yet simultaneously, we have never had a more difficult time getting those potential customers to pay any attention to us at all.
Business leaders have some tough decisions ahead of them.
Traditional advertising and media platforms have been replaced by on-demand digital platforms.
Interruption sales and marketing is hated by the average consumer.
The initial “land grab” advertising options that search engine and social media platforms provided to early adopters is gone and, in the years to come this form of marketing will become unaffordable to most businesses.
The solution is by no means a simple one, but I can tell you this:
Traditional marketing departments must be transformed into something much more comprehensive to be effective.
What does a comprehensive marketing department include?
A comprehensive marketing department in 2019 must include:
- Community Involvement
- Customer Support
- Market Research
- Media Planning
- Product Pricing
- Public Relations
- Sales Strategy
It is important to note that this may not be a complete list for your business.
At the very least you are going to have to make decisions around what type of advertising you will use, what kind of content and media you will produce and how you will distribute it, and what sales strategies you will use, along with many other decisions.
I want to focus on media planning, production, and distribution.
I really believe that to build a better business you must adjust your mindset about marketing in general but especially around the media that you will produce.
This will require you to develop a skill set that few business leaders ever had to consider in the past. I mean if you owned a “mom and pop” style service business in the past you didn’t have to worry about media because all you needed was an add in the local paper and a few referrals. Most B2B companies relied solely on an outbound sales force and perhaps a few specials, print flyers, and catalogs.
Only 5-years ago all you needed was consistent content, a decent website, a few digital ads, and a moderate social media presence.
But today you need more than that and the tools are going to continue to change as voice, augmented reality, and virtual reality become dominant in marketing soon.
If all this makes you feel overwhelmed, I totally get it but there is some good news.
The Tools Have Changed but the Game is Still the Same
The best thing about human nature is that it doesn’t change quickly.
Biologically speaking we are basically unchanged from our ancient ancestors.
Now it is clear that technology has allowed us to dramatically change the way we live but who we are and what works with humans hasn’t changed all that much.
Let me illustrate.
It’s 7000 years ago and a herdsman is sitting on a log with his sons. They have settled down for the night and their herd is sleeping all around them in the field. The fire is crackling, and the stars are out.
Suddenly, a flash of light streaks across the sky. A long tail appears behind a small ball of fire and as quickly as it appeared and streaked across the sky above them it was gone without a trace.
Curious about this the herdsman goes to the tribe’s holy man the next day and enquires about it. The holy man tells him a very convincing story about the gods and the meaning behind this celestial event. The holy man tells the herdsman that anyone who finds one of these special rocks from heaven will be able to yield great power and protect his family and herd. The holy man also tells the herdsman stories of those chosen few in the past who have possessed and benefited from these special rocks.
A trader comes through the area the next day. He approaches the herdsman and presents him a black rock. He tells him all about the rock, what it’s made of, where it came from, and what it will do for the herdsman. The herdsman thinks to himself that this sounds like what his holy man had told him the day before. A trade is made, and the herdsman has the black rock and eagerly awaits the benefits the trader promised him.
Let’s analyze what occurred and see if we can find any correlation with what happens today in our post-digital age.
- The herdsman and his boys were looking up at the stars. There is an untold number of stars, all of them are amazing but none of them really stand out.
- Something got and held their attention for a few seconds. It was brighter than all the other stars in the background and the herdsman gave it all his attention.
- A further inquiry was made to a trusted source.
- Someone came along soon after and made claims about the features and benefits of an item that was like what the herdsman had become interested in.
- The herdsman made the purchase and eagerly awaited whatever benefit he was hoping to get out of the purchase.
This is what happens today.
We have access to untold amounts of information about every conceivable thing known to man. We have access to every product and every service with a few keystrokes or a quick voice command. There is so much supply that nothing really stands out anymore.
When we see something that catches our attention, we tune out everything else. Once this thing is in our minds we search for more information from trusted sources and finally we find a vendor that provides us with a strong emotional reason to make a purchase and the rational justification to make us feel like we made a good investment.
This is exactly why you need a media department in your business.
Your media department will produce the meteorite that will streak across the sky and get your ideal customers attention.
Your referrals, recommendations, likes, and reviews are like the holy man who provides a personal recommendation and social proof.
Finally, your sales system will present the features and benefits of what you sell and will reinforce the emotional reasons and the rational justification for your customer to make a purchase.
The key thing you must understand is that it all starts with getting people to pay attention to your message and as I already stated this is getting more difficult by the day.
Your media department must consistently produce that meteorite effect because just like with a meteorite your ideal customers must be looking at “the sky” at just the right moment to see it.
I firmly believe that most digital marketing the average business is doing on search engines and social media channels is no longer enough to make an impact, it has become just like the stars in the background.
Now in our example from 7000 years ago, you may have noticed that there is what seems like an inconsistency in the illustration. The trader that sold the herdsman the rock did not cause the meteorite to streak across the sky. In fact, he probably was not even selling a genuine meteorite.
This apparent inconsistency in my illustration is by design.
Many businesses are very much like the trader from our story. They watch what is trending online and when they see “a meteorite” they try to capitalize on it and make a sale.
Let me give you two examples of what I’m talking about:
Example # 1
A perfect example of this is the emergence of the business coaching industry which is a by-product of the work Michael E. Gerber did in the late 1970s and early 1980s and simultaneously the emergence of the life coaching industry after Tony Robbins exploded onto the scene in the late 1980s.
Hundreds of thousands of coaches are trying to leverage the work done by those two giants into a lifestyle business that allows them to work less and get paid more. There is nothing wrong with that, but it has gotten progressively more difficult to break through and find ideal clients.
What was once unique and different has become a commodity with seemingly little to distinguish it in any significant way.
Example # 2
In the early days of digital advertising, savvy business owners were able to build very successful businesses using search engine and social media ad products to grow their customer base and sell their products and services.
Between 2009 and 2014 I was able to sell hundreds of thousands of dollars of exterior building cleaning services in the Vancouver area. We had a barely functional website for the first couple of years, but those Google Ads allowed us to compound our growth at an annual rate of 25% and we had zero social media presence.
If you tried to do that in 2019 you would have to spend exponentially more on the ads, you would need to be on social media platforms and have a website with fast speeds (https://jamieirvine.ca/your-website-speed/), RWD for mobile, and excellent UX, which stands for User Experience.
Even if you did all of that, many competitors are doing the same thing so it really wouldn’t make you stand out.
The rule of thumb is this:
What initially makes you stand out as exceptional will become the minimum barrier to entry in the future.
So, in the past, if your business had a great website, was active on social media, and used digital ad products you could be confident that you would be successful.
In 2019 that no longer applies.
You can do all these things and still struggle to reach enough customers to be consistently profitable. The solution is to create a media department within your business that creates not just one “meteorite” but a “meteorite shower” in your market for your ideal customers.
It’s time to take a quick break but after the break, I am going to tell you how to set up a media department in your business.
This episode is sponsored by:
This episode is sponsored in part by the Build a Better Business Blog
Go to jamieirvine.ca/blog today for in-depth articles that will help you build a better business.
Setting Up a Media Department in Your Business
We are back from our break, now before the break, we were talking about how the tools have changed but the game is still the same. That is the good news but how to take advantage of the tools is really what we need to understand.
So, how do you set up a media department in your business that will produce that “meteorite” effect?
Let’s start by defining what I am talking about when I say a “media department” so that we are on the same page.
I’m not talking about having a 22-year-old niece of yours creating inspirational quotes and posting them on your social media channels.
I’m talking about setting up an entire department within your business that is going to consistently create, distribute, and measure the impact of the highest quality media projects you can produce.
These media projects are going to tell your story, they are going to give potential customers a unique look into your business, they are going to explain what your dream is and how that dream will impact them, and they will communicate why, when, and how customers should buy from you.
Now at this moment, you might be thinking, how the heck am I going to do that?
Again, there is some great news.
Setting up a media department in your business involves three foundational things that anyone can put in place.
- Systematic Production
- Positive Feedback Loop
Let’s go through these one at a time.
Change Your Mindset
Producing and distributing media has never been easier and differentiating yourself has never been easier if you have the correct mindset.
Most businesses fail to do three things that will make you stand out:
- They try to be something they are not
When producing media for your business just be yourself. Research shows that businesses that are good and are transparent about the mistakes they make convert more customers and improve loyalty with existing customers.
- They don’t have a plan
When I say, “they don’t have a plan” I mean that they at best have a schedule of social posts with inspirational memes. They don’t have a plan to tell their story authentically, they don’t have a clear path for their potential customers to follow if they do get their attention, they don’t have a plan to consistently measure and improve their media production value over time, and they don’t have an advertising plan that is effective.
- They aren’t patient enough
This is a long game and the trajectory is called a “hockey stick trajectory.” Imagine a hockey stick on the floor with the blade pointing up in the air. Your results will be very flat for a long time but if you stick with it you will reach the end of that trajectory and then your results will suddenly go straight up, and the sky is the limit at that point.
This is three ways you can instantly differentiate yourself from your competitors.
You knew that eventually, I was going to talk about systems.
I think a lot of businesses are overwhelmed by the choices and the tech. I want to tell you what Owen Clark in Vancouver told me years ago, “keep it simple because simple is hard enough.”
This is how I recommend you make the decisions about what media you will systematically produce and how you will distribute it. Believe it or not, you can make the decisions about this right now as you listen to this episode. The trick is to not overthink it, as I ask these questions, I want you to just answer them as quickly as I ask them.
- What social media channel will your ideal customers be most receptive to learning about your business on?
- Are you more comfortable with voice or video?
Okay, with those two questions you can now move on to the next phase of systematically producing media.
For me, the answer was LinkedIn and Voice and that is what I focus on.
My podcast allows me to use my voice to produce media content and in the last 90 days, I have seen a 59% increase in the number of daily plays the podcast is getting.
What were your answers?
Maybe you should focus on Instagram and Video. If that is the case, then I would spend all my time producing Instagram Stories and using IGTV.
Some people might say Facebook and Video. If that is the case, then I would spend all my time producing Live Facebook videos in my Facebook Group and producing Facebook Stories.
Perhaps your answer was LinkedIn and Video. Then I would spend all my time doing native videos on LinkedIn and posting the transcripts from the videos as LinkedIn Articles.
YouTube and Vimeo are obvious video options but even if your answer was YouTube and Voice then what I would do is create Video Soundbites with transcriptions so people watching can read what you are saying.
Whatever your combination I want you to double down, no triple down on one platform and one form of media.
The tech can be a pain. You may have laughed the first time you heard me say that I went through three microphones before I figured out how to turn the microphone on in the recording software I was using.
My point is that once you have a focus on which platform you are going to use and what type of media you will produce then you must just start and suck for a while. Don’t worry while you are figuring it out few people will be consuming your content and once you get it figured out you can reflect on it with your audience and use it as a teaching moment.
See what I just did there.
The systematic part is the final piece of the puzzle. I don’t care if you start with a piece of paper and a simple checklist. Make sure that every step of the production process is written down so you can start consistently creating media. As you become more comfortable with the tech and you learn what works and what doesn’t work and you can update the system accordingly.
Positive Feedback Loops
You may have noticed that I didn’t list writing and blogs as an option when we were deciding which platform and type of media you were going to focus on.
There is a very specific reason for that.
I believe that having a blog and consistently writing on your website is mandatory no matter what other forms of media you are producing for one very important reason.
SEO or Search Engine Optimization.
Search engine results are still one of the best ways to get results and it is free. Blog articles will help with this in a way that show notes for a podcast or video just won’t.
The search engine algorithms know the difference between show notes and blog articles with relevant information that will be perceived as higher value content in search results.
Which brings me to positive feedback loops.
It is difficult for most businesses to consistently produce high-quality media content week in and week out for years on end.
So, I recommend repurposing your content and creating positive feedback loops that will constantly feed both the demand for new content and will move your audience toward a specific goal.
Let’s say that you have an end objective of getting people to request a quote for your product or service, the platform you chose is LinkedIn, and the media you are most comfortable with is video.
Here is how I would structure a positive feedback loop:
- Every day I would reach out to several people who fit my profile for an ideal customer using their title, industry, and location as search parameters with a connection request and a personal invitation.
- Those that accepted my invitation would get a personalized private message that encourages them to visit my website, sign up to my email list, and refer me to people they know who may need what I sell.
- I would do a public post, tagging them and expressing how great it is to be connected to them. They will often reply, and this is something that people in their network will see which will prompt them to check me out.
- I would create a weekly LinkedIn Native Video and transcribe the audio. I would post the video with a description of the content and use relevant hashtags. You may even consider tagging connections if the video is specifically relevant to that connection.
- I would create a blog post about the subject matter the video discussed using the transcription of the video as the basis for the post and I would link to the video in the blog post.
- In my weekly email, I would link to the video.
- Each piece of media would include a call to action a.k.a. CTA, encouraging connections to request a quote.
- I would check my website analytics and track the source of referral traffic from LinkedIn and the links that people click on my website to my LinkedIn videos to understand how people are finding me and what they are doing after they enter the positive feedback loop.
This is a powerful strategy that will feed both your need to produce relevant content and grow your audience. It is simple and if you do it consistently for a long enough period, improving your system and the quality of the content as you go, it is incredible the results you can achieve.
It is important that you develop this part of your business because the technology is going to dramatically change very soon. Voice-activated technology is going to exponentially change the way we interact with businesses, not to mention how augmented and virtual reality is going to change the way we conceptualize everything.
You need to get this figured out and soon because if you do, it will make the transition to these new technologies much easier, and if you don’t it could mean that your business will not exist in 10-years.
This brings episode 108 to a conclusion.
If you feel that you need additional help setting up a media department in your business, creating the systems necessary to produce consistent media content, and designing a customized positive feedback loop I would love to help you.
Subscribe to my email list by going to jamieirvine.ca/email today because I will be providing you with a special offer you will only find if you are a subscriber.
On Tuesday, I will introduce you to Irina Leoni and we will be discussing how to create a brand experience online.
Talk to you on Tuesday.
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Thank you for listening and I look forward to talking with you soon.