Category: Advertising

The core idea for your business strategy now, in this time of crisis.

business strategy now

I’ve been hosting a series of Facebook Live videos talking about personal and business priorities as we try to embrace the chaos and make sense of this world. Here is the full 30-minute video of my latest, where I discuss the core idea that should be driving every business strategy now.

Below the video is an edited transcript of the discussion (transcription help from the awesome Would love to hear your thoughts, as always my friends.

Edited transcript

I think it’s important to briefly review what I covered on the first episode of this series. We talked about embracing the chaos and how the history of business has been a series of chaotic events. The businesses that survive are the ones that transcend these chaotic times.

We talked about the importance of first embracing the chaos within yourself. You should not feel guilty or ashamed that you’re feeling fearful right now. We’re in a period of grieving. These are legitimate feelings. And that’s the filter we need to use in our businesses right now, too.

We need to connect with people as though they’re grieving, like they are at a funeral. How would you connect with somebody … how would you sell to somebody … if they were at a funeral? You wouldn’t offer them a coupon or a discount.

You would say …

  • “How can I help you right now?”
  • “How can my business serve you at this time?”
  • “How can we help get you through this loss?”

… because there is a lot of tragedy going on and it’s almost overwhelming to hear the stories of my friends and their struggles.

Re-framing and relevance

Another main point I made in the first episode that is key to business strategy now was this idea of reimagining your business offering — In this moment.

I provided examples that showed that whatever was our core competency, our skills, however we served our customers … may not be relevant today.

I gave an example in my own life of how I was doing consulting for a business in Miami.

We had a call scheduled to review a social media strategy. And we never got it scheduled and I asked them what happened. And they said well you know our, our supply chain is up in the air now, we’ve lost 50 percent of our business, and we’re in crisis mode.

So I was relevant to them a week ago. I’m not relevant to this company today.

I have to rethink what I do, and rethink what are my core competencies and be relevant to people in this moment of crisis. We all need to consider these realities.

The priority now

Now let’s talk about this new idea of the number one vision for business strategy now.

Some businesses are going to be doing great in this crisis. Amazon’s going to do fine (they’re hiring 100,000 people!). Walmart’s going to do fine. Almost anybody that’s in the medical business, or if you’re delivering food, you’re probably going to be okay.

But if you’re struggling like most of us, what is the business strategy now?

I want to tell you a story from my past that illustrates this concept very well.

Early in my career, I was a sales leader for a big company called Alcoa. At that time, Alcoa was a Fortune 100 company, a Dow Jones Industrial blue-chip company, and a very well-run company. I had a great experience with my career there and learned from great leaders.

One time when I was a sales manager, we were having terrible quality problems with one of our customers. In fact, it was so bad that we were shutting them down. They were missing their delivery shipments.

And so I had lunch with the president of the company. And I said to him, “We are doing such a bad job for you right now. We’re struggling to keep you supplied. We appreciate that we have 100 percent of your business, but at this point, why aren’t you going to a competitor?

And he said, “Well let me tell you about our history with Alcoa. My company was started by my father. And during World War II, we almost went out of business because the products we made were not relevant anymore during that crisis. We had to retool and reinvent ourselves for the war effort.

“We were running out of cash, we were running out of time. And Alcoa, our aluminum supplier at the time, came to our rescue, and they helped us in this moment of crisis. They helped us retool our plant. They gave us the technical support to pivot in this time. They even helped finance some of the equipment that we needed to survive.

“My father, the person who founded this company, as he was dying in the hospital, said to me, ‘Never leave Alcoa. They brought us to the dance. They made us who we are today.’

“And that’s why we stuck with you, even when we were having hard times.”

That was a very powerful lesson to me. Through generosity in hard times, Alcoa had built loyalty that spanned decades and generations.

The business strategy now

I don’t want to sugarcoat anything. I’m not that kind of person. There’s a lot of “rah-rah” stuff out there about, “don’t be afraid and don’t be frightened and if you’re afraid you’re just playing into the victim mentality.” The fact is, there are people who aren’t going to make it to the other side.

But here’s the opportunity, and here is the vision of this time we’re in for any business. We have to put ourselves in this mindset of fighting to the other side but doing it in a way like Alcoa did.

Fight to the other side, but fight with grace.

We have a choice.

We can be greedy and opportunistic, or we can fight to the other side and do it in a way that’s caring and human-centered, full of compassion and grace to our customers.

That’s what people are going to remember on the other side.

If you want to survive and be stronger and be a leader when things turn around, you’ve got to demonstrate that now. We’re in a crisis and we might be in the fight of our lives. That includes cutting our costs, reserving our cash, reassessing our products. We’re making gut-wrenching personnel decisions.

And we need to think very carefully about our marketing. The research shows in a very compelling way that the companies that thrive and survive in this type of crisis, spend more on marketing. This has been seen across different recessions.

Obviously we’ve never seen anything like what we’re in right now. But if you have a business model that is truly relevant right now, it might be time to double down on your marketing, as we fight hard to make it to the other side.

Not in a way that’s greedy, in a way that is sensitive and appropriate and compassionate.

Fight with grace

I have a friend who has to cancel an event with a big hotel in Chicago. The hotel is holding him to tens of thousands of dollars in cancellation fees and they’re not budging.

Let me tell you something. I’m going to be around after this crisis, and my friend will be around, and that hotel will be around after this crisis, and people like us will never do business with a hotel like that again, right?

So part of the survival strategy is, we’ve got to treat people in a way that will help enable loyalty in the long term, help each other fight to get to the other side, fight to enable undying loyalty right now.

Do the right thing, even if it hurts.

Should we offer discounts as a business strategy now?

This was the main message of my session and then I took some questions.

A friend of mine offered a 95% discount on our Instagram course in Spain and man she has had some nasty comments which I can understand. It just doesn’t seem appropriate right now.

We have to be careful about promoting products and services right now in a way that seems tone-deaf.

I need to emphasize that every single person we are working with is grieving. They are in crisis. I mean it’s unimaginable.

This week I’ve been on the phone almost nonstop, coaching people and lifting them up. There has been a time or two where both of us have been emotional because of the profound suffering and loss that’s going on right now.

Our businesses have to know this reality and can’t be tone-deaf in our marketing or advertising when people are grieving. They may not need a discount or a coupon. They don’t need leadership classes if they are trying to find food for their families in the moment. You must be aligned with the context of this day.

We need to be a real human, and connect where people are right now.

I would also say, let’s show some grace even to the people who are making mistakes. Everybody’s just trying to figure it out and stumble through.

The boilerplate emails

Businesses need to be more human than ever right now. From a communication standpoint, we’ve all had enough to have the boilerplate emails, communicate with empathy kindness, which means telling the truth.

That’s a beautiful sentiment and certainly very true.

One of the things that’s been so interesting for me to observe is how long it is taking for these businesses to adjust. Believe it or not, this morning. I saw an ad for a company that will like help you create your fantasy baseball team. I mean dude … Baseball was canceled a week ago.

That doesn’t help.

You know, and the thing is puzzling to me. It doesn’t take much effort to turn off ads. I mean really, I just can’t think of a scenario where you would somehow be encumbered, or committed in a way that you can’t turn off ads.

I think it’s more important to be sensitive than to commit these dollars when your advertising is tone-deaf.

The test of culture

We are fighting hard in Scotland UK getting our people to change pace and it is challenging. Why won’t these people change when they see what is going on?

I see this in every kind of business  — they are locked into the old way of doing business … even in the good times, right?

Sell, sell, sell, even at the expense of relationships or common sense. Always be closing. Abuse the customer with spam and robo-calls.

Marketing and advertising and doing public relations in ways that aren’t relevant to the way our customers connect to the world today was the norm even before this crisis.

I think this time will be a true test of the corporate culture. You know, every company says “customers are the heart of our business.”

Really? Let’s see what happens when times are this hard.

If you’re opportunistic and greedy and tone-deaf, people are going to remember that we are not going to be doing business with those companies when we get to the other side.

Is it appropriate to use humor now?

What do you think about companies using humor with their staff to get through this period?

I think that’s an important part of being a leader right now.

The number one thing we need to keep in our minds is that great leaders dispense hope.

When I was in the corporate world, the president of our company had only thing on his desk — a little sign that said “leaders dispense hope.”

When you get right down to it, in terms of transparency, in terms of effective communication, in terms of you know how you’re connecting to people — even in a virtual world right now — it really gets down to dispensing hope.

And I think one of the important things we can do right now is to use humor.

There are a lot of positive physical and psychological benefits to humor that we, we need right now. We need to make humor a part of our lives every single day and I think it’s not just a part of lifting people up psychologically. I think that’s an important part of leadership.

Should I offer my services for free?

I see many people offering free services and some say you should actually not start discounting your services. Hurts you in the long term. What’s the best course of action?

I received an email request yesterday from someone doing a roundup blog post and the question was something like this, “should businesses continue their Facebook advertising?”

This is an impossible question. The answer to every marketing question is, “It depends.”

There’s never a cookie-cutter answer that fits everybody when it comes to marketing. Everything depends on your business, position in your industry, customers, strategy, etc.

I want you to run your businesses in the world that IS, not the world that we wish it to be. And the world is crappy right now.

But the research shows that the companies that make it to the other end do spend more on marketing right now. Maybe that means advertising, maybe that means discounts.

As a small business owner, I’m cutting to the bone. I have to reserve cash to make it to the other side. I’ve had some of my key business partners offer to change contracts or ignore them. They’ve been very understanding and helpful.

And you know what, they will be the first companies I come back to when things return to normal. They are the companies I will be talking about for years.

The last thing I can say about business strategy now is, just be incredibly emotionally intelligent and think about your customers in the context of this moment.

Let’s embrace the chaos together as we plot our business strategy now!

Keynote speaker Mark SchaeferMark Schaefer is the chief blogger for this site, executive director of Schaefer Marketing Solutions, and the author of several best-selling digital marketing books. He is an acclaimed keynote speaker, college educator, and business consultant.  The Marketing Companion podcast is among the top business podcasts in the world. Contact Mark to have him speak to your company event or conference soon.

The post The core idea for your business strategy now, in this time of crisis. appeared first on Schaefer Marketing Solutions: We Help Businesses {grow}.

Best Ways to Do Digital Marketing | How to Do Digital Marketing

Digital marketing means, marketing with digital media on the internet. It’s a marketing strategy that uses digital marketing techniques to promote something. The world of digital marketing is fascinating. But once you know the basics and how to do it, it’s much easier than you think.

In this tutorial i’m gonna list all of the best ways to do digital marketing. Let’s see if i can explain to you the title on, How to do digital marketing.

Research search terms that are relevant to your business and industry.

Search Engine Optimization (SEO) is a digital marketing strategy. It works by driving organic visitors from search engines like Google and Bing. Search engines rank websites based on the keywords.

  • Use search engines like Google to look at search terms that are used by your competitors.
  • Make a list of search terms that are used for similar products or services.
  • Look at the related searches.

Optimize your website by putting keywords in your website URLs.

A URL is the address of a web page. Insert keywords into your URLs. It can help you to rank faster.

  • If you’re selling a sports calendar, the URL for your page selling sports calendar could be: “”
  • If you sell a sports calendar but you use the word “calendar” in your URL, your page may not appear for people searching for a sports calendar.
  • Use URLs that are easy to remember.

Use keywords in title tags and meta descriptions of your web pages.

A title tag is the name of the web page. This link appears in a search result from a search engine. A meta description is the 2-3 lines short description under the title tag. Both of these are great places to use keywords to help your page grow higher.

  • Use keywords organically. So they look genuine and legit.
  • If you owned a beauty salon, you would want the meta description of your salon’s website to include words like “beauty, salon, treatments, facials, and manicures.”
  • Use Google and Bing webmaster tools.
  • A title tag is also the hyperlink that people will click on to go to your page.
  • Don’t Stuff keywords.

Include keywords in the content of your website.

Try to use the keywords relevant to your business. That includes any product descriptions, blog posts, and page titles. Don’t stuff keywords, remember that.

Capture the attention of potential customers with content marketing.

Content marketing is a digital marketing strategy. It involves the creation and sharing of online contents. It includes social media posts, images, videos and blog posts.

Rather than pitching your products or services, content marketing seeks to earn the trust of your audience.

  • The goal is to create content that will promote brand awareness and increase audience engagement.
  • The content needs to be relevant to your target audience.
  • Content marketing can also reduce your total marketing costs.

Establish the audience for your content.

Before you create content, you need to know who the content is created for. Research data for the demographics. Use market research to find the interests.

  • Get feedback from your customers.
  • You can hire a marketing consultant to help you to do this.
  • Marketing content is meant to capture attention not promoting it, remember that.

Create quality content.

Use unique images, catchy videos, funny quotes and quality contents to engage. Don’t pump out a continuous supply of content. Focus on quality over quantity.

  • Use programs like Photoshop or Canva to make graphics that are appealing.
  • Use video editing software to make short ads to use.

Maintain an online blog to engage with your customers.

An online blog is a great place to post photos and videos and contents. Write longer posts. Write about your products or your services. It’s a great place to share industry related news.

  • Use a blog to post regular content.
  • Blogs can be professional or they can be intimate.

Test your content by checking the analytics.

Analytics refers to information from the analysis of data or statistics. Anytime you use your marketing content, track the analytics. Use the content that works as a model for any future content you create.

Use social media to target a specific audience.

Before you begin advertising on social media, you should know your target.

  • Customize what audience will see your advertisements.
  • You can target by categories like age, location, gender, interests, even people’s internet search history.
  • Social media advertising is cost-effective.

Create a Facebook business page to promote your products or services.

A business page on Facebook is free. It helps people to find and connect with your business. You can display information about your business. You can also receive and respond to messages. You can also post content to your page.

Make an Instagram account for your business to advertise.

Instagram is a social media platform. Here you can share photographs and videos. Visual content can be used as advertisements on Instagram. Instagram offers tools to help you target and engage your customers. Facebook owns Instagram. So you can link your Instagram account to your Facebook account.

Make a Twitter Account to advertise new products.

Twitter is a social networking site. Here people communicate with short messages called “tweets.”

Twitter is fast-paced. It is a great place for you to advertise. Create a twitter account for your business. Follow other accounts that are relevant to your business.

  • You can tweet about industry news or a sale.
  • Use hashtags (#) to link your posts to other posts.

Join LinkedIn to build your business network.

LinkedIn is a social platform. It is designed for career and business professionals. It’s a great tool for building a brand. LinkedIn is also a great social platform to search for potential employees.

Manage your accounts with a social media management program.

If you have many accounts on different social media platforms, you can use a tool to manage all your accounts together. Like Hootsuite and SocialOomph. This tools allow you to schedule and track your ads across many platforms.

Use email marketing to reach a larger audience.

Email marketing means using email to promote your business. Every internet user has an active email account. So you can reach a larger part of the internet. Email marketing is also very cheap.

  • Everything is trackable with marketing software. So you can get data easily.
  • The return on investment (ROI) with email marketing is very high.
  • It’s also free to create an email account for your business.

Create email lists of your business contacts and customers.

To do an email marketing campaign, you will need a list of people you can email! Make it a practice to get people’s email address. Create a link or option to subscribe for emails on your website. Be sure you have permission to email someone.

Start a regular newsletter to send to your customers.

A consistent newsletter is a great way to stay in touch with your customers. It makes them aware of any new products or developments with your business.

  • Decide on whether you want to do a daily, weekly, or monthly newsletter and stay consistent.
  • Be sure to include lots of links in your newsletter.

Try pay per click advertising to bring people to your website.

Pay Per Click (PPC) ads appear when specific keywords are used. You also only have to pay when someone clicks on them.

  • If your ad content looks good, PPC can be a great tool to drive people to your page.
  • PPC allows small business to appear in Google searches.
  • You can also track the performance of your ads so you can change them.

So these are the basic ways of doing a digital marketing campaign. Liked it? Share and do comment.

The post Best Ways to Do Digital Marketing | How to Do Digital Marketing appeared first on Muntasir Mahdi.

Pinterest adds DoorDash exec and Caviar Lead Gokul Rajaram to its board

Pinterest is bringing on a new board member. The company announced today it’s appointed Gokul Rajaram, Caviar Lead at soon-to-go-public DoorDash to its Board of Directors and as a member of its Nominating and Corporate Governance Committee. The addition signals Pinterest’s desire to bring more digital advertising expertise to its board, given Rajaram’s past experience as Product Director of Ads at Facebook and Product Management Director at Google AdSense.

“Gokul brings great experience and innovation to our Board and we look forward to his many contributions,” said Pinterest CEO and co-founder Ben Silbermann, in a statement. “His proven track record in shopping, digital advertising and content will be incredibly beneficial as we continue to bring inspirational experiences to users and advertisers on Pinterest,” he added.

Currently, Rajaram serves on DoorDash’s executive team where he leads the premium food ordering service, Caviar, which DoorDash acquired from Square last year for $410 million. The Caviar deal included Rajaram and team, in addition to the service’s restaurant partnerships. At Square, Rajaram spent five years heading Caviar and before that, had led several product development teams.

Rajaram’s background also includes time at Facebook and Google, where he focused on digital ads. At Facebook, he helped the company transform its ads business to become mobile-first. And at Google, he helped launch the Google AdSense product and grow it into a substantial portion of Google’s business, Pinterest notes.

Other relevant experience includes time on RetailMeNot’s board, as well as an investor and advisor to numerous startups, including those that intersected retail/e-commerce, analytics, and social — like Pinterest-focused Piquora, mobile ad company Vungle, retail advertising startup PromoteIQ, and many others.

Today, Rajaram additionally serves on the boards of The Trade Desk and Course Hero.

Rajaram has a bachelor’s degree in Computer Science Engineering from the Indian Institute of Technology, Kanpur where he was class valedictorian. He received an M.B.A. from The Massachusetts Institute of Technology and a Master of Computer Science from the University of Texas at Austin, where he received the MCD University Fellowship.

His addition to Pinterest’s board comes at a time when the company’s ad business is growing.

Earlier this month, Pinterest reported revenues for 2019 had topped $1 billion, up 51% over 2018. In the fourth quarter alone, Pinterest saw $400 million in revenue, up 46% year-over-year, and beating analyst forecasts of $371.2 million. Feed-based Shopping Ads contributed heavily to this growth, with the ads more than doubling in the second half of 2019 compared with the first. Pinterest also said its investment in measurement tools had been paying off. In Q4, conversion campaigns — which let advertisers track from pin clicks to actions, like adding items to a cart — grew by 150%.

The company said during earnings that scaling its ads business would continue to be a strategic priority in 2020, as it looks to capture more mid-size and international advertisers and make the service more shoppable.

“Pinterest is a beloved brand that inspires people to create a life they love,” said Gokul Rajaram, about his board appointment. “I’ve always been excited about Pinterest’s mission and impact on people’s everyday lives, and am thrilled to help Ben, Evan, and the team continue building amazing products that empower people and advertisers around the world,” he said.

Rajaram joins other Pinterest board members Jeffrey Jordan, GP at Andreessen Horowitz; Leslie Kilgore, previously Netflix CMO; BVP partner Jeremy Levine; Fredric Reyolds, previously CFO at CBS; Michelle Wilson, previously from Amazon legal; and Pinterest co-founders Evan Sharp and Ben Silbermann.



The small business marketing formula to dominate your niche

small business marketing Tracey Matney

Since I wrote an article on small business marketing, I decided to ask my friends to help me out with entrepreneurial photos to “decorate the post.” Have fun on this crowd-sourced post as you see some of my entrepreneur friends in action, starting above with Tracey Matney!

A few years ago, I interviewed a researcher in New York about the most significant marketing mega-trends. Chief on her list was that the most effective marketing was becoming “artisanal,” meaning that it had to be local, conversational, and connected to an individual or community.

I asked her, “How will giant brands like airlines and car companies survive in this environment?”

She thought for a long moment and said, “I don’t know.”

The future favors the small

I believe that small business owners (like rising star Valentina Escobar-Gonzalez) are uniquely positioned to take advantage of the marketing rebellion before us.

Here’s an interesting thing to consider. If you list every negative trend in the general marketing world, you’ll see why big businesses are hurting and small businesses are positioned to win:

  • People are not seeing big-budget broadcast advertising. Ad-free subscription services like Spotify and Netflix dominate our attention.
  • Major digital advertising programs are jeopardized by new privacy laws and moves by Google and others to end the use of cookies.
  • Ruthless cheaters with unfettered access to our customers flood the market with cheap knock-offs, threatening the biggest companies and their hard-won national brands.

Now let’s look at some of the most important marketing trends driving success today:

  • People don’t believe ads and company spin. They believe business owners, entrepreneurs, and technical experts (like Karima-Catherine Goundiam).

  • Increasingly the personal brand Is the company brand as people seek an organic personal connection to the companies they love. You probably love and admire a business owner in your community. Who do you love at Verizon, for example?
  • Big companies can’t plaster billboards around a city touting how involved they are in the community. We want people to show up. You can no longer just be “in” a city, you have to be “of” the city.
  • Direct-to-consumer online models have disintermediated the advantage of shopping mall scale.
  • Platforms like Shopify, Etsy, and eBay are opening up global commerce for even the smallest businesses.

This is why I’m so bullish on the potential for small business marketing success in this era. Every important business trend seems to be tipping their way, at least to those who really understand what’s going on in this dramatic Marketing Rebellion.

Small business on the rise

small business marketing

Kelly Baader shows us a path toward human-centered marketing.

A study found that more than $17 billion in consumer product goods (CPG) industry sales have shifted from large players to small ones since 2013!

Sales among “extra small” brands — those generating annual sales under $100 million — rose 4.9 percent, the fastest-growing CPG segment, according to market research firm IRI.

In contrast, large players saw their combined market share drop to 55.5 percent, from 57.7 percent, during the same period.

Let’s go back to that question I asked at the top of the post … “How will big brands survive in this consumer rebellion?”

The expert didn’t know at the time, but an answer is emerging. The big companies know they can’t adjust and are snapping up the smaller “artisanal brands” at a rapid rate. If you can’t beat ’em, buy ’em.

A few examples:

Of course, this is also good news for small company founders who newly-minted millionaires!

The small business marketing formula

There are lots of ideas for small businesses in the Marketing Rebellion book but if I were a small business owner (wait … I am!) here are the key small business marketing ideas to focus on:

1. The customer is the marketer

Two-thirds of our marketing is occurring without us.

How do we get invited into the online and offline stories being told by our best customers? How do we help them do their job? Make the customer the hero of your marketing.

How do we create something so unmissable, cool and conversational that people cannot wait to talk about us and carry the story forward?

2. Show up

People don’t want to see photos of your president handing a check to the United Way. They want to see you involved in the community.

Don’t just lend a hand. be the hand. This is hard for the big companies to pull off so get out there and show your community love. Show up where your customers want to find you. Let them see how you care.

3. Be the brand

For a small business, the founder is normally the face of the company. This is a huge advantage in this marketing environment.

Great branding means building an emotional connection between what you do and your customers. Increasingly, that is a person, not a coupon or a product attribute.

Jon Ferrara, pictured here, is a role model for this idea. Jon is so gracious, generous, and accessible, that you can’t help but love his company, Nimble, because you simply love him. In everything he does, Jon puts his family, customers, and employees before his own interests.

My book KNOWN teaches you how to build a strong personal brand in the digital age. This is an essential tactic in the Marketing Rebellion era!

4. Engineer “peak moments”

Build exciting, unexpected delights into mundane customer interactions. When you give people something to talk about, they will.

Jessika Phillips — that’s her in the blue suit in the front — engineers peak moments into every customer engagement and event. Somehow she has made Lima, Ohio, the summertime epicenter of the social media marketing world through her fun and inspiring event.

She creates so much positive buzz that people can’t wait to attend or speak there. The customer is the marketer!

Think about how you can build peak moments into every customer touchpoint.

5. Bring people together

In the end, The Most Human Company Wins™

How does a small business do that?

By showing your face, your smile, your heart, and passion at every opportunity. One of the best ways to do this is to bring people together. Celebrate something. Teach something. Connect people and let them see how amazing you and your employees are!

Julia Bramble, shown here, is becoming an evangelist for helping people “belong” as part of a marketing strategy. Obviously I agree with her. I think it is one of the most powerful things we can do!

There has probably been no better time in the history of the world to start a business. Small business marketing doesn’t have to be overwhelming. Just focus on one thing: Be the most human company in your niche.

Make sense?

That is the end of my post. But let’s keep going with my cool entrepreneurial friend photos. Every one of them is trying to make a dent in the world! 

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Keynote speaker Mark Schaefer

Mark Schaefer is the chief blogger for this site, executive director of Schaefer Marketing Solutions, and the author of several best-selling digital marketing books. He is an acclaimed keynote speaker, college educator, and business consultant.  The Marketing Companion podcast is among the top business podcasts in the world. Contact Mark to have him speak to your company event or conference soon.


The post The small business marketing formula to dominate your niche appeared first on Schaefer Marketing Solutions: We Help Businesses {grow}.

What a Peanut Can Teach You About Search Marketing

search marketing lesson

By Brooke B. Sellas, {grow} Contributing Columnist

Mr. Peanut — or should I now say Baby Nut — can teach us all a lesson in search marketing.

I know, I know. You’re probably sick and tired of hearing about which Super Bowl ads were good or bad. Or how the halftime show was “awful” (um … please let me look like JLo or Shakira when I’m their age!).

But I promise, thanks to some wicked smaht (a Super Bowl pun!) SEO friends of mine this will be a very insightful post on how to run (and not run) your campaigns. Even if they don’t cost you $6M.

(I apologize for all of the peanut puns in advance … I can’t help myself)

It Started With The Peanut Gallery

Before the Super Bowl even started, marketers went OFF about the death of Mr. Peanut.

This was Planters build-up to a Super Bowl commercial. Followers of the hashtag #RIPeanut were encouraged to use this to pay respect and tune in to Mr. Peanut’s funeral during the big game.

I would have to assume that Planters would put some heavy thought into all aspects of this campaign, including search marketing since they paid Super Bowl dollars for it to air. I would assume wrong, but more on that later.

Is it risky to kill off an over 100-year-old mascot? Sure.

However, a few days after the campaign launched the idea behind it was explained. Mike Pierantozzi, the Group Creative Director at Planters’ agency (VaynerMedia, btw) said they were influenced by Tony Stark’s death in Avengers: Endgame.

“We started talking about how the internet treats when someone dies — specifically, we were thinking about fictional characters, [like when] Iron Man died. When Iron Man died, we saw an incredible reaction on Twitter and on social media. It’s such a strange phenomenon.”

For the record, I LOVED that movie. I’m a total comic book nerd. I also once owned the comic where Superman died. So I get their angle.

Then, after the tragic death of Kobe Bryant and others, Planters decided to pull this campaign’s paid media efforts to be sensitive.

In a Word? Nutty.

Before I get into what went down Super Bowl Sunday, there are some other things that I think we marketers need to address. A brand strategy is not something to be taken lightly. Especially one thay involves an iconic brand representative that’s been around since 1916.

1) Was it a good idea to kill off a beloved mascot?

I mean, I probably wouldn’t do it but who knows. If no PR is bad PR then I suppose this campaign is going well [insert big grimace here].

2) Shouldn’t $6M Super Bowl ads be original?

We’ve seen the reinvention of a character as a baby before, both with Groot and more recently Baby Yoda. This is one area that really marred the campaign in the court of public opinion.

3) The interactive part of the campaign was roasted by viewers.

What kind of campaign would dare try to take watchers of the Super Bowl away from the game to interact with Baby Nut? This campaign, apparently. [insert eye roll and a really, really heavy sigh]

Then Came The Super Bowl (Sans Search Marketing)

Finally, Game Day arrived and many marketers were live-tweeting about #BrandBowl or #AdsBowl (hashtags to follow if you’re into IRL conversations about Super Bowl ads).

The RIP Mr. Peanut commercial came out and it was … as expected. Mr. Peanut did, in fact, die and Baby Nut was born. Some people enjoyed this. More, however, were not on board.

I outlined a few reasons above, but the biggest lesson to learn is really about all the ways in which this campaign missed out on search marketing. I was alerted to this fact on Twitter and then saw this super-smart post on LinkedIn from my friend Dan Shure.

Apparently, none of the six-million dollar budget went to search marketing.

  • There was no (apparent) organic search
  • There was no (apparent) paid search (including on social channels, like Facebook)
  • Just a few days ago, this website and campaign weren’t even ranking for phrases like, “Planters Super Bowl” “Planters commercial” “Planters ad” etc.

Gary V apparently replied to Dan on Twitter and said that his team didn’t create the website. But, I mean, COME ON.


Another tweet said that they “didn’t have time” to focus on search marketing because of the death of Kobe. Um, no? I’m sure the website and interactive parts of this weren’t planned in just a couple of days.

This failure feels like it goes beyond search marketing and SEO. Where was the communication between partners? Why wasn’t search marketing — from an organic or paid perspective — ever discussed by someone?

It’s one thing to get booed by ordinary people on social media. It’s a totally different flop when a key strategic component was entirely missed.

Can We Leave Search Marketing & SEO Alone Now?

“Is SEO dead?” Stop that! No! Search engine optimization is extremely important.

In fact, another friend of mine (hey, Amanda!) at Fractl found that search marketing is one of the most effective ways to reach your audience.


[Image Source: MOZ]

As the MOZ article that highlights this research from Fractl says …

Don’t let anyone tell you a channel is dead (except for maybe MySpace and other sites that are abandoned.)

What did you think about the Baby Nut campaign? And a bigger question: who you do think is responsible for leaving out search marketing? Everyone? No one? Let me know in the comments section below!


Brooke B. Sellas is the Founder  & CEO of B Squared Media, an award-winning done-for-you social media management, advertising, and customer care agency. She’s also Mark Schaefer’s Co-host on the top-rated Marketing Companion Podcast. Brooke’s marketing mantra is “Think Conversation, Not Campaign” so be sure to give her a shout on Twitter!

The post What a Peanut Can Teach You About Search Marketing appeared first on Schaefer Marketing Solutions: We Help Businesses {grow}.

What online marketers can learn from creating empathy in the sales process

creating empathy

By Mars Dorian, {grow} Contributing Columnist

Selling your ‘stuff’ in person is hard, hard work … especially when your product is an artwork and thus highly subjective in value.

But during the last months, I’ve learned tons about the process, which is helping sales for me and my artist peers. I’ve learned the value of embedding empathy in the sales process.

Below, I want to share three examples of closing sales that have taught me to be a better marketer online:

Use the the ‘two drawers’ mentality

Vera F. Birkenbihl, the late German entrepreneur and productivity coach, once introduced the two drawer analogy in her books. It’s a simple mental model where you put every statement of a business talk into two mental drawers:

  • What’s in it for them
  • What’s in it for you

This simple model works incredibly well, whether you’re buying or selling.

For example, if someone wants to sell a product to you, you use the two drawer model to determine how many of his sales arguments benefit him or you. The best deal then benefits both parties equally.

I used the same model to seal an artwork sale for a close friend.

A client wanted to buy one of her artworks worth a couple of thousand euros. He claimed the price was too high, and that he would definitely buy the work at a discount.

My artist friend soooo wanted the sale, but desperation is a deal killer.

Now, what to do?

If you discount your work, you risk reducing your artistic value, conditioning your customer to bargain and never accept the price you’ve set for yourself.

But if you straight-up deny your client’s request, you can easily lose the sale.

I used the two drawer mentality:

  • What does the client want: Making sure the artwork is affordable
  • What does the artist want: Selling the artwork for the full price

The solution was dead simple: Allow the client to buy the artwork in installments over a couple of months.

This way, he was easily able to afford it while my artist friend received the full sum without discounting her value.

Foster genuine customer care

I’m just about to finish my first art catalog, featuring the best 32 pieces of my work.

It’s an expensive venture, especially if you want thick and premium paper and vibrant colors.

So I was looking for a printing company in Berlin and checked many outlets offering competitive prices. I picked one company that an artist friend had recommended and promptly showed up at their Berlin HQ to pick up samples.

Unannounced, by the way.

One of the office workers quickly approached me, looking like a Berlin hipster including a lumberjack’s beard and skater cap.

I thought he was going to ask if I was lost but instead inquired about my project.

He generously shared valuable tips, including which paper format to pick and what kind of binding I should use and answered every question without being PUSHY or urging me to close the sale.

We ended up talking for almost 40 minutes before I left their little office with a couple of sample prints and brochures and a hurting head full of info.

Back at home, I thought: What a great little company, taking so much time to explain their stuff.

But after filling out my printing order online, I discovered that they were one of the BIGGEST printing companies in Berlin, which wowed my mind.

A giant company with the care and friendliness of a small, local biz.

It proves one of Mark Schaefer’s core statements that the most human company wins.

Supporting your client’s story

Selling artwork in person is hard work. I’ve learned the bitter lesson when I single-handedly screwed up a near-hit sale.

Here’s what happened:

During my last exhibition at a former military horse barn, a woman approached me with a glass of wine, raving about a particular artwork of a slob:

She explained her interpretation of the guy, involving a heavy political message which I hadn’t intended.

Being truthful, I quickly revealed my own intention behind the work, which contradicted her ‘story’.

You should have seen the gravity pulling at her face.

The conversation died in fewer than 30 seconds. Her smile vanished as my story obviously didn’t grab her as much as her own. She excused herself and shortly afterward, left the exhibition in her shiny Benz.

Lesson: When a potential client explains their reason for liking your work, don’t contradict them. Their interpretation and reasons trump yours. Adapt your approach instead, using empathy to seal the deal with their story.


If I were to find a common denominator of all three examples, it would be to develop empathy in the sales process.

Not just understanding what the client is saying but seeing the world from their eyes, showering them with so much value that they deem your product valuable without you have to be pushy.

Mars Dorian is an illustrating designer and storyteller. He crafts words and pictures that help clients stand out online and reach their customers. You can find his homebase at and connect with him on Twitter @marsdorian.

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