Category Archives: Online marketing

Articles about online marketing

A slip of the tongue can build your business

stephen2By Stephen Rhodes

Most marketing experts believe word of mouth is the best form of marketing. And word of mouth from a trusted source, well, that’s pure gold.

After two years battling the lawn gods I decided to get a company to come in and weed and feed.  I happened to mention it to a friend and he told me the company he uses is excellent. I trust him so that’s who I went with and he’s right, they are excellent.

HilltopsWord of mouth. Today, the potential is so much better because of Social Media.

According to Nielsen, 92% of consumers believe recommendations from friends and family over all forms of advertising.

If consumers value word of mouth and marketers believe it is effective, then why aren’t marketers more focused on it?

“The problem is that for the last few years, marketers have been focused on “collecting” instead of “connecting.” In other words, brands are too caught up in collecting social media fans and they are forgetting to actually connect with them. Having 100 really passionate fans that love your brand or product is exponentially more effective than having 10,000 “fans” who signed up just to win a free iPad from you,” she says.

So, if you could master the one thing that consumers trust above all others to drive sales for your company — would you ignore it or leave it to chance?

So Kimberly says if you want to win the marketing race in 2015, you need to unleash the power of word of mouth.

Engage, equip and empower, she says. Be part of the conversation, give your customers a reason to talk about you and help them to share the experience with their friends.

Sound advice.



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Filed under Marketing, Online marketing, social media, Uncategorized

Is your business coming out of labour?

stephen2By Stephen Rhodes

Labour Day represents the final push for most small businesses. A good, bad, mediocre first 8 months can become magic in the final four.

But it’s unwise to enter the final stage of the year without understanding where you are relative to where you thought you would be at this point. And if that metric is out the window at least where you are to last year.

labour pushIf you are on your plan and it’s working then great. If not, why not?  A plan that isn’t measured is not a plan; it’s a Hail Mary. So, hopefully you have some indication of where your business is not performing and can make adjustments. Look at marketing, online and traditional. Look at sales and customer service. Is it working? Get rid of what isn’t and focus on what is?

Be bold. You have time.  Talk to your staff. Talk to your customers. They can all provide input.

And, of course, track any adjustments you make.







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Filed under Marketing, Online marketing, Small Business, Uncategorized

I Think I’m Coming Down with a Viral Inflection eh!

By Jeff Bowman

I ran this last year and got such a reaction, I thought I would rerun again in 2011.

Like many of you, I had serious doubts about the ability of Facebook, YouTube and other social media tools to have a real impact on the way we market products and services to prospective clients.

Boy has my opinion changed.

Not only do these tools impact the way we market, but they have completely changed the way we communicate.

Today your product or service is open to real-time reviews and criticisms.  And, perhaps not surprisingly, a whole new age of product espionage has grown from the ability to sway the masses with a few simple words of negativism.

Ads are cleverly disguised as viral videos, and I would suggest it started years ago when Super Bowl ads, previously viewed by game fans only, were designed specifically for the Internet where millions more viewers could check them out.

Anyone can produce a video, post it online and encourage friends to pass it along. Some become hugely popular with hundreds of thousands of hits worldwide at little or no cost for the exposure.

I was sent a link to a “homemade Canadian Video” produced in two days by a couple of aspiring musicians. It is actually well done, and will certainly result in some degree of fame and notoriety for the singers.  I viewed it this morning, then when I tried to show someone else this afternoon, I could not get on.  When I was finally able to view it at another domain, there was a little note in the corner “Now available on iTunes” A weekend worth of work, some decent online exposure and now iTunes? Unreal.

Another site that does the viral video thing on a much grander scale is They have a series of very clever videos asking the question “how can you get people to change their behavior?’  The answer, of course, is to add an element of fun. It isn’t until the end of the video that you discover it is an ad for a well-known company. A wolf in sheep’s clothing? No, just a very creative and well planned advertising campaign, which has now hit millions of viewers at a fraction of the cost it would be for traditional media.

The viral age is here, here in a huge way, and I’m enjoying it.  What are some of the best viral videos you have seen?

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Filed under advertising, blogging, Branding, Communications, Facebook, Jeff Bowman, Marketing, Media, Online marketing

Is There Still Innovation in Marketing?

By Jeff Bowman

Is it possible that all forms of innovation in marketing will eventually come to a grinding halt? When will the ideas stop, or in some cases when will innovative thinking be challenged enough on any front that creativity will cease and companies will choose to do something dull and mundane but tried and true in generating results.

Let me explain what I am talking about.  There are two main fronts of innovation that I consider to be critical in marketing.  The first is the creative front which would include those brilliant ideas, slogans, pictures etc which make up a great promotional piece.  The second is the technology front or what I prefer to call the delivery method. Even the most brilliant creative marketing concept will remain forever a mystery to the masses, if there is no delivery process to bring it to the forefront.

Technology has totally changed the marketing process, what with electronic media, Facebook to spread opinions, YouTube to spread viral messages and cell phone apps that can tell you product specs and sale prices of stores within a five-minute drive from wherever you are.  You can’t be anywhere anymore it seems without having some form of marketing or intrusive messaging beeping you, flashing in your face, tweeted on your device.

Today the big thinkers have developed ways of creating billboards that show you one thing, but if you snap it on your cell phone, show you another.  Stores can notify you of sales as you walk by them, and the pressure of peers to view, listen or meet is unmatched.  Cool can last for mere seconds in this day and age. Where will all this lead, and at what point will privacy and security factors outweigh innovation?

On the creative side, I must admit that in some areas we have become more permissive as to what images and messages are acceptable.  I grew up in the sixties when images  of Fred Flintstone smoking, and wives  dressed in Sunday best cooking and cleaning and other blatant sexual or discriminatory marketing tactics were  acceptable means of promoting a product.

Innovation occurred as attitudes began to morph and ideology changed. It’s difficult to determine if we have become more acceptable or less tolerant of creative marketing. In many ways there has been a complete reversal. We seem to accept things like nudity in ads today but will fight against portrayal of stereotypes. Targeting adults with well produced marketing campaigns for beer is okay, but targeting kids with friendly animals and characters is a violation of the parental rights to be parents!

Therein lies the rub. We are at a stage where proliferation of messages is rampant through ever- changing technology, so getting people to hear or see the marketing has become relatively easy.  On the reverse side, we have come to place where we accept that everyone has an undeniable right to find something offensive and have it removed from public viewing or launch a nationwide Facebook campaign against the company that put it out. In marketing circles, it is a case of damned if you do, damned if you don’t!

In my mind marketing is at a point where innovation will die from the disease of apathy, creating something that won’t offend anyone in order to satisfy the few who make a career out of being offended, and letting everyone else know about it. As a creative marketer, that really offends me!

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Filed under advertising, Branding, Innovation, Jeff Bowman, Marketing, Media, Online marketing

Silent Salesmen Leave a Lasting Impression

By Jeff Bowman

Last blog I looked at the reasons why some salesforces are successful, while others have difficulty not only closing the sale, but even getting an appointment.

A knowledgeable consultative salesperson will usually make a very good first impression on a client, but what happens as soon as they leave and the door closes behind him? If your company depends solely on the face to face aspect of sales, it is understandable why some sales are being missed. If the next salesperson that walks through the door is as knowledgeable and professional as you, but leaves behind some form of company literature, brochure ware, flyer or promotional gizmo, the impression will linger long after they leave (and you are forgotten).

In a competitive sales environment, purchasers today use the many resources at hand to qualify their suppliers, and assess the value that they will be deriving from each.

The first stop is your company website.  If it doesn’t accurately reflect your sales effort or your depiction of goods and services, it does not bode well for the close. I’m not saying you require a huge elaborate web presence with all the bells and whistles, but you do need a professional looking informative and updated site. Ask yourself this question when viewing your own site. “Would I send out ill-informed, shoddy looking traditional style salespeople to meet an important client and represent our company?” You may be doing exactly that with your website.  If a potential client views your website (you know the one the neighbor’s son or daughter did, or the one you paid $250.00 for online) it may leave an exceedingly bad impression of your company.

The salesperson’s toolbox also needs to contain some sort of folder that looks good and is functional.  Single page inserts, which can be changed and updated as required is a practical and inexpensive alternative to a flashy full colour tri-fold or multi-page brochure.  There is no question that a unique brochure will stay with a customer far longer, but at least you have left something which can be passed along to others in the prospect’s company. Add to this a nice looking creative business card that contains all your contact info, a line about what you or your company does and maybe your logo or slogan, and you have the basic necessities required.

I suggest, no, strongly recommend, that you engage a professional to assist with everything mentioned above. The reason is simple, a marketing firm is experienced and specialized. I can create a design, brand and website that will leave a lasting impression on your potential clients.

If I need dental work for instance, I wouldn’t do it myself, the same thing for a brake job, or catering an event. It seems that when it comes to marketing, everyone is an expert! It doesn’t have to cost a lot of money, but it does have to be effective. A mechanic needs to have the proper tools in his toolbox, a plumber has to have a wide assortment of joints and clamps, and we should expect nothing less of any salesperson.  They have to be fully prepared when they walk through the prospect’s door. If the tools aren’t in the box, the job can’t get done properly.

What have you given your salepeople to work with?

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Filed under B2B, Jeff Bowman, Marketing, Online marketing, Sales