A Million-Brand Mission in a Post-Covid World

Deb Gabor, CEO and Founder of Sol Marketing (Austin, TX)

As a bestselling author and keynote speaker, Deb Gabor, CEO and Founder of Sol Marketing, has, herself, become a “brand.” She defines Sol Marketing as a brand-driven, strategy-led marketing firm in the business of creating irrational loyalty. Irrational loyalty means people are indelibly bonded to a brand. 

When Deb talks about her agency, she does not list the provided services: she feels marketing services have become commoditized. Instead, she presents a passionate vision of what the future could be. She tells people she is on a million-brand mission – to impact a million brands in her career. She believes that the best brands in the world are truly unique – in why they do what they do. Her goal is to strengthen brands: making businesses more sustainable will up-level communities, and, ultimately, help people. 

When the Corona virus hit, Deb’s speaking engagements for the next 6 months were cancelled. She is sheltering at home . . . but not sheltering in her mind. The question was: how was she going to generate income when she could no longer speak at face-to-face events? What could she do? How could she help her company? She mobilized her team and made her personal brand a “client” of the agency. “Figure out how this has impacted us,” she told her team, “and then what we need to do.” 

Deb referenced an interview with James Stockdale in Jim Collins’ book Good to Great. Stockdale was held for 6 years in a Vietnamese POW camp. When asked how he managed to survive, Stockdale explained that he faced the brutal facts of his situation, but also kept up his hope and optimism. Prisoners who were over-optimistic, but refused to face the “brutal facts,” did not do as well.

Deb’s team identified around eight “brutal facts” about how Deb’s brand was impacted by Covid-19. Some issues were solvable, some were not. 

The company pivoted and, got Deb back on track in a new direction – creating information products, building online courses, building sales funnels, and building webinar funnels. Deb identified the assets she needed her team to build, established a schedule, and set targeted monthly income goals for the information products, her speaking, and her book sales. Then, taking things a step further, the company prioritized a something new: authority marketing services for professionals, who, like her, were facing the same challenges. The assets her team built for Deb became a product that could help other speakers, authors, experts, coaches, and consultants. 

Deb says she has never seen a better opportunity than now for “smart people with expertise that can elevate other people in their own businesses, in their lives – I’ve never seen a better opportunity for them to share generously that expertise with other people.” She challenges people to think about: “How can I be indispensable to people at this time? How can I share something that I know or that I can do in a way that helps another person?” In reaching out, Deb says “be helpful, be authentic, be true to your brand.” She now spends around 6 hours a day, every day, presenting public or private webinars, and consulting one-on-one with business leaders, marketers, creators, or people with personal brands who are interested in setting up their brands to thrive during these unusual times.

Deb can be reached through social media and on her website at: debgabor.com, where Deb is posting thought-provoking webinars that explore a post-Covid world. Deb’s books, Branding Is Sex: Get Your Customer Laid and Sell the Hell Out of Anything and Irrational Loyalty: Building a Brand That Thrives in Turbulent Times are available on Amazon.

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Changing Behaviors to Improve Public Health

Jeff Jordan is President and Executive Creative Director of Rescue: The Behavior Change Agency. Rescue offers a broad range of marketing services for government agencies (public health departments, state and federal agencies) and non-profits seeking to promote positive changes in public health related behaviors.  Jeff started his agency when, as a high school student, he volunteered for his local health department’s youth-targeted anti-tobacco program. He transitioned from volunteer to contractor, tweaked the anti-tobacco program to approach teens in an innovative way, and grew the agency through “a lot of referrals.” He opened his first office while he was in college and continued his focus on behavioral change for social good.  In this interview, Jeff tells us that marketing tactics that are used to sell products don’t necessarily work in changing “fundamental behavior.” His team has to be expert, not just in marketing, but also in behavior change theory, psychology, and sociology . . . and know how to appeal to different subsets within targeted cohort groups. Jeff says that it can take years for a consistent message to bring measurable change, and although there is nothing equivalent to “sales data” to gauge message impact in “real time,” he has found there are some measurable interim “markers” on the path to behavior change. Tracking and measuring specific behavior-related attitudes or beliefs or pieces of knowledge over time can predict subsequent behavior changes. About 7 years ago, Rescue won a $150 million FDA youth tobacco prevention contract. These funds allowed the agency to increase in size from 50 to 150 employees in 3 years. Today, Rescue’s 175 employees work out of 6 offices around the country. They serve government agencies and nonprofits in 30 states. Rescue creates programs for these organizations, but also has a library of campaigns that can be licensed. Over the years, Jeff has learned to say “no” to opportunities that are not right for his agency. Budgets that are too small can limit a campaign’s success . . . . and blame for poor results will invariably fall on the agency . . . not on the tight budget. The smaller a client is, the more they tend to demand. Jeff has observed that agencies end up over-servicing smaller accounts to keep them, tie up senior personnel in servicing these smaller clients, and underservice their larger accounts. Jeff warns that really small accounts can hold an agency down. Jeff applauds the move away from condemning people who choose unhealthy behaviors and the increasingly broad awareness of underlying lifestyle situations that contribute to these behaviors. Jeff’s agency attracts employees who want to do something good in their careers. He describes the agency as “responsibly rebellious,” and explains that is manifested in the way the agency encourages clients to take risks in a responsible way. Jeff can be reached on his company’s website at: Rescueagency.com. The agency runs what Jeff describes as a “pretty robust YouTube Channel” at: youtube.com/rescueagency. Continue reading “Changing Behaviors to Improve Public Health”

Why KPIs Don’t Work . . . and What Does

Keith Perhac is the Founder of SegMetrics, a once-upon-a-time marketing agency that pivoted from marketing services to a suite of analytical and reporting products. Today SegMetrics builds and refines digital testing and tracking tools that provide marketers with critical information on where “leads come from, how they act, and how much a marketing program is really worth.”

In this interview, Keith explains that KPIs (Key Performance Indicators) tell a company if it is doing something better or worse than at some time in the past. However, KPIs are about averages – they do not explain what is wrong or right – or what action to take next. Keith says it is important to look at the outliers, follow your leads through their entire customer journey, and dig beyond top-level KPIs to get a deeper understanding of the contribution different components make to a KPI.

Before SegMetrics, Keith worked as a developer at a marketing/development agency in the middle of nowhere Japan. Fed up with long hours, Keith decided to quit to do “something on his own.” He started freelancing, “building awesome software” for great marketers, including Ramit Sethi, author of I Will Teach You to Be Rich. Keith claims Ramit taught him most of what he knows about marketing. Back then, agencies built their own metrics and testing tools.

Ramit’s focus on data, customer experience, and the customer journey brought a new dimension to Keith’s understanding of marketing: He had to go back to his college psychology lessons on “how people think.” How could a company measure every touchpoint, every experience? How could it split-test design or copy position? What could it do to test whether people were converting?

Keith’s agency focused on expediting client launches and optimizing their marketing funnels. Keith says that, often, the biggest value the agency provided was in pointing out customer journey disconnects, fragmentation, and “holes” in funnels. The launches were exciting . . . the retainers not so much. Still, the agency expanded to twelve employees in four countries. 

During a two-week period of client-free downtime, Keith’s team built the software that is the foundation of SegMetrics today. A month-and-a-half later, the product launched. Keith intended to transform the agency to a product-oriented company over time and as the product increased in popularity. Didn’t happen. The product did not “take off” until three years later, when they started a SegMetrics marketing campaign . . . and shut down the agency. Skillsets, tools, the business model, and staffing needs changed overnight.

Today, SegMetrics provides done-for-you services, facilitates client agency onboarding, and offers a lot of customer support for its software. The biggest challenge is educating agencies that “think they already know what they know.” Keith is believes that setting up solid tracking and UTM implementation is critical for understanding where to best spend marketing dollars. An Urchin Tracking Module (UTM) is simple URL-linked code that generates Google Analytics.)

Keith discusses the impact of Covid-19 on various business segments . . . and highlights the surprising number and kinds of businesses that are seeing tremendous business growth. While brick-and-mortar companies have suffered, Keith has seen increased traffic for companies providing entertainment, digital media, telecommunications, online information products, and Masterclasses.

SegMetrics is releasing its first printed book this May: The 90-Minute Guide to Building Marketing Funnels That Convert. The book will be available on Amazon. Keith can be contacted throughs his company’s website at: segmetrics.io and on Twitter (Keith Perhac).

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Client Tech Education, Deep Data Study, and Micro-Testing: a Formula to Boost Business in Uncertain Times

Brian Lawson and his brother left their jobs in engineering, IT, and software development to found WebMO (Web Marketing Optimizer), a digital marketing agency. From the beginning, they focused on optimizing organic visibility/SEO and doing Google search ads, not just studying digital marketing tactics, strategies, and analysis, but digging into the “behind the scenes” mechanics. Today, WebMO is heavily data-driven, does everything digital marketing, and serves a large number of diverse and predominantly small-businesses nationwide.

WebMO’s “super-detailed” understanding of Google Analytics, conversion tracking, visitor engagement metrics, and the conversion heuristic enables the agency to fully understand clients’ market spaces. Over the years, the agency built their own analytical tools. The combination of three major Google data points – Google Analytics, a company’s Google Search Console data, and the data compiled in a company’s Google my Business listing – provides a clear understanding of a company’s “true space in the market.”

Education is the beginning of WebMO’s relationship with its clients. Brian loves to break down complicated technical concepts. He is used to speaking to groups of people, and loves running free workshops to help business owners understand complex concepts. As a result of this proactive training, WebMO became a Google Partner. When Google introduced the Grow with Google program, which encourages small business organizations, chambers of commerce, public libraries, agencies, and other organizations to participate in live feed educational workshops, WebMO was on board. Because of the huge number of people who have gone through WebMO’s workshops, Google recognizes the agency as a “high impact partner.” 

Education on how Google works, Brian says, “is absolutely critical.” After defining a client’s market space, the agency evaluates the client’s unique situation, and then makes recommendations.

Because Brian’s agency works with smaller companies with smaller budgets, “testing” the market and quantifying the response works well. Instead of spending thousands of dollars for a huge campaign, the clients may spend a few hundred. WebMO is then able to quickly show them the ROI on that investment. Brian says, “If it’s going to fail, fail fast and fail cheap.”

Covid-19 changed the agency’s operations. Although WebMO has been unable to meet with clients in person, it continues its educational outreach through weekly updates. Google, Facebook, LinkedIn, Instagram, and Yelp are constantly tweaking their policies . . . WebMO is working to keep clients aware of these changes. One of Brian’s more recent presentations covered “how to look at Google Trends to truly understand the impact that this [Covid-19] situation is having on your business.”

Brian explains that Covid-19 has affected businesses in several different ways. Companies that provide such things as bartending services for parties are devastated. For other companies, like air conditioning repair companies and plumbers, it’s business as usual. For the last category, exemplified by companies that sell cleaning supplies, provide in-home nanny services, and medical professionals who are still working, traffic has gone “off the charts.”

In addition to having its own clients, WebMO partners with agencies that need an invisible number cruncher. When asked what he would have done differently when he started his agency, Brian said, he should have been “a little quicker to respond to where our clients were probably needing us most.” He seems to be doing that now.

Brian can be reached on his agency’s website at: www.web-mo.com

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Let Ego Go: Be Honest, Transparent, and Try Not to Pretend

Ty Largo is Owner and Creative Director at Awe Collective, a full-service agency providing branding, advertising, public relations, digital strategy, content marketing, social media, video and photography services to diverse industries across the US.

Sometimes the agency does (awe) inspiring work. Currently, in the face of Covid-19, the whole agency has shifted to “show up for clients in a different way.” Ty has been on phone calls, comforting clients crying about having to cut shifts. He has written emotionally difficult letters communicating a client’s “hard messages” to their staff, vendors, and/or guests. He feels this kind of PR service is a privilege, an honor . . . and a burden. Even in these “weird and uncertain times,” the agency’s role is much the same as in better times . . . to provide guidance.

Ty recognizes that no agency can excel at “everything,” and wants every tool used for its clients to be “best in class.” He uses the analogy of a Swiss army knife: a tool made of many tools . . . none of which work particularly well for what it’s purported purpose. Ty believes it is a strength to know where parts of his agency work like a Swiss Army knife and to be willing to reach out to a partner agency whose tool is “best in class.” If the client wins, then so does Awe.

Ty explains further explains: The ideal situation for Awe is that they always have a good network of great partners to partner with in order to provide optimal client results. Awe can pass over clients to these same partner agencies when it is already working at capacity or when the client needs services Awe cannot provide.

What has Ty learned over the years? In the past, when he was more “ego-driven,” he would tell a prospective client that his agency could do everything, and then “white label” work contracted through other agencies. Today, he just tells clients what his agency can and cannot do, recommends when a partner is best added to the mix, or admits, kindly, “Hey, this is not a fit for us,” and then refers the client to another agency. He says it’s a relief “to be honest . . . transparent . . . not to try to pretend.”

Business owners often feel they should say “yes” to everything. Ty reminds us there are other options:  you can compromise and you can say no.

Ty went to college to study music, dropped out in his third year, and never returned. He hopscotched around industries and quit his job as creative director at a poorly-managed software firm on February 14, 2008 – the same day he bought his first house. 

Ty started freelance marketing consulting, growing his business client by client. (He had no training in marketing, and this was during the recession of 2008) He never planned to have a business. (He had no training in business and he thought he was going to be a nerdy band teacher.) In 2018, Awe Collective was named the #1 “Best Place to Work in Arizona” by the Phoenix Business Journal. Ty attributes that award, and his agency’s success, to his obsession with team wellness. “Are they happy? Do they feel like they’re in an environment where they’re being challenged and they have opportunity?”

Ty can be reached on his company website at: https://awecollective.com/

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How to Win in an Economic Downturn: Increase Advertising – AND – Modulate Tonality, be Authentic, and be Helpful

Dave Nobs is the Managing Director and Head of Business Development at Lavidge, a highly awarded, employee-owned, full-service advertising agency with ever broadening horizons. Lavidge started in traditional advertising in 1982, then added public relations in the 90s, digital marketing in the 2000s, and multicultural marketing about 5 years ago. A couple years later, the agency broke down the walls between what had been its divisional siloes. Subject matter experts now look at the totality of a client’s issues holistically.

Dave notes that the agency’s work focuses on projects that meet client-specific and industry-specific benchmarks, most commonly tracked through brand awareness and sales. He explains that his agency strives to make a difference for clients, employees, and the community.

Lavidge added multicultural marketing to address cross-cultural messaging needs in a state with a strong Hispanic presence . . . but multicultural marketing is not just about language differences. Dave says marketers serving a specific cultural market need to be aware of the different, and almost intangible. “tones,” strategies, and tactics needed for a client to gain credibility within that community.

“Truth, inspiration, and action” drive the agency’s projects: 

  • Truth “happens” when the agency and a client collaborate to research issues, develop strategy, evaluate data and analytics, and go through the give-and-take-process of participating in focus groups, interviews, consumer intercepts, and experiential observation – and synthesize all that market and client information to understand what the client is “about,” and what the client “needs.”
  • In the inspiration phase, the agency and the client work “hand-in-hand” on the marketing story, the design and art direction, and the feel of the narrative. 
  • The action part includes media and channel placement and assessing responses and brand impression dynamics – getting the message to the masses and hearing their reply. 

As Managing Director, Dave generates new business, grows existing client business, attends to agency marketing issues, and develops strategic client innovations. In this interview, he lists assets that he attributes to Lavidge’s success: 

  • An attitude of positivity 
  • Daily communication with clients large and small
  • The agency’s focus on the client . . . and on using “every experience, tool, trend, skill and insight at our disposal to create immediate and lasting connections between brands and human beings.”

Over the years, Lavidge has evolved to concentrate on a number of core verticals: healthcare, education, retail services, homebuilders, and sports.

Dave discussed re-reading a Harvard Business Review article on how to market in a recession. The article’s author asserted that tough economic times were “not the time to cut advertising.” Historically, brands increasing advertising during a downturn, while their competitors cut back, “can significantly improve market share and return on investment.” Dave reminds us that “It’s also important to be aware of tonality . . . to be authentic . . . to be helpful” and highlighted several companies that are taking action to do just that.

Dave is available on his company’s website at: https://www.lavidge.com/.

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2020 Forecast: Phenomenal Growth

Jon Boles is the Founder and CEO of Avintiv Media Avintiv Media, an award-winning boutique digital marketing agency that focuses on branding, web design, and digital marketing content creation, syndication, and search engine optimization. Starting as a full service agency 4 years ago, running ads, Facebook ads, and working with celebrities and influencers in the influencer marketing niche. The agency withdrew from advertising and social media when they determined the uncontrollable volatility compromised the value add of those services. What that left was what they were passionate about anyway: branding, web design, and digital marketing – key pieces of every brand’s lifecycle.

Avintiv serves a wide variety of industries, but one “ideal client” is a well-funded, very-much-at-the-beginning startup with business experience. The process begins with a deep-level discovery consultation to determine the “end goal.” This usually progresses to a half-day brand workshop, which involves the brand’s/company’s stakeholders and the entire Avintiv strategy team. The product of that workshop is a 40-50+ business plan/investor pitch deck that covers SWOT analysis, and includes buyer personas, a mission statement, and a competitive analysis, what Jon refers to as a company’s  “Bible for your business over the next 10 years.” Jon explains his company’s criteria for finding startups to work with . . . relationships where the end result is win-win-win . . . the company, its customers, and Avintiv all gain.

In branding, Avintiv may provide a company name, logos, icons, SKUs, a style guide, typography, colors, and with e-commerce or product-based businesses, product development and design. The in-house development/creative team builds out a custom WordPress or Shopify website. The SEO team takes over at that point, providing keywords, creating a 6- to 12-month SEO campaign, and writing the content.

The second “ideal client” is one that has grown in the past and wants to grow today, but can’t seem to “move the needle” in today’s business climate. Avintiv takes these companies through the entire buyer’s journey to clarify who their customers really are . . . and why they buy. Working off data, Avintiv identifies the buyers and price points companies need to target, redesigns the website to fit buyer needs. Jon has found that working with investors and investor firms can be very effective, because investors appreciate that working with Avintiv increases the odds of recouping their investments.

In this interview, Jon talks about the impact of corona virus . . . that he believes it will probably change a lot of the way we do business, that brands will need to pay closer attention to detail, that a “less trusting” population will research more, judge organizations’ actions more during these hard times, and look for good people and good companies with which to do business. Jon says that he has found that, people in quarantine have become more engaged and more focused on providing good to the community. People whose work typically comes with a high price tag are jumping in and offering their services for free. In the same vein, Jon says he has no passion for building something for himself: his passion is for changing other people’s lives. He expects the coming year to be one of unprecedented growth.

Jon’s company can be reached on its website at: www.avintivmedia.com or through Instagram t @AvintivMedia. Jon is best reached on Instagram @JonBoles.

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Can your Infrastructure Support 10X Sales Growth?

Anthony Sarandrea is the founder of Siteflood, a high-revenue agency offering website design, search engine optimization, paid social, paid search management, and analytics and tracking to select clients. Siteflood’s primary focus is on paid media, fast results, and a trackable ROI. 

Originally, a boutique agency with select clients paying a monthly retainer, Siteflood has added a “partnership model,” where Siteflood’s income from a client is tied directly the number of leads it generates or the client’s sales numbers. As these clients grow, the agency’s incentivization grows. This model has enabled Siteflood to scale quickly without needing to add huge numbers of staff or hundreds of clients. The agency garners a daily gross revenue in the six figures – with a staff of around 30 people. 

Does incentivization always work?

Anthony relates the story where one of two client companies, with identical, copy-pasted Google AdWords, made $3 for every $1 net margin spend and the other company claimed they had not “made a dollar of revenue” in 4 months. The difference in results had nothing to do with the generated lead flow. It came from differences in the companies’ internal sales processes, products, and how each company closed deals. Anthony emphasizes that incentivization only works when you are “aligned with the right people.” 

In this interview, Anthony recommends finding clients that work . . . and then finding more of the same kind of clients. He describes the process Siteflood uses to select “the right clients”:

  1. Does the company measure up on an in-depth “vetting process” of its processes, culture, and growth-readiness? Does this relationship look like it will be successful?
  2. Is the company at an inflection point where it is large enough to quickly scale to putting six figures a month into marketing and small enough that it can be coached to improve its internal, customer relationship, and sales processes?
  3. Does the company have the infrastructure to support a ten-fold increase in sales? 

At the beginning, Anthony did it all. He explains how growing his company was an iterative process of replacing himself. He recommends a book, The E-Myth, Why Most Businesses Don’t Work and What to Do About It, available on Amazon at: https://www.amazon.com/Myth-Most-Businesses-Dont-About/dp/0887303625. The book discusses the growth journey in terms of learning new skill sets. Anthony feels the key to sustainable long term growth is to invest in his people – to serve as a facilitator and cheerleader, to provide the right tools and training, to continuously invest in his employees’ wellbeing, and to set them up for success. 

Growth also requires hiring . . . the right people for the right reasons:

  • Hire quickly to replace yourself in jobs you don’t like to do. 
  • For fast results, hire people who can do things better than you can. If you cannot afford someone full time, hire part time. Anthony recommends a site called Clarity.fm https://clarity.fm/ where experts are paid by the minute.
  • Hire for jobs at which you excel, but expect that the person replacing you will only be 70% as good at it as you are. Here, Anthony explains his training process. He says a company owner absolutely has to replace him- or herself if the company is to grow.

Anthony’s interview is rich with ideas. His favorite way to be contacted is through Instagram at: @anthonysarandrea. Or google his name and reach out to him on one of his sites. He loves answering questions.

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The Podcaster Who Gets BIG THINGS Done

Espree Devora got tagged as “the Girl Who Gets it Done” when a friend observed her enthusiasm in tackling a number of business tasks for Tony Hsieh, then head of Zappos. Her passion for content creation began when she was in the 6th grade and her father gave her a video camera. She filmed hundreds of sequences featuring “extreme” sports (skateboarding, motocross) and built the first online action sports social network. In 2012, she attempted to start “We are LA Tech,” featuring local startup founders. She shot 12-episodes, but her enterprise partner refused to edit the material. Dead end.

Two years later, in September 2014, Espree resurrected “We are LA Tech” as a podcast. By October 2014, it topped Apple’s New & Noteworthy. She had learned on YouTube everything she needed to know to run a podcast. In 2015, Espree launched “Women in Tech” in response to the dire “glass ceiling” warnings so prevalent at the time. Her purpose? To “create a positive piece of content whose sole purpose is to show us what’s possible, to expand our belief system, so listeners walk away feeling, “’If she can do it, so can I.’” Much of the theme of her work is what Espree calls “vulnerable leadership.” She wants to share “how people have built their companies and their professions in ways that are really empowering, and what can we learn from them.”

For people interested in getting started in podcasting, Espree recommends the technical equipment and software that she has found to be most helpful, and talks about planning, motivational strategies, and her series of podcasting training videos. 

The first tool in Espree’s podcasting toolbag was an app to help her maintain focus on daily goals, to help her deal with her fear of “ creating this thing, and then her second fear, of creating a thing that didn’t work out.” Tools she uses today include an Audio Technica 2100 microphone and Sound Studio editing software. 

As podcasting has grown, the demand for podcasting training has likewise increased. Espree offers a series of podcasting training videos and teaches everything from large groups to intensive, private, month-long master classes. She recommends continuous outreach to maintain relationships with podcasting audiences, lists a number of tools effective for doing this, and offers tips on techniques and frequency . . . in order to be “un—annoying.” 

Espree had been scheduled as a speaker at this year’s now-cancelled South by Southwest. She has given many presentations there in the past, performed live podcasts, and led meetup groups. She credits her success to being where hard work meets luck and opportunity, a variation of the Roman philosopher Seneca’s “Luck Is What Happens When Preparation Meets Opportunity.”

Espree can be reached on LinkedIn and all social at (Espree Devora), and on Twitter @espreedevora. Her podcasts are on: WeAreLATech.fm http://podcast.wearelatech.com/ and WomeninTech.fm http://podcast.womenintechshow.com/

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A Closet Interview with German Marketeers

Oliver and his brother started Kemweb in 1998, providing coding for other agencies and then livestreaming the Sydney Olympic Games in 2000. Three years ago, frustrated with being a tech-supply company, they took their technical expertise and redefined their business as a full-service digital agency, . offering results-driven web design, online marketing, social media marketing, PR, consulting, podcasting, video production and hosting services.

Today, Kemweb’s 35 developers, art directors, social media experts, and performance team workshop with clients to discover their needs. Kemweb customers range from B2B small and medium sized companies to fast moving consumer goods suppliers. Oliver credits his agency’s success to curiosity and agility, and a change in its approach to potential customers.

A lot of companies will pitch what they can do for customers, without first finding out what the customers need, saying, “We can do this . . . and this . . . and this. What do you want?” Companies may think about “What are we offering? What kind of service?” – but fail to ask, “Why are we doing it? Why should our customers believe the things we’re doing?” 

Finding the answer to those last questions was pivotal in driving the Kemweb’s approach to its own customers. Business consulting is rare in Germany . . . and it’s one of the things that is an intrinsic part of today’s Kemweb process. Oliver suggests that you have to drive a lot deeper than the “easy questions” to discover what actions will best serve a client’s needs.

Kemweb now begins a client business relationship with a workshop/consultation utilizing Strategyzer’s Business Model Canvas and Value Proposition Canvas to map out a business’s knowledge, unsnarl its inherent complexity, and structure a customer-centric solution, with a focus on communicate the messages their clients want to communicate. 

Sean notes that there are cultural differences between businesses in Germany and those in the U.S. For instance: German business owners have greater fear of change and new ways of doing things. Legalities differ as well: Data protection laws are more stringent in the U.S. Sean explains that the linear career process in Germany also affects the way people think. After finishing a German citizens finish their education, they take an apprenticeship, then go to a company and move up the ladder within that company. 

Oliver was supposed to serve as a mentor at South by Southwest 2020 in Austin, TX, but the COVID-19 pandemic changed all that. He believes that, “This is a special period in time (that) forces people to be more courageous and to try out new things.” He feels that it is important for businesses to work together – to help the customers with their businesses and to help them survive. “We have to take care of each other . . . worldwide,” he says

Sean recommends looking at today’s challenges as an opportunity to spend more time with family or to online to learn new skills – just use your time. He is using his time in quarantine to set up an English-language Kemweb landing page.

Oliver and Sean can be reached on the social media channels or on the company’s website at: www.kemweb.de. They have a German-American podcast, Robot Spaceship, at www.robotspaceship.com,. described as an industry-leading, European podcast network with a focus on technology, culture, innovation and living the digital lifestyle. (You may need to understand a little German.)

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