Driving the Customer Journey through a Segmented Database

Caren Carrasco is Senior Partner at Benjamin David Group, a 4-year-old marketing consultancy that excels at digital marketing – in particular, website creation, branding, content strategy, social media, email marketing, and paid media. Benjamin David group works with a wide range of clients, from startups focused on getting their Series A, others with their first infusion of venture capital, to larger, more mature corporations like Cirque du Soleil. The objective? To help their clients get fast, profitable growth. 

Many clients are B2B. Benjamin David Group provides strategy, with a focus on figuring out how to get traction fast, and supplies the team to make it happen – either by handing off the strategic plan to the client’s team or by facilitating the hiring of an appropriate team. “It doesn’t make sense to pay a consultant to execute,” Caren says, except maybe at the very beginning when the marketing structure is not yet established. To maintain close contact, at least one member of Caren’s agency will work in-office at the client’s site.

Except COVID-19 has changed things up. Caren explains how BDG is handling the imposed transition to virtual, the continued importance of weekly contact with their clients, the impact of an established and clear cut workflow, and why detailed meeting documentation is especially critical at this time. 

Caren started her career in loyalty and email marketing, and worked in a variety of industries. At Luxury Retreats, a villa rental company headquartered in Montreal, she drove customer journeys, learned “fast and agile” marketing, and worked closely with Salesforce. Salesforce invited her and her Luxury Retreat co-worker, Benjamin, to speak at Connections 2014 on building effective client life-cycle programs, engagement strategies, and campaign automation. Realizing the depth of their knowledge, Ben and Caren decided to form a marketing consultancy, and set up their first office . . . in a local Starbucks.

(This year, Salesforce Connections 2020, originally scheduled in Chicago for May 4 through May 6, will be a virtual experience.)

In this interview, Caren introduces a powerful market targeting tool, RFM database segmentation. RFM identifies different buyer groups so that marketers can apply group-specific strategies and optimize repeat business. RFM is an acronym for recency, frequency, and monetary – where recency is how recently the buyer made a purchase; frequency is the number of times the buyer has purchased; and monetary is the dollar value of the purchase. Each category of buyer type needs to be approached in a way congruent with their buying history.

Caren admits that BDG does not provide all the services a client might need. Instead, they work with a network of trusted partners, many of them curated through networking at industry events. Over the past 4 years, the agency has actually invested in 8 of its clients, through either sweat equity or capital investment. This type of partnering is something BDG would like to further explore since a client’s success then becomes BDG’s success. 

Caren and Ben can be reached on the company website at: www.benjamin-david.com or on LinkedIn.

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It’s All About Relationships

Carlos Gil is CEO of Gil Media, a digital media company that specializes in video production, influencer marketing, social media community management, talent management, and content marketing. Carlos is a first generation Latino marketing executive, award-winning Snapchat storyteller, and author of a recent bestseller: “The End of Marketing: Humanizing Your Brand in the Age of Social Media and AI,” available on Amazon. He presents bilingual keynotes at major marketing industry events.

In this interview, Carlos reviews his unconventional path to success, the importance of passion, and the long-term humanizing person to person linkage that creates business opportunities. There are no shortcuts. He believes the strength of a company is in its employees. He hopes his book will help companies future-proof their brands and their businesses for the long term.

In 2008, Carlos lost his job in the financial industry – the same day that he joined LinkedIn. A couple of days later, he started an online LinkedIn group job board, JobsDirectUSA.com., and promoted awareness through social media (which was in its infancy). He learned how to build relationships through social media and enabled thousands of mid- to senior-level career professionals to find jobs. Harvard Business Review, Inc. Magazine, Mashable, Social Media Examiner and numerous trade publications featured his work with this startup. In 2010, Fast Company recognized him as one of the Top 50 “Most Influential People Online”.

Carlos worked for a couple of grocery stores chains, developing their social media platforms, before joining LinkedIn to run social media for their Sales Solution business unit. His personal brand grew as he was repeatedly tapped to speak at marketing industry conferences. 

Carlos took one final corporate job with BMC Software because he wanted the opportunity to work with Nick Utton. Used to battling the status quo in highly-structured hierarchies, Carlos had been frustrated by bureaucratic foot-dragging when he tried to get things done. Nick taught Carlos to “Fail fast, learn from that failure, and keep moving forward to what does work.” Carlos says that it is important, wherever you are in your career, that you have a leader who really supports you.

Today? A best selling book . . . A résumé showing over a decade of experience running digital and social media marketing for enterprise brands . . . A highly-successful agency working with an amazing roster of enterprise clients . . . Worldwide speaking engagements. For a man who dropped out of high school, got his GED, and jumped into an MBA program at age 30, Carlos has far exceeded expectations. He credits getting laid off in 2008 as the springboard for what has become an amazing track record of accomplishments. In the face of Covid-19, Carlos is one more entrepreneur re-inventing himself for these challenging times.

For those who have questions, Carlos can be reached at @carlosgil83 on Twitter and on Instagram. (Just let him know you heard him on Rob’s podcast), on LinkedIn, or by email . . . at carlos@gilmedia.co. To view Carlos interviewing his mentor, Nick Utton, (9/25/2018, topic  “How to Sell to a CMO and Marketing Truths with Nick Utton.”), see this link: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ql733a53xa0

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Marketing Thought Leader Explores Covid-19 Impact on the Future of Marketing

Mathew Sweezey is the Director of Market Strategy for Salesforce, a company best-known for providing and supporting a cloud-based, cross-departmental customer-relationship-management solution. Salesforce has expanded its offerings to include a broad range of integrated service, marketing, sales, front end, and back end business software. Mathew is an award-winning marketer, podcast host, technology pioneer who writes about consumer behavior, media theory, and new marketing strategies. His publishing credits include AdAge, Brand Quarterly, VentureBeat, Forbes, The Observer, and The Economist. 

Twelve years ago, Mathew started a marketing technology company that provided online lead generation. This failed experiment provided him with a valuable education. He joined another startup, Pardot, and initiated its thought-leadership practice. Like a string of ever small fishes being consumed by ever bigger fishes, ExactTarget acquired Pardot and then SalesForce acquired ExactTarget, with Mathew maintaining his ever-expanding role as each-organization’s marketing thought leader – exploring the future of marketing. What he learns is communicated internally to guide company direction, externally to customers to help them “better their businesses,” and even worldwide to conference attendees in his keynote presentations.

Mathew is the author of “Marketing Automation for Dummies: (2014) and, just-released this year, “The Context Marketing Revolution: How to Motivate Buyers in the Age of Infinite Media” (Harvard Business Press). Mathew started writing this book long before the world heard of Covid-19. As companies reel from the overnight environmental changes wrought by this virus, his message is acutely “on target” . . . suddenly the whole world has had to figure out a new way to interact. In this interview, he discusses the changes marketers will need to make to meet the challenges of a “changed environment.” 

Mathew spent 5 years researching over 20,000 global consumers and over 20,000 brands and then looked at the general marketplace. He reminds us that, when we have a specific environment, we play a game that fits that environment. When the environment changes, the game, likewise, must change. 

Mathew says that today’s consumers produce the largest amount of noise (their devices are second). He believes the consumer now controls the environment, which changes marketing’s requirements dramatically. Marketing is no longer just a message . . . it is an experience. Purchases now are not just a single “click-here-and-buy decision,” but rather a process of guiding a customer along a curated journey. To “cut through the noise,” companies will need to be agile, distribute marketing functions throughout the organization, build strong relationships with their customers, master internal alignment, continue to invest in strategy, and experiment and adapt rapidly. 

From all this research, Mathew believes he has identified the key to the success of today’s high-performance marketing organizations . . . executive buy-in to this “new idea of marketing.” With the Covid-19 challenge, he would like to help people understand what we should be thinking about, how we plan a road for recovery, and how, specifically, we deliver moving forward. Context, he says, is a “significant part of what consumers are going to demand.”

The Salesforce website is:  https://www.salesforce.com/. Mathew can be reached on Twitter at: @msweezey. To schedule time to talk with him one-on-on-one, reach out to him on LinkedIn. “The Context Marketing Revolution: How to Motivate Buyers in the Age of Infinite Media,” is available on Amazon.

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Jessica Rhodes, Founder and Co-owner of Interview Connections (Rhode Island)

Jessica Rhodes is Founder and Co-owner of Interview Connections, the first and leading podcast booking agency. The beginning? Jessica started working from home as a virtual assistant, booking her father on podcasts, so he could get exposure to his target audience and amplify his brand . . . without a lot of travel. Then added companies.

While many of her clients think they would like to be on “big-name” podcasts, Jessica feels it is important for them to be strategic about where they “spend their time” and about getting on the right shows. Rather than using a “shotgun” approach, entrepreneurs will be far better served if they can get on shows where they will be addressing 500 of their best potential clients. Most of her bookings are for mid-range shows . . . with a few hundred up to a thousand super-targeted listeners.

Jessica’s co-owner, Margy Feldhuhn, started at Interview Connections as a contractor in 2016 and hired on as the first employee in 2017. A year later, on the occasion of Margy’s first annual review, Jessica made her a co-owner. The “fit” was that good. The company hit its first 7-figure year in 2019.

Jessica notes that podcasts are not an effective marketing strategy if they are intermittent. Podcast interviews need be part of long-term marketing strategy – done with consistency and momentum. Jessica recommends doing an interview a week, 4 weeks a month, year over year. 

Advantages of podcasting: 

  • Podcasts will “live” indefinitely – as long as people continue to search for what you teach.
  • Backlinks between the websites of interviewers and interviewees boost SEO rankings. 
  • Interviews increase a podcast guest’s credibility and help establish him or her as a leading expert.
  • Podcasts attract qualified leads in a way very different from other marketing strategies

Effective podcasting is not about the ego. It’s really about “relationship-building and getting in front of the right audiences.”

Jessica believes it is very important to have clear, written systems in place before you hire someone for a new position. it’s easy to train and onboard them. Interview Connections has a full-time staff of employees. Jessica believes the full-time staff is cheaper because contractors:

  • Will constantly demand more money as they gain the skills you teach them
  • Leave for another job or for vacation at will, providing no consistency for your clients
  • Take the skills you taught them to your competition. 

Podcasting is growing every year. Jessica recommends people guest on podcasts before they “start their own show,” just to figure out where your podcast fits in.

Jessica can be reached on her agency’s website at: https://interviewconnections.com/ or by texting the word “GROUP” to 38470. You will receive a link to Interview Connections’ free Facebook group, Guest Expert Profit Lab.

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Free Money: How to Pay Your Agency’s Team with Federal Stimulus Dollars

It sounds too good be be true, but there’s really no catch to using the Payroll Protection Plan Program forgivable loan program to keep your Marketing Agency team in place and pay the rent (for free).


Jason Blumer is an expert in the business of Marketing Agencies, Accounting, Taxes, and more, and is here to answer the key questions of how you can use the CARES act to solidify your business in the midst of Coronavirus uncertainty.


Additional Resources:

How to Clean Up a Bad (Digital) Reputation

Jason Ciment, is CEO of GetVisible, a consultancy and digital agency that builds websites, drives traffic to websites through search engines and social media channels, and provides digital reputation management services. 

Most of the agency’s 10 employees started their careers as professionals working in businesses other than marketing. Jason, himself, started as a CPA/real estate specialist in a big accounting firm. He went back to school to study law, worked a summer with a large clothing factory in Sri Lanka, and spent time in the NYC rag trade before he finished his law degree. What then?

Time to start a business. 

Jason launched Magmall, an ecommerce business selling magazine subscriptions, in 1997, and dug into pre-Google search engine optimization. (Early Google became one of his clients.) Over the years, GetVisible added a new skillset every couple of years: service business website development, pay-per-click ads, social media services, reputation management, LinkedIn-associated services, and email marketing. Each time the company decided to offer a new service, it hired someone who already had the needed expertise and introduced them to the organization’s philosophy and its Assessment Toolbox Methodology, a means of discovering a client’s customers and where on the digital landscape they are to be found. 

Jason admits that the company is relatively small. Leveraging limited assets is important. A big question and challenge is always: How can they stretch a dollar and produce a higher ROI with a lower cost? 

A few innovations . . .

  • GetVisible has never had a sales force. Jason feels that salespeople focus on sales; he wants to focus on client outcomes. 
  • GetVisible uses a what Jason refers to a “transparent contract,” a flat fee, six-month contract that, rather than tallying up a total of separate service, targets producing a client’s desired results and itemizes how the client’s money has been allocated. 
  • The agency implemented a simplified wireframe process to increase WordPress site development efficiency, promote intra-page symmetry, and get early client involvement and buy-in. 

Jason believes a website needs to answer 3 questions: : What is it that you do? Who do you do it for? Why are you better than anyone else?

Get Visible builds healthy online branded Google and Bing search reputations for its clients. But, what can be done when a company gets damaging listings, bad news, or bad reviews? 

There’s the clean way and the not-so-clean way of removing someone’s “bad news” from the internet. The “not clean” way is to actually try erase the bad thing that is damaging a client’s website, not an easy thing to do. The clean way? GetVisible creates a flood of “good news” content for its clients. This more current information pushes the bad news down the page. Good news won’t make “the bad stuff” disappear completely, but the bad stuff will become obsolete and irrelevant. 

Jason can be contacted on his company’s website at GetVisible.com, or through his LinkedIn profile, where those interested can sign up for his “secret newsletter.” His first book, I Need More Clients: Digital Marketing Strategies That Grow Your Business (Amazon, 2016), has straight five star reviews. 

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Good Copy that Checks-Off Google Boxes

Blake Akers is the owner of Webology, a digital marketing agency that started by “knocking on the doors” of local small and mid-size businesses. The company focuses on using Google for organic and paid search, providing scientific SEO, testing, and data analysis on the organic side and split testing ad campaigns within paid search.

Today, the agency takes its focused expertise and works regional verticals, e.g. roofing and niche legal firms – companies that typically have a high cost per click and a high per lead value . . . companies where Webology, because of its tight industry focus, knows the business.

Webology’s intention is to work exclusively with one company in a vertical in a geographic market. Blake claims that, if you know how to rank a local roofing company website, you get a lot of leads on the search engine results page (SERP) – those from organic search and those from the Maps Pack (3-pack). The Maps Pack is the group of up to 3 businesses that appear in a box at the top of the page, after the advertisements. The Maps Pack is a valuable piece of real estate . . . studies suggest if a the SERP has a local pack, that local pack will get the majority of the clicks, but the Maps Pack alone will get over 40 percent of the total clicks.

How did Blake get Webology so well-launched in such a short period of time (3 years)?


Blake researched SEO to figure out what it took to rank a website locally and get leads for small- to mid-size businesses. . . starting with his company. He asked some critical questions:

How do we write really, really good copy that sells, but also checks off all the boxes in regards to competitor averages?

How do we enhance a page for users and still fit the averages that Google is looking for?

He started getting some answers when he reviewed everyone else’s “best practices.” But, the true answers did not come to light until after he dove deep into data science, assessed competitor averages, and identified and implemented advanced SEO strategies. This knowledge gave him the tools to help his own company grow . . . and a product he could sell to his clients. He has used his own company website a number of times to beta-test new ideas that later get rolled out to customers.

If there is one thing he would change back at the start, Blake says he would have gone after more client reviews and worked even harder at building up his brand. Today, he is a lot more proactive about reaching out to his clients and interviewing them to get those valuable endorsements.

To contact Blake, visit his company’s website at: https://webology.io/, email him directly at: blake@webology.io., or ask general questions at: info@webology.io.


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Asking the Right Questions

Melissa DiGianfilippo, Co-founder and President of Public Relations, Serendipit Consulting, Scottsdale, AZ

Melissa DiGianfilippo is Co-founder and President of Public Relations for Serendipit Consulting, a full-service marketing, PR, and creative agency.

In this interview she talks about the questions she asks to suss out what each client truly needs – as opposed to what they think they need: What’s the goal? Is it storytelling? Is it brand awareness? What’s unique about the brand? Does the company have sales goals? What Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) are important? Once needs are established, what services does a client need? Media relations? Digital marketing? Zocial media? Content creation? Do they need everything?

Melissa believes that “all marketing tactics are moving in the direction of measurability.” Serendipit customizes its PR services: strategizing placement timing and geography. Melissa explains that they are “looking for a lift in traffic” at the time a TV segment airs and afterward. TV segments, difficult to track in themselves, are reposted and shared on social media. Trackable links help customers to understand the value of PR placement and the role of social amplification in strengthening placement impacts. Did the placement drive a direct increase in any of the tracked KPIs?

Melissa believes thought leadership and subject matter expertise are the most powerful kind of PR. If one thought leader in an organization is good, “more than one” can highlight a company’s diversity. Being featured on a consistent basis – in national broadcast or news or print, local markets, and industry-related publications – and talking about trends, forecasting, and your personal story may not produce immediate results. But this kind of exposure will, over time, drive influence for your brand, establish you as a credible thought leader, and boost KPI results.

Melissa credits Entrepreneur Organization with contributing to her company’s success. After 11 years in business, Serendipit has over $4 million in annual revenue, high profitability, 30 employees, and a culture she describes as “enviable.”

Melissa is candid about her company’s mistakes. A few years back, when the company decided it wanted to go to “the next level,” they hired an expensive “expert” to lead the charge. BIG MISTAKE. Nine months of BIG MISTAKE. Melissa says that owners need to know that they don’t need to hire a high-ticket “name” to pull an organization up. Employees have the capability, within themselves, to grow their skills and ramp up an organization. A structured commission program has proven to be win-win . . . for employees, for clients, for business partners, and for the agency.

Another mistake? Melissa and Co-founder, Alexis Krisay, love business development. Melissa warns that when agency owners sell to customers, they may tend to sell themselves and not their agencies. Which is what Melissa and Alexis did. Then, when the “unknown” Serendipit team started working these projects, clients were not happy. Weren’t Melissa and Alexis supposed to be leading the initiative? Today, Melissa and Alexis bring the teams in early during the sales process.

Melissa can be found on her company’s marketing-education-content-rich website at: www.serendipitconsulting.com, by following @serendipit on Instagram (or for Melissa’s longform stories, @melissadflip on Instagram), or on LinkedIn.



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Franchise! How Small, Local Business becomes Big Business

Location 3, is a digital marketing agency that “delivers enterprise-level strategy with local market activation. In its 20th year in business, the Google-Analytics Certified agency works primarily with franchisors to understand their business objectives and facilitate enterprise strategy alignment and with individual franchisees, to promote hyper-local-level marketing activation. Services include business listing management, SEO, data and analytics, and driving new revenue through paid search, paid social, local programmatic buys – and anything else that makes sense for boosting local level revenue.

How big is the franchise market? Alex notes that over 50% of all US retail locations are part of a franchise organization. Only about 30% of the approximately 750,000 franchise locations in this country are in fast food/casual dining. Almost anything, Alex explains, can use the franchise model. Location 3 focuses less on fast food and more on services or franchise systems with measurably higher customer lifetime values.

In this interview, Alex explains how Digital marketing at the local level is interesting, but also complicated. Unlike direct mail, where someone can walk into a store with a traceable coupon, programmatic vendors (e.g., Google and Facebook) can claim, based on their technology, that someone saw or engaged with your ad or website on their platform, and ended up in your location. When promotions are on multiple platforms, how does one tell which one actually drove the store visit? And how should the proportion of spend be tweaked to maximize revenue growth? To facilitate optimal decisions, Location 3 provides franchisees with full turnkey campaigns across a broad variety of platforms, tracks return on ad spend, and shares that information with it clients with full transparency.

Location 3 developed a franchisee-facing software platform, LOCALACT, which serves as a hub of local digital data. Franchisees can use this tool to see their local page analytics, how their local Google My Business is performing, and where their traffic is coming from; respond to reviews; and buy additional media.

Alex can be reached on his company’s website at: https://location3.com/, on YouTube, or at 820 16th St. Suite 300, Denver, CO 80202.

You can always check out our website. We’re very active. We have a pretty active YouTube account. We put up some video content. We go to pretty much every franchise tradeshow that’s out there, so if you’re in the franchise space and we haven’t met you, I’m sure we will soon. Very active in that community, the tradeshow community. If you’re ever in Denver, we’re right on 16th Street Mall right downtown.

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Courting Clients with Marketing Strategy Workshops

Ten years ago, when the real estate bubble finally burst, Jeff Pulvino closed his decade-old real estate investment company and sweated through the “Now What?” people face when they find themselves out of a job. Social marketing was in its infancy. Jeff pivoted his company, and, using the strengths of its internal marketing department, jumped into Facebook marketing, and, ultimately, built a full-service digital marketing agency. It was not an easy climb.

Eight years into agency life, Jeff realized that, without a strategic plan, the agency was just “marketing in the dark,” and often failing to deliver what customers wanted and expected – a specific goal had never been communicated. Today, most of their 4- to 5- year-long client relationships start with a marketing strategy workshop, a 30-day, low-level engagement where the parties can mutually get to know each other, discuss objectives and strategies in depth, and determine if there is a “fit.”

Jeff explains that “most entrepreneurs, business owners, and established businesses come . . . for marketing, but they have no real defined marketing strategy.” As an additional challenge, these clients often come to Boost when declining sales have left them strapped for cash. They may know the results they want . . . and desperately need to survive. They may even by hyper-focused on some particular technology, but often fail to have an understanding of realistic timelines.

Boost Media Group takes a step back, looks at the realities of cash flows, calculates how long it will take to generate a return on investment, and then crafts programs that address a client’s current cash needs and long-term growth objectives. Starting with this workshop session has exponentially increased Boot’s close rate and its ability to attract new customers. One of Boost Media Group’s sub-brands, Fitness Media, helps “big name clients” in the fitness industry develop their funnels and monetize their brands.

In this interview, Jeff identifies some of Boost’s keys to success. In the early years of the agency, he focused on sales. Over time, he has learned that it is not about how much the agency sells . . . it’s more important to make sure clients are a good fit. He credits having a robust technology stack of project management tools, templates, and proven processes . . . and iteratively improving those processes to meet the needs of his employees, clients, and his company . . . to being able to consistently deliver great results.

Boost recently acquired another agency, SearcherMagnet, which is “highly specialized in direct response lead acquisition.” Jeff says that acquiring another company brought with it experienced, high-level, passionate team members that Boost never would have been able to hire. He looks forward to expanding more this way in the future.

Jeff can be reached on his company’s website at: https://boostmediagroup.com/, by phone, on Live Chat, or by filling out a Contact Us form.

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