Re-think local ROI

Most businesses don’t give enough thought to marketing, so all of their promotional messages follow conventional (group-think) ‘wisdom.’ We hope to inspire you to think outside of this box.

Most businesses don’t give enough thought to marketing, so all of their promotional messages follow conventional (group-think) ‘wisdom.’ We hope to inspire you to think outside of this box.

Taken from a talk given at our “Brunch & Learn” at Crazy Love Coffee House in November - Re-think local ROI

Which of these marketing personalities resonates with you the most:

  • I only do social media, organically and through paid Facebook promotions.

  • I don't have to bother with marketing - all of my business comes from "word of mouth" and referrals.

  • If we build it, they will come.

  • I only do online marketing like paid search, geotargetting, strategically placed links and perhaps banner ads.

  • We only do special events sponsorships and network through community organizations and collaborative initiatives.

  • We don't "do" print. We can't track it so it must not work.

  • We rely heavily on our e-newsletters and email marketing campaigns. Our open rate is 25%! 

  • I'm too busy to take any more new customers.

  • We can't afford to allocate marketing dollars to "brand-building" advertising - we need customers NOW.

Each of us perhaps could choose two or three of these statements to sum up our marketing philosophy -- and each of us is certain our way is the best way for us. And most of us don't have time to think too much about marketing because we're busy running our businesses and can't justify hiring someone to do it. 

Digital marketing is now the equivalent of shouting into a hurricane.
— Sam Slaughter, Founder, Lighthouse Creative Group.

Re-thinking local ROI

Marketers (advertisers) have to embrace an integrated content marketing approach. What’s funny is that print, once the old-fashioned content marketing staple, can now actually feel unique—a way to break thought the digital advertising clutter.

  • ONLINE great for event marketing, entertainment, news, numbers, eyeballs, coupons, sales — How do you personally (not when doing business) interact with banner ads, strategically placed links, magic ads (lol) or paid search? Assume that’s how your customers respond to online advertising, too.

  • SOCIAL MEDIA is (FB, IG, Tw, P) great for brand likability, brand personality, brand fans —- How do you personally (not when doing business) interact with local businesses on social media? Assume that’s how your customers respond to social media marketing, too.

  • PRINT (brochures, magazines, newspapers/press releases, postcards, business cards, table tens, flyers) s great for deeper relationship building, trust, brand enhancement, inspiring long-term customers (because they know you and your story and are more connected to you), telling stories, creating visuals in the minds of consumers, implying credibility.

  • EMAIL marketing is great for nothing. Ha ha ha, no… I’m just joking (sort of) … I do use email marketing, of course, and it serves it’s purpose. How do you personally interact with local businesses when you receive their mass email newsletters or updates? Assume that’s how your customers respond to social media marketing, too. MY rule is “more than once a month is way too much, and even then we can assume 80% will delete, unread.

The Harvard Business Review found (in this piece) that ad campaigns with originality and high artistic merit delivered double the impact on sales. They concluded businesses should redirect a significant portion of their budgets to develop more creative ad campaigns, spend less on buying into the false security of number of impressions and clicks.

As a local business owner, how can we re-evaluate the meaning of ROI, be intellectually honest with ourselves and admit relying solely on analytics misses the all-important emotional connection our messages can make with our customers.

The majority of us is drawn to and responds to interesting, thought-provoking and creative messages. We remember those things which resonate with our hearts and minds. It’s ironic that as we spend more and more time on our screens, we are sub-consciously starving for information with substance and inspiration. Right?

So why in the world when it comes to our local businesses do we think consumers are any different? Sorry to break it to all of you wise, business owners, but we are not unique. Our customers are just like us. They’re not mindless - especially the media savvy Under 40s. They know they’re being marketed to all day long. But like us, they are okay with it as long as it provides something interesting. Otherwise, ‘delete.’


Re-think local ROI

Roswell Magazine held it’s Fall “Brunch and Learn” at Crazy Love Coffee House on November 12, 2018. The topic was “RETHINKING LOCAL ROI”

We respond to interesting, thought-provoking messages; but we seem to think our customers and prospects don’t? Why do we tell ourselves search marketing, analytics, mass email “open rates,” likes, tags and geo-targeting is the only way to achieve ROI. Some even rely entirely on digital or social media, which I think it a mistake.

Marketers who buy into the mistaken notion that print is dead and buried are doing themselves a disservice and missing out on a very real and, ironically, novel way to connect with their target audience.”
Jackie List, Media Planet

Brunch & Learn

NOVEMBER 12, 2018 - Crazy Love Coffee House

Certainly, what digital data can do today is truly remarkable, providing us helpful demographics about our customers so we can customize our messages and target delivery with precision, follow prospects wherever they click and strategically place banner ads or links on every screen they then encounter for weeks.

Lately, I’ve be frustrated with some marketers who justify their jobs by providing numbers of impressions, clicks and views, rather than being intellectually honest that true ROI arises from much more than math. I try to get them to rethink the already outdated paradigm that because paid search and impressions numbers can be proven through analytics then that automatically must translate into ROI, right?

Some are naturally gifted at interpreting human behavior and have cleverly crafted marketing strategies that incorporate the best of print, digital, social and online in such an effective way, we want to know how they do it? What is their magic marketing formula?


Whether he knows it or not, it’s clear to me local business owner, Ryan Pernice, gets this - the need for an integrated marketing approach. He doesn’t appear to solely rely on numbers, likes and tags; rather he takes a holistic approach to his local marketing, which is quite rare on the local, small business level: through a mix of strategic print advertising, active and engaged social media efforts, public relations and media relationships, he appears to have a marketing machine behind his restaurant group we can all envy.

From a distance, other local business owners might think he simply must have a huge marketing budget. While maybe he does or he doesn’t (I don’t know?), he surely gets a lot more advertising and marketing than he pays for. Engaging and supporting local media (radio, tv, magazines, newspapers, blogs, websites) naturally makes local media “like” you (lol) more - we promote Ryan anytime we can - we tag him all the time, make a point to write about him and his upcoming events, even throw in free advertising in our other magazines when we need a filler (he doesn’t even know we do this). And I’d bet the other local media outlets he supports does the same thing.

Additionally, Ryan appears to not forget the “human connection” factor. I suspect he pays little ‘life-or-death’ vital (obsessed, adjusting his marketing every few weeks because the numbers don’t add up) attention to “analytics,” other than to give him a general sense of momentum in his marketing. Naturally intuitive, I expect it’s a little easier for him than for most to rely on the big picture and not solely on the numbers.


In my analysis of Ryan’s local marketing, he uses local paid print advertising in a deliberate and targeted way - he realizes his customers now come from five or ten miles away, so he stopped trying to draw customers to Roswell and focused on the people who already live in Roswell and are most likely to dine out at Table and Main or Osteria Mattone. He launched a long-term, consistent advertising campaign with Roswell Magazine, created a brand-appropriate ad design and then let it run. Can he track the number of people who ate at his restaurant because of his ad in Roswell magazine. Nope. So, why does he still do it? Because he understands there is more to marketing than just knowing the numbers. He doesn’t need to give himself a false sense of security by insisting on “seeing” and “knowing” the numbers.

RYAN PERNICE was kind enough to take time this morning to give us his general thoughts, ideas and observations, an overview of his marketing philosophy and messages, as well as his suggestions for any type of local business’ marketing plans.



Regina’s Conclusion:

Memory, impressions, motivation to action: surely these arise from more than math. In the real world, we remember best that which resonates with our heart and understanding.

That time in third grade when Joe Schmoe looked at me in a way no guy had looked at me before. The first time I saw and heard Michael Jackson’s “Thriller” on MTV. The birth of my two children.

No repetition is needed for the moments that truly move us or the memories that can change us forever. We’re losing something important in this era of algorithms and analytics, of impressions, click-throughs, and conversions. We’re losing sight of the importance of creativity, the significance of talent, and the value of art. What is the worth of a great designer? A great writer? A talented actor? How many banner ad impressions can one gifted photographer or talented writer replace?

When a message is truly compelling, when it grips the imagination and quickens the heart, when it opens the poetic places within us… then we get more for so much less. We don’t have to follow our audience across all their screens. They may even come to us, asking us, please, tell me that story again.

This is the value of creativity, of talent, of unique personalities and voices, of basically average humanity. When we create a message that moves people, the math matters less and the meaning matters more.

There’s an old adage that says you never get a second chance to make a first impression. But if that first impression inspires enough hearts to sing, one may be all you ever need.