How I take into consideration advertising

I thought I let you get on my mind so you can see how I feel about marketing.

The way I strategically plan to build my own business.

And what you're reading next is likely to come as a shock as I don't see marketing the way you read it online.

Before I dive in, I want to give you a little bit of context.

My company is NP Digital. It's a digital marketing agency where we help businesses of all sizes grow.

That's what I'm focusing my marketing efforts on … to grow NP Digital.

Digital marketing only gets you so far

While I'm a marketer, I don't think marketing alone builds a massive company or brand.

Think of it this way: The number of people who search for the term “shoes” is roughly 1,220,000 per month in the US alone.

But Nike sells more shoes each year than they do in the US, and they're not the only shoe company out there.

They sell 780 million pairs of shoes worldwide every year.

How can that be?

People don't always “look” for what they're looking for.

When I buy shoes I usually go straight to Nike because I am familiar with their brand and products. I don't think I've ever Googled for shoes.

The same goes for ads. Yes, I've been shown ads for shoes on Facebook and Google, but I've never bought a shoe.

That doesn't mean marketing or SEO won't work. All of these will help you build a brand on what is causing the most purchases.

Here's an interesting statistic you might not know … 59% of people prefer to buy products from brands they are familiar with.

This is why there are so many more shoe sales worldwide than searches. It is estimated that 14.5 to 19 billion shoes are bought each year, but searching online doesn't even make up 1/20 of that number.

And when you look at Nike's brand, they generate more searches each month than people just typing in the word "shoes".

It's roughly 5 to 1 … for every person who types "shoes" on google, type 5 "nike".

That's the power to build a brand.

Time solves all problems

Because you are here, you probably know something about marketing, and you may even be an expert on it.

But let me ask this question … have you heard of the following brands?

  • Isobars
  • Wunderman Thompson
  • Enormously
  • Performics
  • Gray

These are all advertising agencies with thousands of employees. Still, while familiar with marketing, most of us have never heard of it.

And that doesn't mean they don't have a small brand, but rather a big brand in a very specific target group segment.

And that audience is your ideal customer. ”If you're a large company that can spend $ 25,000,000 or more on marketing each year, you are probably familiar with these companies.

So the key is not just building a big brand like Nike, but building a big brand with your target audience.

Of course, if your product or service is targeting everyone, as Nike does, you want to develop something that everyone knows.

You will also find that your brand will grow naturally over time.

While you've probably never heard of the above ad agencies, their brands got big by just being in business enough years.

Just like Nike.

Sure, Nike spends over $ 3 billion on ads, but what really helps is that it's been around since 1964.

Let's break down what time really means

I thought it would be fun to share with you some figures about the power of time.

As mentioned earlier, I am focused on growing my business, NP Digital. It is currently in its fourth year in business.

This is not a long time in the grand scheme of things, but it is something.

But here's what's cool when we started the first year. All of our business was generated through SEO, content marketing and social media marketing.

These were the channels we used to generate sales.

We still use these channels to this day, but now 27% of our sales come from word of mouth, referrals, and brand awareness.

It's not the largest percentage, but just imagine what happens when you've been in business for 20 or even 10 years. This is a massive compounding effect provided you offer a good product or service.

So if you really want to increase your sales, all you have to do is be patient and keep doing a good job and of course doing good marketing as it will fuel natural growth.

So what's your plan, Neil?

I already spend a lot of time marketing, but I'm doubling down in ways you probably couldn't have guessed.

  • More social media – I now produce content for social media on a daily basis (nothing revolutionary here, but it brings out the brand more).
  • Maintain SEO – even though I'm big on SEO … you can only rank for so many keywords. I've been doing it long enough where it's mostly in maintenance mode.
  • Podcasting – have been doing this for years. Over a million downloads a month on average. Podcasting hasn't really caught on because it's not widely used yet.
  • Speaking at conferences – I'll speak again towards the end of the year. You can't touch as many people as you can through content marketing, but at conferences, people pay hundreds, if not thousands of dollars for a ticket so they are the right audience.

But what else?

These marketing tactics are just the standard tactics that we all know and use. I'm now starting to look for channels that we take for granted …

  • Television advertising – Within 30 days, TV ads will appear on stock channels such as Bloomberg and CNBC. Many of the people who watch these channels are my ideal audience. It's unconventional, my competition won't touch it because of the poor ROI, but I believe television is one of the best channels if you want to build a massive brand. Plus, it's not much more expensive than Facebook.
  • Awards – We have already received many awards for our work. We will continue to apply for more. It hasn't propelled a business yet, but I think it's great for branding in the long run.
  • PR – we hired a PR agency last month. You recently interviewed me on CNBC. It only drove 7 visitors, but it's a start. The ultimate goal is to be interviewed regularly on television.
  • Research company – There is an age-old saying in the business world: "You won't get fired for buying IBM." In the marketing world, getting started with Forrester and Gartner can have a similar effect. It takes a long time and a lot of money to get in, but in the long run you generate leads from large corporations. When they reach out to Forrester and Gartner to figure out which marketing agencies to hire.

I'll add more to the mix as we grow. Right now it's a lot of work just adding the 4 new channels to the mix above.

And compared to the digital channels I started with, I bet the new additions don't have such a high conversion rate or even such a high return on investment.

But that's fine. The goal is to build a big business and sometimes you have to invest even when there is no ROI because you know that building a brand with your ideal audience will pay off in the long run.


Most of the marketers I know of focus on ROI. For every dollar they spend, they want to make 2 or even 3.

I see things differently. I focus on building a brand and a reputation. While it doesn't translate directly into ROI, I believe it can help you become a leader in your industry.

And if you can become a leader, the numbers will eventually work out, but of course it's a gamble.

That's the same reason I got into blogging in 2005 when others weren't ready. I believed that eventually, if you educated and helped others, it would pay off. But for the first 8 years I was in the hole and couldn't show any return.

I'm currently doing something similar with the production of videos for YouTube, Instagram, LinkedIn, Facebook and Twitter. But in the long run, I believe it will pay off.

The real question now is, are you ready to play the long game and invest where others are unwilling?

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