For the longest time, I listened strictly to music and/or sat in silence while I worked. In my free time I produce music, so saying I am a music lover would be somewhat of an understatement.
Two months ago, a life-changing transformation took place. I became the father of a beautiful 6 week old fur-baby, Lilly.
Recently Lilly decided to snack on my speaker cables (sweet angel) and before I took the time to replace them, I decided to try listening to entrepreneurial focused, small business podcasts from my computer speakers, as it had been a couple years since I made a habit of listening to The Art of Charm during my morning commute. I haven’t looked back.
The cables have since been replaced and I have (somewhat) puppy-proofed my speaker arrangement, but I have not switched back to music. Once again, I’ve found myself entranced in the ocean of amazing podcasts available at our modern-day fingertips.
As a small business owner & entrepreneur myself, I have re-discovered the value to be found in listening to great podcasts including motivation, inspiration, productivity tips, organization, communication, health & science breakthroughs, and much more. Plus, sometimes it’s nice to switch things up from strictly discussing small business web design & digital business development.
Some of my favorite business (& other) podcasts are linked below. (Say, ‘thank you, Lilly!’)
If you have other small business podcasts you enjoy listening to, please feel free to share in the comments below.
Most of these are all safe for work, except for the Joe Rogan Experience. This is likely the least ‘business focused’ of all of the podcasts below, but there are also some very entertaining episodes to be explored. If it’s not your cup of tea, skip it and check out the rest.
Tony Robbins Podcast
It’s hard to listen to Tony Robbins and not be inspired.
One of my personal life influences / motivators.
One of my favorite authors.
Language is safe for work.
Topics include – Motivation, Inspiration, Business, Confidence, Organization, Goals, etc…
Tony Robbins is an entrepreneur, best-selling author, philanthropist and the nation’s #1 Life and Business Strategist. A recognized authority on the psychology of leadership, negotiations and organizational turnaround, he has served as an advisor to leaders around the world for more than 38 years. Author of five internationally bestselling books, including the recent New York Times #1 best-seller MONEY: MASTER THE GAME, Mr. Robbins has empowered more than 50 million people from 100 countries through his audio, video and life training programs. He created the #1 personal and professional development program of all time, and more than 4 million people have attended his live seminars.
The James Altucher Show
Very Informative & Entertaining.
One of my personal-favorite authors.
Occasional strong language but not overbearing.
Topics – Wide range including: Business, Writing, Marketing, Sales, Entrepreneurship, Misc. Other Topics
About: http://www.jamesaltucher.com/about/ (Full description is an entire interview)
James Altucher hosts various guests on each episode of his podcasts. Most of them have at least one book published and interestingly, James has without failure, read their books before on the show. This is very impressive considering there are around 175 episodes to-date.
I first discovered James on Quora (one of my favorite apps / websites) and naturally gravitated toward his writing style and some of his life experiences he writes about regarding his past business experience, making and losing money, etc…
Since he has read the books written by his guests on the show and remembers amazing details about them, he is able to get into their minds and effectively portray a fresh perspective during his podcast. I have picked up something from every episode I have listened to.
Tim Ferriss Show
Informative, Entertaining, Motivational, and the topics are generally applicable to real-world situations.
Another one of my favorite authors (The Four Hour Work Week is a must-read)
Occasional Strong Language
Topics – Wide Range including: Business, Making Money, Life Optimization, Time Optimization, Efficiency, etc…
The Tim Ferriss Show is generally the #1 business podcast on all of iTunes, and it’s been ranked #1 (of all podcasts) on many occasions. It was also selected as iTunes’ “Best of 2014” and “Best of 2015.” In recent months, downloads have shot past 70,000,000 downloads.
Each episode, Tim deconstructs world-class performers from eclectic areas (investing, sports, business, art, etc.) to extract the tactics, tools, and routines you can use. This includes favorite books, morning routines, exercise habits, time-management tricks, and much more.
Very entertaining but if you work in retail or have customers walking in, this is likely not a good ‘at-work’ choice.
Entertaining real-world information and opinions.
Nice break from inspiration & business discussion.
Very strong language.
Topics include – nearly everything in life. Funny stuff, serious stuff, and everything in-between.
The Joe Rogan Experience podcast is a long form conversation hosted by comedian, UFC color commentator, and actor Joe Rogan with friends and guests that have included comedians, actors, musicians, MMA instructors and commentators, authors, artists, and porn stars. The Joe Rogan Experience was voted the Best Comedy Podcast of 2012 on iTunes. In addition online listening, fans can watch a videocast of the show live on Ustream or tune in on Sirius XM’s “The Virus” channel on Saturdays at Noon ET and Sundays at 5:00 AM and 6:00 PM ET.
TED Radio Hour
Shows tend to make good conversation topics.
Every episode contains language which is safe for a workplace environment.
From NPR, the Ted Radio Hour brings you fascinating and insightful speakers on a broad range of topics from global issues such as fighting hunger to individual journeys into the source of happiness. Based on the phenomenal TED Talks series, the show is hosted by Guy Raz and available on demand in weekly episodes.
The Art of Charm
Great, useful topics which are mostly all applicable to real life.
This is one of the first podcasts I ever followed and I still keep up with it from time-to-time.
Each episode has a ‘cheat sheet’ which comes along with it, on the website. This is beneficial to review and see if the episode is something of interest prior to listening.
Topics include – business, personal development, confidence, style, entrepreneurship, productivity, etc…
You’ll learn top strategies to improve your career, confidence, lifestyle and love-life from top experts like life and business-hackers Tim Ferriss, Ramit Sethi and Noah Kagan to Seth Godin, Simon Sinek, Olivia Fox, The Art of Charm team and more.
Excellent podcast, particularly for creatives but not exclusively, which hosts a different person on each show, most of whom have started very successful endeavors.
The description of the show gears itself towards primarily ‘creatives’ but I would consider any business / entrepreneurial endeavor to have a creative aspect / necessity to it.
Topics vary but area generally centered around the requirements, lessons, and implications of building a business and life around a creative drive.
Profit. Power. Pursuit. explores what it means to build a business and life on your creative drive. We uncover both the strategic and the tactical components of how creative people make money, take control of their businesses, and pursue what’s most important to them so that you can too.
Topics include – lifestyle optimization, time optimization / productivity, becoming the best version of yourself, ground-breaking scientific and nutritional breakthroughs, and more.
Tech entrepreneur Dave Asprey is the man behind Bulletproof Radio, a podcast all about streamlining your life and becoming the best version of yourself physically, mentally and emotionally. Each week he brings you the knowledge of doctors, biochemists, nutritionists and meditation experts to help you find this “bulletproof” state within yourself.
With 80% (or more) of adults in the United States having at least one social media profile, the exposure advantages of online marketing may be self-evident. However, if you are just now considering internet marketing for your business, you are likely one of the few who has also taken note of the inherent disadvantages of internet marketing.
Yes, disadvantages. You may be asking, “What is this wizardry you speak of?”.
If that’s the case, you may be surprised to find out that, even in 2016, there are still some situations which may potentially deem online marketing as a disadvantage practice. If these situations apply to you, they should likely be equally considered as you evaluate the pros and cons of marketing your business on the internet. On a side note, if your objective is mortgage/real estate lead generation, there are not many disadvantages involved in online marketing. Its actually essential.
Among American adults, the percentage who use social networking sites, by age. Courtesy of Pew Research Center.
The internet provides a considerably more cost-effective means of reaching out to potential customers than direct mail campaigns, going door-to-door, or outsourced telemarketing. Postage is expensive, even with a mail permit. And even if you take care of telemarketing and door knocking upon yourself (or your sales department), your contact may be unwelcome – or even illegal – in some cases. Most social media profiles are free to create. Web sites can be (relatively) very inexpensive.
Your ability to reach out to an interested audience is dramatically improved online. Social media, search engine optimization and utilizing an effective web design are all means in which you can reach out to an audience specifically interested in your products or services.
An effective internet presence will provide your brand with geographic flexibility, allowing you to reach more of your local market or expand your products or services to a wider, national or international audience (whichever floats your goat). Social media marketing, online advertising, and geotargeted marketing are all means in which the internet will allow you to target audiences in specific areas of the world.
Your ability to quickly deliver information to potential or existing customers is greatly improved online. No more flipping through hard copies of the Yellowpages or waiting for brochures to arrive in the mail. By marketing on the internet, you are able to deliver information to your customers whenever they want it, wherever they are, regardless of the mobile device, tablet, or laptop they may be using.
If you can’t measure it, you can’t manage it. The internet allows companies to measure the effectiveness of their campaigns very quickly, allowing them to eliminate or optimize ineffective marketing without draining their bank accounts. Direct mail, offline advertising, and most kinds of offline marketing in general, can all be very difficult to analyze without spending significant amounts of money.
Small businesses and large corporations are essentially reduced to an even playing field online. As a result, the number of competitors is naturally much greater. Increased competition always benefits the consumer. In addition to the fact we all want the world to be a better place, we are also all consumers in one regard or another. Plus, a very small portion of the population are owners of large corporations. More than likely, a level playing field is an advantage to you.
(Potential) Disadvantages of Online Marketing
Although there are many advantages to online marketing, there are some situations where it might be a less attractive consideration.
BTW, the examples provided are strictly hypothetical examples- not suggestions. I highly discourage taking advantage of people or pursuing illegal activities and, therefore, am not responsible for your life decisions.
That said, internet marketing might be disadvantageous if:
You’re Amish, a member of The Exclusive Brethren, or any other community or religion which might shun you for using the internet. I previously managed Amish construction crews in Northeast Ohio and am quite familiar with the situation there. Although many Amish communities have accepted the use of mobile devices (hidden out in the woods) for the members of the community which rely on the devices to maintain an operable business, online marketing is likely to be a different story (as of yet, anyway). It’s unlikely that this applies to you if you’re reading this, however.
Your business only works if you go door-to-door or hold ‘parties’ to sell your products on the spot. If this is the case, allowing your prospective customers to do online research (or shop) is likely a great disadvantage to your sales strategy.
You sell Facebook profiles, Gmail accounts, or any other online services which would otherwise be easy and free to establish if your customers only knew. Maybe your target market is recently-released convicts.
You resell copies of the Yellowpages or other hard copy directories which would be free if your customers only knew where to find them (and happen to be in the 13.5% of the US population which does not use the internet, of course).
You make money by taking advantage of people or by prowling on their lack of knowledge or ability to access it.
You operate a black market business.
Your business is top secret, classified, or does not exist.
There are many reasons to establish an effective internet presence for your business online and only a small fraction of the population which this may not be applicable.
As a general rule of thumb, internet marketing is a great investment of your time and resources to maximize your exposure. If you are looking for an effective method of generating qualified mortgage leads, for instance, you will likely need to take advantage of online marketing resources.
As a small to medium size business owner, exposure is everything. If you are going to capture the attention of the millions of people in the US who live their daily lives with their eyes glued to the front of their mobile devices, you have to catch their attention where it counts.
As a business owner in today’s world, having a professionally designed website and an effective online marketing strategy is as (if not more) important than having a phone number. Considering a well-implemented online marketing strategy and business website will provide a return on your investment for years to come (as long as it is well maintained), there are some distinct advantages in using Behalf’s term payment program rather than paying cash out of your pocket.
Although this is not a topic I am asked about on a regular basis, I did receive a question about it recently and knew there were others in similar situations. I found there to be somewhat limited third-party information about this topic available – outside of using a credit card – which will generally be a much more expensive route than the method I am sharing here.
Maybe you have recently launched a new startup and have limited working capital or possibly found yourself in a difficult cash flow situation and realized the importance of optimizing your brand’s visibility online. Or maybe you can afford it but the low-cost of using the service is attractive to you, and you like the idea of boosting your business’ credit rating while taking care of your company’s web presence.
In either case, this process may allow you to get the ball rolling towards having an effective online web presence in place, working for your business around the clock. An effective web presence has the potential to be much more effective than even your top sales person, yet ‘working’ 24/7/365 rather than only during normal business hours.
There are actually some distinct advantages of financing your web design and online marketing, even if you do have cash to cover the investment.
Luckily, for those who don’t, there still may be an opportunity to obtain financing on your web design and/or online marketing with Behalf Financing, even if you have some credit scuffs from the past.
Discovering A Need for Behalf (via the Liberation of Vapor Devices)
Through April 2015 I was involved in the business development and sales management of a wholesale vapor distribution company which strictly sold to retail businesses which offered vapor / electronic cigarette devices to the 18+ public. During that time I ran into several situations where my customers came to the warehouse to pick up their orders, agreeing to ‘send us a check later.’ Some just never came through on their end of the deal.
My customers, on at least three occasions over the year and a half I was in that position, intentionally stiffed the company for the product I ultimately let them walk away with. Although I may never understand or make an attempt to justify this type of behavior, I truly believe (really hope for their sake, anyway) that they wouldn’t have done that if they were not in dire personal financial situations.
While ‘liberating’ our vapor hardware was one way to finance their product, Behalf Financing turned out to be a much more attractive option.
Behalf Financing – The Cash Flow Savior
Having previously held a sales management position with the insulating concrete form manufacturer, BuildBlock Building Systems, the B2B sales and marketing world was not foreign to me, however, the vapor industry was indeed.
I took every opportunity to learn marketing and business growth strategies from our top producing clients, not only because I was truly interested in understanding their approach, but also because my experience at BuildBlock taught me that my role in that position would ultimately prove to be most effective once I was able to help our
I took every opportunity to learn marketing and business growth strategies from our top producing clients, not only because I was truly interested in understanding their approach, but also because my experience at BuildBlock taught me that my role in that position would ultimately prove to be most effective once I was able to help our clients by providing them with specific means in which they could each grown their businesses.
One day I ran into a situation with a client who had just placed a large order directly from a manufacturer in China. Typically on these orders, pricing is greatly dictated by the quantity of product being purchased. In this particular situation, my client saved nearly 20% by ordering in bulk, which was significant enough for them to take the risk at that time. The problem, however, was that sometimes these orders could take 5 – 7 weeks to arrive, particularly when the weight and/or volume of the order made shipping by air a fairly expensive consideration.
Needless to say, this delay in receiving the product they needed not only left their bank account below their comfort level but it also put them in a situation where they did not have the product in stock they needed to run their business or a credit card to use to purhcase more product.
Mistakes like these often were made at the expense of losing customers as, in many cases, the retail e-cig buyers would become impatient and either go somewhere else or order their devices online.
The customer called to discuss their situation but since we did not offer any financing terms on purchases, I opted to research other possibilities and came across a company called Behalf which offered term payment solutions to businesses, for business purchases.
I called the company and had a long talk with one of their reps but since I did not have prior experience actually working with the company, I proceeded with caution as I pointed our customer in their direction. The and I set up our business account which enabled us to receive payments from our clients who used their services.
As I discussed their services with more people over the following days, I discovered that there were surprisingly more people who used their service than I anticipated. In fact, I found we were actually losing business by not having an account with them as many of our customers just went to another vendor when they were in a situation where it made more sense to use Behalf financing services.
I heard many stories of how Behalf financing had saved my customers when they were in tight cash flow situations and needed additional inventory, computers, and other products and services to run their businesses. Not only that, but my clients found it made a lot of sense to use on purchases which had a longer return on investment.Behalf was the cash flow savior.
Behalf was the cash flow savior.
How Much Does Behalf Financing Cost?
This part was somewhat surprising and had me asking, “So, what is the catch?” a few times before I fully understood the company’s business model.
The founder of the company started the organization as a means of providing affordable financing to business owners who had found themselves in a bit of a tough situation financially, in order to purchase products or services for their business.
Behalf financing generally costs $10 – $30 / month per $1,000 borrowed. The company offers 90 – 180-day payment terms and allows customers to pay off their balance early without acquiring any additional fees or expenses.
Not only is this much less than what most credit cards would charge, this also makes considering the use of Behalf to cover expenses such as your company’s website design or online marketing.
This is due to the basic economics of the situation.
One of the options you found costs $500 and the other is $1,000. You know the $1,000 option will ultimately drive more business because it is more comprehensive, but you are not comfortable making that investment out of pocket. $500 is a more comfortable investment but you have a feeling you may not get as much out of the finished product as you would with the alternative option.
Rather than going the ‘more comfortable’ yet less effective route, you consider the costs of using Behalf Financing to spread the $1,000 investment over the next three months. On the higher end of the spectrum, that might cost $90 in fees to Behalf and the additional $500 for the investment itself makes the higher-end option run $590 more to pursue.
What is the Return on Investment for Using a More Comprehensive Digital Marketing & Web Design Service?
The true answer to this will depend greatly on the nature of the business you are involved in. In the example above, using Behalf Financing in addition to a more comprehensive digital marketing and web design service was $590 more than the alternative option. vast majority of businesses will have a much greater than $590 return if the more costly option is even slightly more effective than the $500 option.
The vast majority of businesses will have a much greater than $590 return if the more costly option is even slightly more effective than the $500 option.
Plus, considering you will continue reaping the rewards of a well-established web presence long after it has been set up (as long as you provide it with necessary upkeep) it actually makes more sense to compare the two options on a several year time frame.
Extending the investment over a longer period of time likely makes more sense if you are able to do so affordably, especially if you are ultimately getting even a few more customers out of it than the lower-investment route.
For a custom home builder or contractor of any kind, just one additional customer would more than justify the difference. For a vape shop or restaurant, for instance, one new customer every couple weeks would likely more than justify the additional expense.
The profit per customer & per transaction with ultimately change how the return on investment works but the overall advantages to using Behalf Financing are essentially the same.
How Do I Go About Using Behalf Financing for my Web Design & Online Marketing?
The Behalf financing approval process has improved greatly over the past couple years and today it is even easier than it was before to use their services.
Visit the Behalf website here and fill in your details to begin creating your account. Continue going through that process until you receive a notification regarding your pre-approval status. Behalf uses a proprietary method of obtaining a pre-approval without the need for your social security number. This means pulling your pre-approval will not affect your credit score as they are not reporting this to any credit agencies. They will, however, report your successful payments, which will help your business credit.
Once pre-approved, either contact me or request your free digital marketing evaluation. This will give me the opportunity to review your current situation and create a customized online marketing game plan specifically for your business. The more information you provide up-front, the more effective this process will be.
After we have come to a game plan to pursue in establishing an effective web presence for your business, you will go back to the Behalf website and enter my vendor details and the total investment we have decided to be most comfortable and appropriate based upon your current situation and overall objective, Behalf will arrange the funding of your project based upon the payment terms you established with them.
You continue making on-time payments to your Behalf account and they report positively to credit agencies as a result. Your account with Behalf works as a revolving credit line so as long as you continue to make your payments on time, you can continue using the account for many other businesses to business transactions.
If you have further questions you may feel free to contact me anytime or you may contact Behalf if your questions are directly related to their services .
If you have questions regarding FogPusher’s work or hearing about what my clients have to say about my work, feel free to view our portfolio and/or testimonials, where you will find real client feedback from real customers. You are welcome to contact any of them as references (please just be respectful of their time / time of day).
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Chances are, when you first hear the words guerrilla marketing ,one of two things come to mind:
– A large King Kongish primate who has made himself available to hire for promotional purposes (nope, not gorilla marketing) or…
– A communist military activist armed with automated weapons and camouflage bandannas, but only on the weekends. During the week maybe he too, offers marketing services.
Fortunately, however, guerrilla marketing is far more likely than either of those things to bring a great benefit to your life and business. It’s also possibly less dangerous (particularly if your objective is marijuana marketing).
What is guerrilla marketing?
The concept of guerrilla marketing is interesting because its definition and context seems to change dramatically from one resource to another. For example, Entrepreneur.com’s definition focuses on the low cost, practical sense of the term and further explains that telephone and email marketing are the most effective forms. In looking deeper into the subject, I discovered that these are examples but they are not comprehensive in the sense of maximizing brand exposure.
You will find in the ideas shown below that maximum exposure is more likely to be obtained with a little creativity and thinking outside of the box. This is not to say that email marketing, digital marketing and good old fashioned phone calls are not effective and necessary, because they definitely are – likely more-so than some of the examples shown below. The most comprehensive definition I have found actually comes from Google:
guer·ril·la mar·ket·ing noun
innovative, unconventional, and low-cost marketing techniques aimed at obtaining maximum exposure for a product.
How are the most effective guerrilla marketing ideas created?
In order to create the most effective guerrilla marketing ideas, pay close attention to your immediate resources as well as the various objectives of the products or services you are promoting. There is no ‘set in stone’ method of creating highly effective guerrilla marketing ideas, and that is what makes the concept special.
Whether you are a business owner or a marketing professional, take some time to evaluate each of the concepts presented. From vape shop marketing concepts to bar marketing ideas, the guerrilla marketing ideas mentioned here can definitely be useful as a guide to creating your own. Pay attention to the actual thought process which took place in the creation of the ideas – from the standpoint of the person who created the campaign. You will begin to recognize the overall thought process involved in creating these campaigns has some consistency in each different application. Once you have become familiar with that thought process, it will be easier for you to identify real world opportunities in which these concepts can help you grow your business.
As you will see below, there are many ways of going about maximizing a brand’s exposure. The common theme among most of them however, is that of staying outside of the box (literally, in many cases) to provide a new perspective on something which is found in every day life. The most effective guerrilla marketing techniques are those which blur the lines between advertising and reality for the audience and transform advertising efforts which are typically seen as an annoyance to the public, into humorous, enjoyable experiences .
In making your target market feel as if they have entered an alternate dimension, you are creating an unforgettable experience which will naturally be shared across social media outlets and with the friends and family of those who get to experience the advertising first hand. For marketing professionals, this viral effect is the goal of all marketing efforts and guerrilla marketing can be the answer. I have compiled the examples below as a means of giving you some idea and inspiration in creating your next big guerrilla marketing campaign. Be sure to pay close attention to the thought processes behind these ideas as they may help you formulate concepts for your business.
The flyers below are awesome examples of low cost (relatively speaking), highly effective guerilla marketing. It is nice to get some inspiration from these examples which remind us that standard flyers do not have to annoy people in the process of seeing or finding them. Creating humor and originality are essential aspects of the guerilla’s flyer creation strategy.
Awesome example of taking the annoying ‘flyer in the windshield’ concept to an entirely new level.
Ballet classes, anybody?
Sticker bombs are likely one of the most common, cost effective guerrilla marketing ideas out there but as Golden Ale and Lay’s show us below, sticker bombing does not always have to come across as trashy or annoying. The humor and surprise factor bring a new dimension to sticker bombing which is much more effective than putting a logo on sticky paper and littering the city.
I had personally never heard of Golden Ale before but now I have. That is how you know this broken urinal campaign worked exceptionally well. If you are looking into doing your own sticker bomb campaign, be sure to comply with your local laws and/or establishment rules and be mindful of the environment in the process. Failure to do this will make your brand look highly unfavorable.
This concept for Lay’s potato chips was definitely ‘outside of the box.’ This is a very clever example of surrealism mixed with absolute awesome creativity.
Street & Sidewalk Brilliance
Finding ways to create new meanings and purpose to every day fixtures on the sidewalk or even in the road can be an excellent place to start in creating a guerrilla marketing campaign. Some of these concepts are still even a little easier on the budget than some of the ideas included further below.
How could you possibly not want a cup of Folgers after you see a city full of steaming Folgers manhole covers around the city?Another awesome example of creating a new perspective around an every day item in the name of highly effective branding.
Street Knobs… Durex Knobs.
“Let me out of here!” Amnesty International did a great job of getting their point across by re-creating the purpose of this street drain. Is that a real person in there?!
It’s true though! Jeeps can park anywhere. Might as well show people a few examples around the city.
As you can see, a guerrilla’s primary objective in creating a highly effective guerrilla marketing tactic should be to blur the lines of reality for the targeted audience. Any time you can alter the audience’s life experience or give them a new perspective as a result of them seeing your campaign, you know you are on the right track and have created something which has potential to be highly effective. The campaigns are not only effective because of the people who will directly see them but also because of how many people will voluntarily share the images on their social media pages, Reddit, etc…
Somebody at Coops Paints deserves two thumbs up for this spilled paint bucket with paint coming out of the 2D image. This is particularly effective due to how it created a 3D effect coming from the 2D image. Covering the vehicles was also a nice touch.
The Honda Cereal Box Campaign… How much better would a Cracker Jack’s surprise be if a Honda came out?
You can never go wrong having an amazing artist on hand to make it look like there is a person stuck somewhere in the ground, especially if you are promoting a product or service which gets people ‘un-stuck’ our ‘out of a hole’ literally or metaphorically.
Lait… It does a body good. As long as it’s giant sized carton doesn’t spill on your head while you’re waiting at the bus stop.
Nice work, Mini-Coop. Not everybody will have the resources to convert the airports conveyor belt into an advertisement but when you make a large investment in the banner space above, I am sure the airport becomes negotiable.
“Somebody get that neglected child out from behind that…. Oh wait, nevermind. Dangit.” Above is another great example of creating the illusion that a person in in a very inconvenient situation, to effectively get a point across. People always tend to recognize humans in situations so any time you can create concepts which involve a human figure or realistic artist replica, you may be on to something special.
Display and Billboard Advertising
Some of the ideas below overlap with the surrealism category but continue to provide more examples of highly effective guerrilla marketing strategies which surely achieved the goals they were created to achieve. The key again here is changing the audience’s reality or their perspective on an item in order to create something amazing (and in many cases hilarious, like the free air guitars).
I find 96.3 Rock Radio’s Free Air Guitar advertisement to still be one of the most clever guerilla marketing ideas I have seen. This is not only because the concept works well with the rock radio station but also because the low cost involved. This advertisement also reminds us that the more clever the guerilla marketing idea, the less likely you will have resistance in anybody insisting that it gets taken down.
The marketing brain behind Mondo Pasta’s rope to noodle perspective transformation was on his or her A-Game when this idea came about. Creating these face displays for the sides of the boats was likely not cheap but you can be sure that everybody who sees these boats will not forget about Mondo Pasta’s awesome guerrilla tactics. I am sure Mondo Pasta found the investment to create an extraordinary ROI.
The Economist’s motion sensor activated light-bulb is an excellent example of a very simple, yet highly effective guerrilla marketing concept. The lit bulb indirectly portrays the notion that people who read the Economist have their light bulb turned on, but they did it in a way that did not require any words other than The Economist.
Creating a new perspective for everyday objects is one thing but this bus stop ad for NYC Taxi goes to show how creating a new meaning to an every day gesture such as raising a hand can also be effective. This is another great example of a very clever, cost effective guerrilla marketing idea.
‘Mapvertisements’ and Wide Area Ground Displays
This is where the expense and resource availability may start to become a hurdle for many guerrillas looking to create new ideas for their businesses or their client’s. Creating advertisements which can only be seen from airplanes are cool to look at pictures of and possible for the rare occasion you catch a glimpse of one from an airplane or on Google earth, but other than that, I assume there is not a significant amount of visibility compared to the other forms of guerrilla marketing mentioned. Not to say that you shouldn’t pursue this type of advertising, but I can only imagine that they are actually viewed by significantly less people and require a fairly significant marketing budget.
On the other hand, the Frontline display shown below, which makes people seem to be the fleas on the dog, is purely genius.
This coca cola ad was carved into the side of this dirt hill and will likely be seen by far less people than many of the other ads discussed so far. This does not mean this type of advertising is ineffective for Coca-Cola, however. The objective of guerrilla marketing is to keep the brand on your audience’s mind and by doing indiscreet things like this they are actually doing this very effectively, but almost in a more subliminal manner which the intended audience will likely not consciously even think about.
Frontline did an excellent job in implementing this highly effective creative marketing tactic in what appears to be a shopping mall. Creating the appearance that humans are fleas is a funny and also effective strategy which has been properly executed here.
Papa John’s went all-out with this mapvertisement display which can only be seen from an airplane or satellite. It is pretty awesome to think about the planning which this type of project involved however, it must also be difficult to measure the effectiveness of the advertisement. I honestly think somebody just did it for fun however, I am sharing it so it is definitely serving its purpose.
The mapvertisement above, from KFC and shown on a Google Earth image, is another example of a method which a food company has used to reach out to the public. Again, I don’t know that these are the most effective ideas for making the best use of a creative marketing budget however, when you have the resources that Coca-Cola, Papa John’s and KFC have – you might as well!
Food services are somewhat questionable in terms of their potential to benefit from mapvertisements however, airlines are a different store. In the mapvertisement image shown above a SwissAir advertisement is available in plain sight. I can see this being tremendously effective if it were placed in an area with high air traffic (such as close to an international airport). I can imagine that keeping up with this mapvertisement is a full time job but I am sure they know what they are doing or possibly this was just a temporary setup for photographs.
When in Doubt, Prank Somebody and Make a Commercial Out of It
Not everybody will have the resources to create a retractable floor or a faux news station to broadcast in the airport but these ideas are still valid for entertainment’s sake, if nothing else. In diving into the hilarious world of practical joke guerrilla marketing campaigns, you will notice a non-US trend involved, especially in the more effective campaigns such as the examples shown below. One can assume this is likely because of the tendency for everybody in the US to feel the need to immediately file lawsuits because of the permanent emotional distress which was violently inflicted upon them as a result of the practical jokes involved. Then again, I’m sure the examples shown below are easier to watch than they would be as the target.
North Face Korea – ‘Never Stop Exploring’ Campaign
In this guerilla marketing campaign, a retractable floor was built into the new North Face building and set up to retract into the walls as customers were shopping. The results are hilarious and the budget was obviously not much of an issue for this. Then again, it does help when you just happen to be building a rock climbing facility inside of your newly constructed building.
Nivea Airport Prank – Stress Test Commercial
For the new Nivea Stress Protect Deodorant brand, the company went through some pretty amazing hoops to take over the airport news broadcast and to produce fake newspaper articles in an effort to stress out the victims of the prank.
LG TV 84 – Asteroid Prank
This one is pretty awesome and definitely clarifies the concept of why these companies go through the great lengths that they do in executing these guerilla marketing tactics on non-US soil. “LOL.”
Hopefully these ideas have given you some inspiration to create guerrilla marketing tactics which can be used to grow your own business, or at least gave you some laughter. If you are looking for marketing ideas for your own business be sure to contact me, request a free digital marketing report and/or learn more about me. The digital marketing report provides me with the opportunity to evaluate your business and situation, allowing me to create and ultimately propose solutions to maximize your business exposure, streamline your workflow and/or simplify your life. Whether you are looking for a web designer, digital marketing solutions specialist or email marketing services, I can help create powerful campaigns to grow your business and online visibility.
In recent weeks I have had several discussions with my clients who own ecig retail and wholesale businesses regarding a particular challenge. Their vapor customers have begun to use their establishments as a ‘window shopping’ resource where they identify the devices they would like to have, then ultimately end up purchasing from somewhere else (usually online). Their high performance mod sales are down and uncertainty has begun to set in. Fortunately there are specific things which can be done to address this issue which can be effective for retailers as well as wholesalers.
Over the past few years I have had the opportunity to work with many vapor industry business owners across the country, some of which have created tremendously successful businesses and others which have struggled to keep their doors open. As the business development manager for a vapor hardware distribution company, I had the opportunity to collaborate with the owners of these businesses on a daily basis. In that role I began to notice some commonalities among the most successful of the bunch and now that I work with many of these same companies in a somewhat different capacity, the traits which the most successful owners have in common have begun to stand out.
One of these traits which relates particularly to declining high performance mod / hardware sales, is having the ability to identify market trends and adapt accordingly. In fact, I have found the most successful tend to be the ones who identify market trends which most vapor industry business owners would see as negative and are able to reframe these ideas in ways which are beneficial to their business. In recent weeks I have had several discussions with my vapor industry clients regarding decreases in high performance mod sales and felt this would be a good opportunity to offer some suggestions to those having the same experience. Before I get into that, it is important to consider the bigger picture of what is actually taking place.
High Performance Device Trends
I departed from the vapor hardware distribution business to develop FogPusher nearly one year ago. At that time the 70w iSticks were just coming to market and that was the most powerful device of its size available at that time. The industry has obviously been moving towards smaller, more powerful devices however, I’m not certain that even five years ago anybody could have predicted that 200w devices of that same size or that single 18650 devices which output over 100 watts would be available now. Improvements in battery and circuit technology have enabled the development of some of these tiny, powerful devices which are available today yet would have been considered hocus pocus only a few years ago. Since the technology required to develop these devices is still fairly new and the manufacturers who have access to it are still somewhat limited, the devices cost more. They are more expensive to manufacture.
Why is this important? Because every vapor customer, whether they are a seasoned vaping professionals or just getting started, want the best value they can afford when purchasing a new mod and the most valuable devices are expensive. Your customers, whether retailers or end-users, know there are online resources where they can find these products for less than what you can sell them for and likely close to what you can buy them for. In making a strictly dollar-for-dollar comparison it is impossible for you to compete. So is it time to pack up shop and find a new business? Not for most. Regardless of whether you are a retailer or wholesaler, you are not going to be the cheapest in the entire world. You CAN however, identify means of providing value in ways which justify your customer’s decision to purchase from you.
Additionally, consider what has happened in the computer business over the past 50 years. Computers which used to take up entire rooms have now been far surpassed in power, memory and everything else, by mobile phones and these devices cost a very small fraction of what they previously did. In
The Vapor Industry is Changing and You Must Adapt: Survival of the Fittest
For many of my clients in the vapor industry, mod sales seem to have taken a sudden dip – more so in recent months than ever before. Some of them own vape shops, wholesale operations and others have tobacco, cigar shops and even convenience stores which also carry hardware. Luckily, there are things you can do about the situation. First it is important to realize – and get very clear about – the fact that the industry is changing and now may be the right time to reconsider your business model and overall strategy, particularly in regard to high end mod sales.
Converting High Performance Mod Window Shoppers
Identify and clarify your value proposition.
What value can you offer to the customer that online vendors are unable to offer or that will be more convenient for the customer? Make sure this is clear when customers come in to look at higher end mods.
Do you offer in-store exchanges? Returns? Additional services outside of strictly selling them the hardware product? Assume that the customer is going to look up online prices immediately after leaving your store. If they are genuinely interested and do not buy it then, you can pretty much guarantee that they will anyway. Can you blame them though? If a retail customer is shopping a $100+ device and they can save $50 buying online and cannot justify the additional expense with anything they are aware you are offering, it probably doesn’t make sense for them NOT to take the time to find the better deal. Make sure your added-value is very clear when customers are shopping.
For wholesalers, the idea is basically the same. Shortly after I started working in the vapor hardware wholesale business I realized that my literal objective was to increase revenue but the most effective way to do that was to help my retail business customers grow their business. This was one of the strategies which I learned as a sales manager in the high end building material manufacturing industry which translated very nicely into the vapor industry. Once I made it a point to go out of my way to help my customers grow their business, the entire game changed. If you are in the vapor wholesale business, pay attention to the strategies your most successful customers are using and use your observation to help the retailers who need it. Your product might be hardware or juice but your real value is found in the resources you have available to you which you can use to help your customers grow their businesses.
If the situation is severe, make your profit on eLiquid instead.
This one might suck to think about but if your higher end mod sales have suddenly taken a 50% or more plunge, it may be time to start thinking about including eliquid with a full price purchase of your higher end mods. Make the same amount of profit but include something additional with the purchase.
Let’s say, if you are a retailer and have purchased devices which cost $65 each with shipping and you have them for sale for $110. $55 profit per device. You sell 30ml eLiquid bottles with a $15 profit per bottle. Maybe include 3-4 30ml bottles with the full price purchase. You’re likely saying to yourself, “I would rather not give away my mods at cost” and I certainly concur. However, if you are one of the businesses which is seeing their customers window shop then buy online, what is the alternative?
If your retail business has seen a tremendous drop in mod sales and you do not make a change to adapt to your customer’s online buying habits, you are going to get stuck with soon to be outdated devices and may not even get the eLiquid sale. This way you get both sales, make some profit and retain a customer who will likely recommend your business and keep coming back.
If you are in this situation and feel this might be the right solution for you, try it for a day and see what happens. Better yet, try it with a single customer. The great thing about all of this is that none of it has to be set in stone. See how it works and go from there. Chances are, as technology continues to improve and devices become more readily available manufacturer-direct, you will soon make the majority of your profit on eliquid sales anyway, if you are not already. It may be time to start preparing.
Find ways to get rid of any high performance mods which are even slightly outdated, ideally in ways that will help you sell more eliquid.
This is particularly important but if you have been fortunate enough to not get stuck with outdated devices then this article is likely not of much use to you anyway. Most retailers and wholesalers seem to have an inventory of mechanical mods they wish they could give away to make more room. If you have an abundance of devices which were big in 2014, it may be time to start looking at ways to use them to bring more traffic to your shop via social media contests, giveaways, etc…
I have seen the consequences of having an enormous inventory of outdated product in stock and it gave me a new perspective on ‘breaking even’ or taking a slight loss on these products (If you still have an abundance of Kanger Protank II’s and III’s or first generation mechanical mods in stock, you likely know exactly what I mean). There IS something worse than breaking even or taking a slight loss and it’s called never being able to sell your inventory, even if you started donating it.
If you can find ways to stimulate traffic or sell more juice using your outdated inventory, do it while you still can. If you don’t you may find yourself calling Salvation Army to inquire on vape hardware donation tax write-offs. I have actually never personally tried this but if you have, let me know how that worked out. I have literally researched everything from scrapping the materials used to make outdated products to offering them to customers for free. There are some things in this world which people do not want even if you give it to them for free. I advise against letting outdated inventory reach that point if you can avoid it.
Set up a game plan to check and re-check your eliquid and hardware suppliers. Make sure you are selling product that people want or even better, product they don’t know they want yet.
It might seem like a no brainer but you might also be surprised. The industry is full of innovation these days and whether you manufacture your own eliquid or resell other brands, you want to make sure you are going about it in the most effective manner possible, while providing your customers with the best value for their money.
Vapers are typically technologically inclined individuals and many of them spend their free time on forums or blogs discussing the latest in eliquid and mod technology. You definitely want to make sure you are offering the latest and greatest (within reasonable limits). It can be expensive and difficult to keep up with the latest mods but as long as you have a few really awesome products to choose from, this may not even be as important as the juice is. Make sure your juice is on point.
This article is not intended to present a doom and gloom situation but rather to offer means of going about solving issues which several of my customers seem to be experiencing. I have worked in the vapor industry for the last few years and many of my SEO / online marketing / web design clients consist of vape shop and wholesale owners. Since I work with businesses in the vapor industry from across the country, I also have many valuable contacts which may be of value to your business as well.
To learn more about what I can do for your business, please request a free digital marketing report or contact me and I am more than happy to talk with you about specific things we can do to increase traffic to your business and/or help it run more efficiently.
Regardless of the industry, today, more than ever before, there exists a massive amount of online and offline competition (the ‘Fog’ if you will) which must be properly addressed in order for your business to survive.
This is particularly true for industries in which your competitors have revolutionized the way business is conducted, making life less expensive and/or faster (possibly better) for customers. The mortgage/real estate industry is a perfect example of this. If you are looking to generate mortgage or real estate leads then you need to make sure you are ahead of the market learning curve.
If you do not have the consistent foot traffic you would like to have (or XYZ competitor down is having) then be grateful your doors are still open! It’s time to do yourself a favor and get your arms around the depth of the problem at hand.
These tests are a bare minimum, however, for those of you less technologically inclined, it should be a good starting reference point.
Be patient and follow the steps.
If you are a brick & mortar business owner, the more difficulty you have doing this equates to the greater likelihood that you probably need it the most.
This is not for everybody. Don’t tell me I didn’t warn you if you continue reading.
Disclaimer: My primary objective is to provide local businesses with resources to effectively compete, not to discourage you. Brick & Mortar business owners are MY business. In order to effectively compete, we must first understand the nature of the competition. In doing so, my obligation is to provide straight-forward facts and resources. Necessary self-evaluation is usually not much fun but better now than when it’s too late.
The effectiveness (or presence) of your business’ online existence. Is it actually working FOR you?
If you haven’t noticed how much time your customers are spending on their phones, then do yourself a favor and pay attention. Humans have evolved into mobile creatures and their mobile device is their second brain.
With that being said, a website in and of itself is not going to do a lot for you.
There are many websites out there and if yours is not positioned & designed correctly with the right content and strategically placed throughout the web, it’s not going to be found. In many cases, you are going to be better off not even having one.
Additionally, not only does every aspect of your online marketing need to be congruent with your website, meanwhile directing traffic back to it, but it needs to be responsive (mobile-friendly), descriptive, and original – among other things.
How to check:
(This is just a very basic surface-level method for anybody to check. I provide a much more in-depth analysis in my free consultation but hopefully, this will help paint the picture for those less technically inclined.)
Pick up your phone (or anybody’s phone). Log out of your Google account (or anybody’s for that matter, but ask permission first). Visit Google and search for your type of business and your zip code. I.e.: if you own a vape shop search “vape shop” and your zip code (vape shop 73118, vape shop 93102, etc… ). If you are a dentist, nightclub, lawyer, smoke shop, tobacco shop, search for that and your zip code. Does your business appear on the first page? Does it appear anywhere?
Do the same for alternatives for searching for your general business i.e.: for a vape shop try vapor shop 73118, vaping accessories 73118, etc… If you’re a dentist try maybe dental services 73118, oral hygienist 73118, etc… Does your business appear on the first page? Does it appear at all?
Repeat steps 1 and 2 from a laptop or desktop computer. Does your business appear in the first page? Does your business appear at all? (Search results may vary dependent upon where the actual search is taking place and your device’s local search settings. Search results will definitely vary if you are logged into your Gmail / Google account as your results are personalized to your previous searches when you are logged in.)
Repeat both processes, except this time, use your city instead of your zip code. Do you come up in the first page? Do you appear at all?
If you’re satisfied with your business’ Google search results that’s great! Proceed to next section.
Business owners have more options as to the choice of their product and service providers today than they have in the past.
If your staff is not giving off the good vibes with a welcoming (much different than ‘in-your-face’) attitude then there is a good chance you are feeding your online competitors (or even worse, the ones down the street) with a steady flow of business.
However, local shops DO have the ability to provide some distinct competitive advantages over online competitors including the abilities to:
Allow customers to experience a more hands-on, personable buying process.
An experience which is (ideally) more pleasant than clicking around online.
Provide products or services immediately vs. having to wait for mail delays.
Possibly easier return process.
From a marketing perspective, get discovered easier and more frequently by local customers – especially when user is conducting a local search. Fortunately, localization has become a priority among the major search engines as they strive to find the most relevant search results for the particular user.
These are real advantages, however, keep in mind that one bad customer interaction will make these advantages less advantageous. Especially, considering online shopping venues have the potential advantages of:
Allowing for cheaper purchases (much cheaper in some industries).
Providing a personalized online shopping experience by saving the customer’s previous shopping cart and effortlessly directing them towards the same purchase and effortless cross-sales presentation.
Allowing the customer to not have to deal with real people whatsoever or drive anywhere to shop.
Depending on the location of the online retailer, 1-3 day USPS shipping (could become quicker for products if Amazon has anything to say about it). Free shipping in many cases.
In the medical industry, customers now have the choice of seeing a healthcare provider from the comfort of their couch, via webcam.
With that being said, it is extremely important to make sure you and your employees are able to leave their fights with their girlfriends or their political upheavals at home. Failure to do so is costing you money – possibly in a great way.
How to Check:
Search your business name on Yelp.com. Are you listed? Are there bad reviews? If you’re not listed then that could be a major issue. If you have bad reviews then pay attention to what the reviewers are saying, contact me and lets start fresh.
Repeat step 1 with Facebook.com.
Is having a favorable Better Business Bureau review applicable to your business? If so, are you listed on there?
Now again with any industry-specific consumer review websites (hint: Google it).
At this point, you should either be lost or confident that you are on the right track. If you’re lost – I can help.
Are you in the same ballpark? Are you playing the same game?
This one I can’t help you out on as much. You opened the business so hopefully, you had a good plan in mind for how to keep your products and services at a comparable level or above that of your local competition.
Luckily, that is not the most important factor for a brick & mortar buyer. They generally want quality, value, and (most importantly) convenience.
Give it to them and you are on the right track.
Lost? There is hope. I am here to help. Call me at 405-496-5073.