A couple years back I worked for a now defunct startup as their social media manager and the one question I would get from friends and family a like, some who owned their own businesses, was “So, what exactly do you do?” It’s a valid question, but one that is not so easily answered. The follow-up questions were almost always, “So you play on social media for a living, posting spammy promotional posts and the occasional meme?”
While I was helping with marketing for a specific company, the questions helped make one thing alarmingly clear, most people simply don’t know what people in marketing actually do. I’m not even sure marketing people know exactly what they’re doing at all times, but a quick look at ProductHunt and the countless new ideas and products that pop on there prove one thing – in a sea of ideas, you’re going to need to invest in a flare gun if you want to be noticed. Marketing companies are that flare gun.
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So, what does a marketing company do? While each company offers their own benefits and services, at the end of the day, their goal is the essentially the same – to help drive traffic and direct sales to your business. A rebuttal might be, “So, it’s like PR,” well, no, not exactly, PR is more about putting a positive reputation on your company. They are different branches of the same tree, but definitely not the same branch. With marketing companies, it requires a healthy knowledge of different industries, but it is also heavily dependent on the technical know-how and prowess to identify a client’s actual strengths and weaknesses to then use that knowledge to get the product or service in front of the people most likely to need it.
They accomplish this through a multitude of different methods to build an effective strategy. Market research is a big factor, but marketing companies can also be looked at as teachers and mentors. They should help their clients understand not just how something is done, but why it is done. Marketing companies help you develop time frames for certain goals and then help you understand how they plan to work with you to accomplish those goals. They help with branding and key messaging. Internet strategy is also important to a marketing company – paid ads, keywords, and Google rankings are typically part of the marketing experience, as well.
In more recent years, some marketing companies have started to blend the traditional marketing company idea with more modern applications, more specifically, Software-as-a-Service. On paper, this really is the best of both worlds, you get the personal 1-on-1 help of an old-school marketing company, with all of the benefits of SaaS marketing software. While this new blend of marketing might not be for all businesses, it definitely helps fill a space in the small to medium business sphere. SMBs need marketing, some may even argue that they need it more than the big enterprise level guys, and that makes sense when you start looking at the costs associated with a traditional marketing firm.
Marketing firms are not cheap, and these blended marketing solutions fill a gap for SMBs that help to actually give them the chance to get some quality marketing, while not completely breaking the bank in the process. You get the benefits of having a person that you can actually talk to, while still being provided the tools to accomplish things like email automation and lead generation on your own.
I reached out to one such marketing company, Marketing 360, to find out more about their blended services and how it works for clients. You can check out the interview below.
Care to introduce yourself and your role at Marketing 360?
I am Jerry Kelly, CMO and Partner at Madwire® and Marketing 360®. I handle brand development, strategic planning, market analysis, product development, product design and R&D innovation for internal assets. My key areas of focus are to ensure our growth demands are aligned with our internal lead generation, customer acquisition strategies, and partnerships.
I have been a part of Madwire since we were founded in 2009. I’m incredibly passionate about making sure that the world’s small businesses are given the same tools that the large enterprises get, but specifically dealing with their own pain points – and giving them opportunities they might not otherwise have.
Do you consider Madwire and Marketing360 separate? Or two arms of the same company?
Madwire is the parent company that our talented team lives in and Marketing 360 is our software. Together, they create the perfect SaSH solution. Think of it like iPhone to Apple. Apple creates, builds and supports the iPhone, the iPhone is the product. The talented and passionate team at Madwire create and maintain the technology and provide world-class customer service, Marketing 360® is the software that the team at Madwire is supporting.
Our team lives and breathes Madwire every day and stands fully behind our software solution, Marketing 360. It’s a pretty unique product that combines the dashboard-focused, quasi-automated world of many digital advertising platforms with access to organic, produced content like websites and social media.
What’s Marketing360’s story? What inspired it? Did Madwire come first?
Madwire was founded in 2009 with a mission to bridge the gap between software-as-a-service (SAAS) based marketing software and full-service marketing firms. Madwire’s founders had a great passion for small business and knew that digital presence was lacking in the SMB space – as I mentioned before, it’s something that’s deeply important to me personally too.
We set out to help small business grow, and with that mission in mind, Madwire grew and became both a software-and-service-hybrid (SaSH), offering world-class digital marketing software and professional marketing services through a single integrated platform. That is when Marketing 360® was born. Our technology to date has everything a small to medium sized business needs from email automation, CRM, lead management, content marketing, inbound marketing, paid search management, and creative design services with our on-demand marketing team.
It means that small businesses – even ones that haven’t given their online presence much thought – can come to us and we can take them so much further using the digital tools they may not have been using before. If they were, they may not have optimized them like we can help them to.
How long does it typically take for your clients to start seeing results?
Every client is different, as we cover over 60 different niche verticals with our technology. From medical, professional services, contractor’s services, fitness, e-commerce, and legal, we truly see a range of results that are independent of the unique offering of any business.
Typically, we can start generating business for a client as soon as the marketing is turned on through our TPA (Top Placement Ads) and STA (Social Targeting Ads) sections of our platform. From there, we analyze and optimize the most profitable channels based on ROI bench marks. The organic programs like NLA (Natural Listing Ads) and social media management can take take a bit longer to see results, but we generally start to see results organically within 3-6 months.
The small business market is one that has many challenges that the enterprise market can’t even see, such as how one feeds a landline phone call into a CRM (which is crucial for brick and mortar businesses that want to use a CRM). That’s a small example, but we’re doing everything we can to think like our customers, react to – and of course predict any problems they may have.
With the web design portion of Marketing 360, do you build the site or do you work with the client to get it built? What platform are you using for creation?
The majority of clients that we work with are eager and excited to build a new website! We leverage our own technology called Websites 360 which is built on our own UXi platform. With this solution, the client can get a fully customized website or one of our highly convertible rain maker designs.
The client works directly with one of our project managers and the website is usually live within 5-10 business days. The goal isn’t to just throw together something that does the job of giving them a web presence, but gives them a presence that answers potential customer questions, has the right calls to action and generates leads. If we were just building a simple website, that’s essentially what Squarespace and other platforms provide – and they aren’t optimized or thought about in the mindset that one needs for a small business owner.
I noticed that on your website you have quite the awards list, are there any on that list that mean more than the others to you and the team?
We are immensely proud of all the awards that we have won: being a 5-time Inc 500 award winner, a top-10 marketing company in the U.S., and top family owned company, and so on. However, the one that stands most in our eyes is winning the best company to work for in the U.S. by Glassdoor. That was truly special as it is a true testament to the team that we have here. It speaks volumes about or unique culture, our employee centered atmosphere, and our mission of building a great product and service for our customers.
The greatest award that we could ever win is one that honors our people – and this award did just that. A lot of people look on Glassdoor to see the transparent view of the company they’re going to work for or with, and it’s where many companies are laid bare. We’re honored that when that happened it made us a national icon.
There is no golden ticket when it comes to marketing, every business is going to be different. What works for one company might fail miserably for another, but that is literally why you hire a marketing company. They have done, and continue to do, the legwork to help them understand what is required to make a business a success. For SMBs on a budget, options can be a bit more limited, but it seems that this new realm of blended marketing techniques might be exactly what is needed for them to, hopefully, connect with their future customers.
This post is part of our contributor series. The views expressed are the author's own and not necessarily shared by TNW.