Firehouse Creative Blog
Written for human eyes, not SEO bots. Enjoy.
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Marketing Like It's 1918

In 1913, John D Rockefeller was worth about $400 billion... in 2017 dollars. To put that into perspective, Jeff Bezos, founder of Amazon, is worth $112 billion. Some gems from Rockefeller:

“I do not think that there is any other quality so essential to success of any kind as the quality of perseverance. It overcomes almost everything, even nature.”

“Good leadership consists of showing average people how to do the work of superior people.”

“The ability to deal with people is as purchasable a commodity as sugar or coffee and I will pay more for that ability than for any other under the sun.”

In 1913, there were common tent poles of successful businesses and successful marketing: product, people, and purpose.
Everything falls under those 3 umbrellas. Failed businesses lost sight of them, and successful ones can write books on each. Factors like consistency, word of mouth and reputation, convenience, an effective and efficient offering of products or services to span a spectrum of possibilities, the perception of stability, an organized and focused brand presence, diversified marketing platforms, all of these things factor into what has made a business successful for 100 years. Product, People, Purpose. Whether you’re Ford or Pfizer or Frank's Heating and Air, it’s what makes companies successful.

Now, let’s jump forward 100 years.

How many of you know what SEO is?
'Raise your hand' if you’ve researched SEO for your business.
Keep it raised if you feel like you got your money’s worth.

In 2006, Google was looking for words. It didn't take long until we started keyword stuffing. That was the currency of the internet. We found ways to counterfeit this currency with backlinks, review buying, bot accounts, and other 'black hat' techniques. But rather than add security layers to their “dollar”, Google just made a new currency. And now, we can’t just print the money anymore. See, when all the counterfeiting is so labor intensive that it no longer becomes worth it, it’s actually easier to just... earn the money.

In 2018, Google is looking for relevance. This is the new currency, and it’s much harder to trick the system. With all the gimmicks gone that gave savvy people a leg up over legitimately-earned online presence, it’s actually leveled the playing field; because you can’t really fake it anymore, it’s forced everyone to just market the way they did 100 years ago. We now have to resort to terrible practices like consistency, word of mouth and reputation, convenience, an effective and efficient offering of products or services to span a spectrum of possibilities, the perception of stability, an organized and focused brand presence, diversified marketing platforms... sound familiar? We’re through that fake storm now. This is good news for small businesses. Why?

The cost of entry has never been lower, and the return on investment has never been higher.
You want to market your business in 2018? It’s through your product, your people, and your purpose. You want to rank higher? Be relevant. Have substance to your online presence. Write blogs for human eyes, that lean into who you are as a company. Post engaging content for your audience, even if there's no dollar sign or call-to-action in sight. When you constantly provide value to people, even if you’re not necessarily asking for the sale, it endears you to them as a resource for when they are ready to make business; and it lends credibility when you're being shopped. Give, give, give, ask. That’s the formula. (NSFW language in that link, but insanely valuable.) Give 51%, take 49%. Remember, it’s not 'spam' if people want it.

Targeted social content is where it's at right now. TV is the new radio and our phones are the new TV. In 18 months, you might be getting bombarded by toothpaste ads in a VR/AR headset, but for now, we’re here. As a nationwide average, companies are using 7-12% of their annual revenue to be reallocated to marketing budgets... is that money, for you, being spent where it’s easy or comfortable? Are you still taking out ads in Pennysaver or hanging on doorknobs? Or are you speaking to thousands of people a day -- via social content -- who are already engaged in what you’re offering? One of these is the tree falling in the forest with no one around to hear it, and the other is a rock concert with a captive audience. You choose.

Try it for 90 days. Hire an unemployed child of yours, a college student on break, your tech savvy nephew, someone, to actively create and push quality content that highlights your PRODUCT, your PURPOSE, and your PEOPLE, and see how it changes your business.

I make content. I have a filmmaking podcast with industry veterans sharing their knowledge and experience, a YouTube channel where I talk about techniques and cool gear, this blog where I get real deep on things like branding and challenging yourself creatively, an Instagram where I feature my work and behind the scenes content, and a Facebook where I delete friend requests from my awkward uncle. It’s time-time-consuming. It’s hard to see the light sometimes. But people will take notice. Start a vlog from job sites about the craziness of the pool business. Make Instagram shorts where you spotlight a different solar technician every time. Make your business look as thriving as it is, and not one bit more... because product, people, and purpose are all built on authenticity.

Make valuable content genuinely. Distribute the content effectively. Rinse and repeat regularly.

12 months from now, you’ll be glad you did.


-WL

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The impact of the Social Web is changing the way we execute on our storytelling... at least, it should be.
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Yes, it techincally works, but just because you can put a slice of bread into a VCR (Google, kids) doesn’t mean you’re going to get toast or a movie.