Marketing Lessons from The Dark Side of Marketing

I’ve got a bit of a bone to pick.

I haven’t posted up here in a long, long time but it’s late… I’ve been working really hard on a product launch we’re having in under 10 hours, I’m tired and a little drunk.

There are too many businesses that exist who just don’t care about making money. It’s crazy. What’s crazier is these business owners, if they read that last sentence would agree. “Who doesn’t like money?”… well apparently you don’t buddy.

I get that we’re not all born salespeople. Most of us aren’t. I’m not. Facing the facts about life in a capitalist society though… even if you’re not a salesperson, or business owner – you still gotta sell. Sell yourself, sell your ideas to your boss, sell plans of action to clients… you gotta sell.

This timidness to sell seems rampant to me in the Austin tech-community today. Spurred on to change the world through technology for a wonderful cause they want to buddy up to their potential customers, cook them some dinner and tuck them in at night. That’s all well and done if you’re a non-profit… but as a wise man once told me “If it doesn’t make dollars, it doesn’t make sense.”

If your business is not as profitable as you’d like it to be, or as profitable as your fulfillment side can handle (usually not much of a problem for online businesses) then your #1 priority should be getting more sales. Your #1 priority should be getting more sales.

Again.. sounds obvious right? The problem is these business owners don’t know they’re not really focusing on sales. Do you really need a new printer/scanner? New chairs for all your employees? NO…. what you need is sales.

This post is named ‘from the Dark Side of Marketing’ not to demean the industry I grew up in. But, to juxtapose 2 faces of marketing that can (and ARE NOT AT ALL) connected.

color city concept

The Dark Side of Marketing

When most people think of ‘marketing’ they either think of beautiful magazine ads with just a few words on them… beautiful branded works of art, or they think about annoying banner ads and cluttered Facebook pages disrupting our day to squeeze money out of our pockets.

Worse is the SPAM you see online cluttering up Google search results and both physical and virtual mailboxes.

Ever wonder why there’s so much annoying email marketing? It’s because it is incredibly lucrative! Think about the cost of sending an email for a moment…

By ‘dark side of marketing’ I am talking about extremely aggressive ROI oriented marketing. For many of us this is just a way of life. Sadly, for more of us it is a necessary side function to their business.

You don’t need the correct POS system, wall art or employee benefits. What you need is sales! You need a website that connects to your bank account… then you need visitors.

The most well-known direct marketing campaigns are infomercials. Like the ShamWow kid who punches hookers in the face (allegedly?), and the other guy who snorted himself into the heavens they got exposure like a big brand… but their advertising was to directly, and immediately make money. They gave you a phone number to order, and they based how good their advertising was on how many orders they received through the phone.

What can brand marketers with a larger vision do to bridge the gap? How can they utilize direct marketing techniques without turning away prospects because of the aggressive campaigns?

First, build your brand. Not what you were expecting me to say but a brand has a huge long-term value. Build that and champion it.

Second, start selling. Aggressively. If you need more money… this is your priority. Create aggressive landing pages to sell your product or service. Then create 3 more variations. Set up a split-test in Google Analytics or Optimizely.

Thirdly, send traffic.

Fourth, look at the metrics. Which page converted the best. Are you split-testing price? Then which page has the highest NET PROFIT for every 1,000 visitors you send it?

Fifth…. create some new landers to test. Throw out the bad ones.

Sixth… do your campaigns ROI+ yet?


IF NO… split-test more. Add an upsell. Add 2 upsells. Split-test the upsells.

Get your numbers dialed. How much are you earning per click (EPC’s). How much are you paying per click (CPC)? Are your EPC’s more than your CPC’s?

Good… now buy a crap-ton of traffic.

Keep branding, stay happy and continue selling until your blue in the face. Just like hooker puncher.

POSTED: 06.28.2013



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