Welcome to “The Horse’s Mouth” with Tom McManus, a cool, unique talk show where guests belly up to the bar to discuss business, marketing, and life. No gossip, no hearsay, no BS, just the straight-up truth, right from the source.

Tom’s longtime love of bartending has come full circle since his days as a linebacker on the inaugural Jacksonville Jaguars football team—slinging drinks and talking shop with everyone from high-profile sports figures and entertainers to business leaders, journalists, and community leaders. Tom and guests trade insight and anecdotes, explore day-to-day topics and tackle the hard subjects, all with equal measures of energy, honesty, and laughter. Get the skinny on the real people behind the headlines, straight from the horse’s mouth.

This week, Tom spoke with Howard Wolpoff from Profit Master Business Solutions, Chris Ramaglia from BroadBased Communications, Grayson Marshall from Digital Direct Media, Daniel Burstein from MECLABS Institute, and Mike White from BluHorn.

What has been the biggest change in marketing over the past 2 years?

Chris Ramaglia

The biggest change I have seen is how much our customers have gone out to research and buy things. We also have seen a lot of companies change the way they’re marketing and selling their products or services. The path that we are taking with our clients is trying to be more conversational. We want to make it more of a two-way communication versus just pushing your message out one way. I think it is important to listen more than you talk and take the time to understand your prospects and customers.

Grayson Marshall

Something that I feel we are moving away from, unfortunately, is keeping our customer base happy and moving forward. We see people reaching out for new customer after new customer, in fact, reaching people that might not be their customer as opposed to taking the database that they have been filled. I see so much money being spent in how can I get creative and bring more people in as opposed to, I have a great network here. You want to make sure to add in the customer it’s already coming in.

Daniel Burstein

I agree with the importance of understanding customers! Here’s what I see constantly, companies will get these platforms sold to them and fail to understand how they work. Not understanding how to use it drastically affects marketing, and marketing is the most central goal of the business. The marketer’s job is to understand the customer in order to make the customer see value in the company. That’s a necessity.

Chris Ramaglia

You have to stop looking at marketing as an expense and instead look at it as an investment. You invest in a bookkeeper, you invest in legal counsel and all these different things. Your market or your agency should have that same seat, if not a bigger seat, at the table. It is such an important part of how you grow your business, particularly now. Especially since the consumers of today change their habits so often.

How important is SEO?

Mike White

Businesses invest what they’re willing to lose, not what it takes to succeed. Business owners will say, sure, I’ll spend a grand a month. But it took three to win, they wouldn’t spend the three to win. SEO is a tactic. What you really need to ask though is how does SEO fit into your marketing wheel? SEO is very relevant, however you can’t just rely on SEO. You need to ask what investment are you willing to make to win and how long is it going to take.

Grayson Marshall

With that and going back to customer connection, people fell into Facebook and Google. However, if they’ve done their research lately they will find that 55 percent of the connections they thought they were making are bot-driven. The reality is that they are creating the human experience through robots and you’re really not touching potentials. You have people spending money thinking they are reaching legitimate users and they’re not. We have to look back and say, where am I really spending our money? What am I willing to lose? The evaluation of success has everything to do with the question, do I have all the information.

How do analytics help you understand your customer base?

Howard Wolpoff

Hopefully, what you are seeing is who is going to your website and how often it’s being touched. If you’re able to get email addresses and create campaigns to communicate with them, you can see the open rates and what the response rates are. That helps you with the sales process to get them to be your customers.

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