Apathy- Why Most Businesses Fail With Social Media Marketing


A former mentor and client stopped by the other day, and as part of our catching up he said he noticed that one of the services we provide is social media marketing. He told me that he’s seen a bunch of companies try social media marketing and fail miserably, so the rest of our meeting was talking about why that is. After all, social media marketing is the hottest new trend for businesses and organizations of all sizes, and there have been a lot of wins in this space- when businesses do social media right, the payoff is huge. So, why do so many companies fail in their social media marketing efforts?

We came up with one major reason. Apathy. That’s right. Plain old disinterest and inability to see social media marketing for what it is: an amazing way to reach your audience, and convert customers into evangelists.

I know, it sounds harsh to say that most companies who try social media are lazy butts who don’t really “get it”. But I’d say about two thirds of the companies who come to us think  social media is about an occasional tweet or Facebook posting. They’re still thinking push instead of interact. They think social media marketing is akin to a record company hiring a street team to promote a band’s album, that it’s merely a promotion effort. It isn’t. They’re thinking one-way, shallow, and wide- but they should also be thinking two-way, deep, and focused.

Most of those guys also think social media marketing is something to just bolt onto their organization and they’ll instantly rake in the profits.

We do our best to help educate clients on how best to use social media as part of their marketing mix, but it doesn’t always work- the client has to be willing to learn and to be a part of the process.

Social media marketing, when done right, requires a true commitment from the organization. We need access to a client’s marketing and executive team. We need to get inside a client’s business and learn what makes it tick. We need to be in marketing meetings with your company, to know what campaigns are being developed and pushed in traditional media. We need to know your company, and we need to have access to people who really know your company’s story and values- and the answers to the kinds of questions we may be asked when working to promote your brand and helping to develop these relationships with your audience. In the end, social media marketing take commitment from every person in your organization, and a certain amount of transparency on the organization’s behalf. Yes, it also takes money and time.

Most companies are not willing to put in the effort. So, they relegate their “social media” efforts to the occasional Facebook status update and tweet. It’s pure laziness. And that’s why they fail.

(cool Fail stamp by Hans Gerwitz)


TV Commercial Shoot in Toledo, Ohio

Here’s the Flickr photo proof I was in the midwest last week, between Detroit and Toledo. I directed two TV commercials and a PSA, along with a web video. We shot on RED One, of course, and the sets ranged from a greenscreen stage, to downtown Toledo, to a truck stop. Fun times! If you can’t see the pictures, blame Flickr and click here for the non-Flash version.

Now it’s time to hunker down in post-production. Always fun.


Manifesto: On Clients and Projects

be different

Maybe the economy is coming back, maybe businesses are realizing what a great deal digital marketing is, or maybe people are just figuring out what a great deal we are. Whatever the reason, we’ve been fortunate to grow the business. As we’ve grown, I’m still involved in most aspects of the company, but I’ve decided that it’s time for me to set some standards for the clients and projects we take on.

You know what that means- manifesto time! Hey, guiding principles are a good thing, and I expect everyone at PatrickOrtman, Inc. to follow these principles when an opportunity to grow our client list comes to us.

Of course, I’m a big believer in transparency so I’m sharing my little manifesto with the world. Maybe it’ll help your digital agency- or whatever type of business you run- to set up and codify your own set of guiding principles? After all, you can’t have a revolution without a manifesto! Without further ado:

1) Every project and client we take on will get our best efforts, and the personal attention and resources necessary to knock it out of the park. At the same time, we expect that any client we work with will do their part in providing us the resources so that we can knock their project out of the park. The best client relationships go both ways.

2) When we choose to work with a client, we will be honest and truthful in all our dealings with them. We are not ‘Yes Men’, and when we disagree with a client we will, as tactfully as possible, tell them where we stand. After all, a client hires us for our expertise. Similarly, we expect our clients to be honest and truthful with us, too.

3) We will not work with a client who does not meet our standards of being an ethically run organization. We hate liars, spammers, users, and shady people. Dealing with those types of clients makes us feel so icky that bathing in champagne and $50 bills doesn’t remove the stink. No, thanks!

4) We will not compete on price. We’re certainly not the most expensive digital agency out there, but we’re also not the cheapest and we don’t want to be. We love creating great work, and great work deserves to be well and fairly paid.

5) Every project we do has to be interesting, in some way. Sure, this sounds a bit high-falutin’ at first, but think about it: we’re creative people. To do our best work we need to be engaged. For us to be engaged, there has to be something about the gig that’s interesting to us. We’re not clock-punchers, we’re not assembly line workers. There’s other, lesser digital agencies that fill that role. We’re artists and craftsmen.

6) Similarly, we understand that part of what makes us special is we’re constantly learning new things and finding ways to apply our knowledge to our clients to help them improve their businesses. Too many companies only care about this quarter’s bottom line, and have cut down or eliminated the ‘R” in R&D. Not us. Therefore, from this day forward I am implementing a program where everyone at PatrickOrtman, Inc. is to spend at least one full day a month working on something they want to work on that is not client-related. This could be as simple as adding a feature to a website CMS, figuring out a more efficient video production pipeline, shooting an experimental short film, learning a new technology that could be used with website design, or playing with some new features in Photoshop. The idea is, I want to encourage everyone here to do something creative and not directly client-related for at least one full day a month.

Of course, everyone- myself included- has to present our findings/film/photos, or whatever at a company meeting the next week. The idea is to stretch, to grow. And to share that knowledge.

So, for now that’s my manifesto. I’m interested in any ways to grow this document and make it better, so if you have an idea- share!


Vlog Episode 7: On Social Media Marketing

Here’s one about the common mistakes that businesses and organizations make when they decide to start working with social media marketing. As with all of our vlog episodes, this one was shot and edited on an iPhone (alas, still a mere iPhone 3Gs, but soon to be an iPhone 4). This way, we’re able to give you a much more casual, immediate, conversational vibe than if we pulled out the big guns and lights and made a big production out of things. Enjoy!


Superhero Series- Perspective and Choosing Clients


There are many times when it’s important to focus, and I haven’t yet met a web designer or digital production person who was incapable of Yoda-like concentration and focus, when the situation demands.

But sometimes, it’s a bit easy to be so focused on the minutia that one can miss the bigger picture, and if you’re a boutique digital agency like we are, that can really hurt you. There are times when one needs a larger perspective, and this is particularly important when choosing a new client.

I know, I’m used to some static from web guys everywhere- “what do you mean, choosing a client? That’s a luxury most of us mortals don’t have! We take what we can get!” I hear you, I do. But every time I’ve believed that- that we needed to take what we can get- it’s bitten us in the butt. You’d think I’d have learned by now, but I’ll admit that even I sometimes forget that it’s important to be picky when you decide who to work with. Everyone needs a reminder, once in a while, I guess.

Here’s a few questions I like to ask myself and my team before we take on a new Read More »


Vlog Ep 5: How Do You Choose The Right Digital Agency?

Last weekend a client called us, they found out another digital agency had stolen our work for her company and was claiming it as their own. Uncool! Unfortunately, there’s a lot of unscrupulous web shops out there who are not honest. Here’s our CEO’s reaction to the situation:


Social Media Roundup! Memorial Day Edition

Hello all, I’m MK and welcome again to Friday! I always start my morning off the same way, checking out all the tech blogs, websites and twitter to see what’s trending.

Website Popularity

There’s one particular article I found very interesting- all about non-Google site statistics– and it was posted today on Mashable. The article shares the top 1,000 sites (according to Google’s AdPlanner) of the right-now. It’s no surprise Facebook came in at number one. What I found Read More »

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