Tag Archives: Mobile

Marketing Process Outsourcing

The New WIMS Inc: Putting In-House Marketing Departments on Notice

Unlike my typical blog posts, this one is certainly going to piss people off, including current and former colleagues, friends, clients, and prospects. While I usually try to avoid that, I can’t any longer as some things just need to be said. Change can be a scary and complicated thing, but there’s just a better way to do business and it’s nothing personal.

Now, the trend of outsourcing is far from a new or innovative concept. Yet companies like professional services firms continue to allocate extremely high budgets of $500,000-$1,000,000 and often much more to their in-house marketing departments. They do this despite the fact that they could spend a fraction of the cost while simultaneously getting significantly better service and results.

Regardless if you prefer to keep your team in house or to use a consulting firm, one thing is constant in either case, you need to DEMAND to see ROI. There are some advantages to keeping the team in-house I’ll admit that, but you should at least be able to make an apples to apples comparison between both approaches.

The way to do that is ROI, the objective metric that evens out all playing fields. I’ve seen many CMO’s apply the “smoke and mirrors” strategy year after year. They avoid accountability by overlooking past failures while waving the amazing, shiny new “marketing strategy” that they’re going to deploy this year. This is often just the old strategy repackaged to appear new however. CEO’s looking to avoid conflict accept it as a cost of doing business and then proceed to kick the can further down the road.

Now while there are plenty of exceptions, as there always are when dealing with people, there’s something I’ve often observed in the corporate world, I call it the “comfort theory.” Essentially, when you’re paying someone a predictable and stable salary it inherently allows most people to start cutting corners and reducing the quality of their work because they can get away with it. Not only is there a reduced quality of work, but why subsidize employee’s internet browsing time and social media addiction when you can just pay for the work that’s actually done. Besides, I doubt they’re going to give you a cut of their fantasy football winnings despite squandering hours a week of your time managing their team.

Don’t just take my word for it, conduct your own experiment and see for yourself. The next time you’re in a meeting with your marketing department demand more out of them or suggest changes, and watch the level of pushback, reluctance, and resistance you get. On the contrary call a consultant about a new project idea and watch them passionately geek out about all the possibilities.

I understand the comfort of familiarity and the status quo believe me, but is it really worth spending $50,000-100,000 on a salary for someone to just write an occasional blog post or article, blankly stare at a twitter feed, or create an occasional ad. You can get the same result or better for a tenth of the cost in many cases.

As another experiment, this Friday afternoon say around 3pm, take a walk around your building and see how empty the offices and cubicles are. The mentality of being an employee and working for your boss vs. being a client and working for your business partner can’t be compared. Working with independent contractors that need your business takes the quality of work to another level. They are mini-CEOs trying to better their lives, they’re not just punching a clock while desperately waiting to leave the office early on Friday afternoon. They’re the ones working at midnight on a Saturday because they’re hungry and ambitious.

You create the best work when you absolutely need to, like when writing a paper the night before it’s due. There’s something about having your life depending on it that generates this hyper-focus of productivity. Imagine having a team of people producing this kind of work every day because that’s how they approach their live, very deliberately.

Typical counter-arguments for in-house departments include things like, “oh but we know the brand so well,” or “what if someone urgently needs a brochure for a sales call?” It may not be a popular sentiment, but people are easily replaceable. We work with various brand guidelines all the time and pick them up very quickly. Also, I’ve seen countless desks with stacks of brochures piled high collecting dust, as much as marketers may try to convince you otherwise, your beautiful brochure is not what’s going to win you new business, relationships are.

Perhaps this post is like that old “Magician’s Greatest Secrets Revealed” show where the masked magician showed you how the tricks were really done and made a lot of magicians extremely angry. If you’re feeling that way right now I hope you take this opportunity to step your game up and prove me wrong.

Changing a decades long mindset of keeping marketing teams in-house is going to require evolution and a rebuilding process, but there’s definitely hope. It will force people to BE BETTER. Think about the Golden State Warriors a few years ago. They were very bad, but they had some decent and promising players, they stuck to their long-term plan to build their team, make a few strategic moves and then a few years later they won a championship. The metaphor is very relative in business as well.

For the sake of full transparency, this long-winded blog post has the additional goal of announcing the new WIMS, Inc. We now offer a complete suite of marketing, CRM, and business development services that are provided for literally a fraction of the total cost you’re paying for your entire marketing department. By leveraging strategic partnerships and a deep team of independent contractors we are now able to offer literally any marketing service, and to any size firm in any industry. If you’re interested in video, we can develop the content, build an entire distribution network, and even create your own online channel. If audio is your thing, we can help with the creation, publishing, and promotion of your own radio show and/or podcast. If you need a website, an ad campaign, online content creation, or social media network, whatever it is you’re looking for, we can help facilitate.

Give us a call or send us an email and we’ll be happy to provide you with a FREE consultation to see if our companies would be a good fit to work together. Part of building strong long-term relationships includes occasionally offering some free advice, which we do happily. What do you have to lose by at least evaluating whether it’s worth pursuing a potential 6-figure a year cost reduction in your marketing expenses?

Bootstrappin'

Bootstrappin’: How to Launch Your Business on a Barebones Budget

Starting a business today is far easier than anytime in history. The caveat is that it depends on what type of business however, thus I’m primarily referring to professional service businesses (i.e. consulting, accounting, real estate, photography, legal, etc.). The type that don’t have the overbearing regulations attached to them or endless red tape to acquire permits and licenses, on the contrary those probably have more hurdles than ever (particularly in the US). But if you’re like me, and want to start a consulting or other service business, you can do it quicker and cheaper than ever, not to mention minimize overhead so you can compete with larger competition.

Before I begin, I want to emphasize that every single business is different and has various requirements, so while I’m speaking from a more general manner, please make sure to do the appropriate research regarding your specific industry and niche to make sure everything is legitimate.

Establishing Your Entity: My attorney friends may not be too happy to read this, but you don’t necessarily need one to establish your business. You don’t always need an automated service like Legal Zoom either. If you’re certain of the structure you want to use and don’t plan on having partners (which require more complex operating agreements, etc.) than in most instances you can go directly to the source and bypass additional fees (they can range anywhere from $150 to $1,000+). In my case, WIMS, Inc. was established in Coral Gables, FL so I used Sunbiz and set it all up for around $75. I will say that in most instances seeking counsel from an attorney is invaluable and worth the cost, however.

Website: Nowadays you can create your own website for free, using sites like Wix and 1and1. They have many elaborate templates to choose from so that you don’t have to start from scratch or learn to write code. You can simply swap out generic text for your own as well as graphics to completely customize it. It even ads easy to incorporate SEO (Search Engine Optimization) functionality. The catch of using these for free is that you can’t use your own domain name (they include theirs in the free versions) and there may be some ads. However, it’s quite affordable to create your own domain name (costs typically around $15 a month) if you’d prefer to go that route.

Email: By now it’s no great revelation that you can get great email service for free using Gmail. In most cases businesses can even get away with solely using a Gmail account (not to mention you get the added benefit of the also free Google Docs). However if you want to step up the professionalism a notch and create an email account using your domain name it’s relatively affordable to do so. For example, when I registered my domain name with GoDaddy, it also allowed me to leverage a custom email account via Office365 for about $10 a month. I find both to be well worth the cost.

Blog: Another one that is far from a novel idea, but you can start a blog for free using sites like WordPress (my personal preference) or Blogger. This is a great marketing tool that when coupled with social media can be very powerful, and all it costs is time. Providing thought leadership type content to your network demonstrates your expertise and adds value to the services you provide. Of course, there are upgrades to the service as well that are both affordable and worth it as your blog’s following begins to grow.

Marketing: I’m going to keep this section short and sweet as most of you know the usual suspects that can help market your business for free (yes, I’m referring to social media). My personal favorites: LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and Google+. If what you’re selling is more visual (photography, hairstyling, tattoo artist) consider Pinterest too. There are plenty others as well.

CRM: CRM programs used to be thought of as these overly expensive and overly complicated Big Brother like programs that only the big boys could afford. Not anymore. Now you can get access to simpler CRM programs for free. My favorite is Insightly, it has a web based version coupled with a free app. Can’t beat it for the price!

Financing: If you need to raise money and aren’t able to get financing from a bank (you can’t show “2 years worth of income” when you just started, HELLO silly bankers!) consider crowd funding. Kickstarter is a good one, as is GoFundMe, which leverages your social media accounts to spread awareness. They’re “free” to start but make money by taxing 5% per donation or so (but hey 95% of something is better than 100% of nothing)! Although I’ll admit, I’ve recently set one up without much success yet.

Freelance Income: As you’re getting started you may need to build up some short term income with smaller projects as you build your network. Consider sites like Elance (I use it and love it so far) or others like Fiverr and Freelancer. There are million of projects searchable by expertise that you can do online or in person depending on location. Typically you get paid using PayPal (you do have PayPal right?), which is great, if you don’t have a fancy credit card machine. Although one solution I’m evaluating now is Square as I’ve heard good things.

Loose Ends: Just wanted to touch on some other things to consider in this paragraph. For one, you can get free digital storage space at either (or all if you’re a true hustler) Dropbox, Google Drive, or Box. For business cards, (which some people don’t even use anymore, although I advocate for them still) check out either Vista Print or Moo. Lastly, office space, this can be one of the hugest overhead expenses around. Do you really need to pay a ton of money each month in rent? I advocate a mix of home office, Starbucks, or local library (free internet!). But if you need tangible office space you can look at some of the shared office spaces from places such as Regus, or if you’re in Miami, Pipeline Brickell.

So there you have it, just some of the ways to start your business on the cheap. There are plenty others of course but I wanted to hit on some of the main ones to help get your started (if you have others please share in the comments!) Keeping low overhead is one of the ways to remain competitive with larger competition, so be relentless about every dollar you spend and you’re business will stick around long enough to start being profitable. Good luck!

WIMS Client Spotlight: iTourMobile

iTourMobile is a start-up technology company that provides a customer relationship management platform that enables clients to offer rich and interactive digital experiences to their clientele on mobile devices, Facebook, and websites. Its also the future of the interactive mobile & social customer experience. The platform provides a soup-to-nuts experience for clients as there is no need for technical staff, and they also offer marketing, consulting, and production services to get their clients started.

What is an interactive experience? It’s a fun way for users to interact with surroundings using a mobile device that really helps our clients stand out. Embark on an adventure, scavenger hunt, and find local deals or discounts. GPS based experiences combine audio, text, video, and images to create fun and educational experiences for any guest, for both outdoor and indoor locations!

iTourMobile is much more than just another travel/city-guide app as it’s CMS (content management system) and analytics features make it an invaluable resource to businesses. Content is hosted on our content management system and virtual private servers that let you control your content. Updates and additions are free, unlimited, and in real-time. Benefit from detailed analytics reporting on the number of downloads and see where and how people are engaging with your organization.

The unique range of content offerings for users also sets iTourMobile apart, by offering exciting features like the ability to go on movie excursions (e.g. a Harry Potter Movie Experience and a Dark Knight Trilogy tour among others), ghostly expeditions, and outdoor adventures. The benefits of this technology expand across a variety of industries, including: cities, tourist destinations, museums, entertainment, zoos, historic attractions, universities, amusement parks, speedways, and wineries.

iTourMobile leverages iBeacons, which are changing how customers experience retail, museums and indoor locations, and other experiences. This allows them to help clients:

  • Improve processes with mobile devices
  • Strengthen their brand and customer loyalty
  • Increase revenue
    • Mobile marketing tools like advanced push notifications to help drive engagement and sales
    • Mobile e-Commerce
    • Location based advertising and promotions
    • Mobile ticketing
    • Mobile donations lets users donate with ease and share it on social media
  • Save time and money
  • Collect analytics and feedback
    • Track participation, donations, time spent at each location, survey
      answers, the most and least favored locations, and devices.
    • Interact with customers.
  • Improve customer interactions and communication.

About iTourMobile

iTourMobile is a technology, design, and consulting firm helping organizations to connect with their customers and to enhance their customer experience through technology. The company offers a hosted content management system (CMS) that lets organizations create engaging and entertaining virtual tour experiences on mobile devices. iTourMobile is a Service Disabled Veteran Owned Small Business by the Federal Government and a SWaM vendor in the state of Virginia. For more information, please visit https://www.itourmobile.com/.

About WIMS Consulting

WIMS, Inc. was founded by Mike Simmons in 2014 to provide marketing and business development consulting services to entrepreneurs and small businesses alike. Mike discovered his passion for assisting entrepreneurs while in his previous position, however he wanted to be able to focus on working with these like-minded people directly, and without the bureaucracy and bloated costs associated with working with larger firms.