With a nationally acclaimed Madison Ave background as one of New York’s “12 Best”, John Follis remains at the forefront of the marketing landscape. In 2005, he coined the term “G-Cred” (for Google credibility) and published an ebook on the subject. He is a featured contributor to three blogs: ADWEEK/AOL’s “Fuel the Future,” Small Biz Trends, and his Follis Marketing Report. He’s hosted his syndicated podcast “The Marketing Show” since early ’06. And, he is one of the few marketing professionals listed on Wikipedia.
Since ‘04, John’s unique “Marketing Therapy” model has provided a cost-effective marketing solution to businesses in all industries to help them become more profitable through more effective, and cost-effective marketing.
MO: What are some ways that small businesses can attract and excite potential customers?
John: There’s tons. What media you chose depends on your product, your budget, your message, and your target audience. Regardless, social media (Facebook, YouTube, blogs, etc) is a place to be.
From an idea standpoint you’ve got to know your customer well enough to know what his or her emotional hot buttons are. The better you know that, the better you can craft a message that will attract and excite them. An effective, creative idea is always based on a solid, and accurate, strategic foundation with accurate information.
The problem with answering a question like this is that can fuel a faulty belief that great, effective marketing might be accomplished by virtually anyone who gets a few good tips from the experts. It’s not that simple. Like with singing, just because everyone can do it, it doesn’t mean everyone should.
MO: Can you talk us through how you created your ‘Marketing Therapy’ model, what it consists of and some of the advantages of using it?
John: ‘Marketing Therapy’ was a happy accident. I’d gotten a call, out of the blue, from a woman who said she needed my help. She was struggling with her small business and was very anxious about getting my help. She’d heard me speak, she’d seen my agency’s work, and she was referred to me. So, she was totally convinced that I was the guy. At the time, however, I was very busy running my Madison Avenue agency and wasn’t interested in one-on-one consulting. It wasn’t worth my time. But, she was relentless:
“I heard you speak, I saw your website, and I think you’re brilliant, can’t you please help me?”
The woman was begging. So, I promised to think about it and, after much hard thought, presented to her with my consulting rate which I assumed she couldn’t afford. I was wrong.
So, we set a date. She came to my office. She sat on my couch, and immediately began pouring her heart out. Though she clearly needed marketing help, it was also clear that there was a strong connection between her marketing and psychological issues. I could hear how her own fears, judgments, marketing perceptions (and misperceptions) where effecting her marketing issues. Consequently, I felt like part marketing expert, part therapist.
After a few productive sessions, we arrived at some cost-effective, creative solutions that got her business back on track. She was very grateful and “Marketing Therapy” was born.
So, the model initially consists of me asking a lot of key questions and then listening. Out of that will come my suggestions, which often turn into specific projects. If the client agrees to move forward I then pull my team together to complete the project. Sometimes the client just wants to have me on a monthly retainer to be available as needed. It’s all very organic and client-friendly. That’s a big benefit of Marketing Therapy and often a reason it’s more successful than anything the client has tried before. Dozens of businesses have achieved exceptional results with increased sales, national press, etc. (See: http://www.follisinc.com/Client.letters)
MO: What’s the difference between an average marketing campaign and an extraordinary one?
John: In a word: results. Of course, that can mean different things to different businesses. Often it’s sales. If it’s an institution or organization it can mean new members. Sometimes it’s about getting great visibility, or increased web traffic. So, it starts with a discussion about a realistic goal.
MO: What are the biggest marketing issues you see companies make and how can they correct or avoid making them to begin with?
John: Marketing has always been one of the most confusing aspects of any business. So, it’s easy to make mistakes.
The biggest is not hiring outside marketing help. Some business owners feel they’ve got to be in business a few years before they can even think of getting outside marketing help. Steve Jobs got outside help while he was still working out of his garage. If you truly want your business to be successful, the question isn’t: “Should I hire outside marketing help” it’s, “What’s the best damn marketing help I can afford?”
The other big mistake companies make is hiring the wrong marketing help. Unfortunately, it’s an easy mistake to make. But, there’s also an easy way to avoid making it… spend more upfront time qualifying before you hire. Don’t just rely on references. Spend some quality time on the website. Review the case studies. Look at the person’s bio. And, Google them. The better you qualify them upfront, the better chance you’ll find the right help and be happy in the long run. This article: “How to Choose the Best Marketing Help” will help.
MO: What inspires and motivates you? How do you bring ideas to life?
John: I’m inspired and motivated by my clients who get great results and tell me how happy they are. Words like” “Thanks to Follis we have far exceeded our hopes…” and “…the campaign increased reponses by over 50%. Follis’s work is exceptional,” which are actual quotes, can make me feel pretty damn good.
How to bring ideas to life is a harder question to answer. As with any great idea I suppose it involves a perfect blend of inspiration, creativity, strategic thinking, and execution. It also takes the support, respect, and trust from a great client.
MO: What can we next expect from John Follis?
John: Since I love what I do, and my clients love what I do, I plan to keep doing it for more and more businesses.
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