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  • Joshua Harmening

Man's Search for Marketing: An Introduction to our Approach




If you’ve been searching for the answer to business growth and are completely confused by all the conflicting information out there, you are certainly not alone. In the last ten years, digital marketing options have exploded making it overwhelming for most businesses. Add the forced move to all things digital due to COVID and the pressure mounts. Marketing expenses? Well, they've also skyrocketed due to demand and competition. With so many options, costing so much money, the world of marketing has now become gridlocked.

This overwhelming confusion has forced many companies to surrender their campaigns to marketing agencies. Small businesses unable to afford the local marketing agency fees have become DIY marketers, running their businesses, building websites and managing Google AdWords all at the same time. Our blog series will provide a solution for man's search for marketing. But before you are willing to embrace a solution, you must realize that there are

indeed major problems in the world of marketing.


Problem 1 - The Giants Control Advertising Rates


Have you seen Google's stock prices lately? How about Facebook? For that matter, check out the growth of any Internet content company who sells digital advertising. You'll see their revenues are growing at unfathomable rates. Pay per click traffic that used to cost thirty-five cents, now costs five dollars. Have you seen your AdWords account lately? You'll find not all of your ads are showing. Why? Your ad isn't on the first page. Your quality scores are low.

Your expected click through rate is low. The same goes for Bing, Yahoo!, Facebook and any other digital pay per click platform. Organic traffic? It's changed as well. Your listings in the search engines move by the minute, making it extremely dangerous for any business to solely rely upon. Social media? Though businesses have invested small fortunes into their social presence, their return on investment continues to diminish. Even Internet traffic from the local search has been hijacked resulting in less listings and paid placements.


What about mainstream media? Print advertising, television and radio have also changed. With more people cutting the cable cord, the networks' reply is to charge more for commercials. Though radio ads are expensive, they barely move the needle with so many

people streaming music, talk shows or podcasts through their smartphones. Magazine and newspaper subscriptions are also down. That's not what the salesman told you though. He told you about distribution and readership right? When was the last time you saw someone reading a magazine in a doctor's office? Do you still receive a printed newspaper? Most of us take the yellow phone book from our front door and bring it right to the recycling bin without a second thought.


Though society is still listening and reading, they now do it through their favorite mobile device. If most people have no need for phone books, magazines, or newspapers, why have advertising costs continued to increase? We'll warn you ahead of time, your company isn't strong enough to face these media giants. No matter how rich your marketing budget, they will continually raise the cost of advertising until it is out of reach. Consider this: when Google introduced Adwords, their pay per click system, it scarfed up billions upon billions of business advertising dollars. Did your traditional advertising costs decrease? No way! Their response was to raise the rates to offset their losses. With Facebook's IPO and the revolution of social media advertising, businesses invested billions into a new form of marketing. Did you see your expenses go down on other digital marketing channels?

Not a chance! The response from the other digital giants including Google, Yahoo!, and Bing was to also increase advertising rates. Ironically, even though the marketing dollars spent with the giants continue to be less effective, the costs continue to increase.


Problem 2 - Novices Control Your Marketing Campaigns


For the small business owner doing everything yourself, you already know how complicated things can be. When you started out, you didn't think you'd be learning analytic software, website coding, social media and pay per click marketing. Not only do you have to run your own business, but also you're tinkering with websites, ad campaigns and a whirlwind of other technology. Your marketing dollars are going out each month but the question remains; do you really have everything set up correctly? What business opportunities have you neglected so you can tinker with your own marketing? Most do-it-yourselfers already realize the complexity of the situation and would hire help if they could only afford it.


Bigger businesses fare only slightly better. Complex campaigns are passed off to Pedro, the new guy in Marketing who replaced Jim, only last month. By the time Pedro figures things out, he's received a better offer from another company and there's another hole to fill in the marketing ship. For the company that is housing a large marketing team, there are multiple groups fighting for marketing dollars in hopes the CMO will notice their work. Fortune 500 corporations with large advertising budgets see marketing as a line item, money to be spent without regard for results. Even marketing executives, if they were truly honest with themselves, would admit that they struggle to find a cohesive strategy within the complex

world of marketing.


Finally, some frustrated businesses look to local marketing agencies for expertise, believing there must be a better solution. Tim, the agency salesman, is extremely knowledgeable. He's warm and friendly and confidently guarantees huge results for your business. Six months and thousands of dollars later, little progress has been made on the campaign. You call the agency and ask to speak with Tim. After a brief hold you learn he no longer works

there and are transferred to a generic voicemail box. Three days later you receive a phone call back from your assigned project manager. Excuses abound and you realize that you're just another number in a long line of struggling businesses.


Problem 3 - One Thousand Options and Zero Solutions


You open your email inbox and there are two emails in your spam folder from India. They're offering SEO for two hundred dollars a month. Checking your voicemail you receive a message from your local Yellow Page Company telling you it is time to renew. As you hang up the phone, a staff member tells you there's someone from a new magazine wanting to feature your business. After two minutes, you realize he's selling ads. Your nephew Mike just started a business designing websites, he texts you offering a redesign for five hundred dollars. As you log into LinkedIn, a message pops up from Kyle. He is requesting an appointment to go over industry related email marketing software. We could go on here, but you already know how many options are available for your business. Our libraries are littered with marketing books by arrogant authors who've rehashed the same content over and over. The problem still remains. Everyone selling you something has something to gain.

While some of the marketing might be a piece of the puzzle, it doesn't provide you with a solution.


Enter Four-Step Marketing


Does the world really need another marketing method? Perhaps you're wondering if the picture we've painted about the problems in the world of marketing are really that bad. After all, there are smart small business owners who have their campaigns set up well. No doubt, some staff members are loyal and do great work. Obviously, not all marketing agencies are incompetent. While the world might not need another marketing method, we believe that businesses do need a simple and clear marketing blueprint. We've written this series of posts to be a fast, straight forward, easy read. To help everything really sink in, we've created a few graphics to help you learn as you read. As we outline each of these steps, you'll see that there really is a simple solution for growth that can be measured and integrated into every business. Though it is extremely simple to understand, it's likely to be different than anything you've seen before.


Lastly, before you dive into this series of posts, you might be curious about our background or why you should listen to us. More importantly, is this worth your time? In short, we are an unusual breed of entrepreneurs and consultants. Chances are good that you've never heard of us, or the Four-Step Marketing process before. Though extremely successful, we fly way under the radar and prefer it that way. We see no need for hype, noise, or flamboyant marketing tactics. Our growth continues by practicing the Four Step Marketing process in our

business. You'll find we openly disagree with many of the so-called "marketing experts" and in some circles are considered black sheep because of our lack of emphasis on branding. We hate high-pressure sales and are closed most Fridays. When we are working, you'll find us wearing jeans and t-shirts, casually strategizing with clients all over the world. We don't have clever slogans, cool brands or flashy websites. We don't employ sales people, carry business cards, or have fancy trifold brochures. Sales gurus would argue that our Four Step Marketing process is too soft. Madison Avenue branding agencies would insist that marketing couldn’t really be measured.


Marketing agencies would conclude that the process couldn’t be applied to every industry. Other marketing consultants might even dismiss us completely for making the whole process entirely too simple. Fortunately, we don't care. We didn't write this book for them. We wrote it for you, the business owner and executive. You see, we realize something our critics don't and it comes with a huge payoff. When a business embraces the principles in this book, growth happens. Business revenues become a faucet that can be controlled. Whether you realize it or not, you have these principals in front of you right now. This is the blueprint to Four Step Marketing. We also understand that the world of marketing is over-bloated with hype. Rest assured, this isn’t one of those posts or methods.


If you’re willing, let's get started with step one.

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