Jason Seiden is a hustler. You know, the good kind. The kind that can make things happen through sheer will, gumption, and thoughtful innovation. Jason, an online marketing expert, is making waves these days with the launch of BrandAmper – a SaaS application that improves the quantity, quality, and consistency of employee brand advocacy.
I sat down to get Jason’s ideas about how regular folks like you and me, who don’t count marketing as a primary responsibility and have minimal financial and time resources, can start an effective grassroots online marketing program.
Alex: So Jason, I’m not a big brand with deep pockets. It this even possible?
Jason: Possible?! Who started the rumor that online marketing requires a major marketing budget? The reason online marketing looks expensive is because the media tends to feature tools built to accommodate massively scaled consumer marketing programs with the goal of turning complete strangers into fans.
But if you start with loyal employees – people who already chose to work for you – your probability of success skyrockets. The data on starting with employees is compelling: employees are almost 6X more trusted than company spokespeople and when you activate employees as ambassadors, you get immediate feedback about what’s working and what’s not.
Alex: But how do you win over employees so they want to be spokespeople?
Jason: First, make sure leadership is on board. They may be gray-haired digital immigrants, but they still set the tone, and it’s important that they lead by example. Second, make sure your employees have guidelines to follow. Has marketing ever created conversational treatments of your brand? Can an employee explain the company’s vision to a friend without sounding like a robot? Finally, activate your employees by running an internal communications campaign that gives them a reason to care, and then inviting them to sessions that show them how to convert their interest into action.
Alex: You’ve seen lots of big brands spend a fortune on marketing. What are the most important lessons we can take away without having to make the same mistakes?
Jason: One lesson we see over and over is that reach is nothing without resonance. All those retweets that no one cares about? Spam. All those likes you bought with the promise of a free iPad? Useless. When companies start with online marketing, they almost always chase that shiny viral object. They buy all these tools and content management platforms and measuring dashboards, and all anyone is measuring is how little people are engaging.
So if you’re just starting, skip that shiny object step. Start with your strategy, figure out what matters to you, put blinders on to everything else, and then blog and tweet and post and engage about that one thing until your fingers bleed.
For the rest of Jason's interview, have a look at Intuit's Fast Track blog.