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It is horribly easy to get both overwhelmed and sucked into spending time and money we cannot afford on marketing generally and digital marketing in particular.

It is horribly easy to get both overwhelmed and sucked into spending time and money we cannot afford on marketing generally and digital marketing in particular.

While I plan to share the wisdom of many digital marketing experts over the coming weeks, I wanted to first talk of the eye-opening and excellent reminder I had thanks to Nick Lambe of Gordalex and Gordalex Digital Media. 

To give you a little background here:  A significant part of Nick’s business has always been within digital security.  Most of us think of cyber hackers in this context, but Nick tells me that is only around 20% of the crime involved, with the rest being in the physical space.  A typical example of Nick’s work would be a commission from the Police to track down a ring of car thefts.  His company picked up a series of social media posts, showing someone posing for his friend’s benefit, with a broad selection of high-end cars. Through his social media, they tracked back to his girlfriend’s father, the criminal they were after.

Back in 2010, Nick decided he wanted to learn how criminals could use social media.  He had seen the work of the American businessman, Tai Lopez, and liked both his style and content.  He went to America and met Tai, even went to his house in L. A and stood next to the famous Lamborghini.  It changed Nick’s thinking about digital marketing forever.

Nick explained that about 90% of us think of digital marketing as working in the same ways as other marketing.  Too often, they just sell, sell, sell.   In digital marketing, it is all about the stories.  During his work with Tai, Nick also met Jesse Navarro, who he says is the most brilliant copywriter ever, and Sean Vosler, a genius on social media and YouTube and are story masters.

Insider Tip for an entire Digital Marketing Campaign

Nick was kind enough to share one of Sean’s best tips for nailing how you can do a highly effective digital marketing campaign (and on a shoe-string budget, too!). 

Ask a friend to interview you, on or off-camera, on all the “Why’s” behind you doing what you do.  Ask them to drill down deep into it, coming up with every possible question in every possible way, so you completely open up about it.  Then send the interview for transcription.  Using a freelance service on a platform such as Fiverr might cost £50.00.  But you will then be able to edit it down, both as a whole piece, as sections and snippets, and use it in blogs, social media, and mini-videos. There you will have an entire, authentic digital marketing campaign. 

Join the Intelligence

Digital media, says Nick, is a lot like intelligence work.  First, you find your target.  Then you profile them, work out a route to get to them and finally conclude the best way of influencing them.

For all digital work, Nick advises, you also want to be clear about precisely what sort of traffic you are trying to get.  Many companies overlook organic traffic, and optimizing that can be the best possible thing you can do.  For that, you need to ensure your website is engaging and with no friction of moving around and finding the areas you want to be on.   SEO is all very well, but if you have the most perfectly SEO-friendly site and the content is boring, you won’t get anywhere.

It is a similar situation with Facebook ads, which people are quick to tell you should be a significant part of your digital marketing.  If you are selling Post-It stickers to 18-25’s, Facebook ads might work.  If you are selling to B2B corporations, they won’t.    And if you don’t know what you are doing, they will just drain your budget completely.

Nick is, however, in favor of using a more guerrilla marketing approach with digital marketing and gives this example of how that might work.  He was retained by a Financials company whose main target markets were merchant banks within the City of London.    Nick’s company crafted a story, which they filmed outside each of these banks.   They explained what this company did, mentioning that it was for merchant banks like the very one which viewers could see behind them, and finally adding that they were keen to get in touch with Mr. Jones, who happened to hold a specific position at that bank – their target. 

Nick’s company then put these videos on YouTube and LinkedIn.  From that low-cost campaign, their client won a contract for half a million.

Never under-value the Guerrilla.

When I was researching the book Scale for Success,  I spoke to a lovely guy called George Rawlings.  Just setting out on his entrepreneurial journey at the time, George had developed a line in guerrilla marketing that was second to none. 

They were starting a dating app called Honeypot with very little cash, and they were committed to using stories in their digital marketing.  They were using blackboards walking around London to get attention, then filming them for social media. 

Initially, the boards simply said “download Honeypot,” but everyone ignored them.  They didn’t get a single picture.  George describes it as a quick lesson that “people want stories, stories with an emotional reaction.”

So, they started their story.  George and his partner Matt lugged a whiteboard to Liverpool Street Station one morning at 4 am, which read, ‘To my cheating boyfriend, don’t bother coming home tonight. @George.Rawlings enjoy seeing this on Instagram. I saw you with that girl at the weekend. PS- you’re deluded if you think Honeypot is the next Hinge”. Within minutes, they saw the tags coming in and realized it was going to go viral.   

They continued the story.  Another one found George leaning up against a London bus, complete with his homemade sandwich board, which read, “I @George Rawlings cheated on my girlfriend, and this was my punishment in front of a London bus).”  At the bottom, in tiny writing, it stated, “Do not download Honeypot.”

Be it with sandwich boards, whiteboards, or blackboards, their statements may be controversial, but they tell stories.  People take pictures, go to their social media, share them, and visit the company’s pages too.  This approach builds fans.  Expert, David Meerman Scott, labels this Fanocracy marketing in his book of the same name and also talks about it in Scale for Success.

George described the tactics they use as “necky.”   However, when you consider for only £300, they got an initial 5000 downloads, it is also economical and highly effective.   It is not an approach for the faint-hearted.  George had to become “a personality” deliberately. 

Today, less than two years on, George’s company Thursday partners with Uber and Brewdog and has just raised £2.5m in seed investment, a campaign that he ran with equal amounts of “neckyness.”  Their social media is still funny, still disruptive.

To Re-think for Success

Before we even start the whole “how-to” digital marketing series, there is a serious message here.

Clear your thoughts of all those fine people trying to sell you must-have social media packages, entire campaign ads.  All of them are based on the sell, sell, sell some more principle.

Re-think an entirely new digital marketing campaign:  One that will cost you much less and actually work.  When it is based on the story of the authentic you behind the business and used to educate and entertain, you have a digital marketing campaign that will work.   Think stories.


(and measure, measure, measure what you do)

Digital Marketing measuring
Whatever you do – measure and monitor if it works