what is marketing what is a marketing agency really

By Bruce Firestone | Uncategorized

Jun 08

come to the conclusion that most marketing mavens (now there’s an oxymoron) not
only don’t know what marketing actually is, they have no idea what a real marketing agency does.

I now believe that a vrai (French for true)
marketing agency might be as rare as a profitable online food delivery unicorn…

Obviously, marketing is a process that
creates a great (hopefully) brand experience. So what?

Well, it’s so your great band creates an
automatic aura of trust around your organization’s products, services and
stakeholders (not only employees but suppliers and customers–think Apple, if
you buy an Apple product, you are a cool cat).

Trust creates an opportunity to make a sale
through a separate sales process.
This is the missing link. That
plus adding a great business model with lots of DV, differentiated value, so
it’s not a race to the bottom.

Ever buy anything from someone you didn’t
like and didn’t trust?

Yeah, but only once, right?

If someone shows you a business card that
says, “VP, marketing and sales,” you’ve just met someone who doesn’t know
what s/he is doing.

There are two more “missing links:”

-creating beautiful, meaningful, engaging
websites, cool apps, biz cards, letterheads, Instagram profiles, Facebook pages, logos,
taglines… is terrific but if no one sees them, they aren’t much use. So
marketing has to drive traffic through SEO or advertising

or email marketing (eg, when I did a Realtopia event in Toronto, I asked REIN Toronto if they would agree to co-brand with Prof Bruce, which they agreed to, so they sent out notice of my event to their membership in their regular newsletter, which got me a ton of signups and for which I had a terrific ROI in terms of my ad spend on their newsletter versus the cost of attending the event) or event marketing or
blogging that attracts readership or viewership, whatever.

-a true marketing agency is one that charges
fees to create not only a great brand experience but also spends their client’s
money on the above–that is, it’s like the old Madison avenue crowd of the 1960s
made famous in the Mad Men series–you get CMRR, committed monthly recurring
revenues, the holy grail of business, by charging your clients for placing ads,
contacting influencers, doing SEO… anything that drives traffic.

In another era, this was called lead
generation, a lost art.

So bottom line, if you do this right, you should become a utility company–one of those businesses like Google, Amazon, Facebook–that folks cant really operate effectively without.

I knew a guy back in the 1980s who started his own agency with one client–Atlanta-based Coca Cola. Not a bad launch client, wouldn’t you agree?

How did he do that? By promising them a new logo? Nope. He said, “Give me $125 million a year of your ad spend. I’ll create international branded Coke events that’ll generate more buzz, more recognition, more engagement and more sales than the rest of your billion dollar marketing combined.”

He understood his job was to make the phone ring (so to speak).

Today, there is a huge opportunity waiting for someone to come along and create a digital marketing agency that truly knows how to drive traffic, aka make the phone ring.

Here’s what I’d suggest–

a) for SMEEs, minimum spend of $500 a month + 30% fee for the agency

b) for larger enterprises, a $10,000 per month spend on digital marketing + 25% fee for the agency

c) for mega corps, a $500,000 per month spend on digital marketing + 20% fee for the agency.

I’d also ask for residuals like this:

-every 1,000 YouTube views, $10

-every 1,000 likes on Facebook $20

-every 1,000 retweets or replies or likes on Twitter $15

-then add in pinterest, instagram and other platforms so the agency has some lasting income from their campaigns

-you may also wish to add in residuals and percentages for favorites, chats, texts, inbound emails generated, newsletter signups, sales booked and closed, reduced customer churn rates/increased customer retention

-the list of residual income is endless but important to creating a sustainable digital marketing agency and making sure you and your client’s interests are always closely aligned.

I wrote something about residuals in my as yet unreleased novel (Jenna’s Story), which I excerpt below.

In it, you will meet Ms Jenna McConnell, who is tasked with creating an avatar of herself to help in the marketing program of a chain of summer camps (called We Camp). It is set in the future.

It’s her contract negotiations with the camps’ owner (Tom Hatch, who is madly in love with Jenna naturally) that I reproduce here. It’s her residuals though that’ll make her a rich young woman. About Tom, Jenna has not yet decided what her feelings are for him…

Prof Bruce

ps I apologize but here’s my hand-drawn
cheat sheet summarizing the above but here it is:


I’m not even sure if  master marketer Gary
Vaynerchuk understand what a marketing agency really is. He certainly knows how
to bill his clients ($25k a month to create nice social media profiles) but I don’t
see much mention here about lead generation/driving traffic other than maybe
relying on his own clients celebrity status to do that, a situation not
available to most individuals or organizations…  https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2017-05-24/you-can-have-your-own-social-media-team-for-just-25-000-a-month

ppps here’s the excerpt from Jenna’s Story about residuals; there is some content that may not be suitable for the office. My apologies again:

“You got my message?” Tom says stupidly.


“All of them,” Jenna responds.

“We Camp needs your help.”

“That’s why I’m here, Tom. I’ll do it, but on one condition.”

“What’s that?”

“I’m not going to sleep with you.”

“Ah,” says Tom. This comes out as if someone is choking a weasel,

Tom does not want to end up in the friend zone with her but grabs hold
of himself and says, “I understand.”

“Do you?”


“I want something else.”

“Another condition?”

“In a way. I want to be paid properly. I want residuals.”

We Camp pays their staff really badly—they figure it’s a privilege to
work there; it’s part of their culture.

It’s so pathetic that almost all their junior staff finishes up broke at
season’s end—they’ve spent more on room and board, and other services than they’ve
made. As a result, they often leave camp owing it money.

Senior staff is better compensated but still it’s pretty horrible.

Her residual formula, which takes only minutes to approve since Tom
will sign off on it practically without looking at it, goes something like

McConnell Residual ® Contract

R = $A/1,000 views + ¢B/fave + $C/chat + $D/new signup + $E/returnee,
paid monthly in arrears

Where A = $20, B = 10¢, C = $1.25, D = $100, and E = $100

So if Jenna’s agent (ie, her avatar), for example, gets 3,500,000
views a year plus another 290,000 faves, does 175,000 “live” chats (145,000 of
them with new potential customers), signs up 20% of those client contacts and
convinces 85% of existing campers’ parents to re-up their kididily, then she’ll receive a hunk a
chunk a change, calculated as follows—

The only argument they have is over whether Jenna should receive the
same amount for returning campers as she will for new signups.

Denton argues that she should get ½ of
what she receives for signing up existing campers as she will for inducing new
suckers, uh, parents, to splurge on their kids’ summer holidays at a We Camp.

Sophinie takes the opposite view, “Monsieur Hatch, what is zee best
way to find new clientele?”

“Ah, by spending more marketing dollars with Dagust Brands?”

“Mais non. By re-enlisting established clientele. If we reduce zee
churn rate for zee ‘way’ camp, we become more efficient, we build zee bigger
biziness. What is zee point in signing up a 1,000 new clientele (she pronounces
‘thousand’ as ‘Tao-sand’) if we lose a Toa-sand old ones?”

“I agree. I personally detest the way so many organizations treat new
clients better that the ones who got them there in the first place,” Tom adds.

So Denton
loses his argument—Miss Jenna will get paid the same for retaining customers as
for landing new ones.

“You’ll actually be working with Dagust Brands, Ms McConnell,” chimes
Sophinie. “Your contract will be with us.”

Jenna ignores Soph. She’s looking at Tom instead.

“I’ll make sure of it, Jen,” Tom says. “100%.”

He is referring to getting her contract situation sorted out. It’ll
make her a rich young woman.

“OK, I’m in.”

There’s been an on-again, off-again recession bedeviling the US
economy for much of the last decade. Jenna’s folks have both lost their jobs,
and she’s no longer enrolled at University of South Carolina Upstate. More accurately, she’s
suspended her registration there and taken a leave of absence from her research
position, which pays almost as poorly as We Camp.

“Would you like to take some time—”

“No thank you, Miss…?” Jenna interrupts.

“Sophinie, Sophinie Dagust,” Sophinie says by way of introduction. She
sticks out her hand, which Jenna ignores.

“Miss Dagust, I’m here to work. Let’s get started. Now.”

“Bien sûr. Please follow me.”

Jenna looks at Tom.

He stands there like a statue.

She looks at him once more, then pointedly at her bags.

“Oh, right. Yeah. Of course.”

He bends over and picks up her matching valises, and follows the
ladies down a long hall to an AI lab where Jenna will spend the next month with
the Aye creating a totally convincing avatar of herself who can talk to
thousands of kids and their parents in a way that even Alan Turing would have a
tough time deciding whether he was talking to an artificially intelligent agent
or a real human being.

This agent will also be fluent in 4,000 of the 6,500 or so spoken
languages on planet earth.

Tom is surprised at how heavy her bags are, not really understanding
the amount of girl infrastructure required to maintain Jenna’s look, more so
now since she’s going to be the We Camp It girl.

He’s also not really familiar with the concept of male chivalry. Women
in California feel they can open their own doors, carry their own things, pay
for their own dinner, get home on their own, protect and stand up for
themselves, hold their own umbrellas (which are completely obsolete since
shields do a far better job of that anyway), buy their own flowers and pull out
their own chairs.

In the Deep South, girls like Jenna
still expect a man to treat them special. It’s part of Jenna’s new Tom training

After the two women and Tom leave, Holman follows, wondering about the
girl’s first condition, and just how long it might be before those two are
sleeping together again.

He stops himself about a dozen feet down the hall, turns around, goes
back into the audition room, and tells his staffer, the one who first brought
Tom the message about Jenna’s arrival, to tell all the other girls to go home.

He can hear groans of disappointment fading as he strides away.

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About the Author

Bruce is an entrepreneur/real estate broker/developer/coach/urban guru/keynote speaker/Sens founder/novelist/columnist/peerless husband/dad.