Jay Baer’s “Hug Your Haters” Book Launch Recap

If you are at all involved in social media and content marketing, you probably know who Jay Baer is – or have at least heard his name. After all, he is the world’s most retweeted person among digital marketers. As a prominent business strategist, keynote speaker and the New York Times best-selling author of five books, he has traveled the world helping businesspeople get and keep customers.

That’s why we were so excited to get him to headline our latest AZIMA event!

For AZIMA’s February event, Jay Baer came to Phoenix to share his knowledge with our marketing community. He led an afternoon workshop and delivered an evening presentation around his latest book, “Hug Your Haters: How to Embrace Complaints and Keep Customers.” Everyone at the event received a copy of the book, as well as participated in a discussion around its key themes. Highlights from our time with Jay are noted below. He shared some fantastic advice for those looking to up their marketing game and turn haters into brand advocates!

After extensive research, Jay uncovered the following insights:

  • 80 percent of organizations think they are doing customer service well, but only 8 percent of their customers agree
  • Answering one complaint online increases customer love up to 25 percent
  • By 2020, customer experience will be more important than price

If this is the case, businesses need to make sure they handle customer complaints carefully and strategically.

Types of Haters

Jay says that online customer service is a spectator sport, and there are two types of haters: offstage and onstage. The majority of a brand’s audience are offstage haters. This group is composed of those who complain in private, either by calling the company directly or writing a personal email. Onstage haters generally want an audience, so they make their complaints public.

How to deal with each group should be part of your marketing strategy.

  • Offstage response: Contact the person via the platform he or she contacted you through. If they called to speak with someone, don’t respond with an impersonal email. These people call to get answers.
  • Onstage response: First, find all mentions of the issue across the web so you can get a complete picture. Then, practice empathy and answer publicly. Jay recommends keeping responses to only two per channel for this group. Violating this rule could drag you into a vortex of negativity and hostility – it’s also a waste of time. These haters contact to get an audience.

Your haters only know what they can see.

Knowing who your haters are and what they are looking for is only half the battle. To truly improve customer experiences, you need to be able to understand the challenges of your audience.

Haters might not know that all of your management staff was sick the week they had poor service, or that there was an equipment failure that slowed things down. They are simply reacting to their service. So, before responding to haters, try to understand their perspective and where they are coming from based on the information they have available to them.

The moral of the story is, don’t ignore your haters and assume they will go away. In an age of easy access to information, form a strategy to handle less-than-positive experiences and use them as a beneficial marketing tactic.

Thank you to all of you who made it out to meet Jay and hear him speak! We were so lucky to have Jay Baer give us a rundown  of his new book and share his insights with us. A special thank you also goes out to SpyFu for sponsoring this incredible event!

*A special thanks to Jessica Ropolo for her expert help with writing this post. 

Never Underestimate Hidden Competitors

When you enter a new niche — especially in search marketing via SEO and PPC campaigns — it’s important to identify strong players as well as smaller competitors that aren’t immediately on your radar. They might not rank for the most keywords, but they often rank for the most valuable keywords.

Be sure to include these two goals in your research:

1. Understand who really dominates the niche

Monster.com is a giant in the job listing field. They’ve been advertising during the Super Bowl for at least 15 years, so they have been the big name to chase. However, when you look for the site that ranks for top keywords in the job hunt niche, it is actually Indeed.com that dominates.

All it takes to gut-check old assumptions is to search one industry-related domain on SpyFu.com. (I started with Monster.com.) SpyFu finds your direct competitors and shows how they ranked over time for relevant keywords. If one powerhouse site appears in topical search results more often than others, you can spot that at a glance.

Spyfu screenshot

Before seeing that chart (and expanding the time window to look back 5 years) I would have guessed that Monster.com had dominated the niche, and that Indeed.com had just started emerging over the past year. I would have been completely wrong.

2. Give credit to websites with focused and valuable SEO.

Now that you can pinpoint the giants, remember that size doesn’t always rule. The previous example helps you battle wrong assumptions. However, ranking for the most searches doesn’t necessarily make them your biggest threat (or best example to emulate).

Many keywords a giant ranks for could easily be irrelevant, throw-away keywords. (Linkedin.com ranks for “ako” and “capital of Spain” to name a few.) Don’t be distracted by high keyword counts alone. Instead, pay attention to competitors whose SEO delivers meaningful traffic from valuable keywords. Here’s how to spot them.

Domains that create more value

When you switch to a “Monthly Value” metric on the chart, you can gauge the value that each domain gains from its organic traffic. Just like with PPC ads, more competitive keywords tend to be more valuable to the domain, so ranking for a few strong keywords can deliver big value.

Spyfu screenshot 2

Again, Indeed.com rises above the others. However, there’s more to uncover. We started this hunt to find domains with focused and valuable SEO — but not so large that they already jump to the front of our minds. A domain with tight focus (read: ranks for fewer keywords) could be hidden from immediate view.

With a monthly SEO value hovering over $9 million each month, Indeed.com creates plenty of value ahead of its competition where others are closer to $1M to $2 million a month. I kept the $9 million target in mind and scrolled down to the full list of Top Organic Competitors to see if I could find any others reaching Indeed.com’s levels.


BOOM! With nearly the same number of keywords as Monster.com, Glassdoor.com captures $10.6M in value each month from its rankings.

Now I can see Glassdoor.com and Indeed.com as two strong domains that create more value overall from their organic content. Glassdoor.com wasn’t top of mind before, and it would have slipped past our sights. The goal is to find competitors that capture relevant and valuable traffic, and these sites get more qualified traffic with every click. If you’re up against them, that’s a key point to remember.

Keep Your Eyes Open

Deeper research into this pool of competitors tells you an interesting story about clicks translating into value. It’s a case of a competitor looming so large that it’s tough to see what is really happening in the niche. There’s help on how to stay alert for market shifts and emerging competitors that you might have missed. Read an in-depth example here.

Now you’re armed with a better eye for potential threats and even possible partners. Anyone can find a competitor. You’re going to find the big answers that happen between the lines.


January AZIMA Member Spotlight – Michael Arce

Breaking the Mold: How One Man Carved His Digital Career

“What do you do?” and “What did you go to school for?” are two overarching conversation starters at nearly every networking event and cocktail party. The real question is, do those two things have to be the same? According to Mike Arce, founder and CEO of Loud Rumor, if you love to learn and embrace constant change anything is possible.

For more and more professionals, finding the right career fit for their talents is more important than ever. Here is the story of an AZIMA member who decided to stop looking for a job to fill, and instead created a career that he finds fulfilling.

Being the founder of a swiftly growing internet marketing agency wasn’t always in Arce’s career plan. In fact, after leaving Arizona State University and owning his own personal training company, delving into the digital realm was arguably one of the farthest things from his mind.

It wasn’t until Arce’s cousin approached him to lend a hand in some business development efforts for her startup agency Crespo Designs, that the seed was planted.

(Enter Loud Rumor.) After falling in love with the industry, Arce and his wife, Marjon, started an internet marketing agency focused on helping small businesses gain new customers and grow their business. Loud Rumor originally found success as a web design company, they then developed a deeper passion for marketing websites, rather than creating them. With the addition of services like SEO,PPC, Facebook Ads, and YouTube Ads, Loud Rumor helps clients utilize their online presence to see real results.

While finding your niche is the first step, it’s certainly not the last on any professional journey. It’s also essential to stay on top of every trend in your industry. According to Arce, modern SEO has changed quite a bit and continues to adjust constantly. In fact, it used to be the main component of marketing plans for Loud Rumor clients.  While it’s still a component, more attention has to be put toward other adapting avenues.

Bringing on the right people is another thing that has kept Arce and Loud Rumor on track for success.

“The wrong people will demotivate you, and make you feel like nothing is going right.  I’ve been there. The right people keep you charged, hungry, and positive,” Said Arce “This includes the people you associate with outside of work. Make sure your circle is a positive one that loves to talk about ideas and creativity.”

Arce also recommends getting mentors, working on people skills as much as marketing skills, and overall taking care of your physical well being.

“If you don’t understand people, it’ll be very hard to find ways to attract them,” said Arce “Whether it’s clients, team members, vendors, or partners.”

Looking for a great place to network and meet like minded professionals in the digital marketing industry? Click HERE to join AZIMA today.

Mike Arce

Mike Arce
Title: Founder and CEO of Loud Rumor
Contact: [email protected]

January Board Member Spotlight – Ginelle Howard

A Look Inside:

Q&A (unedited) with AZIMA Director of Member Benefits Ginelle Howard

Ginelle Howard, Independent marketing consultant and Arizona Interactive Marketing Association’s Director of Member Benefits, has worked both the agency and corporate side of marketing and has befriended Fortune 500 brands ranging from make-up to pet products over the past 10 years. Currently, her expertise in brand planning, marketing strategy and business development has led her to independent consulting.

Why do you think the world needs more women in leadership roles within the industry and in entrepreneurship?

Mainly, because I believe that women make fantastic leaders and are incredibly creative, intelligent, resourceful, intuitive and beyond capable. I’ve also never met a woman that wasn’t brave and I think that great leadership demands that of any individual.

Beyond that belief, I think it is important for women to continue to strive for gender equality in the workplace and one of the most significant ways that women can work together to achieve this equality is to take a seat at the leadership table. Of course those seats can be hard to come by and that’s why entrepreneurship provides such an enriching and empowering option for women in business to carve out their own leadership and creative path.

How would you describe what the industry is like for those considering a marketing career?

In marketing there is never a dull moment. It’s not a routine field. It can be like riding a rollercoaster without always or (maybe more like never) having a seatbelt. The industry constantly changes and requires you to be a relentless and avid learner, which I love. What I enjoy most about the industry is that it involves an incredible convergence of worlds that in other fields you wouldn’t get to always experience so heavily. Art, science, psychology, sociology, technology and pop culture are all such major influences in a way that is very unique to the industry.

How is adapting technology changing the frontier of your industry?

In some ways it has changed everything and in other ways nothing has changed. There are more niche areas and the overall marketing umbrella is becoming much more expansive then it was in years past. Our ability to reach consumers is certainly much faster and we are able to connect with people on a significantly larger scale. And sure, the mediums and platforms we use to communicate are more varied with the advanced development of mobile technology, app culture, the continued boom of social media, and the vastness of opportunities the web presents, but these technologies do not create great marketing. Good copy is good copy in and of itself, not because it was shared on social media. Brilliant brand strategy isn’t brilliant, because it was put on a landing page using key SEO search terms and followed by a hash tag. Creative ideation and strategic insights will always be the pillars of the industry’s frontier and I don’t think any adapting technology will ever change that.

What is a tip that has helped you stay on top of your game?

I learned a lot from my first job. I used to observe everything I could from the CEO of the company. I learned that you have to be able to talk and understand all aspects of the business and stay very knowledgeable on a wide variety of industries. He taught me that it’s not enough to know marketing and to be able to talk marketing. You really have to be able to understand the nuances of many other businesses. No one can be the expert in everything, but always increasing your knowledge outside of your world as much as possible will help keep you in the game.

Any advice for someone looking into a career in this field?

Find a mentor. Heck, find five. There is nothing else I would recommend more highly. Also, I’d say to become clear and poignant about your own brand. I think developing and portraying a strong sense of who you are and what you stand for as a creative talent and overall human being is so important. It allows your distinct point of view to flow out naturally and authentically. I think when those things are very clear within you and you can articulate them well, that other people take notice and want to be a part of it. The most successful brands in the world do that and when someone starting out in the field can do that too it’s very powerful and will take you places.


Ginelle Howard
Title: Director of Brand Marketing for Yandy
Contact: [email protected]

Helping Small Businesses Manage Marketing in the Digital Age

The November 2015 AZIMA event invited Cory Elliot, VP of research at Borrell Associates, to share some useful and interesting research about small- to medium-sized-business owners and their perceptions of current marketing trends. For those who missed his presentation, here’s a recap with all the highlights.

Borrell Associates conducted a survey among SMB owners at 110 of its partnering entities in Q1 of 2015. This survey asked about spending on marketing now and in the future, as well as which tactics these business owners were most interested in using. The results pointed to a few common trends and challenges.

Overall Trends

According to the research, it seems SMB owners are overwhelmed by the number of marketing channels and options available in today’s landscape. They are interested in digital tactics, and there seems to be an increase in focus and spending on online marketing and advertising. In fact, digital ad purchasing exceeded print in quarter 1 of 2015, and the research suggests digital media will account for half of all local marketing efforts in 2016. Online and mobile tactics are also predicted to have the greatest increase in interest, while directories and local newspapers are expected to see the biggest decrease.

Based on the survey, it seems the hottest digital marketing opportunities for SMBs might not be ads. While search and social ad use are on the rise, small businesses are spending the most of their digital budgets on the following services (in order):

  1. Website design/hosting
  2. Social network support
  3. Lead generation programs
  4. Graphic design services
  5. Event marketing

Segment Trends

While many SMBs are increasing spending for online and digital tactics, some industries are doing more so than others. According to the survey, morticians, pet stores and government entities spend the very least on digital marketing. On the contrary, the automotive industry is quickly taking advantage of digital channels, as 66 percent of auto marketing budgets have been spent online and on mobile so far in 2015. Health care businesses are also beginning to spend more on digital marketing this year, with additional planned budget increases in the near future.

SMB Challenges

By far the greatest challenge noted by those surveyed was a lack of time. With so many options and how quickly channels change, staying on top of all of a small business’s digital assets is hard to do. Additional challenges included keeping up with social media trends and technology, as well as measuring marketing efforts.

Working with SMBs

To make this and other challenges easier to manage, Elliot suggests digital agencies and media companies consider the following when partnering with SMBs:

  • Establish ROI parameters first
  • Create “social” campaigns
  • Invest in social media management capabilities
  • Respect the SMB owner’s time and budget
  • Read up on beacons (fast – it’s the next big thing)

The insights provided by Elliot’s research provide marketers a better understanding of the perceptions the owners of small- to medium-sized businesses might have. We thank Cory Elliot for sharing his research with AZIMA and giving an interesting and valuable presentation.

A special thanks to Jessica Ropolo for her expert help with writing this post. 

We Like it When they Give us Big Data: Forecasting Campaign Success With Staffan Hulten

First impressions are everything. When thinking about the elements needed to make a great advertising campaign, many start off with contemplating messaging, visuals and platforms for distribution. But the Vice President of Research and Analysis of Media (RAM) Staffan Hulten takes a different approach. He recognizes if you don’t catch the attention of the audience within seconds, the campaign is in jeopardy of failure. This makes understanding each member of the client’s audience from an independent level essential for campaign success.

We’re excited to highlight Staffan as our expert speaker for the October monthly AZIMA event and pick his brain about what it really takes to forecast the success of any ad campaign.

Using big data to create meaningful and memorable campaigns for audiences is key according to Hulten. As a founding partner of RAM, he works closely with traditional and digital media clients to develop robust research panels that truthfully mirror their client’s viewers, readers and listeners. This helps to dig down into the roots of the media medium and determine the most effective ways to reach their key audiences with their campaigns.

According to Hulten, with over 75 million interviews locked in and an additional ½ million interviews being added to their database every month, RAM is the Ikea for media data. This data gives RAM the ability to identify industry fallacies to provide valuable consultancy and education so their clients can focus on what matters most: generating results.

“A code that is placed on print and mobile ads can be monitored to measure different individual aspects of a user,” said Hulten. “Not many people want to know that they are being shadowed, but we can see exactly what they do and how frequently they do it.” That information is helping analysts and big brands learn.

Hulten notes that not everything users do online is being watched. Select things are examined to better understand consumer habits. Another big change in the industry is the ability to evaluate device preference. RAM evaluates their panel members by listing out the devices they use, which allows them to ensure a more accurate representation of preference and frequency of usage for devices and browsers.

Hulten stresses how important it is to get information from the individual level rather than the browser level. Tracing something like “reach” which is measured differently for every channel is not as accurate as measuring memory traces. Asking panel members and people if they remember a campaign and gathering data on that is much more relevant.

“If I let go of 1 million balloons outside of my hotel, I would have a reach of 1 million,” said Hulten. “But if no one sees it or resonates with it, it won’t have any impact. There are often huge campaigns with no impact at all.”

Staffan grew up in Sweden, moved to East Africa for several years then moved back to Sweden, where he attended University and currently lives. He and his partner founded RAM after noticing a big hole in the media evaluation market. What surprised them most was even though they were focused on print, any other form of media was simpler to provide feedback on. So they set out to make a system that made monitoring more lateral.

When he is not advancing campaigns with tactical data, you can find Hulten enjoying guitar music festivals and practicing his juggling skills for laughs. He advises colleagues and individuals entering this field to be open and very quick to understand and adapt to what really counts. Traditional measurement evaluation is still important, but analysts should be aware that they should monitor the things that result in impact or change

If you are interested in learning more about the world of marketing, be sure to attend our monthly events by signing up as an AZIMA member here: http://joinazima.org/join-azima/

Email Is the New Direct Mail

Direct mail can target people by region and can count conversions with a specific phone number, coupon code or URL. Sounds like the perfect marketing tactic, right? Maybe not.

While some marketers swear by it, direct mail is no longer the end-all, be-all of direct marketing. Nowadays, anything important (paying bills, shopping, etc.), can be done online. “Junk mail” is often synonymous with direct marketing, and may create more annoyance than positive brand awareness.

Email marketing is the new direct mail. In a world where digital devices are an integral part of our lifestyle, it makes sense to try to reach people through those devices.

But that’s not email’s only appeal. Below are three reasons why email is the direct marketing tactic of today.

1. More Specific Targeting

Email marketing allows users to opt in or out. With direct mail, you can’t do either. If someone goes to your website and signs up for your newsletter, you already know they are interested. If they opt out after receiving your email, they may not be your target market.

Email marketing software can also help you tailor your campaigns based on other factors. Not only can you target by location, but if you have been in contact with them before, you can target by where they are in the buying cycle. Email lists can also be segmented based on purchase behavior.

2. Lower Costs

If you are a small business owner, the cost of running direct mail campaigns can be quite high. You may have to hire a designer, pay for postage and purchase high print volumes. Then, when it’s time for a second round, you send just as many because you don’t know who actually saw the first one. Even if you receive more responses from a piece of direct mail, some testing has shown the ROI is often higher on email marketing.

3. More Intelligence

You can gain so much more intelligence with email. You can tell how many people have opened the email, clicked on links and unsubscribed. If you sent them to a page on your website, you can find out what they did there as well. This way you know if the email actually led to a sale, in addition to creating more brand awareness.

When you can track online user behavior, you can optimize your next campaign for better results. If you are aware of the recipient’s response, you can make adjustments to elements like subject lines, CTAs, overall messaging and email layout. You also have the ability to test these variables by sending out two versions and seeing which one performs better.

In Summary

While email campaigns are an improved way to reach your prospects and customers directly, they should only be part of your marketing efforts. In some cases, it might be beneficial to use both direct mail and email as part of your integrated marketing plan. Either way, every situation is unique and if you aren’t sure what the best strategy is for your business, seek out the help of a professional.

Ryan Smeets Shares UX & UI Optimization Tips for the Masses

Ryan Smeets HeadshotAs our use of digital devices grows, the quality of our digital contacts and content become increasingly important. How do we create web interactions that are intuitive, informative and worthy of a user’s time and attention? All marketers are faced with this challenge today. At the last AZIMA event on July 23, Ryan Meeks the Director of Client Strategy at Brushfire Interactive shared his perspective and advice on facing the UX & UI conundrum with wit.

Ryan is responsible for how content and technology will strategically shape overall strategies for clients across the country. Ryan brings to Brushfire more than 10 years of experience in strategic marketing and consulting for various clients in varying industries including: professional sports, healthcare, automotive, agriculture, and non-profit organizations.

Ryan earned his Bachelor’s degree from UCLA and his Master’s degree from Georgetown University, however he divulged with the nearly 100 AZIMA attendees that his proudest achievement was winning the “Showcase Showdown” on CBS’ The Price is Right. Yes, clearly Ryan and Bob Barker have a close relationship. 😉

Understanding the Difference Between UI & UX

For those of you who aren’t as fluent in nerd as I am, I’ll briefly define the two key terms at hand in Ryan’s presentation for context. UX Design refers to the term User Experience Design, while UI Design stands for User Interface Design. Both elements are crucial to a product and work closely together. But despite their close relationship, the roles themselves are quite different, referring to very different parts of the process within the design discipline. Whereas UX Design is a more analytical and technical field focusing on human behavior principles, UI Design is closer to what we generally hear referred to as graphic design, though the responsibilities are somewhat more complex.

An analogy I’ve heard used before describes it like this:

  • UI is the saddle, the stirrups, and the reigns.
  • UX is the feeling you get being able to ride the horse, and rope your cattle.

Despite how simple it sounds, they do have a complex relationship which Ryan didn’t delve too deeply into in his AZIMA presentation. Mr. Smeets did, however share a few little nuggets that stuck with me. He began with this phenomenal Da Vinci quote.

Da Vinci Quote

And These Gems

In Ryan’s light and entertaining presentation he shared with us what he calls the “trifecta” for UI.

Photo of slide on Trifecta

Ryan gave props to the designers in the room and declared, “Good design is frictionless, inviting, and familiar.” He noted “the recent big rise in the ‘C-level’ design director. It’s proof that design and detail matter.”

As part of his discussion on the way we as humans interact with our environment and the internet today, he added that “if it’s not mobile, it doesn’t exist.” The audience seemed to agree.

He used this imagery, and suggested that this highly integrated, ubiquitous state is where the web will be soon.

This will be the web

Mr. Smeets also explained how “one of the biggest challenges in software is that it’s never done” and went on to share a couple of short case studies about recent work that Brushfire Interactive had done.

He displayed some good examples of “intentionally low fidelity” wireframes and explained that “the goal of a wireframe is to facilitate conversation around features and functions.“

He went on to share how in some cases his team has found it useful to overwhelm the client with all of the suggested features and functions that might be useful in a product. They throw the proverbial kitchen sink at them, and then refine from there. This helps reach an understanding about the importance of simplicity and the Minimum Viable Product (MVP), which is a term used most often in the field of product development. It refers to the product with the highest return on investment versus risk. The term was coined and defined by Frank Robinson, and popularized by Steve Blank, and Eric Ries.

See it for Yourself

For a look at Ryan Smeets’ AZIMA presentation deck in its entirety you can find it on slideshare.

[slideshare id=50973925&doc=humaninteractionkeynotebrushfireinteractivejuly2015-150727150029-lva1-app6892]

After the presentation Ryan fielded a few questions from the crowd and spoke easily about his experiences and successes in software development. Based on the Twitter response (#azimaevents) the crowd was pleased with Ryan’s humorous and compelling presentation and are all looking forward to next month’s AZIMA presentation on August 20 by Jordan Koen on Using Data to Build Content. I hope to see you there!

Is SEO Dead? Danny Sullivan Reports on the State of Search

Danny Sullivan- AZIMA SEMPOAZ event Scottsdale

Once upon a time search engine optimization (SEO) wasn’t even a term and the main search-related challenge for a web developer to reach the top spot was simply wording websites with the desired keyword phrases and maybe sneaking some colored text on a matching colored background. However, as internet growth surged and new search engines flooded the landscape, being search savvy became a thing and discussions about being at the top of the search results became a brass-ring challenge.