2017 Marketing Budget Trends by Channel

2017 Marketing Budget Trends by Channel

This article, 2017 Marketing Budget Trends by Channel, should be of interest to anybody in the content marketing business. Marketers are in the midst of impressive spending hikes in 2017 of 56% for social media marketing and 55% for content marketing. This is on top of already impressive hikes in previous years.

Content marketing remains one of the most effective methods to tell your branded story. As we mention often here at Copybrander, people remember a good story. Developing great content is all about storytelling. At Copybrander, we create unique, interesting, and memorable content for the Insurance, Benefits and Technology B2B Markets.

http://www.marketingcharts.com/online/2017-marketing-budget-trends-by-channel-74715/2017 Marketing Budget Trends by Channel Which channels are marketers going to be investing more – and less – in this year? A review of studies from Econsultancy [download page] and Gartner offers a window into marketers’ plans for this year. Hint: social media marketing appears to be ripe for further spending, and enthusiasm around content marketing remains healthy.

The latest Quarterly Intelligence Briefing produced by Econsultancy in association with Adobe asked almost 3,500 company marketers around the world how their spending on various digital marketing channels and disciplines would change this year.

The areas of broadest agreement for spending hikes this year are social media marketing and content marketing, set for increases by 56% and 55% of respondents, respectively. These aren’t surprising given the recent levels of enthusiasm for these channels, but nevertheless the results indicate that such enthusiasm doesn’t seem to be waning. In fact, content marketing and social media engagement emerged as the top digital-related priorities for respondents’ organizations this year.

Close behind, at least half of respondents will increase their spending on personalization (51%), video advertising (50%) and lead generation (50%). Personalization has become a top priority for enterprise organizations as they seek to respond to customers’ changing needs, while video advertising is set for annual increases of almost 20%/. As for lead generation, spending increases in this area are likely going to be made with improved lead quality rather than quantity in mind.

An earlier Gartner study took a look at the spending plans of 377 CMOs in the US (56% share), UK (30% share) and Canada (14% share), 70% of whom come from organizations with at least $1 billion in annual revenue.

The results of that survey indicate that digital advertising has a bright year ahead: a leading 23% of respondents projected a “significant” increase in digital ad spend this year, with another 42% expecting a “slight” increase. All told, then, almost two-thirds expect an increase in digital ad spend, against just 7% decreasing it. (It’s worth noting that digital advertising spend in the US slowed at the end of last year as some large advertisers didn’t see the returns they were expecting. This coincided with some big spenders returning to TV.)

Meanwhile, although social marketing didn’t gain quite as much spending consensus as digital advertising, fully 1 in 5 respondents said they would increase their budgets for social “significantly”. That trailed only digital advertising in terms of “significant” spending hikes, and was still supplemented by another 36% expecting a “slight” increase.


Your Odds of Avoiding a Disability

Your Odds of Avoiding a Disability

Surgical-Team-CopybranderAccording to the statistics from the Social Security Administration (SSA), your odds of avoiding a disability actually get worse as you get older. Most people believe their odds improve, but one of the glaring Myths about Disabilities is that most are caused by injuries. This simply isn’t true. Most disability claims are a result of chronic diseases and illness, which afflicts us more as we age. Thus, the increase in disabilities as we get older.

Here are some disability statistics from the US Social Security Administration (SSA) for you to think about:

  • According to statistics from the Social Security Administration (SSA), 30% of 20 year olds will become disabled for 6 months or longer before they retire.
  • If you are 33 to 35 years old, you have a 50% chance of experiencing a 3 month or longer disability before you reach retirement.
  • If you are 45, you have a 44% chance of experiencing a disability of 3 months or longer.
  • So your odds of avoiding a disability from your 30’s to your 40’s range anywhere from a 50/50 shot to slightly higher than 50%. If this was a gambling situation, most people wouldn’t touch that action.
  • Over 37 million Americans (about 12% of the population) is disabled.
  • At the end of 2012 (December 2012), there were 2.5 million disabled workers in their 20s, 30s and 40s receiving SSDI (Social Security Disability Insurance) benefits. These stats only include people receiving government benefits, not claims for Short Term and Long Term Disability with private insurance carriers.
  • Odds of being involved in a car accident? 1 in 4 or 25% Note: You have a 1 in 4 chance of being involved in a car accident, but only  a .3% chance of being killed in a car accident. So most of us survive car accidents, but it also causes many disability claims.
  • Odds of a woman developing cancer? 1 in 3 or 33%
  • Odds of a man developing cancer? 1 in 4 or 25%  Note:  Regardless of whether you are a Man or a Woman, you have an incredibly high chance of developing this awful, debilitating disease. Working while undergoing daily or weekly chemo treatments is very hard to do. Recovery from invasive surgeries can take weeks or months and are usually followed by chemo or radiation treatments. A disability policy provides an income to allow you to take time off work to focus on your treatment and recovery.
  • Odds of being disabled from a heart attack or stroke? 1 in 3 or 33%  Note:  Over 80 million Americans suffer from heart disease and it is the leading cause of death and disabilities each year.  If you survive a stroke or heart attack, the recovery process can take months or years.

Your Odds of Avoiding a Disability

Banana Peel Accident - CopybranderClearly, your odds of avoiding a disability are not in your favor. Unfortunately, the same people who know how important it is to protect themselves, their families and businesses, don’t bother to get Disability Insurance to protect their income. Think of it as income protection insurance. If you don’t protect your income, your cash flow will disappear if you experience a debilitating injury or illness and are unable to work.

So why isn’t disability insurance as popular as other plans like life insurance? The main reason is most people just don’t understand disability plans, how they work or how affordable policies are. There are many more variables to consider with disability coverage, so it takes longer to apply and buy it.

Buying Disability Insurance?

So what is my next step if I’m interested in buying Disability Insurance? Well the first step is to request a quick disability insurance quote to see where your premium cost is and how that compares to your budget. You can find good online agents that offer disability insurance coverage. Just be sure to check them out with your state department of insurance to confirm that they’re licensed, how long they’ve been licensed and also that they don’t have any enforcement actions pending against them. You can also check consumer sites like Yelp to determine if there are complaints about that agent. Or better yet, get a referral from somebody you trust.

Own Occupation vs Any Occupation Disability Definition

Own Occupation vs Any Occupation Disability Definition

I spent over a decade as an insurance broker and employee benefits specialist meeting with thousands of employees and companies of all sizes. Over the years, one of the most popular policies that I sold was disability insurance. Unfortunately, disability coverage is easily misunderstood due to the complexity of the policy. This makes it harder for newer agents to learn all the aspects of the policies. At my brokerage, one of the issues that I emphasized not only in agent training but also in my own sales presentations was the subject of own occupation vs any occupation disability definitions.


Confused about disability insurance?

Own Occupation vs Any Occupation Disability Definition

Ultimately an insurance policy is made up of the definitions, clauses, exclusions and benefits that an insurance carrier decides to build into the policy that eventually gets sold to policyholders. The better carriers are very specific about coverage and they focus on those specifics with the agents that sell their policies. One of the more important definitions in a disability policy is how the carrier defines the definition of work that you will return to after you have recovered from a disability. This is referred to as “own occupation vs any occupation disability definition”.

What does this mean? It’s basically the meaning of how the carrier classifies the work that you can return to.

  • “Own Occupation” means you will continue to receive disability benefits that you are entitled to in your policy until you are able to return to the occupation that you previously worked or a similar position. So an attorney on disability would have to go back to work as an attorney, for example.
  • “Any Occupation” means that your disability will be terminated when you are able to return to work as any occupation. So that attorney will lose his or her disability insurance benefits whenever they are cleared to return to work to any kind of position. Not a good situation if you are unable to work as an attorney because of an eye injury, but your disability insurance carrier discontinues your benefits because your doctor has cleared you to work answering telephones in a telemarketing office.

Any guess as to which policy costs less? Exactly. That would be the disability policy that includes the “any occupation” definition.

Less Than Ethical Agents

So why would I emphasize more expensive disability policies with more restrictive “own occupation” definitions? Well, because our policyholders trusted my agents and I to get them the proper coverage that they needed. The insurance industry is loaded with less than ethical agents that sell “any occupation” definition policies and never even tell their policyholders why the policy they are buying is so cheap. By the time the policyholder needs to use the disability coverage, they are surprised to learn that their benefits are minimal and nothing close to what they needed.

Unfortunately, when they call their agent to complain they are also surprised to learn that the agent that sold them the policy is usually no longer an agent. The insurance industry has ridiculously high turnover. It comes with the territory in a 100% commission industry. It’s not the fault of the agents or the carriers, it’s just a tough business. This is why it’s best to choose insurance agents that have been around for more than 2 to 3 years. Once they survive past 3 years, they usually start earning enough to stay in the industry long term.

Cost of Benefits Versus The Premium Cost

So why would an insurance carrier even offer any occupation coverage instead of own occupation? Well, it really comes down to cost of benefits versus the premium cost. This means that if an insurance carrier decides that they want to offer a lower cost disability policy, then they know they have to offer a policy with a more restrictive definition of what they consider to be an eligible disability. This lowers the number of eligible claims and allows them to reduce the premium cost of the policy. It’s relatively complicated to calculate but easy to understand.

Keep in mind that this is not considered shady or underhanded when an insurance company does this. There are actual uses for both types of disability policies. They design the policy a certain way and they include all of this information in the literature and policy documents that they file with the state. The insurance company designed this plan and offered this policy with a specific market in mind. There is nothing unethical about that.

So where do problems occur? It happens on the agent side when they only represent this one insurance company and don’t offer any other types of disability policies. Many times these agents with a limited selection to offer their clients will attempt to sell that one policy as the best available for any type of client.

If the agent is truly interested in representing the best interests of their clients, then they would add additional types of disability coverage to their available product offerings. If they don’t have that option available then they should at least explain the downsides of the type of policy they do sell. That’s basic sales ethics 101.

Restrictive vs Broad Definition

So when would a disability insurance policy with restrictive definitions like “Own Occupation” be considered a good thing? Actually, most of the time. As an insurance broker, I always preferred “Own Occupation” disability plans. This was due to the fact that even if you are just starting out in your chosen career, you still have all of your experience in that type of job. So if you are unable to do that job it would make more sense to receive disability insurance benefits versus being forced to do a lesser job just because of the broader disability definition of other plans. This is where the restrictive vs broad definitions comes into play. The more restrictive definition disability plans are slightly more expensive, but the benefit of “Own Occupation” definition far outweighs the increased cost.

Skilled Workers or Professionals

The own occupation disability plans are very popular with anybody that is considered “skilled” or “professional”. I’m talking about a career path that you learn a specific skill set which pays you a higher income than lesser trained workers. Doctors, Dentists and other medical professionals are a good example of the types of professions that should always buy own occupation disability insurance coverage.

When Should an Insurance Agent Offer Any Occupation Disability Plans? 

Disability plans with a broader definition of disability would be considered “Any Occupation” disability plans. When should an insurance agent offer any occupation disability plans? Usually it would be limited to clients that were very focused on lower premium cost for a disability insurance plan that covered situations that are more catastrophic in nature. For example, a client asks for a short-term disability plan with a two-year benefit amount. This will provide them with an income in the event that they are permanently disabled and need a way to pay their bills during the lengthy two-year SSDI (social security disability insurance) application process. This type of disability coverage would allow an agent to offer higher benefits would lower cost.

So if the client were permanently disabled, this type of disability coverage would be a big help to them. Like I said, there are advantages to a broader definition policy as long as the buyer understands exactly what they are getting.

Specific Uses of Own Occupation Disability Insurance Plan

Dental-CopybranderHere are specific uses of own occupation disability insurance plan to help you better understand how it works. Say, for example, you are a Dentist in your own practice. It’s advisable to purchase a Long Term Disability plan with higher monthly benefit amounts because of your increased overhead costs. You definitely want your eligible disability definition to be own occupation because this is what you are trained to do. Unfortunately your higher income requirements means your disability coverage is going to be a higher premium cost.

A good agent will then offer you a few options to reduce your premium cost. An easy way to quickly reduce the cost is to extend your elimination or waiting period to six months or longer. This means that your long term disability payments won’t start until you’ve been disabled for at least six months. Some agents will even offer one or two year elimination periods on long term disability coverage for clients that have enough savings to weather the waiting period after a disability.

So what do you do if you don’t have a lot of savings to cover the waiting period? Well, you buy a short term disability policy of course.

Short Term and Long Term Disability Coverage Work Together

So continuing on this example. You leave work at your dental practice and are involved in a bad car accident. The accident has caused severe nerve damage in your hands and some back problems that prevent you from standing longer than 10 minutes at a time. Your own occupation Long Term Disability Insurance policy has a 6 month Elimination (Waiting Period) and pays you a Disability Benefit Amount of $10,000 per month until you are age 65. You had a smart, ethical insurance agent who explained how short term and long term disability coverage work together. So you purchased a short term disability plan to cover the six month waiting period for the long term policy to start.

Less Pay Than the Benefits Available from Your Disability Coverage

When you file your claim with your disability insurance carrier, they will verify the claim, review everything with your doctor and since you are unable to work, begin payments on your claim. That specific nature of the own occupation plan definition protected you from having to do lesser skilled work for less pay than the benefits available from your disability coverage.

Insurance-Risk-Copybrander In this same situation, had you chosen an any occupation to save money, then the carrier would also want to know what other work you are able to perform such as Light Duty or Sedentary work. So they might deny your disability claim if doctors believe you can do sedentary work such as answering a phone. Clearly this is not a situation that the dentist wants to be in and is another reason to buy own occupation disability coverage.

Workers Compensation Insurance

So who on earth would ever get a disability policy that had any occupation definitions? Well, one of the best known examples of a type of policy that utilizes less restrictive any occupation disability definitions is workers compensation insurance.

Within the Workers Comp Industry there exists an entire subset of profitable businesses that focus exclusively on providing “occupational rehab” services to workers comp insurance carriers. These businesses set appointments for interviews for claimants regardless of their skill set or education. So the dentist we mentioned above might be sent to do telemarketing phone sales if he was restricted to performing only sedentary work. Clearly a disability definition of own occupation is better for the disabled claimant.

Hopefully this article has helped you to better understand the Own Occupation vs Any Occupation Disability Definition and how it can dramatically alter your benefits and premium cost.

5 Reasons Your 1099 Contractor is Actually Your Employee

5 Reasons Your 1099 Contractor is Actually Your Employee

5 Reasons Your 1099 Contractor is Actually Your Employee

I’m going to come right out and say it. 1099 contractors are almost always employees. Almost always is probably shooting low because as far as landscapers, detail shops, contractors and similar businesses, you fail the IRS criteria test over 90% of the time. I know this may surprise some of you reading this, but if you didn’t think this was the case you probably wouldn’t be here reading this. I wrote 5 reasons your 1099 contractor is actually your employee to highlight this important compliance subject for small businesses.


The Contractors Handled Everything Without Any Input From Me

In over two decades of business, any time my companies ran into a situation where we utilized actual contractors was to pick up slack during busy times. I had a few guys that had started with us and came to me after a few years to ask if they could go out and start their own business. I told them no problem as long as we could still send them some of our overflow work. I even rented them space in one of our buildings where they stayed for years.

I point this out to give you an example of what an actual contractor looks like. They had their own liability insurance. Their own books, bank accounts, etc. They handled their own workers comp coverage. And they paid their own taxes.

When these contractors were done with actual work that I sent them, they  left me an invoice. I never told them how to do their job. I just told them what I needed done and they handled it for the agreed upon price. That, in itself, is an essential criteria on the list that the IRS uses to determine if your contractor is actually an employee or not.

That is what a true 1099 contractor looks like.

5 Reasons Your 1099 Contractor is Actually Your Employee:

  1. The contractor is a properly licensed business that is in business to perform the type of work you are hiring them to do. Is your employee actually a licensed business? Do they have any other clients or customers? These are all important issues that the IRS looks at.
  2. The contractor owns their own equipment and doesn’t need to “borrow” your equipment to complete the work. Does your employee own their own equipment?
  3. The contractor has the expertise to do the job you are hiring them to do with no direction or training from you on how to do the job. Does your employee work at your direction, when, how and where you tell them to work?
  4. The contractor has their own business liability insurance to protect you if they damage your property. This is a big item and one of the easiest ways your insurance carrier and the IRS will catch you erroneously classifying employees as contractors.
  5. The contractor will complete the work and invoice you. Does your employee complete a time sheet? Do they complete a per car checklist that you assign? All of these systems are historically tried and true employee tracking systems.

With tax time upon us, it’s a good idea to take a few minutes and think about ways to reduce your tax liabilities and make sure you are in compliance. Penalties and interest are two words you don’t want to ever deal with as a taxpayer.

Get Your Business Tuned Up and In Compliance

Starting a new year is a great time to get your business tuned up and in compliance. If you are reading this then there’s a good chance that you already think you may be out of compliance with the 1099 issues.

The IRS and your State Department of Revenue are two government organizations that you don’t want to have problems with. You are on their radar simply because you’re a small business. Certain business categories make them look at you even harder. So follow the rules and don’t get yourself into a jam with these people.

You Need to Control Your Narrative to Succeed

You Need to Control Your Narrative to Succeed

You Need to Control Your Narrative to Succeed

Regardless of how you look at it you can’t run a business without insurance. This is what I call a ‘business narrative’. It’s the message that you promote to the world that makes you different from the competition. You need to control your narrative to succeed in business. So how did I control the insurance narrative? By promoting the simple concept that there are too many variables if you don’t have downside protection. Protection is important. ‘Normal’ businesses protect their customers. That’s how I have always used it. And not just in my insurance business. As I will explain in a moment, I’ve used this narrative in many various industries.

Insurance is Like Hedging Bets

I start out by explaining to people that insurance is like hedging bets when you gamble in Vegas. You always want to have a downside limit to how much you can lose. Most business owners have much of their life savings tied up in their business. With no insurance, your potential losses can exceed the actual value of your assets because you are personally liable for your business activities.

Obviously, this is important. And that pitch may work for an insurance agent with a potential customer. Unfortunately, most of your customers won’t give two hoots about your personal liability exposure. They also won’t care why you had to increase your prices to cover your insurance costs. It’s all about how it affects them. Your narrative needs to focus on their concerns. This is precisely where I am going with this.

An Incredible Marketing Opportunity

I have a slightly different angle for you to consider here. Insuring a business can be expensive. Many would argue it’s more expensive to not insure it, but my point is that proper insurance, or lack thereof, can be an incredible marketing opportunity for you. How so? Well, let me tell you a story that will better explain my theory that you need to control your narrative to succeed in any business.

Years ago, I was an investor in a chain of detail shops. I eventually figured out that the owner, my business partner, was an incredible detailer but he had absolutely no idea how to grow a business. So I decided to help him out. Yes, I wanted to help grow my investment. To be honest though, I was also intrigued by the challenge of utilizing my sales and marketing skills in a totally different industry other than insurance.

A Steep Learning Curve

Any excitement I initially had didn’t last very long. It was a steep learning curve. I was essentially running two different businesses. It was exhausting. And they could not have been any more different from each other. My insurance business was heavily regulated and almost, dare I say, “gentlemanly” compared to the wild west detailing industry. It was rough for awhile, but eventually it got easier as I began to understand the industry and find areas where we could focus our marketing efforts.

It might sound unimaginative on my part, but one of the focus areas that I settled on was… Tada… Insurance. Actually the lack of insurance. Apparently the detailing industry is loaded with businesses that simply don’t carry insurance because it’s too expensive. Since my background was insurance, I found this to be almost comical. Either way, I had found my narrative.

You Can’t Run a Business Without Insurance

The only reason I even learned about this insurance issue was by listening to my business partner complain about constantly being undercut by “uninsured competitors”. Since I wasn’t a ‘detailer’ per se, I looked at this from an outsiders perspective. I had no idea that this was even an issue. My background was insurance, so the idea that a business would fail to properly cover themselves was mind boggling to me. Who does that? My initial thought was that you can’t run a business without insurance. Well, apparently you can. The other shops in our area had eliminated insurance as an expense and could subsequently charge less.

To me this sounded ridiculous. I knew that if one of these shops destroyed a car while they were working on it, it would end bad for the customer and the shop owner. Ultimately the customer would be forced to claim the damage on their personal auto insurance and pay the difference out of pocket. The insurance company would sue the owner of the detail shop to recover their money and the shop would be forced out of business.

My New Narrative

I decided to use this as a marketing angle in my new narrative. I began educating our customers about the importance of business liability insurance. Unfortunately, that’s boring. None of our customers seemed to care. So I changed it up a bit. I began educating them about what would happen if a detail shop caught fire with their vehicle inside. Finding stats and stories about shops that had burned down across the country was easy. It happens more often than you think. Several articles that I found even talked about the fact that the shop owners failed to properly insure the business. Bingo! You need to control your narrative to succeed in business and I had found exactly what I needed to create ours.

Without the proper type of insurance coverage those shop owners were forced into bankruptcy. This left the customer holding the bag for the cost of their car replacement. As soon as people started understanding this, you could see a light click on as their eyes widened and they got it. Educated consumers understand the importance of insurance when it could potentially cost them thousands of dollars.

No Insurance

I had found my “hook”. My business partner thought I was crazy, but he went along with it. It worked amazingly well. Once people realized that a shop’s irresponsibility could come back to cost them, price no longer mattered. Why would it? Who would be willing to leave their $50k vehicle at a shop that charges $20 less but has no insurance to cover their potential incompetence? Nobody. We pushed this new insurance coverage narrative to anybody who would listen. Advertised it everywhere. Did interviews on the radio. And it worked. Business was booming even though we were the highest priced detailers in our area. And once we got a hold of a new customer, we never let go. We lit them up with a slew of other incentives to keep them coming back.

A Commodity Business

So why did it work? Because I changed the conversation. I have always subscribed to the philosophy that you never compete on cost. Never! Cutting your prices makes you a commodity business. Nobody is loyal to discount businesses. Nobody. That model makes sense for Walmart, not you.

Instead of competing on cost, I worked hard to establish our business as the most professional and ethical in the local region. Our prices went up and customer loyalty was higher than it ever was before. Our quality was probably the same as the other shops in the area. We had been competing on “service quality” for years and the customers didn’t care. They went for the least costly shop because our services were commoditized. When we changed the narrative and redirected their attention to the more important subject of insurance coverage, price was no longer an issue.

You Will Get Caught

These efforts forced our competitors to up their game and compete in a more responsible manner. Business boomed for us because of it. You can’t run a business without insurance and expect to get away with it. Eventually you will get caught. Or your competition will figure out a way to highlight your lack of business ethics. That’s what we did. Either way, you don’t want to be on the wrong side of this. If you do something stupid, you should expect to be called out on it. It’s just good business.

Realign Your Narrative

Find your niche and exploit it. Figure out what parts of your business should be handled differently and focus on that. Be different. Your narrative is what makes you unique in your business niche. You need to push that fact with your customers. They won’t think it’s a big deal until you re-frame it so they understand WHY it’s a big deal. You need to realign your narrative so that it’s in sync with the needs of your customer base. We pushed the fact that we were insured because our customers thought that was a normal thing. So that version of “normal” became part of our new narrative. Every employee in our company was trained with one simple company approved philosophy that made sense to them. I wanted them to internalize it so they didn’t sound like robots repeating the same message.

Internalized Our Training

So how did I measure success? Well, I realized all our new training efforts were working when I was making my way through one of our shops one day. As I walked past one of our detailers talking to a customer, I heard him say, “well sure insurance is normal for ‘good businesses’, but unfortunately this industry is loaded with companies that aren’t ‘good businesses'”. He had internalized our training and was telling people our message in his own voice. That is when you know you’ve done your job well.

Competitors as Enemies

It’s worth mentioning that I never looked at my competitors as enemies. Most likely because I was an industry outsider. I liked most of the competitors in our region. My goal was to protect our customers by making our business more professional and ethical. Most of our competitors realized this. I eventually setup a program at my insurance agency to help some of the other shops find less expensive insurance options. My goal was to succeed, but not by eliminating our competition. Being uninsured was bad for everybody and made our industry appear irresponsible.

The shop owners in our area that did not like us were upset because we were crushing their business. This was because we were establishing the new narrative. We controlled it. By adding insurance to the conversation, we elevated the professionalism of all the local players in our industry. The shop owners who failed to adopt this new narrative eventually went out of business.

You Need to Control Your Narrative to Succeed

We changed the expectations of our customers by teaching them what to look for from detailing shops. Most customers assumed the expectation was limited to picking up a clean car. This was wrong. Like I said before, you need to control your narrative to succeed in any business. Once our customers were educated about protecting themselves, their expectations changed. Now a clean car was secondary to making sure they were protected if the building burned down with their car in it. Reputation for being the best car detailer was eliminated from the search criteria. This allowed our shop to jump from #7 to #1 in a matter of months. By the time the other shops realized what was happening, it was too late.

The Steward of the Narrative

Don’t let your competition do this to you first. Your goal is to set your business apart from the competition. To accomplish this, you need to be the steward of the narrative that you create. Figure out how to do that and it will open a new world of opportunities. From the ability to charge more to being recognized as your industry leader.

Your success in business is tied directly to how your customers perceive you. Do they consider you an expert? Are you good at what you do? It doesn’t matter how you feel about this, it’s what the customer thinks. That’s your narrative. Control that and it will take you places that you never dreamed possible.

A Broken $50 Billion Content Advertising Business Model

A Broken $50 Billion Content Advertising Business Model

A Broken $50 Billion Content Advertising Business Model

Lately it seems like everybody keeps talking about the enormous potential numbers in the content marketing and online advertising world. I even read recently how our market is potentially worth $50 Billion by 2021. While it’s nice thinking about the huge potential numbers, it’s unfortunately built on the back of a broken $50 Billion content advertising business model.

Keep in mind that it was just a few years ago, that content marketing was still a relatively open market. Content writers could still be successful if you were relatively talented, could write good copy and understood the basics of both SEO (search engine optimization) and SMM (social media marketing).

Basically, we wrote good copy and it was read by a lot of people. After all, that is the reason we do this.

Cheap New Content

Poor quality content is destroying what once was a thriving world of great websites and social media. Click bait sites are desperate for eyeballs and will do anything to get new cheap content to fill their pipeline. So, they pay a few bucks for a few hundred words that nobody reads.

Small to medium sized businesses with little online experience are juicy prey for sleazy marketers that throw out stats with no basis in reality. The marketing programs don’t work because their potential customers don’t like reading the boiler template, error filled, crap content on their websites and social media platforms. When the business complains, the marketer moves on to the next victim. It’s like an online Serengeti.

When Everybody Thinks They’re Special

Today, anybody with a computer and barely a high school education thinks they’re a content marketer. When everybody thinks they’re special, nobody is. In a normal world people pay their dues, learn their craft and build a business based on good quality work. The internet has skewed this so now people believe they can be successful at anything just because. It doesn’t work that way in the real world. Never mind that you barely managed a C in High School English. Or that you should have spent money on a course in basic grammar instead of a get rich quick program. Try writing complete sentences. It helps.

Here at Copybrander Media, I own over 300 domains and hundreds of my own websites. I’ve been writing content and developing websites since the mid-90’s. It’s how my team and I know what works and what doesn’t. Writing good content may be important, but it’s woefully inadequate as the entire basis of your marketing efforts.

And no get-rich-quick course is going to teach you how to properly build a content marketing business. It takes time. Pay your dues. Learn to write. Take the time to understand SEO and SMM. It’s the same in any business.

All About Quality versus Quantity

More content isn’t the answer. Like any business, it’s all about quality versus quantity. There’s a glaring difference. Are you paying somebody $5 for a few hundred words of content just to show activity on your website or social media? Then you’re paying too much. Want to know what creates a broken $50 Billion content advertising business model? This is it, right here. Nobody is reading your cheap, crappy content. And if your stats show viewers, then I guarantee that your engagement and follow through sucks. You can argue with me until you turn blue about your thousands of twitter followers and website traffic, but what matters is engagement. If you’ve got forty-thousand twitter followers and two people like your latest post, there’s a problem.

When you can buy ten thousand twitter followers for the cost of a pizza, sadly the pizza becomes more valuable.

The Right Numbers That Matter

Numbers don’t matter without engagement. It’s that simple. Content marketing may be a game of numbers, but it’s the right numbers that matter.

The world has a finite number of people. That equates to a maximum level of possible engagement by these people. It’s basic supply and demand. Eventually the demand for content reaches a maximum tipping point where it no longer gets consumed.

Local Content is a Big Deal

This is the reason local content is a big deal. If your law firm or plumbing business is advertising to the entire world, then you are competing with the world. If you chunk it down into local, focused marketing in your home town then your competition for eyeballs is that much smaller. Here in my hometown of Pittsburgh, it’s easy to see who is rocking their local market. Check out their online footprint. Look at the website. Is their social media updated often? Do they have engagement by local potential customers? That’s how you win at this game.

A Broken $50 Billion Content Advertising Business Model

It’s time to update your content marketing priorities to focus on the numbers that matter. Stop buying the cheap content just to get activity. Move to quality over quantity. This is how we fix a broken $50 Billion content advertising business model. Google’s latest Fred Update seems to be helping with this by penalizing sites with low quality content focused primarily on advertising revenue.

It’s a start, but there’s still much work to be done.

The age old axiom of “you get what you paid for” holds true in any business or industry. And your potential customers are much more sophisticated than you think. They can tell the difference between quality content and the cannon fodder that many businesses are buying and posting today.

The right content makes all the difference. Most of these businesses just don’t know where to find the right content. It’s up to us to fix that.