Same Zach Heller, Better Place to Find Me

April 12, 2011
Zach Heller

Zach Heller

Though I may continue to update this blog on a less frequent basis, I wanted to alert all of you to check out my new blog over at

I’ve found a new home on the Squarespace platform which has allowed me to reinvigorate my passion for blogging and for marketing.  I’ll be updating the blog frequently with information about marketing, small business, etc., similar to the material that has brought you here.

I encourage you to check it out, “I” of the Consumer, and subscribe today!



Create Unique Customer Interactions (via Gawrilla)

April 6, 2010

If you’re in business to make money, you need customers. And if you have customers, there has to be some form of communication between you and your customers. Hey, even if you fail to get customers, you are communicating in other ways to those people you had hoped would become customers.

Either way, your communication style goes a long way toward developing your brand and garnering loyal customers. Any interaction with a customer, no matter how minor, is important. This is because it’s the one time that your customers get a chance to feel like they are having a conversation with the company they are purchasing from. It will tell them who you are, and either reinforces the fact that they want to be in business with you, or helps create a divide between you and them, eventually ending with another lost customer.

To read the full post, hop on over to the Gawrilla Marketing Blog.

The New Marketers (via GaWrilla)

March 26, 2010

There are a lot of people in this world who can call themselves marketers.  Marketing has been a term that has expanded to cover many facets of any business.  You can market your ideas, your business, your products, and even yourself.  Yet the word marketing is still seen by many as an extension of sales, and, therefore, a label that we try to avoid because it brings to mind the old idea of the door to door or used car salesman.  We, as marketers, have fought hard against that stigma, continually trying to redefine what marketing is.

To read the full post, click here and check out the new company, GaWrilla.

Marketing in an Age of Endless Needs

June 24, 2009

518SD2MD3VL._SL500The following is a small piece of dialogue from the movie, Roger Dodger, a favorite of mine.

Roger: You can’t sell a product without first making people feel bad.

Nick: Why not?

Roger: Because it’s a substitution game. You have to remind them that they’re missing something from their lives. Everyone’s missing something, right?

Nick: I guess.

Roger: Trust me. And when they’re feeling sufficiently incomplete, you convince them your product is the only thing that can fill the void. So instead of taking steps to deal with their lives, instead of working to root out the real reason for their misery, they go out and buy a stupid looking pair of cargo pants.

The movie is about a young man learning how to attract women from his womanizing uncle.  Check it out if you haven’t seen it.

In the movie, Roger works for an ad agency.  His belief about advertising is captured in the short back and forth featured above.

What this post is about is the dilemma that this theory creates.  As marketers, are we creating the need that our product fills, or fulfilling an actual need?  This is a question that you need to answer before any type of marketing campaign, because it will change your entire strategy.

If you are advertising something completely new, something we may not even know that we need yet, you are going to have to work a little harder at educating us.  Make us realize the need before you tell us how your product or service fills it.

If you are advertising a new version of an existing product, or some type of upgrade that fulfills an existing need, then don’t bother educating us.  Just sell us straight up.

It makes a huge difference, and could affect the success of any product launch.  So one of the first steps you should take when drafting any new marketing plan is to identify which category that you fall into.  Are you creating a need, or just filling one we already have?

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What Do You Know about Your Customers?

June 22, 2009

the_more_you_know2Probably not enough.

Do you know when their birthdays are?  Do you know how they heard about you?  Do you know why they chose you over a competitor?  Do you know how their experience with your product or service has been since they purchased?

You can never know enough about your customers, because the more you know, the better suited you are to serve them, to sell to them, and to create for them.

Track everything.  When did they purchase, why did they purchase, when are they likely to purchase again?  Keeping track of this type of information will make it easy for you to see trends and habits that have always been there.  And once you have the information, put it in a place that makes it easy to view, search, and sort.  The key to obtaining the information is the ability to use itJust because its there does not mean that it helps you.

Give the information to your sales team so that they can offer them new products and services, or upgrades of the things that they already have.

Give it to your customer service department so they know exactly what is happening every time they pick up the phone to deal with an issue.

Give it to your marketing department so they know how to better position themselves to attract more of the same type of people.

The best companies know as much as they can about their customers.  They are able to serve their needs before a customer even knows the need exists.  They keep channels of communication open at all times, not just went they want to sell something.  And the customer responds to this.

The more you know, the better position you will find yourself in.  So start learning today.

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Willy Wonka is a Marketing Genius

June 3, 2009

willy-wonka-wilderTake into account these two facts, kids like candy, people like to win stuff.  Now take into account the fact that Willy Wonka has been mysteriously locked in his factory pumping out world famous chocolate.  The word has spread of how this entrepreneur is secluded from the world, seemingly by himself, and continues to mass produce this candy that he sells across the globe.

Already this company has amazing distribution, a viral marketing story that people are obsessed with, and a strong brand name.  That sounds like a success story to me.

This is the point when any business owner must make a decision. Am I comfortable where I am at, or is it time to innovate, to create, and to grow? Willy Wonka decided to push a huge marketing effort on the world, and he did it without spending any money.

He launched a contest.  5 golden tickets, placed in 5 Wonka Bars, would allow 5 lucky people into a factory that has been closed to the public for decades.  Since the word of mouth story of Wonka’s mysterious seclusion is so wide spread, this contest touches on the nerves of evryone who hears about it.

Immediately, sales take off in countries all over the world. There are shortages in places that have never had shortages before.  People devote their entire lives to finding a golden ticket. And since the only way to do that is to buy more Wonka Bars, Willy Wonka not only increases the entire market for candy in the first place, but he increases his own market share to almost 100% during the contest.

Now I know that at the end of the movie Willy Wonka says the contest was all about finding a predecessor to take over the company, but you have to think that the main goal was to boost sales and create an even stronger brand image through PR and word of mouth.  Stock prices probably went through the roof.

I wanted to have some fun with this post after watching the movie on TV the other night, but there are also some real life lessons to be learned. A lot of companies run promotions here and there, but most are not as successful as they could be.  Tying a promotion into an existing word of mouth story rather than trying to create word of mouth based on the promotion alone will work much better.  Take one aspect of your existing marketing and build on it to create a contest for new and current customers.

Also, base your promotions around core products.  If you have something that sells well, use contest to promote its usage, and maybe tie it to something new or one of your less popular products.  This will make it more attractive for more people to participate.

Don’t be afraid to make the prize of your contests too big.  The more you offer, the more you will get from it in return.  Wonka offered the greatest gift of all for his particular situation.  A chance to see the factory and meet the man behind the legend.  Doing this was a risk, but it paid of big time.

I salute you Willy, one of the first true marketing gurus.

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13 Ways to Make Google AdWords Work for Your Business

March 6, 2009

google-adwords-logoGoogle AdWords works.  You don’t have to take my word on that, how do you think Google makes so much $$$?  If it didn’t work, we would know by now.

The problem is, most companies that use it don’t know how to take advantage of it.  Too many companies make stupid mistakes that will cost them valuable money and front page positioning.  In this economy, low cost online advertising with Google can be the best way to drive new business.  I am searching for something that you’re offering, I want to click to your website, help me out.

Below are 13 things you need to be paying attention to in order to maximize your AdWords returns.

  1. Unique Landing Page. Please stop sending me to your homepage.  If you are advertising a specific product and I click on your ad, I want to see that product.  It’s what drew me in, it’s what I need, give it to me.  And please, make it look good; images, colors, easy to read text, etc.
  2. Price in the ad. One thing you will notice when searching for products, some ads display a price, and others don’t.  Why wouldn’t you display a price?  It makes the whole ad stand out, and lets the user know what they are getting.  You aren’t hiding anything by not including a price, because when I get to the product and I don’t like your price, you just wasted money on an extra click.
  3. Keywords in the ad. If you haven’t noticed, Google puts the keywords of a search in bold every time they appear in the search results.  Well, they do the same thing with the ads.  When you put the popular keywords that you are targeting in the ad, they stand out over those competitors who do not.  Be smart.
  4. Use reporting tools. When you set up Google Analytics and connect it to AdWords, there are some great reporting tools that you can use.  I recommend setting up these reports to email you daily about ad positioning, click through rate, and conversions at the very least.  This will allow you to see how you are doing in a matter of seconds.
  5. Change your bids. The entire AdWords system works on bids for each keyword.  That is how Google selects which ads to show, when, and in what position.  If your ads are not showing up high enough, increase the bid, if you are spending too much and your positioning is always good, maybe drop them a bit.  Remember, this is going to be constantly changing based on what your competitors do.
  6. Monitor the competition. One thing that a lot of companies forget to do is monitor Google AdWords after you start using it.  Like I said, things will change, so keep an eye on them.  Run searches, check your positions, see what your competitors are using for their ads.  You don’t want your ads to look stale or obsolete in a crowd of new ones.
  7. Test ad variations. Neither you or I know what the best ads look like.  No one does.  So do yourself a favor and run a couple of different versions at the same time.  Google will do the hard work for you and show the best performing ones more often.  Or you can run them all the same amount of times for a month or so, then decide what works best and get rid of the losers.
  8. Be relevant. I can’t tell you how often I see these sponsored ads that have nothing to do with my search.  Do these companies just go after the most common keywords.  Warning: You will waste money if you use this strategy.  Go for the keywords you are best suited for, the unique ones that will let you reach YOUR customer base.  And then make the ad copy relevant to those keywords.
  9. Be the first. Be the first to advertise on a particular phrase.  Be the first to offer your product in a different way.  Are you the first company in your niche? Tell us that. It’s all about standing out, you have to be different, which reminds me…
  10. Be different. Sometimes I think that some companies look at what their competitors say in their ads, and then copy them.  You can’t fake your way to success on AdWords.  Define yourself, differentiate yourself, and tell us why we should click on your ads over the competition. Use words that stand out, prices, brands, etc.
  11. Headlines. Just like in traditional media, headlines of your ad on Google AdWords stand out.  They are the first thing we read, and therefore go a long way in determining whether or not I click.  Show me something there, the name of the product, the name of the company, or even use it to show the price.  If I like your headline, I am going to read your ad first.
  12. Make a decision on the content network. Google utilizes their vast network of advertisers to deliver your ads all over the internet, this is called their content network.  With an account from AdWords, you can easily choose to advertise across this network, or to limit yourself to just Google searches.  For some the content network might work, for others it won’t.  There is no harm in trying out both for a time and determining what works.  You hurt yourself by limiting yourself.
  13. Discounts convert. If you advertise specific products on Google, why not offer a discount specific to that ad.  Discounts convert people.  If I click on your ad and see that I am getting 10% off what I would have gotten if I came directly to you site, I am that much more likely to buy.  I feel like a smart shopper who just got a great deal.  I have seen it utilized many times, and each time it gets my attention.

There they are, 13 steps to a more successful advertising strategy.  Did I leave anything out?  Tell me what you think and offer suggestions of your own below.

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