MARKETING WHAT’S NEW
Glenn Schmelzle is a marketer, husband, hockey dad and local community supporter.
While in the corporate world in the 2000s, Glenn noticed the tactics he’d learned in MBA school were turning off buyers, who preferred to be marketed and sold to online. He also saw businesses struggle with the technical complexity and the heavy content demands of going digital. By taking an engineering approach to digital marketing, Glenn helped companies generate enough leads through their websites to positively impact sales. He believed so strongly in the approach that in 2009 he started Marketing What’s New, applying buyer-friendly content to technology-driven campaigns.
Paul Kortman: Everybody, welcome back to the Agency Connection Podcast. Today, we’re going to be talking with Glenn Schmelzle. He’s a marketer-husband-hockey dad and local community supporter. Well in the corporate world in the 2000s, Glenn noticed the tactics he had learned in NBA school were turning off buyers. They preferred to be marketed and sold to online. He saw businesses struggle with the technical complexity and the heavy content demands of going digital. By taking an engineering approach to digital marketing, Glenn has helped companies generate enough leads through their websites that positively impact sales. He believes so strongly in the approach that in 2009 he started his current agency Marketing What’s New applying buyer-friendly content to typology-driven campaigns. Glenn, welcome to the show and fill in some details that I may have missed.
Glenn Schmelzle: I think you’ve got most of them. Thank you very much, Paul. I’m really glad to have this opportunity to talk with you and to lay down some basic truths about what it takes if you’re in the Agency business, today.
Paul Kortman: And I’m excited because you and I have a similar story, so this is going to be interesting to see where we both end up with this. We’re just going to start out; we go right for the heart: What’s your Agency’s top line revenue?
Glenn Schmelzle: I live up in Canada. In Canadian dollars we run this year about a half a million Canadian. I guess that would be about 400k U.S.
Paul Kortman: Okay. Thanks for doing the translation for those of us who are too lazy to know the conversion rate. What’s the typical price to work with you? You can take either an average or like a median. What’s the most common?
Glenn Schmelzle: Sure. We ask client to take a beginning engagement with us that’s 15K or up; that we’ll take that engagement for let’s say, a couple of quarters, and from there on we’re results based, so we’ll get into that more later.
Paul Kortman: Okay. Describe your staff or your team. How many people do you have and what are their specialties?
Glenn Schmelzle: Sure. Marketing What’s New is a fairly young agency and so what goes with the territory is, we’re just over four years old is that yours truly is part of the client service team, and so myself and four others are on that team, and then to round it out we have in the front of house, we’ve got an accounting person, and we’ve got a marketing operations and a content marketing person.
Paul Kortman: Of those, how many of those are full-time?
Glenn Schmelzle: I’m the only one.
Paul Kortman: And the rest are contractors?
Glenn Schmelzle: Yeah. And that is by design. They are all particularly in client service specialists in a particular skill set that relates to lead generation. I’ll get into that more. They are all in their own rights small business owners who want to sub into us as an Agency and so we provide the marketplace for clients for them. And they do that as a contractor of ours.
Paul Kortman: How do you go about answering this question: What’s the average salary of your contractors?
Glenn Schmelzle: I’ll answer that by saying we’ve got all of those sub-contractors following a methodology that we have taken through every single client that we’ve ever done lead generation with. They follow the tasks, and they do it on a per task fee basis. It would be similar to how a mechanic works where the guy who is working on your car doing an oil change is being paid the book rate for how long it takes to do that oil change. If he’s fast he gets the same amount of money as somebody who’s a greenhorn and brand new and who’s slow. So our contractors like that model. So I would say how I would equate for anyone who’s looking at this from an accounting perspective. They are working out as a part-time employee probably in the order of, maybe their pay is a thousand / two thousand a month, and it’s definitely less than half of their overall time. But, truthfully, they might be able to do this in just an hour once every couple of days; it’s a very occasional thing for them because they are coming into campaigns that are constantly running and tweaking them as they go.
Paul Kortman: So then, you don’t operate on billable time?
Glenn Schmelzle: Not at all.
Paul Kortman: You don’t care how much time it takes them?
Glenn Schmelzle: If they are fast at it that’s even better with me because it makes them super-happy. Their effective hourly rate shoots through the roof.
Paul Kortman: Do you track that?
Glenn Schmelzle: I do ask for feedback on these because we do need from time to time to tweak what is the rated time for each one of the tasks. But after the mountain of work that it took to calculate all the times on all the individual processes, we’ve been pretty happy, and the contractors, as I ask for their feedback, which I do two to four times per year, they’re giving me some very positive comments on how those tasks are rated.
Paul Kortman: Do you have like if you were to assume this task would take an hour, you’re going to pay X, what kind of a markup would you bill for that?
Glenn Schmelzle: Maybe the way to look at that is that I expect all of those labor costs to be less than thirty percent (30%) of our total cost to the client. So it could be up in the order of two to three times.
Paul Kortman: Thanks. So, folks, this is just the intro. We’re going to get into more about Marketing What’s New and their clients tomorrow. I’m excited for this week and to see what Glenn is going to bring to us because if you can’t tell he already has a different model, and I’m excited to dig into it.
Everybody, today we’re talking with Glenn Schmelzle of Marketing What’s New. If you haven’t heard yesterday’s episode, you definitely need to get in there and just to get a rounded update as to Marketing What’s New and how they operate, how they handle money, and how they handle billing. So, Glenn, welcome back and let’s jump right in.
How many clients does your agency have?
Glenn Schmelzle: We have kept fairly steady on that. Our number of clients has been around the half dozen mark for let’s say the last eighteen months, but the average size of that client has grown. I’m happy to say some of them have been through winds, but I’m just as pleased to tell you that some of them have been through the growth that they have given us; the amount of spending that they have done through us on campaigns, and that makes me happy because I like to think we’ve earned that by showing them results that make them want to push more marketing dollars our way.
Paul Kortman: Thanks. And what vertical industries are your clients in?
Glenn Schmelzle: It fairly evenly breaks down between life sciences companies, so let’s say medical advice manufacturers, and companies that are in the delivery of health services as well as B2B products and services, particularly those that have complex targeting and complex prospect funnels.
Paul Kortman: I’m making an assumption here: is it just lead generation that you offer to your clients? How do you classify your services?
Glenn Schmelzle: The way I have chosen to position lead generation is we found that clients need two main things when it comes to generating leads through their websites. Most clients we come across don’t have enough traffic to do it justice and their experience that they are giving prospects on their site isn’t up to par and giving enough of those prospects a reason to convert. So the services that we offer, first we have to put tags in place so that everything is trackable. Once that’s there, we’re doing pay-per-click mostly on search; sometimes a little bit of social. And then we’re doing CRO on their site to evaluate how we can increase the throughput of people that are coming in and that are becoming leads.
Paul Kortman: So you’re not building your own lead generation site; you’re using the client site and equipping them to generate leads?
Glenn Schmelzle: We flirted with doing that and I’ll share that in a couple of days on the taboo section, but, no, we let them have it, and we’re very up-front about the fact that they, at any time, can change the locks and walk away with most of what we built for them. We’re very transparent about that and in a delicious irony, that means that the clients end up staying longer. They like to know that they are not locked in and that makes them even want to stay around. They just feel that there is no threat and no backlash that they could face should they decide to go elsewhere.
Paul Kortman: Which of those services are you like a specialist in?
Glenn Schmelzle: PPC is the number one. Our team is soaked into adwords and bing on a daily basis.
Paul Kortman: How do you go about finding new clients?
Glenn Schmelzle: It’s been a mix. What I would say has, and it’s very standard, for most firms referral have been a very large piece of it in the beginning. What’s helped that over time is us using a little bit of digital marketing ourselves. I’ve recently started a podcast of my own, and we’ve been able to find some clients through targeting—and I believe it was a previous guest of yours that talked about having a very targeted account-based list—and we know who we want to go after for this next quarter or two. And we’re actively finding ways to work into those accounts.
Paul Kortman: Nice. If you were to describe your agency’s ideal client, what would they look like?
Glenn Schmelzle: I’ll start with the person at the helm. I need to find a marketing leader who’s sophisticated on all of the different channels out there and in how content and channels work together, so they have already been actively working on finding ways to get good interactions with prospects and let the content do the heavy lifting. And this is going to sound really squishy, but I need that same marketing leader to also believe in digital so much that they can do a proper job of selling up as high as they need to go in their organization on the value of committing to this for the long term. You can find it very easily in web-based businesses and ecommerce, but we’re working with business-to-business companies where the final sale is almost always offline, and so, especially if they are old school, they have come from a place where the early stages of the conversation also happen offline, and sometimes they are done through a call center or some other conventional or legacy channel, we need that marketer to say there’s just no scale to that. This has to be an organization where we’re going to build the funnel digitally.
Paul Kortman: Got you. So then, on the flip side of that, what would your worst client look like?
Glenn Schmelzle: Once they have an offering that isn’t of high enough value for them to do these steps that I’ve talked about and stomach, frankly, the cost that pay-per-click has these days, there’s no secret that the platforms have been inching up and doing things that allow the cost of pay-per-click to be higher than it’s been in the past. That becomes harder for firms who have a lower margin to work with or cost per acquisition set into the product. And then over on the other side would be a client who tells me he believes in this stuff but they don’t know. And, Paul, between you and me, frankly, some of the worse offenders are other agency owners and other agency sales people who I find will come to us and say, ‘We need your niche of expertise, but we know exactly what you do. Don’t try to tell us what is needed in your thing. We know.’ Then I find out later that they actually aren’t committed or they don’t want to be educated about what we do.
Paul Kortman: There’s a tough one for all of us agency people and sales people out there listening, that we are some of the worst clients. How fun is that.
Folks, you’ve been listening to Glenn Schmelzle of Marketing What’s New. And he just smacked down on the rest of us agency owners. Today we were talking about clients. Stay tuned tomorrow, Wednesday, when we talk about hassles.
Happy Wednesday, everybody. Welcome back. I’m speaking with Glenn Schmelzle of Marketing What’s New, today, and we’re going to deal with some hump-day hassles because I don’t know about you, but running an agency I have some hassles now and again. So, Glenn, what’s the worst part of your job and why?
Glenn Schmelzle: When I was in college, I took one of those aptitude tests, and it gave me a score on this dimension called “Your tolerance for uncertainty.” That was one of the lowest scores I was given. When the person who took me through the test said what that meant, they said, “Well, you know you should be in a job where you’re doing the same thing everyday. You know, maybe like in a pharmacy where, you know, you’re putting pills in bottles.” And I didn’t like that at all. So I, perhaps, unwisely chose a field like digital marketing where I thought well, it will be different everyday. And what that pushes me to do is something that parts of me consider, you know, the worst thing ever which is that blank sheet of paper, that new problem that you have no previous track record or approach for cracking the nut. And I have to continually, as the leader, I can’t shirk the responsibility of figuring out at least how we’re going to approach that problem. And I tell my staff all the time, “You know, I called it ‘marketing.’ What’s new?” And I kicked my butt a lot for doing that because we sure have a lot of new, sometimes too much.
Paul Kortman: Speaking of staff, one of the struggles that most agencies struggle with is finding good staff. How do you solve that hassle?
Glenn Schmelzle: It was a bit of a blessing and a curse when I started — I call it minimum viable agency. So when I first started — this is in 2013-2014 — the only kind of resources that could do what I previously had done — manage AdWords campaigns — were fellow freelancers. So I went to them and I thought that would be very difficult because I thought they would all have their own styles and it would be like herding cats. It has actually turned out to be a very good screening technique because their entrepreneurial side means that they can quickly see things from my vantage point and they quickly understand the value of working with me. Now we keep things very arm’s length and the relationship can also be ended at any time by either of us. So I take that on as a challenge. That means I can’t necessarily expect they’ll be around forever but, knock on wood, I’ve been surprised by how many of them have decided to stay for a long time. Yes, I’m putting the bar up initially saying, “Okay, I need to find just people who work for themselves already.” That makes it hard. But what makes it better is that the rest of the conversation from there goes very well.
Paul Kortman: Nice. And then how do you staff a project? Do you put like 3 or 4 PPC people on the same project? How do you team it up?
Glenn Schmelzle: Great question, and this is within the last 6 to 12 months that we’ve done this. We are comprised of 3 person teams and we have two of these teams. The two teams are handling all of our accounts — roughly 3 accounts apiece — and the makeup of those team is: we’ve got a person doing account stuff and we’ve got a person doing just campaigns. Their fingers are the only ones actually changing settings. And then we’ve got an analyst and infrastructure person who’s managing tagging, tracking, and reporting.
Paul Kortman: Do you offer continued training to your staff? I know they’re contractors but is that something that you are looking at doing?
Glenn Schmelzle: Looking at and already doing. We are in an agile project management mode so we’re talking roughly every two weeks and I pay them to go through training with me at the onboarding and at each one of those bi-weekly calls. I found that I want them to understand not only some of the latest things in the industry, but we sometimes delve into more foundational principles of how to treat other people, what kind of considerations we want to give to a client, what we all define as serving a client well And beyond those kind of hatched in house forms of training, I have sent client service people to conferences and will sometimes do a cost share on that depending on how expensive it is. But, yeah, I’m committed. This is back to the name: you know, “Marketing. What’s new?” There’s always new stuff. So to say that you’re not going to be training would be suicidal.
Paul Kortman: So what do you do when a team member or a contractor fails at a project or at accomplishing a task.
Glenn Schmelzle: I’m going to refer listeners here to an earlier podcast guest of yours who said it better than I’ll ever do. And I don’t recall his name but he’s from an agency called The Engine is Red, and very simply runs down to a presumption of the leader being the one first who has to question themselves. And I’m going to encourage everyone to go back to that episode where he shared the decision tree that he goes through and the very last step on that tree is to go, and if you’ve ruled out all the things that might not be, and it’s still looking like the contractor did something wrong then that’s the time to delve into what is wrong about their performance and how that can be improved. So, that changed a lot when I heard and took that advice to heart.
Paul Kortman: That was Chris Denny[?]. Had you had that system in place before or did you do that when he explained it?
Glenn Schmelzle: Back to the thing I said about hating a blank sheet. One of the good processes — and I’m going to give you a hat tip here that came from a conversation you and I had, as well as with others about two and a half years ago — I began all of the documentation (that mountain of work I described). The very first thing I started to think about even before Chris said it was, Have I laid out in writing what it is we need to do? We meet regularly but were largely virtual, and if people can’t find what it is that they need to do written down in our knowledge area, I can’t expect them to read my mind.
Paul Kortman: And for those of you who are interested in finding that rundown, it is Episode 31 with Chris Denny of The Engine is Read. He had a really great tree to go through. So, how do you provide success to your clients?
Glenn Schmelzle: Sure. So we lay out from the beginning that, after about two quarters with us, we’re prepared to… From the first time, we start working with them, we’ve wanted them to get predictable opportunities that lead to revenue. And, for most of our clients, two quarters is about long enough for them to watch leads go all the way through. And so from that standpoint, we work with them to set strike prices for what they will pay on a cost per lead basis and we’ll also work with them on how many leads we expect to be coming through per month. And then we monitor that and — though we haven’t had to — we guarantee that those leads and the cost per lead will hit those numbers.
Paul Kortman: Wow. So after six months of working with you it’s down to a formulaic — here’s how much money I put in and here’s how many sales you give me, essentially.
Glenn Schmelzle: Yeah. And then we’ll tell them that if we haven’t met that in a given month, that amount of money that is over the amount expected, should they want that money back, we’re prepared to give that back to them. And, their other alternative is to leave it in the future budget for us to find and hack that system so we can actually get back to the rates that we’d said that we were.
Paul Kortman: This doesn’t happen often but I’m kind of speechless. Folks, you’ve been listening to Glenn Schmelzle of “Marketing. What’s new?” And we’ve been talking about his business model and his agency model. Even though we’re supposedly talking about hassles today, I’m impressed with his model. So, stay tuned tomorrow as we talk about differentiators as I’m sure you’ve already clued in on some of them.
Paul Kortman: All right, all right, welcome back. It’s Thursday and I’m talking with Glenn Schmelzle of “Marketing. What’s new?” And if you haven’t heard our previous episodes from this week, you definitely need to stop, rewind, go back, and listen to these other episodes because Glenn gives a really good explanation of how “Marketing. What’s new?” is different and how it functions. And, today, we’re going to drill into his competitors and how he differentiates from his competitors. So, Glenn, what makes “Marketing. What’s new?” different from your competitors.
Glenn Schmelzle: Thanks, Paul. I would say that the primary difference is that we are prepared to be performance-based with our clients and that’s because we start from the premise that marketing, as a lead generation function, should work and that in the digital era, we now have all the tools that we have to actually prove that it works. So we put our money where our mouth is on that.
Paul Kortman: Nice. And why should I use your agency over, let’s say, a smaller agency, a one person shop?
Glenn Schmelzle: The fragmentation of skills that have just come upon us in the area of pay-per-click and search and social and all the different areas of web site tuning. It’s very hard to find one individual who’s going to have all of these just like you can’t find one individual anymore who fits the title of webmaster. So we would say that, compared to a one person agency, we think you need all of those skills and that’s how we build our house.
Paul Kortman: And on the flipside of that, why would I use your agency, “Marketing. What’s new?”, over a super-large agency like, let’s say, Ogilvy?
Glenn Schmelzle: I think it’s going to depend heavily on the client and how they like to dole out work. If they’re looking for a full service provider, I would honestly tell them to go to a full service large agency like Ogilvy. However, that’s not what we’re seeing. We’re seeing CMOs and marketing leaders who understand pieces that they need to keep core and internal and other things that are changing so quickly and require such technical depth that they’re happy to outsource.
Paul Kortman: And do you offer a service or a package or a pricing plan that no one else is offering.
Glenn Schmelzle: I would say our methodology makes us different. We have a seven step series of different processes we apply to a campaign and a series of landing pages which I haven’t seen replicated. So I would say that that mix is different but I’m going to flip this for a second, Paul, and say it’s important for everyone in this field to know the role that agencies play is never so secure that we can act like trolls under a bridge. All these platforms can simply be started with plunking down a credit card, so I make no bones about the fact that we have to provide special services on top of what is done, because the clients, just like if they were going to a gas station, they can choose to pull in to the self-serve lane and they can do it all on their own if they want.
Paul Kortman: This is a fun bit for the remainder of today: It’s the elevator pitch. So, I challenge everybody to give us your 30-second elevator pitch. I’m actually going to be timing you. You’ve identified me as an ideal client. I want more leads from my website and I’m dealing in a business to business situation, so now you’ve got 30 seconds. Convince me.
Glenn Schmelzle: Sure. So you’ve told me that you are in a complex funnel environment, meaning that you’re either dealing with multiple vendors when it comes to what happens under the hood with your website and how conversions are tracked, whether you’ve got multiple ven players in the value chain that you operate in, such as channel distributors, or you need to target your prospects in a way that conventional marketing can’t do. We’re the agency who is going to help you generate those leads through your website using paid traffic, doing it better than anyone else.
Paul Kortman: Nice. Glenn, thanks for being here. Folks, stay tuned because we’re not done. Tomorrow is Friday and we’re going to dig even deeper into marketing what’s new and we’re going to talk about fun because it’s almost the weekend. … Everybody, welcome back. I’m your host Paul Kortman and I’m chatting with Glenn Schmelzle, as I have been doing all week. Today’s Friday, and I don’t know about you but I’m ready for the weekend, so let’s have some fun. Glenn, let’s start with you personally. What do you do for fun?
Glenn Schmelzle: Thanks for having me on, Paul. I’m a father of three kids. The kids are always into different sporting activities. I live in Canada, so one of those sports obviously is hockey. So, I’m doing the standard suburban dad thing of helping my kids get to where they’re going and providing help around the house, homework and whatnot. So, there’s never really a dull moment. As I heard one dad say once, ‘My kids are my hobby.’ I would say, beyond that, I love to read. I love to look at areas way outside of marketing. So, you might find me up pretty late on YouTube, indulging my interest in science and space and whatnot. Yeah, I like to do all those sorts of things and I think those are healthy and good for what I get to do and work.
Paul Kortman: So do you actually get out on the ice with your kids or do you just drive ’em there and tell them to go hit the puck?
Glenn Schmelzle: Well, mostly driving them there, but we’ve got a lot of opportunities for skating, skiing, snowshoeing, and, yeah, no shortage of snow.
Paul Kortman: So, what do you do with your agency, your staff, since you’re a virtual agency? How do you create fun in that environment?
Glenn Schmelzle: We’ve tried to do a few things in that we’re lucky all of us live within around 2 or 3 hours where I’m physically located – Ottawa, Canada. So, we get together a week and sometimes mix it in with a summit type meeting where maybe we’ll go for beers after. We’ve been trying of late to get some more out of the office activities that are purely fun, so we’ve been sketching out ideas for doing a skating day, hitting a museum, finding our way to a bowling alley, some diversion that we can all partake in. We’ve even looked at some of those team-based activities where it’s laser tag or something like that. Still, some of that’s on the drawing board, but we definitely like to try and find ways to do that.
Paul Kortman: Nice. Then, how do you incorporate that into your client relationships? How do you incorporate fun?
Glenn Schmelzle: Sure. As of this recording, we’re just after the Christmas season, so one of the things I like to do, I guess I’m a bit of a ham, I’ll throw a Santa hat on and I love taking a good chunk of my calendar in December and if clients are in driving distance, I’m gonna hop in the car, I’m going over, we’re going to have some fun, I’m going to give them a couple of gifts that I think are kinda special for them, at the very least a nice bottle of wine. I’ve just found that clients really appreciate that. I also let my personality come through. When we’re having our strategy sessions or we’re reviewing dashboard results, I’m happy to not only educate but I think it’s part of my job to show how I like to look at the world and what personal insights I have, and sometimes I’ll use a cookie analogy to explain something that’s rather technical. I find that brings in some fun. Clients, they mention it on future meetings, and I think that agency, accounts people, and owners, should be not afraid to share who they are.
Paul Kortman: Tell us a story, Glenn. We’re sitting around on our carpet squares and we want a story time with Glenn. What’s the most fun you’ve had working with a client or on a specific project?
Glenn Schmelzle: I’ve had from almost the beginning of the agency days a relationship with a company. So, I’m on the east coast, they’re on the west coast, and they came to me with a very sad looking website and some ideas about how they might be able to get their very specific medical device marketed to the entire U.S. It was a big challenge for us to get our heads wrapped around and to try to work with them and that’s turned out to be one of the most fun things that we’ve been able to do because we’ve gotten to know the team, we’ve arranged it so that if we’re at a conference and they’re at a conference, we can meet up with them. We find excuses. We’ve met them on vacations briefly and had just a wonderful time to get to know spouses, significant others and really understand what they as a team are trying to do and it makes us feel like any success that we can help bring has a material impact on what they want to achieve both as a company, but also as people who have staked their careers on making something that can actually help people.
Paul Kortman: Nice. Folks, you’ve been hearing from Glenn Schmelzle of Marketing, What’s New, telling us about what he and his staff do for fun. Stay tuned for this weekend as we talk about growth and then of course, my favorite topic, taboo. Oh, Sunday’s coming. Welcome to Saturday, everybody. I hope you’re enjoying the weekend, taking a couple hours off and thanks for tuning in here. Today, we’re almost done wrapping up our stories with Glenn of Marketing, What’s New. So, Glenn, thanks for coming back again and today, we’re going to be talking about growth. So let’s start with goals. What are the goals for your agency and you can start with six months or 10 years, what kind of goals settings do you have?
Glenn Schmelzle: Sure. Well, thanks for having me on, Paul, and yeah, I’m happy to lay down what we look at internally, what I try to do. I’m a first time entrepreneur, you know, left the corporate thing, dropped my tie off as I was walking out the door, so I’d say one of my goals has been to build an agency that I can personally look at and that can draw on the things that I’ve acquired over the years, however little that may be. But I’m really keen on making this agency able to tackle significant challenges. I think that the area of paper click and CRO are well enough entrenched and used to very good effect for some B2C. I find that there are some areas of B2B, particularly the ones with tougher distribution channels or tougher targeting requirements or maybe some regulatory barriers, I find those fascinating. And frankly, I measure how our agency is succeeding by whether or not we are increasingly tackling those challenges and I’m happy so far with how we’re doing, so my long-term plans would be to make dedicated client service teams that can go after those kind of challenges and frankly, become best in the industry and known for being the go-to guys for those particular thorny issues and you know, that would bring with it revenue and profit growth.
Paul Kortman: So you don’t have specific numbers or targets?
Glenn Schmelzle: Well, I do, so on the understanding that we keep the clients that we can sign up which we’ve talked about in a previous episode with our performance model, yeah, I see us kind of moving up beyond the $1 million mark. $1.4 is probably the top lying number that I’ve got in my sights as a goal with the current structure and systems that we have right now. And I’ll kind of put that in the maybe one year horizon.
Paul Kortman: My normal next question is has your agency been growing over the last two to three years. Your agency’s only been around for two to three years, so obviously it’s been growing, what about over the last six months?
Glenn Schmelzle: Yeah, so, I would say we found the clients that have been with us for a year have been upping their budget significantly and I take that as credit to our team and how they’ve been able to make them happy. We’re going to talk tomorrow about taboos, so I’ll keep my powder dry there on what’s been perhaps keeping that new business growth from happening as fast, but there’s been some good growth in the last six months from existing accounts.
Paul Kortman: Thanks. And what does your new client pipeline look like?
Glenn Schmelzle: Fairly healthy and they are, again, a mix of lookalikes with clients that we already have, but I’ve also got in there a few that have challenges that we haven’t encountered before. So I’m personally really jazzed about those, but having said that, we have to bring them on and we then have probably two quarters of wondering whether or not we can actually dazzle them and we hope we can and we expect that we can, but we’ve issued ourselves a challenge of being able to tackle these kind of problems. And do we know if we can do it or not? Well, we’re just going to have to do our best and see where the chips fall.
Paul Kortman: And how long does it take for you to take a lead to an actual client?
Glenn Schmelzle: It’s been as long as 12 months and as short as two. Interestingly, so I’m based in Ottawa, Canada, and I haven’t lived here all that long, but the ones that are longer, oddly enough, they are the ones who tend to be local, perhaps because they know where I am and how to reach me and I may not follow up with them as often as I should, so it sometimes takes them saying, okay, well, I’ve now got my budget, so I’ll go poke Glenn and tell him that I want to get started now. But yeah, two to 12 months is the general.
Paul Kortman: Got you. Folks, you been listening to Glenn Schmelzle of Marketing, What’s New talk about his growth strategy for his agency. Stay tuned tomorrow as we’re going to talk about things that nobody wants to talk about. Hey everybody, happy Sunday, let’s forget that tomorrow’s Monday and let’s keep talking through the weekend. And I’m excited because today we’ve got Glenn Schmelzle of Marketing, What’s New and if you haven’t listened to this week’s episodes, you definitely need to get tuned in on those and get caught up. But he’s been dropping little hints here and there about today’s podcast, so I’m excited to see what he’s got in store for us. So Glenn, tell us some shame or gossip in your local market.
Glenn Schmelzle: Yeah, so I’m in a capital city, so Ottawa, Canada, and one of the things that I think that has probably caused is for the local ecosystem of agencies to find some really easy low-hanging fruit in government contracts. Now, that money comes and that money goes when there’s a change of whoever’s in office. But what’s interesting to me is that as digital has become more a part of things, I think we’re seeing in my local market a shakeout that probably has happened in most U.S. cities and I’m sure most international cities maybe five years ago, and that is that folks who just don’t have the stomach for doing digital and thought they could just get along with traditional channels or out of the house display, they’re packing up. And I’ve had a couple of conversations with agency owners, both who’ve actually shuttered their doors as well as ones who’ve told me candidly that they’re about to because they see everything that needs to be done with digital and they just don’t want to dig in and do it. They don’t want to do the work.
Paul Kortman: What are the biggest challenges to working with Marketing What’s New?
Glenn Schmelzle: Probably not alone here, but when it comes to delivering an even level of quality service, regardless of which resource is touching an account, I’ve had my struggles with that and I’ve got to give you credit. You and I, going back a few years, talked about the value of written processes, and I took what we talked about to heart and sat down and wrote what seemed like an endless number of steps. But doing that has helped a large amount of that quality assurance role. And the other side of it that probably helps is that I block off time on my schedule to go over work that has been done before, it’s actually out in the wild. The client may never see the kind of pay-per-click campaign changes that we’re making. I still have to go through them and I can’t duck that responsibility. But I’ve been horrified sometimes at the things I’ve seen that resource thought was going to be good enough for making the client happy.
Paul Kortman: What’s the biggest professional mistake you have personally made?
Glenn Schmelzle: As the guy who’s supposed to think up strategy around here, I’ve had a couple of misfires. I thought in the early days of the agency that we should be in the business of hosting and building funnels and landing pages, and we moved out of that. So that wasn’t a huge diversion of effort. It was maybe a couple of quarters, but I would say probably the largest professional mistake I still make is that I don’t think far ahead enough and I don’t take big enough risks. I will hold off maybe longer than I should on bringing on a new resource or I’ll hold off later than I should with planning out how we’re going to get through the next couple of weeks. And I found that when I take the time and do those things we don’t have bottlenecks. So the flipside of that is when I’m not planning ahead and I’m just putting out fires, I’m noticing that I’m the bottleneck and everybody is looking to me. Maybe the way I would look at it is, I’ve got to remember that if this were like an airplane and my resources are the passengers riding on the plane, I’m the pilot. I’m the only one who can see out the front of the aircraft. And so I should always be ahead of them. I can’t expect them to look at me and provide any sense of where we should be going. I’m the only one who has the ability to do that. So that’s been a professional challenge of mine that I’ve been continually working on.
Paul Kortman: What are the biggest mistakes your agency has been involved in?
Glenn Schmelzle: I’m happy to share this one. I’m really just underlining what’s been said on previous versions of Agency Connexion: financial management. Having the discipline of regularly seeing accountants. Our accountant is going to be meeting with me later today, and this is a meeting I don’t miss. You’ve talked in past shows about times where money for media has not been collected but it’s been spent or an Adwords account has been left on. I’ve had those mistakes, and sometimes it’s been up into the five figures, and I’m lucky that those kind of mistakes didn’t put us under because we couldn’t collect. So it’s just by the grace of God that I can still say I’m able to do what we do. I’m going to encourage everybody to not ignore that sort of thing because that can put you under.
Paul Kortman: What service do clients buy from you that doesn’t help their bottom line?
Glenn Schmelzle: I guess I’ll put it into two brief buckets. The first one is services that they think they want to do but they don’t have a good reason for doing it. So it really doesn’t matter whether we can do it or not. Maybe I would pick something like a native ad campaign or some other area of social media that they’ve heard about and they get excited about. We can do it for them, but it’s really not going to make a difference to generating leads for them, which is what they brought us in for. So those little side projects can sometimes be more annoyance than they can be help. However, the criteria that I would say that needs to be a collaboration by both the client and the agency on are some new experimental areas, and I would say that maybe 10 percent of total budget should be regularly put aside. Whether it’s the client or the agency that suggests it, I think someone should be saying, let’s look at what this new field can provide in addition to what we’re doing, because it may be five years from now the main engine for how we’re generating leads. I never go into those little areas or experiments without making it abundantly clear to the client that this is a test and that sometimes we are trying it for the first time ourselves. We try to use ourselves as a guinea pig first, but where we can’t do that, we make it up front with them, and I’ve sometimes given a reduced rate for the fees on that for the reason that we are collecting information on how to do it as we go and we’re going to be really slow at it the very first time.
Paul Kortman: All right thanks for being here Glenn. It’s been a lot of fun to get to know and your new agency. Where can people go to learn more about you know or Marketing What’s New?
Glenn Schmelzle: I appreciate the opportunity Paul. So I’m pretty active on a couple of different social media outlets. You can usually find @heyglenns on Twitter and Instagram. I can certainly be connected on LinkedIn or folks can check out the podcast that I’ve started called Funnel Reboot, and if they want they can also look up Marketing What’s New.