Rebecca Bugger is a digital advertising expert in a world where smaller and newer companies are often unable to handle the nuances that have emerged since the pandemic.
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"The thing that keeps me up [at night] is that there are people who are just small businesses trying to get out there and learn what they need to do to keep themselves alive or to get started, and they think that they can do it on their own, and they can't," she says in the latest episode of Marketing Smarts.
Rebecca still manages to nail down some universal truths: Your website should be intentional, informative, and easy to navigate; you have to know where you advertising audience is spending its time; and you can't just pick one facet of advertising—you need a combination of tactics.
"One strategy is not going to be enough. Just having ads appear on Google is not enough. Just having a billboard is not enough," she says.
Facebook and Google have become what Rebecca refers to as "monsters under the bed" because their digital advertising game has gotten so complex it's impossible to catch up on your own.
"I get two calls pretty consistently...One is, 'I've been doing it this way for 10 years and now it's not working and I don't understand why.' It's because...it's changing every single day, it is becoming something that we have to consistently be watching," she says. "You can't set a campaign up on Google or Facebook and just let it run anymore."
Times seemed simpler then. But the essence of advertising, Rebecca and host George B. Thomas conclude, is that it's continually changing, and you should always be testing your methods to see what works and what doesn't.
Listen to the entire show now from the link above, or download the mp3 and listen at your convenience. Of course, you can also subscribe to the Marketing Smarts podcast in iTunes or via RSS and never miss an episode.
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George Thomas: Who are we talking with today? Becky Bugger is the director of business development at StubGroup and has years of experience in the field through working as a marketing director, account executive, senior level copywriter, and director. She is always focused on humanizing the sales process and creating reliable forward-facing employees. Bugger uses generic branding and marketing skills to determine if digital marketing will work for every client.
Do you have an advertising strategy? Are you paying attention to that advertising strategy at a micro level? Or are you listening to this thinking, "I should have an advertising strategy." Did your mind immediately go to digital or billboard or print, where did you go? Is it a moving target?
I'm super excited because we're going to talk to Rebecca Bugger about how to identify what advertising strategy is best for your business. Without further ado, let's just dive into this great interview where you're going to be able to pick up nuggets of wisdom to move forward with your advertising strategy.
Rebecca, I'm super excited to get into this conversation around how to identify what advertising strategy is best for a business or the listener's business. I want to start though with this, because advertising can be kind of a big landscape, there can be a lot of things to think about. I want to start with this question which is a little bit unique for me. What keeps you up at night pertaining to businesses and their advertising strategies?
Rebecca Bugger: I think the biggest thing that keeps me up at night that we're seeing right now across the board in the digital advertising industry is the fact that people don't realize that Google is the monster that it is. It's not necessarily a bad big scary monster that's hiding underneath your bed waiting to attack you, but Google, Facebook, Instagram, all of these digital platforms are not as simplistic and easy as they come across to be, nor are they as simplistic and easy as they were 18 months ago or two years ago.
The digital advertising space has transformed dramatically post-pandemic. People who never would have imagined advertising online are advertising online now. I think the thing that keeps me up is that there are people who are just small businesses trying to get out there and learn what they need to do to keep themselves alive or to get started, and they think that they can do it on their own, and they can't. They get themselves in very big holes and messes with platforms like Google and Facebook.
Then the other thing is that they go out and they're doing it on their own, and they come to us for help, and they don't know what their market is, they don't know who they're trying to reach, they don't know where that person lives, the person that wants to buy their product or use their service. Sometimes there is a gap that's really wide that is existing right now between full service agencies, digital marketing agencies, and creative agencies. It used to be you could go to one agency for everything. Nowadays, your marketing really has to have a wider breadth than that. If you're not working with someone that understands each one of those facets of your marketing and advertising in detail, you're probably missing out somewhere along the line.
I think the long-winded answer is there are monsters under the bed; they're not scary, you just have to figure out how to talk to them and how to work with them to make your marketing work for you.
George: I love that kind of storyline of being able to talk to the monsters. I do want to take a couple of steps back, maybe to the 50,000-foot view, because we're diving into identifying what advertising strategy is best for a business. Fundamentally, when you think about breaking it down into different sections or pillars or whatever you want to call them, what different types of ad strategies are out there that are worth contemplating on potentially implementing for one's company? What should the Marketing Smarts Podcast listeners be at least thinking this, this, and this?
Rebecca: Traditionally, people would have done things like print advertising. There's print, there's TV commercials, there's billboards, and then there's digital advertising. When I'm looking at advertising in 2022, you have to be digital and you have to know where your market lives and where to advertise to them. What I mean by that is who are you trying to reach? Is it a mom, is it a business owner, is it a corporation? You have to understand where that person or that lead is at in order to define the advertising strategy that is going to work best for you.
Let's just look at Google for example. You're wanting to advertise on Google and you want to run ads on Google. Well, there are many different types of ads that you can run on Google. You can run display ads where you're showing visual representations of the product or service that you have to offer, and those land a lot of times on other people's websites. Or when a person is watching a YouTube video, you might want to have a YouTube ad running where you have video. But if you're a service company, like a tree trimming service, you're going to want to show up in Google Search ads.
So, you have to figure out where people are looking for you. Do you need to have a branded campaign where people don't necessarily know that they want your service, such as hair growth treatment or weight loss supplements, something like that? Or are you someone that someone is going to intentionally seek out to work with immediately, like a taxi cab company, a doctor, a lawyer? All of those things will define where you need to advertise and what strategy you should be using.
George: I like that we dove into digital, and I like that you dove into there are these different types if you were talking specifically about Google. Is there one where you as an expert sit back and go, "Woo, this one is hot to trot," what's one that you see that is just working now for a lot of businesses?
Rebecca: You need to be on Google Search if you're in e-commerce. If you're selling a product, you need to have Google shopping ads. If you are selling any kind of product, Amazon is the place you need to be, and it's not enough to just have an Amazon store, you need to be running ads on Amazon, you need to be running ads from Google to Amazon. Google Search, Google Shopping, and Amazon Shopping for ecommerce. For lead generation, it's Google Search, that's your Yellow Pages.
Anybody who wants to find anything in time of life, you're looking on Google. You're getting on your computer and you're Googling it. Unless you're an anti-Googler. Then you'll want to be on the Microsoft network as well, which is the other massive search engine where people are trying to find things. You have to be online as a whole.
George: This idea of an anti-Googler, I don't think I've ever heard that before, but it's a little catchy. I want to go into the micro a little bit. When you think of ads in general, are there different components to many advertising strategies that marketers should for sure be focusing in on, that when you do an ad, this, this, and that need to be right on point?
Rebecca: I think there's a combination of ways that we have to do that. Your ads need to connect together. When you're looking at wide advertising strategy, maybe you have a billboard, maybe you have a Facebook ad running, maybe you're appearing on the search ad results, but all of that is leading people where? To your website most likely. That's where they're ending up.
Whether they're seeing your name on a billboard, Googling you and going to your website, seeing an ad on Facebook, clicking it and going to your website, or searching for you intentionally and then going to your website, they're all landing on your website. So, I think the most important thing is understanding how that website is going to convert.
A big mistake a lot of people make on those websites, if you're just sending people there randomly, it's too much information. Make sure that the website that you have developed in line with your advertising strategies is set up in a way that makes the person who is landing there have a very easy way to convert, whether it's filling out a form, clicking a phone number to call, dialing a phone number to call, or purchasing a product. We have to assume that people that are coming there have intentions of working with you, and it needs to be easy for them to do that.
I think having that really easy to navigate, intentional, branded website is super important.
George: It's interesting because when I start to even dig a little bit deeper and I start to think about the title, let's go back to the fact that we said or people clicked on how to identify what advertising strategy is best for your business, what is or how is a way, is it a matrix, is it an algorithm, how do we identify the best advertising strategy for, in this case, our company to be able to actually make smart decisions and not waste all of our money?
Rebecca: One thing that we always tell our clients is that you need to know where your market lives. Is your market spending time on Facebook? Are they driving? Are they out and about in the community? Where are the people that you want to reach living at and what kinds of habits do they have, what are they doing? That's how you can define where to reach them.
One strategy is not going to be enough. Just having ads appear on Google is not enough. Just having a billboard is not enough. The thing that we tell people is they have to keep seeing who you are and knowing you are in the places that they're comfortable.
We know influencer marketing is a really big thing right now. Anytime I'm talking to a clothing company, for example, and they want to run Google Shopping ads or Amazon ads, I tell them their organic social media strategy on the advertising side of things has to be active and running at the same time as any other ad strategy. If you have a billboard up, you have to have an influencer that is talking about your product and sending people to your website at the same time.
Just choosing one facet of it isn't going to be enough. You need to have that connectivity. If you are trying to reach moms of children under 2, it's still important to figure out where they're spending time. Maybe they are taking walks in the park, so you should have a billboard up at a park. Or you can geo-target that park so that when they're sitting on the bench waiting for their children who are playing on the slide, maybe they get on Facebook, and we've targeted that park in a way that they're getting served ads to purchase a product that you think is perfect for these moms.
Older people don't spend as much time on social media and on the internet, so maybe you still need to do direct mail marketing to people. I know that hearing aid companies are a great example of that. They're still sending direct mail out to people who are over the age of 70 or 75 because serving them ads on Facebook or on Google isn't something that is going to work.
In order to understand how you're developing that advertising strategy, you have to understand your target market and you have to hone in on it in a way that you're giving them an easy way to convert into becoming a customer or client.
George: A couple of times you've mentioned knowing where they live. It seems to me that is a very important part before you even think about this. How have you helped people or how have you seen people figure out where the audience actually lives? What are some tips, tricks, or hacks around that portion of it?
Rebecca: There is so much information out there that you can find through research. There are lots of different places you can go to find statistics on what age groups are spending time on what platforms, if you're talking online, where people are converting the most, whether they're choosing to dial phone numbers or clicking to call, or if they want to fill out forms. For example, we know that if you have a click to call phone number and your website is mobile-friendly, it's very likely that a person is going to click from their phone if they're searching from there.
Who is using their phones? Most likely, it's not going to be people over the age of 75. It's going to be people younger. So, you know that they're going to be living on that phone if they are between the ages of 18 and 35, most likely. We want to make sure we're serving ads to mobile devices in a way that those people can easily convert. We know that new moms are spending time in groups on social media platforms, so making sure that you're serving ads there or you have a brand strategy within those groups or on the platform that mom might be specifically hanging out on.
One thing that I think is very interesting is you're serving ads to YouTube, you know a person is watching videos on YouTube or on Hulu, we know what age demographics there are. Doing research on where people are spending time, what they're doing based off of their age, their sex, their marital status, all of those things can define where you need to serve those ads.
George: Here's the thing. What I want to dive into next, one thing I like to do on the show is help people diagnose the potential hurdles that might show up in their way. When you think about I'm a company and I've either been doing advertising—by the way, when I say company, you could be small to medium size, you could be an enterprise company, but at the end of the day you've been running ads, or you're like, we actually should be running some ads, or maybe you're a startup listening to this. Marketers listen to Marketing Smarts, it is what it is. What are some hurdles that you would say we've seen this get people before, so watch out for this and that?
Rebecca: Everyone from startups to existing businesses, I think that if we're looking at online advertising specifically, the one thing that everyone in 2022 has to be aware of are the policies around privacy right now. Google, Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter eventually, we'll see what's happening there, they're all focusing on privacy.
Understanding what policies each platform has regarding privacy as to what you can and can't ask people for, what you can and can't advertise, what words you can use, what images you can use, all of those things can make or break a company's advertising campaign. There are companies that have been running ads for many years one way that don't realize that policies have changed, and they get to where either their ads aren't serving or they get in trouble with the platform that they're working on. It's very hard to bounce back from that.
I think that consistently staying up to date with how these privacy issues are changing, online specifically, is going to be really vital to a company's success whenever it comes to digital advertising.
George: Everywhere that I look, anywhere you turn, to be honest, there is a conversation about third-party cookies. How does this conversation around third-party cookies actually impact the conversation we're having today about finding the right strategy for your business?
Rebecca: It makes a very big difference. For a long time, as digital marketers, we've really relied on data collection in order to serve ads to the right people. You are able to use that data in a way that it retargets and remarkets to people who have already been familiar with your product and things like that. You're also able to really hone in on different segments of the population when serving ads, specifically on Facebook.
Whenever iOS 14 changed things around and gave people the ability to opt out of having their data collected, it really did change how people could target particular markets on Facebook and Instagram. They had to pivot and come up with new strategies to reach people in the right way. We're figuring it out and people are learning to serve ads differently, but it impacted a lot of people. I think it was something like 65% or 70% of the people who have given the choice to opt in or opt out opted out of having their data collected.
It's definitely something that is impacting across the board, and I think will continue to impact how we advertise online. But it's also something that I think we can work around. Google in particular, they are changing the privacy in a way that we are able to collect data off of what's converting and what's working, versus having to collect data specifically about the consumer in a way that violates anything that they wouldn't want shared with the public.
George: It's funny because as I listen to the answer previous to that last question and the one that you just gave, it really puts you in the mindset that it's kind of always moving, it's always kind of shifting, you should always kind of be testing the things that you're doing and making sure you're up to date, or I'll use the word in compliance. I don't necessarily mean it in the manner that it's usually said for, but there are things that you have to be doing.
In that case, what I always love to do with these episodes, because we're talking to smart people, we're talking to big brains, experts on the thing that we're talking about in each one of these episodes, I always like to take time to dive into this question, which has found its way to be very interesting with some of the answers that we've gotten.
It's just this; What are some parting words of wisdom? It could be advertising, it could be digital advertising, it could be something completely sideways that we haven't talked about. When you think of the Marketing Smarts Podcast listener, what are some words of wisdom that you would want to leave them before they are done listening to this episode?
Rebecca: I think that one of the biggest things that people need to understand when they're marketing today and coming up with plans is they need to have an expert, whether it is a full service agency or different experts across the board. When it comes to advertising right now, it's almost impossible to do it on your own. There are hustlers out there that figure it out, but there are so many ways that you could literally be throwing your money to the wind if you try to do it on your own. That's your best case scenario, especially when it comes to digital advertising.
I get two calls pretty consistently on the business development side of things here. One is, "I've been doing it this way for 10 years and now it's not working and I don't understand why." It's because of exactly what you said, it's changing every single day, it is becoming something that we have to consistently be watching. You can't set a campaign up on Google or Facebook and just let it run anymore. The type of campaign strategies that you're using on those specific platforms have to be specific to your business and they have to be optimized and looked at in a way that is going to make sure that you aren't losing money on a daily basis.
Whether it is hiring someone to do your graphic design so that it's set up in a way that is actually appealing to the eye and that they know this style works particularly for your business vertical, or someone to design you a quality website that is set up to convert customers, or having an expert person answering your customer service lines at your business. You can't do it all yourself anymore, there are too many facets to marketing. Making sure that you're working with someone that knows what they're doing, understands how to look at your business specifically, and isn't giving you a cookie cutter template on what to do is so important.
Your worst case scenario is you go out and try to do it on your own and something happens, such as getting suspended on Google or banned on Facebook. That's a whole different hole that you're stuck in, because it's not easy to get out of that hole once you're in it. People call and they're like, "I don't understand. It's not fair. This is the way that I wanted to do my advertising." The answer that we can give them is that it's not something you can do on your own anymore, you have to have the help of an expert, you have to be up to date on what you're doing.
Hire someone in-house to be your marketing person. You can't have HR and Marketing in the same office anymore because the digital world is just its whole own entire universe and there are so many different parts of it that we haven't even explored yet.
George: I love the term throw your money in the wind. I don't know about you, Marketing Smarts listeners, but if I'm throwing money in the wind, it's going to be that Monopoly money. That's about the only money I'm throwing in the wind.
Rebecca, if people want to reach out, connect, or just have questions at a deeper level about advertising or anything that we've talked about today, where do you want to send them?
Rebecca: I'd love to have anybody email me that would be interested in chatting and learning about any kind of digital advertising marketing plans, anything like that. My email is email@example.com.
George: Marketing Smarts listeners, did you take lots of notes? Did you have the pen and paper, all the things, the iPad, whatever you take your notes on? I have to ask, what is your one thing, your number one execution opportunity after this podcast episode? Make sure you reach out and let us know either in my inbox or Twitter using the hashtag #Mprofs.
I know for me one of the most mind-blowing sections of this episode was the idea of just it's always moving, and you should always be testing. Things have changed, and if you're still doing it the way you've always done it, that might not be a good thing.
We'd like it if you could leave us a rating or review on your favorite podcast app, but we'd love it if you would share this episode with a coworker or friend. Until we meet in the next episode where we talk about the next methodology, strategy, or tactic that turns you into a super marketer and helps you streamline and grow the business that you work for or own, I hope you do just a couple of things.
One, reach out and let us know what conversation you'd like to listen in to next. Two, focus on getting 1% better at your craft each and every day. Finally, remember to be a happy, helpful, humble human. We'll see you in the next episode of the Marketing Smarts Podcast.
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Published on May 26, 2022
Becky Bugger, the director of business development at StubGroup. She has years of experience in the field working as a marketing director, account executive, senior-level copywriter, and director. She uses generic branding and marketing skills to determine if digital marketing will work for every client.
LinkedIn: Becky Bugger
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