Digital Marketing Essentials

I had an incredible conversation with Garry Lee from Formerly the CEO of a multi-million agency, Gary has vast knowledge and now runs his own consultancy. This was a long interview so I have taken extracts and posted them below. There is an incredible amount of information on Digital Marketing Essentials in the interview so suggest you watch it all. 

Let’s just jump straight into things. What is a basic overview of marketing? 

Oh well, there’s a question. At the end of the day your customer is the hero of the story, the job of marketing is to get you inside their story and the better your marketing, the more of a feature you become in their story. Marketing in essence is about customers, and about appealing to customers, knowing who they are, talking in the way they want you to talk. 


This is interesting, because I think one of the key points in many areas where people make a mistake, is that they try to market to everyone on the on the planet. And that’s wrong, isn’t it?

Yes, because ultimately, if you market to a million people, you’ll find there’s a million people that probably aren’t interested in your message, because it’s very generic. If you market to 20 people, then there’s 20 people that will absolutely listen to what you say, because you’re talking directly to them. It’s really tough to write things consistently that appeals to people and is engaging. But the easiest way to do that is to write for one or two people and don’t try and write for everybody.

We were setting up a campaign this morning and used an avatar of our typical customer that we have created called Paul. We know all about Paul and what he likes as we spent hours creating him. We did this to define who we want to appeal to – that’s how you know who your customer is. Some people might be offended by our picture of Paul but those aren’t our customers. Actually, this scares people when I tell them, but actually part of your marketing should repel the people you don’t want to talk to.



How much time do you dedicate to actually defining this person?

That is a good question. I am literally writing a book that says you can do marketing in 30 minutes a day. I think we probably spent four hours one afternoon and we did nothing else. I think one of the hardest things for any business owner who is by themselves is that they don’t have anybody to bounce this stuff off. One of the great tips I always say is to find a good mentor, somebody you can share these sorts of things with. We then go back and refine it, so it’s not a one off exercise. 

Once you’ve defined your customer what is the next stage of the marketing process?

Once you know who they are, then you know where they want to hang out online. But don’t try and be all things to all men. Try to focus on 2 or 3 platforms and post consistently. The next stage is just knowing what to talk about. You’ve obviously got to make sure it’s something that you’re good at as a company as a person. That’s important. There is nothing more important than what the customer wants to hear about. And that’s the bit people always forget. Does your customer really want to read about that? Do they care? 

What are good working practices? 

One thing I always say is try and do things in chunks. Don’t go in and try and do two minutes each day. Because there’s a great study from Irvine University, which basically says it takes people about 20 minutes to actually ever get fully into a task. So if you’re switching tasks you don’t get into it. So if you’re going to write content, try write it for two or three weeks ahead and get it scheduled.


What’s a good length for an advert? 

It genuinely does depend. I think videos are probably the best way to go. Particularly with services, make sure there’s subtitles on whatever you do. Most people when they’re scrolling through Facebook see videos are coming up. If there’s an immediate subtitle they’re looking at it, they’re reading it.  So always have a video, if you can, in a service based business. If selling products a good image is essential. Let me give this example, if you’re on the high street and there was a shop with a broken window and a lot of tatty stuff in the window are you going to go inside? 

One of the things we were talking about earlier is when you were the boss of a big agency, you wanted to make yourself almost redundant. Explain expand on that.

I wrote that my greatest achievement as a CEO was when I left nothing happened. Nothing went wrong. Because my greatest task was to bring people through in the business that I could work with. My greatest success was there not to be the bottleneck. My job was to make sure that whatever people needed from me, I could deliver for them efficiently so they could get their jobs done. 

Surround yourself with great people. I was recently chatting to a friend of mine who has set up his own agency and doing brilliantly well. He’s got four people and about to hire a couple more. He’s really excited. But he asked who do I employ? I said they just have to be smarter than you. So the only thing that matters is that everybody around you has to do their thing better than you can do it. Being surrounded by good people is great, it takes away that temptation to go and do it yourself.

I had a brilliant HR director, I had a brilliant IT director, I had an amazing marketing director and an amazing sales director. I didn’t interfere all the time because I trusted those people, because I knew they were brilliant at what they did. And I’d like to think I could do all of their jobs reasonably well. But actually, the key to my success was the fact that I could help them all do their jobs better, but not actually do their jobs. 

It is a common theme with people I’m chatting to,  especially family businesses find as they find it very hard to let go because it is their baby, and identify it as their baby. It’s do it my way or, or go home. But actually their way is not necessarily the best way, they become successful up to a certain point bu  they then don’t take it to the next stage as they don’t bring in the right people. If you always do what you have always done..


How can you help people take that leap of faith to actually hire someone who’s more competent?

The basic boring answer is make sure you got a proper business plan, obviously, to make sure that you know you can afford to take these people on because what you don’t want to do is take someone on and then within two months realise you can’t afford them. So get the basics right, get your numbers right.

Take proper independent advice from someone outside of your normal sphere to tell you something a little bit different. They will train you, and they’re going to give you incredible tools. I have found that people don’t invest in themselves enough. They say they don’t have the time, but they will never have the time unless they invest in themselves, because they will always be chasing their tail.

If you have enjoyed this film you might find this article on SEO Basics interesting.