Things are not what they seem

Stephen Semple – Things Are Not What They Seem.

Aaron Konzelman: Hey, everybody. Welcome to American Small Business Institute. I’m Aaron Konzelman, and today we are here with Stephen Semple. How are you?

Stephen Semple: I’m great, thanks.

Aaron Konzelman: Awesome! So now you were just saying this great phrase on the way down of things are not what they seem.

Stephen Semple: Yeah and where I started realizing this was, I had a meeting with a client. They’re in the mattress business, and they were going on and on about how one of the challenges in their industry is no one’s buying mattresses in a retail store any longer. Casper’s taking over.

Aaron Konzelman: Yeah.

Stephen Semple: And these other companies are taking over, and consumers just don’t want to buy mattresses anymore in a retail store. And then, I’m walking … I live just outside of Toronto, and I was down in Toronto. I’m walking through one of the shopping centers in Toronto, and I see a Casper store.

Aaron Konzelman: Oh.

Stephen Semple: Like, a Casper-

Aaron Konzelman: What?

Stephen Semple: Retail store.

Aaron Konzelman: Yeah.

Stephen Semple: Oh, and the other thing that’s interesting about Casper is one of the big advertising campaigns they did was wrapping buses.

Aaron Konzelman: Oh, yeah. Yeah.

Stephen Semple: So this whole thing of well, no, it’s all online advertising. Yeah, Casper does online advertising, but Casper in Toronto is wrapping buses and opening stores in retail locations.

Aaron Konzelman: Wow, yeah.

Stephen Semple: And then what was even crazier than that is I hear from all these customers talking about how, you know, I want to reach millennials, and so we’ve got to advertise on YouTube and Instagram and go where they are, and since this was around Christmastime, and I’m driving down, and Amazon is running this recruiting ad, and they’re recruiting ad people for Christmas. Who are they trying to attract? So they’re trying to attract millennials.

Aaron Konzelman: Yeah, oh yeah, of course.

Stephen Semple: Extra work at Christmastime. Where are they advertising? The radio! But yeah, no millennial listens to the radio [crosstalk 00:02:03]. But Amazon, who I think to know a thing or two, are advertising a recruiting ad on the radio, which completely defies everything that’s being said about radio.

Aaron Konzelman: Yeah.

Stephen Semple: Kijiji. Where are they advertising today? On the television.

Aaron Konzelman: Oh my gosh. Yeah.

Stephen Semple: Kijiji’s on television.

Aaron Konzelman: Uh-huh.

Stephen Semple: Amazon’s on the radio. Casper’s got retail, retail stores. Tesla retail stores.

Aaron Konzelman: Mm-hmm (affirmative)-

Stephen Semple: Like they’ve taken the, instead of having these traditional automotive locations, they put like it in a shopping mall. Little Tesla stores in shopping malls. So I listen to all the stuff and all these people making decisions based upon, you know, this is the way it’s done. This is what’s going on. And yet, I look out there, and I go, “Well, wait a minute.”

Aaron Konzelman: Mm-hmm (affirmative)-

Stephen Semple: Amazon, Kijiji, Tesla, Casper. They’re actually doing a lot of traditional stuff.

Aaron Konzelman: Huh.

Stephen Semple: Do you know who one of the biggest direct mail advertisers are in the United States today? Give a guess. Direct mail, old-fashioned direct mail. Put a little thing in, little offer, and mail it out to businesses.

Aaron Konzelman: I think probably auto companies. Automobile or-

Stephen Semple: Yeah, they’re big. They’re big. But one of the biggest in the world today is Google.

Aaron Konzelman: What?

Stephen Semple: Yeah, Google!

Aaron Konzelman: That’s not-

Speaker 3: That’s what I was going to say.

Stephen Semple: Yeah.

Speaker 3: Google.

Stephen Semple: Google.

Aaron Konzelman: Google.

Stephen Semple: Google has this massive direct mail campaign where they send out this little coupon, this little free coupon, for you to try AdWords.

Aaron Konzelman: Wow. I had never heard of that.

Stephen Semple: Yeah, but, you know, direct mail doesn’t work anymore.

Aaron Konzelman: Right. No.

Stephen Semple: Because what is Google? Like, what is Google?

Aaron Konzelman: Yeah.

Stephen Semple: I heard from one of the Wizard of Ads partners that Google is also now starting to run these training programs, so they set up these free courses. They teach businesses how to market better.

Aaron Konzelman: Mm-hmm (affirmative)-

Stephen Semple: And do you know what they’re doing to promote it?

Aaron Konzelman: Mm-hmm (affirmative)-

Stephen Semple: Buying radio ads.

Aaron Konzelman: Wow. That’s crazy.

Stephen Semple: Right.

Aaron Konzelman: Yeah.

Stephen Semple: So Google, Kijiji, Amazon, Casper, Tesla are all doing traditional stuff-

Aaron Konzelman: Yeah.

Stephen Semple: And yet, so many businesses are running around going, “Oh, no. I can’t do those things. Those things don’t work.”

Aaron Konzelman: Yeah.

Stephen Semple: Ever heard of Zoom?

Aaron Konzelman: Oh, yeah. Use it all the time.

Stephen Semple: Yeah, use it all the time. Right?

Aaron Konzelman: Yeah.

Stephen Semple: Yeah. Did you know where Zoom does a lot of this advertising? Billboards.

Aaron Konzelman: What?

Stephen Semple: Yeah, there are Zoom billboards all around Toronto.

Aaron Konzelman: So it’s like, you know, it seems like a takeaway for a lot of business owners is really just, don’t get suckered by the sage advice of all these people going, “Oh, this is just how we do, this is how it’s done. This is how you should advertise” and this, that, and the other. Because if these huge companies are not doing what that image says, and they’re advertising in these tried-and-true methods out here, then-

Stephen Semple: There’s something to that.

Aaron Konzelman: Yeah.

Stephen Semple: And here’s what I think’s going on. And this is I think where the challenge is. Advertising online has changed so dramatically in the last five years.

Aaron Konzelman: Mm-hmm (affirmative)-

Stephen Semple: I remember when I first started running online campaigns, you know, ten years ago. You could buy clicks dirt-cheap.

Aaron Konzelman: Mm-hmm (affirmative)-

Stephen Semple: I had campaigns that were penny clicks.

Aaron Konzelman: Mm-hmm (affirmative)-

Stephen Semple: And I’ll tell you, when you’re paying a penny, you can waste a whole hell of a lot of clicks.

Aaron Konzelman: Oh, yeah. Oh, yeah.

Stephen Semple: You can go insane on it. Even when the price went up to 10 cents, and even when it went up to a dollar, it’s like, yeah, whatever.

Aaron Konzelman: Mm-hmm (affirmative)-

Stephen Semple: That has disappeared. Advertising online has become terribly expensive, and if you look at a lot of the campaigns that people are showing as looking how hugely successful it was, if that campaign was 5 years ago, it probably doesn’t work today.

Aaron Konzelman: Interesting. Okay.

Stephen Semple: Have you guys had Ryan Deiss on doing-

Aaron Konzelman: Yeah, we’ve done with a few with him on.

Stephen Semple: Yeah, Ryan talks about that. Ryan will talk about how the expensive part in online advertising is that first acquisition. That first acquisition is actually really expensive. And so as the price of advertising online has gone up and as the competition for that has gone up and as it becomes noisier and more crowded, things like billboards and radio start making a huge amount of sense because there’s not as much, often not as much competition for those eyeballs and the ears and the time and the attention of the consumer.

Aaron Konzelman: So what would be, if you could offer a piece of advice or a way to view this idea to business owners, saying, “Hey, do this” … What would you say to them, looking at this issue of trying to decide, “Well, do we just follow what everybody else is doing or should we look deeper” and-

Stephen Semple: Yep. People haven’t changed, so this whole idea of, “Oh, people don’t listen to the radio anymore. People don’t look at billboards anymore.” People haven’t changed.

Aaron Konzelman: Yeah.

Stephen Semple: People are the same.

Aaron Konzelman: Yeah.

Stephen Semple: People have not changed.

Aaron Konzelman: Mm-hmm (affirmative)-

Stephen Semple: So get away from that mindset. And also, look, I love the line, “No one shops in malls any longer” and yet you can’t get a parking spot at the mall.

Aaron Konzelman: Yeah.

Stephen Semple: Be realistic. Be open. Be observant. Look around. Watch what people are doing, but be open-minded to it. People haven’t changed. And then in part of your methodology, instead of getting hung up with I want to talk to the right people at the right time with the right media, spend a lot more time thinking about your message.

Aaron Konzelman: Mm-hmm (affirmative)-

Stephen Semple: We’ve talked about that over and over.

Aaron Konzelman: Yep.

Stephen Semple: If you’ve got an awesome message, it will work on billboards.

Aaron Konzelman: Mm-hmm –

Stephen Semple: It will work on radio. It will work everywhere.

Aaron Konzelman: Mm-hmm –

Stephen Semple: If you spend more time working on that message, the media becomes less important. From my perspective, then when you’re selecting media, really look at the price of the media.

Aaron Konzelman: Yeah.

Stephen Semple: And really sit there and think about what is it costing for me to get those repetitions and to get in front of the people and whatnot?

Aaron Konzelman: Yep.

Stephen Semple: And I think when you do that, often what you see is a lot of the traditional media looks pretty kick-ass in comparison.

Aaron Konzelman: Yeah. Awesome. So be observant and look beyond the curtain to what’s really going on.

Stephen Semple: There you go.

Aaron Konzelman: Awesome, man. Thank you.

Stephen Semple: Because the world is not as it seems.

Aaron Konzelman: Yeah, that’s right. Not as … All right, we’ll see you guys next week.

Stephen Semple: Thank you.

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