Have you ever taken a Rorschach test?

You know, one of these:

 

Also called an inkblot test, you’ve probably seen one of these in your lifetime. They’re pretty common in pop culture. In short, the goal of the test is to show you a seemingly random splattering of ink on a page and to ask you what you see.

Your answer is supposed to suggest some form of inherent perspective that you have. Since the ink is not “supposed” to be anything, whatever you see is what your mind is “looking for,” in a certain way.

In short, they reveal how you look at things. Sometimes something that is ‘designed’ to look like nothing, or perhaps even something completely different, can be interpreted in an entirely different way. As we recently learned, it’s a concept marketing professionals should keep in mind.  

Our Happy Little Accident

Our internal discussion about perception came up after we ran into what Bob Ross would call a “happy accident” on a website we were working on. Here’s what happened…

Take a look at this stock image:

 

 

Harmless, right? We thought so too.

Our plan was to have text overlaid on this image on a website we were working on. So, to make the text pop more, we blurred it out, like this:

 

 

Still not seeing it? You shouldn’t really, it’s just a harmless blurry picture. Or so we thought.

The final step was to resize the image to fit within the page design. So we cropped it a bit, enlarge it to scale, add our text, bada bing bada boom, and voila:

 

 

Oh.

Oh no.

If you still aren’t seeing it, don’t worry, we didn’t at first either. But lean back in your chair, maybe take a step back from the desk and unfocus your eyes. Kind of like you would if you were, I don’t know, aimlessly scrolling through a web page. See it now?

The troubling visual — which was lost on us until a brave soul in a focus group was bold enough to share their thoughts  — is the general shape of a naked man on top of a shirtless woman.

It took us by surprise too. But once we saw it, we couldn’t unsee it. We’ve since swapped out the picture, and with the help of multiple focus groups, confirmed there is no more accidental porn on the website. All in a day’s work.

After we texted our friends about the mistake, we realized there were a few takeaways worth noting from this incident.

  1. QA test your products like they’re movies. If you want to make a G-rated website, put on your X-rated goggles and comb through the content carefully.
  2. Perspective is subjective. Don’t fight that, just remember it, adapt to it, and use it.

The second takeaway sounds obvious, but it’s not 100% clear what to actually do about it. It’s a t-shirt away from being merchandise at a networking event.

But marketers who actually use this advice are better for it. Here’s how.

Embrace The “Porn” Of It All

Here’s one of the best pieces of advice I ever received: just because your opinion is an educated one, doesn’t mean it’s a good opinion.

“What you suggest can be based on research, white papers, reports, and data, and it should be. But it isn’t a good marketing opinion until the market proves that it works.”

That is the bottom line with marketing: the only good suggestions are ones proven by the market. If it doesn’t end up leading to more profit, in the long run, it’s not a good suggestion.

Our “happy accident” is an example of what we thought was a good idea proven wrong by the market (in this case, users). In our case, we were actually lucky that the error was so glaringly inappropriate. The fact that it was pseudo-scandalous was actually a blessing: it was an error we could not justify, so we replaced it.

But that’s not always the case.

Too many marketing professionals rigidly adhere to their own plans even after the market tells them they don’t like what they’re seeing. They may try to explain away why their strategy isn’t working; it’s advertising’s fault, we aren’t spending enough money, they just don’t understand the messaging, yadda yadda yadda. But if the market’s perspective isn’t seeing the same thing you want them to see, you can’t change how they see it.

It’s not the market’s job to see it how the marketer sees it. It’s our job to show them. So in these instances, we need to do our jobs better.

When we say “embrace the porn of it all,” we simply mean that a different perspective is not your enemy. In fact, it’s a benefit. You get feedback on what you’re doing and can adjust accordingly to create what the target audience wants. Isn’t that what we’re trying to figure out in the first place?

Different preferences and perspectives are half the reason marketers do so many of the things that we do. A/B testing, focus groups, demographic data — all of it is because we have a desire to account for the things outside our assumptions.

Good marketers account for different perspectives, adjust, and use it to better their campaigns.

Bad marketers blame the market.

It All Comes Back To The Client

At the end of the day, marketing teams have one real goal. Make their clients more money, and keep them happy. If those aren’t being accomplished, then there’s no point in our work.

If the marketing team is too prideful to adapt to the market, then they simply aren’t going to be able to deliver on that promise for their client. This is not the industry to have an ego. Marketing success is 100% based around how well a marketer can embrace their missteps and turn them into better results down the line.

The god of search engines has spoken: by the end of the year, the old Google AdWords editor will be phased out. Pay-per-click managers everywhere are sharing their condolences.

Sorry Google, we mean no disrespect (we kind of need you to make our living). It’s just that change can be difficult, and for a lot of Google AdWords campaign managers, the new Google Ads interface is, well…difficult, sometimes. There’s a lot that’s been switched around, and we’re going through growing pains.

As reported here on Search Engine Land, Google will be fully disposing of the currently named “previous AdWords editor,” which at the moment is in limited access.

The change comes as a big part of the newly branded “Google Ads” platform, which is taking over the role of Google AdWords as their targeted search engine ad delivery system.

Why Did They Change Google AdWords To Google Ads?

In short, the old Google AdWords editor was dated and the data was harder to quickly understand.

It’s an attempt to modernize with a new Google aesthetic (you may have noticed Gmail changed their font). For all the preference that the old AdWords interface may receive, it’s hard to argue that it definitely felt dated, especially by Google’s “premier internet brand” standards.

The new interface has been designed with a major shift away from numerical data and toward visualized data. Most prominently noted on the Overview section of the new interface, users are now greeted with charts, graphs, and graphics which more cleanly and quickly convey the information.

The change came, in large part, due to customer feedback which requested more easily digestible information. In the old Google AdWords editor, charts were few and far between. Most of the data was shown through charts and tables. While this became fairly popular in the PPC community, the layout isn’t the most welcoming to new users.

Google’s priority has and will likely always be about making the user experience as easy and immediately rewarding as possible. As part of that mindset, they’ve determined that the old Google AdWords editor needed to go.

Can I Get The Old Google AdWords Editor Back?

Sorry, you cannot. For any new accounts going forward, the “new” editor is now the only editor.

PPC managers can only access the older interface if they are editing a campaign which was launched earlier than sometime around late spring of 2018. The exact date is unconfirmed, but new accounts which have been created after that general time period don’t have the familiar “return to previous AdWords” button that managers have come to love.

Here’s what it used to look like before the phase-out:

Here’s what all the new campaigns are seeing when they click on the Tools icon:

 

Just like that, it’s gone. It came as a rude awakening for PPC managers who had been relying on the old product for so long.

According to Google — as they will tell you if you call their customer service and ask — the old Google AdWords editor has a “depreciating value.” Which is to say that Google is going to be allocating less and less of their resources to it as the year moves on.

The removal of this button is one of the bigger steps toward completing this phase-out process. Users who have been using it for older campaigns can continue to use it until the end of the year, but after that point, everyone will be pushed on the same interface.

The new Google Ads editor is the way of the future, and PPC managers will simply have to adjust to the new Google Ads interface.

So…What Now?

For PPC managers, all that is left to do is adapt and use the new Google Ads to the best of your abilities. The new interface isn’t necessarily worse, but it is definitely different, and there will be some changes you’ll likely want to make to the settings before you feel just as at home with this UI as you did with the last one.

Take advantage of the change as best as you can. New features like promotion extensions, call bid adjustments, and the Audience Manager all have their part to play in your Google Adwor — I mean, Google Ads campaigns.

There’s a lot to be offered in the new system, and while it’s not exactly what it used to be, that doesn’t mean it’s any less valuable.

It’s that time of year again.

They’re looming.

Ready to pounce on our checkbooks like ravenous pumas.

The Girl Scouts.

AKA Mini Marketing and Sales Masterminds.

Shopping malls, supermarkets, fitness centers—everywhere you look—Girl Scouts are locked and loaded with stacks of Thin Mints and Peanut Butter Patties as high as the Burj Khalifa.

Add the power of the Internet and Digital Cookies to an already prolific foot coverage zone, do we even stand a chance?

The answer is no. We can’t beat them. And that’s precisely why we should join them. Not as Girl Scouts literally, but as smart, organized, hyper-focused sales assassins. After all, it’s going to take some serious cash to support that bad case of the sweet tooth (and the later trips to the dentist).

I’m not going to lie, I actually found myself getting “annoyed” this year by the local Girl Scouts pushing their scrumptious snack sales via public pitch. I know I sound like Grumpy Gramps, but I’ve been battling the woes of an intense diet since the New Year. So give me a break, I’ve been dodging Girl Scout Cookies like Neo in The Matrix.

But after giving it some more thought, putting personal vendettas aside, and tuning in to a more rational channel—I got to give The Girl Scouts props. They helped me realize some things that a lot of business owners and executives overlook.

Find your purpose

Girl Scouts of the USA have been selling cookie for two centuries. You don’t stick around that long without some pretty solid production or a perpetual goal.

Over 1 million Girl Scouts participate in the cookie program each year. Hence why it seems like they’re everywhere you look. With this giant army, Girl Scouts bring in close to $800 million in total sales over the course of a cookie season.

However, what’s perhaps the most interesting part about the Girl Scout model is that 100 percent of the net revenue from cookie sales stays within a Girl Scout council’s local area to benefit girls and their council. The cookie program is what fuels young girls to think big and take action in their communities.

As put in their mission statement: Girl Scouting builds girls of courage, confidence, and character, who make the world a better place.

This type of purpose is what truly builds and sustains sales.

Former Girl Scout Cookie extraordinaire, now rocket scientist Sylvia Acevedo summed it up best: “A Girl Scout Cookie purchase is more than just a delicious treat—it’s an investment in girl entrepreneurs who will grow up to be the female business leaders of the future.”

Provide purpose and meaning to your product and service and watch yourself convert more sales. The difference lies in making a difference.

Be in the right place at the right time more often

Have you ever heard someone say they just happened to be in the right place at the right time? Maybe they found twenty bucks on the side of the road. Or maybe they met the love of their life at a bar on a Friday night whim.

Life is often a matter of circumstance and timing. Sales is no exception to this rule.

You know that it’s unrealistic to obtain a sales conversion rate of 100%. You’re not going to find that twenty bucks on the side of the road, just because you went out for one fifteen-minute stroll in your neighborhood.

But if you assign twenty different routes to your family and friends, and explore the many streets and sights in your town, then your chance of tripping over a green-faced Andrew Jackson increases exponentially.

The Girl Scouts adopt this concept well. They know their power is in numbers and sheer persistence. They know that different approaches breed different results.

Going out and tabling might not work well on Monday morning, but maybe having Dad take an order sheet to the office will. The point is that you never know when, where, and what will work.

One of the best things you can do to increase your sales conversion rate is to simply find ways to be in multiple places at the same time. Whether it be through online advertising, marketing automation, or by scaling your team to promote your brand—the more places you can be, the more likely it’ll be the right time.

Be loud, proud, and if all else fails—simply smile

We were all kids once.

Yet, for many of us, the course of time has led to long work hours, keeping up with bills, and having to buy our own clothes, shelter and food. How tragic!

When you’re simply going through the motions, it can sometimes become a bit of a challenge to maintain a consistent positive attitude and joyous appreciation for life. Even harder? Bringing this type of fire to the daily grind. But if you really want to increase your sales conversion rate, expressing positive energy in your demeanor and messaging is crucial.

The Girl Scouts represent a tradition that’s been in place for well over 100 years. Those that do really well embrace their identity with time and vigor. They make sure Grumpy Gramps can hear them as he passes by fake texting. And those that do really-really well say, “Thank you, mister, for your time!”

If passion and pride don’t wow your prospect—kill them with kindness.

It’s been proven that showing off your pearly whites has many psychological advantages, both internally and externally. In fact, internal and external advantages work hand in hand.

Essentially, if you smile, you start to feel good about yourself. If you feel good about yourself, then other people will start to feel good about you. And here’s the tie-in. When people feel good about you, they’re more likely to do business with you.

So smile. Even at Grumpy Gramps. He might not be having a good day, but he’s got a sweet side too, and his diet could be different next year.

Dear fans of the NBC’s drama ‘This Is Us’: this article contains the lightest touch of spoilers that we could sprinkle in.

We will be discussing (as vaguely as we can) events that occur near the end of Season 2, and how a real-world company has handled some surprising fan reactions. These events relate to an ongoing plot that has been at play for most of the show’s run. We won’t say which plot, or which characters, but we will have to say a little about the company at the center of it all.

So if you aren’t caught up and have a zero-tolerance policy for information about how the Pearsons are doing, just go watch the show.

Seriously.

Go watch it.

DISCUSSION BEGINS HERE

When this week’s episode ended, fans were hot with emotion. In typical ‘This Is Us’ fashion, the episode’s cliffhanger left many fans flustered, sad, angry, and confused about what to do next. For many fans, they took it out on the scapegoat in their kitchen: the Crock-Pot.

The brand saw itself on the receiving end of social media’s fury last week for the small part their slow-cooker product played in the episode. Fans seeking some form of catharsis unleashed their emotions onto their own slow cookers, as the trending tab of Twitter turned into an abusive slideshow of Crock-Pot insults.

Not used to being the center of anything besides a potluck, Crock-Pot quickly took to social media to try and defend their brand. A new Twitter account was created, and the company’s social media team began making amends.

‘This Is Us’ writer Dan Fogelman took to Twitter to defend the company as well.

Their Facebook also has a lengthy response for fans of the show (WARNING: that post contains spoilers). We won’t post it here, but check it out if you’re feeling distraught.

The situation brings up an interesting conundrum. How do businesses react to uncontrollable brand damage? There was no way of Crock-Pot knowing how bad the backlash would be, and no real way for NBC to expect — and subsequently warn Crock-Pot of — that kind of a response. So what is the right approach?

Be Prepared For Anything

The most important distinction to be made in Crock-Pot’s reaction is that it is aggressively reactionary. The company created a new Twitter account to interact with fans tweeting how angry they are with the device, but the Crock-Pot brand didn’t have a Twitter account before this incident. You may not think a company like Crock-Pot needs a Twitter, but for modern companies, it is nothing less than a liability to not be in touch with your audience.

If we had asked at the beginning of the week what your opinion of the “Crock-Pot” brand was, what would you say?

For most people, the only words that would come to mind would be some variation of “good,” “useful,” and “reliable.” Now here comes a primetime, Emmy-award winning show to indirectly tarnish the company’s reputation — the primary thing still getting people to buy Crock-Pots.

Seriously, what other product out there has a more stable brand identity? Elmer’s glue? Morton’s salt?

While this situation obviously can’t be anticipated, it’s important for businesses to at least have the tools and internal architecture needed to respond to something like this.

This case is a testament that every company, no matter the product, market, or brand strength, should have a dedicated social media, PR, and digital marketing team on standby.  You never know when you’ll be blindsided by the wrath of Twitter.

Pick The Right Angle

On top of having the right kind of hose to put out the PR fire, companies need to be savvy about how they put out the fire. The Crock-Pot strategy? Direct responses.

As noted above, Crock-Pot decided the best course of action was to reply directly to people who were showing unwarranted frustration with their product. They created a new account, pinned a post on Facebook, and have been effectively shouting from the rooftops that their product does not deserve the hate it is receiving.

This strategy may, in fact, be the right one for Crock-Pot; most people associate the brand’s with warm, home-cooked meals and a sense of familial togetherness. So it’s on-brand to respond with sincerity, compassion, and personalized assurances. Crock-Pot may not be the kind of brand that wants to utilize this buzz to their advantage with a spin tactic. They’ve stayed fairly vanilla in how they’ve handled things, and maybe that’s a good thing.

This isn’t the only way to go about it though. Social media has proven that any brand can have a unique voice and use it to their advantage, regardless of the situation. Take the notorious Moon Pie Twitter account. The company sells packaged pastry snacks, but their Twitter account has expanded their audience by having a fun personality.

Furthermore, Crock-Pot is in desperate need of new business guidance. Reports coming out just before the episode showed the parent company, Newell, had already seen stock prices drop 49% since their record mark last June. Since the episode aired, the Crock-Pot product’s stock prices have also plummetted, dropping 24%. While the attention from the episode has been negative, the one benefit has been the Crock-Pot brand is now in the forefront of pop culture for a brief period of time. For a company in desperate need of some magic, it doesn’t appear as though they are utilizing their moment in the spotlight as the opportunity it is.

Lessons From Dr. K

Are there other social media/marketing strategies which could have been implemented to turn this into a win for Crock-Pot and Newell? Could this have been spun to their advantage? Possibly, but it’s difficult to expect anything better from the company when they didn’t prepare themselves beforehand.

Pop culture blows such as this are often short-lived. People, businesses, brands, they’ve all come back from worse blows — blows that they themselves might have caused — and turned out fine on the other side. But it’s still disappointing to see such an opportunity being handled in the most bare-bones fashion.

For all the negativity this episode brought, what was provided was attention, something that is as critical to harness as it is difficult to obtain. When businesses get a shot like this, it’s in their best interest to do more than damage control.

Crock-Pot, so far, has been doing an OK job, all things considered. And for a company that didn’t have a Twitter account before this week, that could be considered a win. But how many executives are ever satisfied with an OK job?

There’s always a way out for a company’s PR nightmares. But if you aren’t prepared, you limit your options.

In the words of Dr. K:

“Find a way to take the sourest lemons that life has to offer, and turn it into something resembling lemonade.”

Looking For Marketing Solutions?

Contact us today to see how we can help.

What you need and what you can afford: two vastly different circumstances.

Some of my favorite meetings have been with entrepreneurs and startups. And some of my least favorite meetings have been spent staring at spreadsheet columns and data until my eyes bleed.

My most productive meetings? They follow a simple recipe: a forward-thinking “what can be” attitude grounded by a “what is realistic today” rationale.

When I first engage with a client, I admittedly buy into the vision, whatever that may be. Product, campaign, culture—I’m on board. Earned trust starts with shared excitement.

Once that initial trust has been established, we can move forward and start to set the table. How can our marketing agency and business consulting firm help you reach your goals, or fulfill that excitement?

And so it begins—market research, brand identity, captivating content, beautiful web designs, public relations, digital ads, organic reach—and so it never ends!

In the marketing and advertising world, “what do you need” is a dangerous open-ended question. After all, businesses inevitably need a whole lot of things to effectively enter a market, attract customers, and sustain growth.

Anyone can get behind a whiteboard and dream of a place where they want to be. Few, however, can illustrate the path on how to get there. And even fewer can visualize what it will take in time and resources.

Would I have liked an open floor concept when I bought my first home? Of course. Could I benefit from a real library and office instead of a makeshift spare bedroom bunker? You betcha. Does my fiancé casually drop reminders that four bedrooms, his and her sinks, walk-in closets, and a wraparound porch are all must-haves? I think you see where I’m headed.

My dream home is much like an entrepreneur’s dream business. It’s something to strive for, but to build or obtain it overnight is simply out of the question. That doesn’t mean that we can’t get there.

All you need is a refined plan built around real resources. Keep your refined plan to around 90 days. This will give ample time to get things done, without putting things so far into the future that they seem unattainable.

When you sign up for a gym membership, you don’t expect to leave after 30-minutes looking like Arnold Schwarzenegger. You know that you need to have set workouts, consistent dieting, and dedicated time to build good habits and results over time. Whether you want to lose 15 pounds of fat, or put on 15 pounds of muscle, having a reachable goal will give you something to strive for. And at the same time, it will narrow your focus so that you avoid overextending yourself.

After 90 days, re-evaluate your resources. Have they depleted? Or have they expanded? Depending on your strategy and execution, you’ll have three major outcomes: stay the course, do-it-yourself, or move out.

In all likelihood, staying the course means you were smart about what you had in terms of time, money, and manpower. You should have sufficient tools to keep the ship steady.

Do-it-yourself, in my experience, means that you didn’t budget appropriately. I’ve seen this countless times with startups that build a $5000 website, but at launch wonder why they aren’t getting any traffic or sales. Hello, have you heard of marketing?

Moving out could be positive or negative. Upgrade or downgrade. Depending on a wide array of circumstances you may need to go back to Mom with your tail between your legs. Or you could put the house up on the market, hire a realtor, and begin your quest for the wraparound porch. Do those even exist outside of movies based in the South?

Nothing in life comes easy. And money doesn’t solve all problems. But having some money, control mechanisms, and the awareness of what your needs will demand in terms of costs, will make obtaining all of those little necessities a lot easier.

That’s business, that’s life, that’s reality—deal with it accordingly.

Business motivation is everywhere.

Sometimes it’s where we least expect. And other times, it’s in plain sight.

Last week’s gym sessions at Future Fitness in Medford, New Jersey reminded our web design and creative team that physical lessons have duality in other aspects of life.

The value of a marketing agency is multi-faceted, but delivered creativity might be one of the most important returns on your investment. And creativity is just as much a disciplined eye as it is a wild mind. Picking up on the subtleties of surroundings, media, culture, and other walks of life, and then incorporating them into a strategic outreach is what separates a great marketing agency from a good one.

Inspiration is a lot like and idea: it’s useless unless used.

Don’t hire a creative agency to simply create for you.

More than likely, you already have a ton of great ideas. You don’t need a creative agency to be creative. Hire a creative agency to get your creative ideas from Point A to Point B, so your market can realize your true value.

It’s not a bird! It’s not a plane! It’s cloud computing, and (spoiler alert!) it’s not in the sky.

Despite its collateral relationship to the Internet itself, the cloud remains something of a mystical and mysterious creature for many employees and business owners alike. Cloud computing is about as much a part of our daily life as the clouds in the sky.

So what is the cloud? How does cloud computing work? Why is cloud technology so important to understand as a business owner?

PC Magazine breaks it down into one of the most simple and understandable definitions around, saying “cloud computing means storing and accessing data and programs over the Internet instead of your computer’s hard drive.”

It’s a server that hosts information you can access anytime from anywhere. It’s a technology that enables your phone, tablet or computer to interact with programs running on servers that subsequently deliver to your device.

And, in this day and age, it’s more than an elaborate flow chart linking devices together to a mutual server. It’s more than an idea. It’s a way of life.

Simply put, cloud computing is necessary to the maintenance, success and growth of your business.

Why is cloud computing so important?

Cloud computing is a bit like insurance. Because things happen. From fires and weather incidents to malware and viruses, PCs themselves are fragile creatures. The Boston Computing Network estimates that almost one in three PC users have lost their computer files due to events that were beyond their control.

As technology continues to evolve, online servers can meet the demands of business applications like never before. And transferring the responsibility of managing that process to a qualified service provider is a smart investment that can save you time and money.

Because the impact of data loss on a business is staggering.

The National Archives and Records Administration reports that as many as 93 percent of companies that lost their data center for 10 days or more due to a disaster filed for bankruptcy within a year of the event.

And studies show the cost of data breaches are on the rise annually. In 2015, the average total cost of a data breach over the past two years is estimated at $3.70 million, up 23 percent from 2013.

Cloud computing is an incredibly valuable back-up plan, or somewhat of an insurance policy, offering business continuity services that helps make sure your business is prepared to stay up and running despite most worst-case scenarios.

If your web site is hacked, your information stays safe and secure in the cloud. If there is a fire or your network is hacked, you can stay live amid the crisis. If a tornado hits and wipes out the power grid, nothing is lost thanks to the protection cloud computing offers.

In all of its (albeit sometimes elusive) glory, cloud computing is the ultimate fail-safe for the technological infrastructure of your business.

Want to learn more about cloud computing?

Contact us for information on how we can help you move your businesses forward using our strategic business consulting services.

Tall, Grande, or Venti?

Just like Starbucks coffee, SSL Certificates come in different shapes and sizes. However, unlike your favorite cup of Joe, a slip up in your order can set you back more than a few fluid ounces.

Knowing what type of SSL Certificate you need ahead of time will make securing your website less difficult, save time, and prevent unnecessary administrative costs and third-party expenses.

In this post, we’ll explore the different types of SSL Certificates based on two groupings:

  1. Validation level
  2. Secured domains

SSL Certificates by Validation Level

When you purchase an SSL Certificate, you need to show the Certificate Authority that you are who you say you are. There are a couple of different types of SSL Certificates based on the method that you choose the confirm your identity.

Domain Validated SSL Certificates

The Domain Validated SSL Certificate (DV certificate) validates that the domain associated with the SSL Certificate is registered. To validate this type of SSL Certificate, you simply need to have someone with admin rights approve the certificate request.

Validation is typically performed over email or DNS. The email recipient is asked to prove their administrative privileges over the domain by acknowledging receipt and sending confirmation to the provider. Additionally, they may be required to configure certain DNS records for the associated domain.

On average, it usually a few minutes to a few hours to order and validate a DV certificate.

Organization Validated SSL Certificates

The Organization Validated SSL Certificate (OV certificate) validates the domain ownership, plus organization information included in the certificate such as name, city, state and country.

The validation process is similar to the domain validated certificate, but it requires additional documentation to certify the company identity. The order can take from a few hours to a few days, due to the company validation process.

The Organization Validated SSL Certificates display the company information in the certificate details, not the address bar.

Extended Validation SSL Certificates

Extended Validation SSL Certificates (EV certificates) require more validation than DV and OV Certificates.

Domain ownership, organization information, and legal proof and documentation are all required. The order can take from a few days to a few weeks, due to the extended validation process.

A green address bar in the browser containing the company name is the distinguishing attribute of Extended Validation Certificates.

 

SSL Certificates by Secured Domains

An SSL certificate is also further defined by the amount of domains that it secures.

Single-name SSL Certificates

Single-name SSL certificates protects one subdomain (hostname).

For example, if you purchase a certificate for www.example.com it will not secure blog.example.com.

Wildcard SSL Certificates

Wildcard SSL certificates protect an unlimited number of subdomains for a single domain.

For example, if you purchase a certificate for *.example.com it will secure blog.example.com, mail.example.com, etc. However, it will not secure example2.com.

Multi-Domain SSL Certificates

Multi-domain SSL certificates protect different domains with a single certificate, using the SAN (Subject Alternative Name) extension.

You can generally secure a combination of different host names, from the same or different domains. For example, example.com, blog.example.com, example2.com, and different-example.com,  would all be covered.

Get Help Choosing the Right SSL Certificate: Migrate to HTTPS

Selecting the right SSL certificate and migrating to HTTPS doesn’t need to be a hassle.

GOGET SECURE by Orpical Group provides professional web security specialists to assist in the HTTP conversion process. This allows business owners to obtain the proper SSL Certificate for their website, and ensure that installation and conversion to HTTPS is done properly and thoroughly.

GOGET SECURE is the only specialized, branded SSL installation service in the world. We have a unique process and proprietary information that enables us to streamline conversions. We do not provide a “quick and dirty” solution. We manually modify your server’s configuration and update old files and URLs.

Make the Switch to HTTPS

Contact us to learn more about SSL Certificates and for a free quote to convert your website from HTTP to HTTPS.

About Orpical Group

Orpical Group is a full-service online marketing agency and business consulting firm. With locations in New Jersey and Philadelphia, we specialize in logo design, branding, web design and development, search engine optimization (SEO), and pay per click management.

Since 2012, we have helped our clients realize and sustain high levels of individual and organizational performance. We don’t believe in a one-size-fits-all marketing approach. We believe in our clients. And our clients believe in us because we are invested in success.

Becoming a better marketing consultant is a lot like working out: you can work your tail off seven days a week, pump out extra sets and reps until you’re blue in the face, but if your diet sucks, you’re preventing yourself from significant gains.

I’ve always heard that getting a six pack (of abs) is 80% what you eat, 20% core workouts. For awhile, I thought that was a load of crap. Just lift heavier, run faster, grind harder, be a beast, insert favorite gym cliche here.

Then, one fateful day, after years of maintaining, I decided to leave the beer in the fridge, and opt out of my regular cheat cheese steak. Slowly, I started noticing results because other people were noticing results. “You’re looking good,” I heard and gleamed (flexed biceps) in return. It’s stupid, but as humans, we’re wired for reinforced recognition. It took me awhile, but I learned that people do not notice inertia, they notice the accumulated product of continuous activity and life.

Marketing consulting is a $43 billion industry, employing over 300,000 people in the U.S. with an annual growth rate of 3.6% since 2011.

Comparatively speaking, when you look at industries like computer systems design, which has an 18% sales growth, the marketing consulting growth rate is pretty weak. But in my opinion, there is no excuse for it.  All industries, in one way or another, can benefit significantly from a lean, mean, outside marketing machine.

So, why aren’t we keeping up?

Simply because we are weighing ourselves down with saturated fats and focusing on the wrong things far too often.

By no stretch am I perfect. I am, however, performing at an optimum level thanks to “adding by subtracting.” Adopting a strict NO-BS mantra has enabled me recently to be hyper-productive, where I can manage everything from prospecting, to sales, to work fulfillment, all the way up to reporting, and then on to new opportunity assessment without burning out. And this is for multiple clients! What’s even better is that I still have time, if not more time, for a little Netflix and Chill.

Here are some things that I’ve cut out of my professional diet to become a better marketing consultant:

Pointless Proposal Development

One line that I’ve been testing out lately is, “We don’t make any money writing proposals.”

While this is a pretty obvious statement, I have found it absolutely necessary to say, especially in early prospecting stages. Proposals have their time and place, but they are time consuming. When you put this out in the open, people seem more inclined to appreciate the fact that your time is invaluable.

If and when I do need to write a proposal, I use Proposify, which boasts to “streamline your sales process and help you close deals faster.” And it does…sort of. Proposify’s high-quality, easy to customize templates and online portal are great features. But still, on average, to write a REALLY GOOD proposal with research supported by data, a custom letter with prospect interactions, detailed scopes of work, budgeting, and terms and conditions, you’re looking at anywhere from 2-5 hours. Just think: How much could one of your existing clients benefit from that time. Wouldn’t it be nice to bill a few extra hours each week?

New business is great, but nobody has a 100% close rate. I’ve found that many of my prospects don’t even read my proposals and just skip right to the estimate/budget section. In fact, I have the data to support this. Below are two lost proposals in my Proposify system.

Become a Better Marketing Consultant with Less Proposals

This was a proposal that I spent roughly 2 hours on for a custom eCommerce website. The prospect spent 1 minute reviewing the proposal and decided they didn’t want to do it.

Become a Better Marketing Consultant with Less Proposals

This was actually a second proposal, revised after the scope of work significantly changed. In total, I spent close to 5 hours handling resources, researching solutions, writing and editing. All for what?

Both cases show that prospects aren’t reading word for word of my carefully prepared, thoughtful proposals. I’m willing to wager that I could work in something mildly offensive, especially in the additional recommendations section, without any real risk.

I am not saying to stop doing proposals all together. Again, they have their time and place. What I am suggesting is to be very, very careful on who you choose to write a proposal for. From my experience, and from Proposify insights, most people only really care about “what’s in it for me” and “how much is this all going to cost.” Ask yourself: Can those questions be addressed up-front in five minutes or less on a phone call or in a brief email? Ask the prospect: Do you need a formal proposal or is it okay if I simplify things? Most will say the latter is cool.

Any and All Negativity

“You are what you eat.”

“People are products of their environment.”

The list of sayings goes on and on.

Because it is all true.

To become a better marketing consultant I make it a point to examine who I am interacting with and what I am consuming (television, social media, music, etc) almost on a daily basis.

I filter out people on my News Feed that gripe non-stop. I turn off sports radio because I work in Philly and all of our teams are stacked with losers. I hardly ever watch the evening news (morning news is way more optimistic). I plead (politely) with my fiance when I come home and she channels her inner Regina George and gets hangry.

Negativity is a cancer that spreads like wildfire. If you do not control it, then it will run rampant on both your professional and personal life. I have found that the trick is to create mechanisms that catch negativity before, or as it begins, to invade your space. Social media can be the biggest culprit, but there are tons of ways to filter out the crap and stay ahead of it.

The Fantasy World of 9 to 5

This post started as a shimmering thought in bed on a Thursday at 11:30pm. It then entered the depths of Evernote, where it rested until Sunday at 2:30pm, later moving into our content management system. I continue to write the same post now at 7:35am Monday morning, and I will need to resume again later as I will be focusing on work for my clients soon.

My point is this: If you want to be a better marketing consultant, you have to put your “Fantasy World of 9 to 5” to bed. It’s a unicorn, get over it.

In a highly-intrusive world, nobody really works 40 hours per week anymore. Marketing consultants know this about as well as anybody. I have clients all over the United States, and some international, which means I’m always on call.

There have been nights where I have not slept because I was physically “holding up” a client’s website as their web server collapsed. I have had Skype calls with people in Tel Aviv at 2:00am. I’ve made edits to a brochure during a Friday happy hour on my phone for a client in Dallas.

As a marketing consultant, your schedule works around your clients, not the other way around. Of course, you need to have a personal life as well, otherwise you run the risk of doing more harm than good. But a 60-40 balance of work/play is essential. It also becomes a lot easier when you are able to hybrid the two.

Lazy Lunches

I’ve never made much money while my mouth is stuffed with a two pound burrito. It’s hard to design a website, or write up a report, when your barbecue-laced fingers stick to the keyboard. And I’m definitely not super productive after a heavy meal.

Sure, food gives us energy, but if you’ve ever experienced couch-lock after chowing down on some grub, you know that your body goes through a process after eating.

High-carb, high-fat and high-sugar foods (often the things you find at your favorite lunch stop) trigger a neural response as soon as they hit the small intestine, according to Huffington Post and Scientific American. A size of your meal is also found to have a correlation to tiredness due to things like insulin spikes.

The impact of digestion isn’t the only null effect of lunch. It’s the entire embodiment of the activity. I associate lunch with “break-time”, an opportunity to leave my desk so I can wander about in search of a somewhat sanitary food truck. Lunch is an escape for most people. And as we hold that perception we lose focus, billable work, and opportunity to provide clients paramount insight and value.

Yes, lunches can be productive, especially those with co-workers, and of course, clients. Casual collaboration and physical interaction that develop around a lunch table can sometimes not be mimicked. Though in my experience, I have found that more times than not, lunch conversations drift away from creativity and problem solving, and hum closer to after-hours talk.

My substitute for a lazy lunch is snacking on fruits and vegetables and assorted, unsalted nuts throughout the day. This way I can keep my energy and focus up, without sacrificing time and money. If you are going to break for thirty minutes, do something that won’t make you feel like crap for another 30 minutes or longer (e.g. mediate, go for a walk, write, etc).

Add to this List

I am always looking to explore new ways to become a better marketing consultant to provide unprecedented value to our clients at Orpical Group. The lighter I am, the more efficient I can be, which in turn will drive more profits for our client base.

If you are a marketing consultant and have additional suggestions on fat cutting, please feel free to email me at stefan@orpical.com. I would love to expand this discussion to develop more fit marketing consultants, promote high energy environments, and ultimately gain more profits for our companies and all of our clients. Of course, I will give you credit and link back to your business and social profiles. We’re in this together – there is plenty of marketing consulting work to go around!

About the Author: Stefan Schulz, Marketing Consultant

Stefan Schulz is a web and graphic designer, brand enthusiast, and online marketing expert with 10+ years of diverse experience as a marketing consultant. His work has helped earn Orpical Group accolades including The Philadelphia Business Journal’s Top Branding Marketing and Media Services Companies, as well as Top Tech Employers List.

“I love working one on one with business owners and executives. I love getting tasked with a challenge and I always feel honored when someone has faith in me to find a solution. When someone says to me, ‘We need to figure this out, and we need you to figure it out for us,’ I geek out. To be a good marketing consultant, you need to be like that. It’s like being a full-time Labrador retriever: If your client throws a stick into the ocean, you’re damn excited to go out there and get it for them.”

Photo courtesy of Philly.com and Rob Tornoe.

By Ty Schmidt & Stefan Schulz

It’s a message Philadelphia 76ers loyalists have held on to for years: it’s all part of the plan.

To be a fan of one of the NBA teams with the most abysmally embarrassing performance records has not been easy in recent years. The team hasn’t made the playoffs in more than 15 years and only pulled out 10 wins all of last season for crying out loud.

Add to that the unwavering regional support for local sports teams, and you’ve got a group of “die hards” who are starving for a championship. The wait has been too much for some, but for those that have persevered, for those who have trusted the process, it could start to pay off.

The plan to tank in an effort to rebuild a quality team by essentially rigging the draft is finally starting to come together. Thanks to first-round draft picks like Joel Embiid, Dario Saric, and Ben Simmons, former General Manager Sam Hinkie’s mantra to “trust the process” is taking shape.

And with it comes a lesson applicable to any business. Whether you’re a graphic designer just starting out your own freelance practice or just earned partner at a prominent law firm in a major metropolitan city, the lesson is the same.

Trust the process.

For Hinkie and his former team, that process has had its fair share of growing pains. It wasn’t easy. And it didn’t please everyone. But it seems to be working.

Just peep the crowd at Wells Fargo going nuts over Joel Embiid, aka “The Process”, and his performance against the Toronto Raptors.

76ers fans couldn’t stop chanting “Trust the Process” tonight.

A post shared by Sports Videos (@houseofhighlights) on Jan 18, 2017 at 7:25pm PST

How exactly does all of this apply to business?

  1. We all start somewhere. Living in mediocrity is sometimes a necessary step on the path to success. How long you stay there is ultimately up to you and depends greatly on the plan you’ve put into place.
  2. Have a plan. Businesses that have a strategic plan are twice as likely to be successful as those without. It doesn’t have to be fancy, and it may not be easy, but putting together a plan is the first step toward making it a reality.
  3. Persevere. Chances are you aren’t going to please everyone with the decisions you make. You may even upset people along the way. But it is never more important than in those moments to stick to the plan. To persevere. To trust the process.

The whole thing brings to life the Stockdale Paradox that Jim Collins explores in “Good to Great: Why Some Companies Make the Leap…and Others Don’t.”

Jim Collins, who was a Stanford professor at the time, interviewed Jim Stockdale, a prisoner of war in North Vietnam and Medal of Honor recipient,  during the research for Good to Great, which was published in 2001. He read the autobiographical In Love and War, written by Stockdale and Stockdale’s wife, before the meeting and wondered how Stockdale had found the courage to survive.

“I never lost faith in the end of the story,” he (Stockdale) said, when I asked him. “I never doubted not only that I would get out, but also that I would prevail in the end and turn the experience into the defining event of my life, which, in retrospect, I would not trade.”

While being a prisoner of war is exceedingly more severe than being a prisoner of awful basketball, the message is consistent.

The common thread that ties most successful businesses together is they all made that leap after experiencing some kind of challenge. They all encountered hurdles along the way, but in the end they came out ahead.

They trusted the process and now they reap the rewards.