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 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.


Welcome to Orpical Group.

If you’ve spent some time digging around on our website you might be wondering:

What makes Orpical different than other digital marketing agencies?

This is a great question!

Competitive advantage is a relatively simple subject for most industries, but it’s tricky when it comes to marketing and advertising agencies. There is a massive pool of creative talent who are readily available and fighting over a very select list of good opportunities.

This results in paralysis by analysis for many marketers during their internal agency selection process.

To better illustrate the complexity of the question, and ultimately address your question (yes, we promise not to talk in circles till you forget why you even came here in the first place), we’ll first look at a number of different reasons why you should choose us.

Why Choose Us (The Any Good Agency Version)

These are the answers that most agencies think clients want to hear. They sound sexy and roll of the tongue, but in actuality, they’re not unique at all.

Every halfway decent agency says and does these things, but let’s pretend for a second like these are exclusive to Orpical Group:

  1. We treat clients as collaborative partners and view their success as a measure of our own.
  2. We have an obsessive focus on maximizing ROI — our clients have seen tremendous revenue-driving success across e-commerce and lead generation verticals.
  3. We are an industry leader in [insert digital marketing service here].
  4. We are a results-driven digital marketing agency, we apply a data-driven methodology to improve marketing results and business outcomes.
  5. We are full-service marketing and advertising experts, always building a unique matrix for every client. Everything we do is custom-tailored to each client’s budget, timing, and growth goals.
  6. We encourage transparency and provide clear lines of communication every step of the way.
  7. We treat every client’s business as our own.
  8. We deliver more with less.
  9. We develop digital marketing strategies that are based on a solid foundation of research, detailed metrics and proven performance.
  10. We take pride in designing, developing and delivering integrated marketing services for companies of all sizes throughout the world.

Sounds good, right?

Okay, time for us to come down back to reality.

Here’s a shocker:

The above bullet points are literally copied and pasted from various digital marketing agency websites (including our own).

Side thought: I wonder what Google thinks of the content produced by digital marketing agencies? I bet their algorithm goes into overload trying to determine whether or not it’s duplicate content. We’ll save that for a future post.

There’s absolutely nothing wrong with any of the points. They’re all good — and everything that you should expect from a marketing agency.

They’re just not unique.

They are the absolute bare minimum that any agency needs to implement to simply stay in business. Can the bare minimum be your competitive advantage? I hope not.

I produced the above list in less than 30 minutes. All I did was go to Google, search digital marketing agencies in [random city] and pull the copy from the “Who We Are” or “Why Choose Us” sections. I did this for roughly 100 different websites. It was tough to even come up with 10 somewhat “unique” bullets. The content out there isn’t verbatim, but it’s all essentially the same, just re-worded.

There is nothing really special about most marketing agencies, especially on a service level. True differentiation is found in proprietary data, experience in specific verticals, relationships, and people. The last two being possibly the most critical.

Even branding is a false pretense. There’s a reason why the largest agencies in the world are companies that you’ve never heard of. It’s the old conundrum of the shoemaker’s kids have no shoes.

If you are a marketer looking to embark on an agency selection journey, this needs to be remembered. You’re likely going to hear a lot of the same jargon from presentation to presentation. So we thought it best to let you know know that all these promises are little more than ornaments. After a while, all the pretty little ice sculptures dissolve into a puddle of muddy water.

Why Choose Us (The Exclusive to Orpical Version)

At this point, you might be on the fence and kind of bummed out. Sorry, but it was important for us to break you down so we can ultimately build you back up. It’s easy to read into everything we’ve just shared as negative.

“So, what you’re saying is that there’s no hope? That the industry is helplessly flawed and there is no individuality?”

It’s a common reaction, but a gross misunderstanding. It’s the complete opposite.

Many people fail to remember that digital marketing agencies are people-first businesses. So much emphasis is put on the task at hand (a new website, managing digital advertising campaigns, automating communications and sales channels) that the most important agents (the people) are lost and all forgotten.

The secret to a successful agency selection isn’t in the end product or service provided; it’s finding the outside visionaries that effectively jive with your company’s culture, mission, and internal people to collectively meet your goals.

So, why choose Orpical?

Well, for starters — what other digital marketing agency have you come across that actively markets against themselves to prove a point?

We’re bold. We’re passionate. We’re talented. We know what we’re doing.

So…What Does This Mean For Me?

It’s one thing to know what every other agency is doing wrong. But self-awareness is little more than a party trick if it doesn’t create a tangible return.

At Orpical Group, we can do everything the other agencies promise — and we have the track record to prove we can do it even better. But that’s the bare minimum, and no one wants to spend money on the bare minimum.

We aren’t interested in business relationships that start and end at the paperwork. We’re people with big ideas, big aspirations, and the unrelenting work ethic to realize them. If that sounds like the kind of team you need for your goals, let’s start talking.

It’s estimated that 1 trillion dollars is funneled through marketing and advertising agencies, which in turn stimulates a large portion of our global economy.*

Now more than ever, businesses are partnering with agencies that can help them make sense of all the commotion that comes from a complex and data-driven world, overloaded consumers, and pressure to perform.

Expect a Strategic Partner

For some time here at Orpical Group, we have felt that the mindset of the client was shifting; we found that the term marketing agency itself is muddied, and that clients do not necessarily need an agency per se. After all, there is no shortage of talented, creative people in the world!

Instead, clients need strategic partners, and it’s our responsibility to give the people what they need, not always what they want.

At times, we have found ourselves in tough positions where we undeniably “talk ourselves out of work.” This happens both during prospecting, as well as with existing clients. This is a true cost of doing business for the modern marketing agency.

Expect More Than Creative Services/Goods

We cannot and will not view ourselves solely as a supplier, or vendor. To deliver optimal value to our clients, we may have to deny requests and resist the urge to be the “agreeable echo” in the room. We know where our seat is at the table: facing opposite the client, with one ear in the internal discussion, and one ear out on the street to best advocate for work that will maximize resources into more effective, measurable campaigns.

Orpical Group clients imagine “what can be” and deserve positive, cost-effective results. As a company, we are committed to helping our clients realize and sustain high levels of individual and organizational performance. In doing so, each and every one of us at our marketing agency is committed to delivering more than just high-quality services and products.

In 2013, we first developed our Client Responsibility Model (shown below) to illustrate how our agency supports clients:

Strategic Direction

Orpical Group clients will find the most value from our services when we provide on-going consultation and perform as a trusted authority. We will share our professional opinions and experience to not only formulate mutually beneficial relationships, but also to sustain them.

Fresh Perspective

Experience comes in all kinds of shapes and sizes. By sharing our eclectic portfolio, personal experiences, and resources, we provide clients with a fresh perspective. This dissipates the “too close to home” paradox and enables a multi-lingual dialog that translates into engagement and action.


Einstein one said, “Creativity is seeing what everyone else has seen, and thinking what no one else has thought.” As a marketing agency, Orpical Group will provide new, original ideas (not just cheesy quotes) to differentiate clients and stimulate consumers in an age of ceaseless competition and media.


A farm without a farmer is piece of land on its way to becoming a really thick forest. The point being: creative ideas are useless unless used. It is our responsibility as the marketing agency to make sure our ideas come to fruition on time and within budget.

Measured Results

We provide interim reports so clients can see where resources were invested and evaluate our overall performance. Everything is accounted for including our time, development expenses, and more to show you a true cost per lead (CPL) and return of investment (ROI).

Expect Responsibility / Accountability

Many moons ago, when we were a fraction of who we are today, our small executive team had a heated debate. It was over an important client that we had done lots of “projects” for. We were now in the midst of managing a full-fledged online marketing campaign. Things were going, but they were not going according to plan, mainly because there was no real plan.

From that day forward, we made an important promise: Every project needs a detailed plan. And every activity set in the project plan needs to clearly state what we’re doing, why we’re doing it, who’s responsible, when the activity will be complete, and what we expect to get out of it.

Culture predicated on responsibility/accountability is a huge differentiation for agencies. Yet, not all agencies do the two things well, nor do they understand the key differences:

As a client, you should expect your marketing agency to provide you with who’s responsible for what and have mechanisms to hold those in charge accountable. Otherwise, how do you truly know where your money is going?

Providing responsibility/accountability does not need to be over-thought. A simple project plan can consolidate question marks, get everyone on the same page, and keep the client informed. Remember, you need to know:

  • What We’re Doing

    This should be broken into micro tasks.

  • Why We’re Doing It

    We know why we’re doing something, but does the client?

  • Who’s Responsible

    Delegate. Delegate. Delegate.

  • When Will We Do It By?

    Deliverables are cool–like really really cool.

  • What Do We Expect To Get Out Of It?

    It better be good!

  • Status

    After coffee, but soon…

You do not simply hire an agency to design a nice car and a detailed road map. You hire an agency to evaluate all possible roads, design and drive the most efficient car (with you riding shotgun), then, once you reach your destination, show you the odometer, check the fuel, rotate the tires, and help you plan for the next journey. You hire a marketing agency to get you to your destination faster and with less bumps in the roads. You should expect them to never put things on “cruise control.”

*Veronis Suhler Stevenson press release, VSS Releases 2009-2013 Forecast, August 3, 2009.

At Orpical, we have employed corporate social responsibilities to:

  • assist and educate our community, clients and employees
  • consistently evaluate innovative products and service offerings
  • explore and cultivate tangible growth-opportunities

“With great power, comes great responsibility,” first wrote Voltaire.  While that might be cliché, and debatably a badly placed pun, there is plenty of bearing.

What Orpical Stands For

  • Optimistic. We expect the best outcome for our employees and clients.
  • Respect. The consistent consideration of all we encounter in a courteous manner.
  • Passion. Engaging enthusiasm for the positive wellbeing of people, opportunities and our planet.
  • Integrity. To be known as individuals and a company of scrupulous integrity.
  • Curiosity. Be a company that is always eager to teach, learn and grow.
  • Altruistic. As a profitable company we will have the capital to be devoted to the welfare of others.
  • Loyalty. Steadfast adherence to our commitments and what we stand for as a united company.

The Challenge We Face

Taking our core values and implementing them into our day-to-day lives and workplace has become natural.  Teaching these values to others, however, has at times been challenging.

More often than not, business ethics falls by the wayside.  The challenge (and opportunity) we face today at Orpical is not only educating others on the pitfalls of unscrupulous business practices, but also identifying and eradicating the culprits.

We will continue to invest our time, resources and management attention on proper education to get ahead of this challenge.  In turn, this will be a vital driver of our long-term growth.

Things We’ve Learned

Orpical will succeed because we’re obsessed with improvement. We are interested about our world and how we can improve it. We apply that interest to our responsibility efforts, and we continue to learn what is required for real, important growth.

  • Teamwork is crucial. Orpical is a small company by most standards and our ability to influence meaningful change at the universal level has limits. So, it is absolutely crucial that we work with other companies to prompt real, workable system change. We embrace partnerships and open-source teamwork. We proactively share our insight and practices to help create synergy with those we work with.
  • Education is a strategic benefit. Understanding and recognizing the facts surrounding unscrupulous business practices enables us to make thoughtful considerations in regards to client development. With this intelligence we take real action to achieve unprecedented growth.

In our short existence, these above points have been imperative to our growth as a company. But the key point we have learned is that our responsibility to educate is not just an add-on to the way we operate.  Educating others on what Orpical stands for can clearly influence and expand our company and our future development, in addition to positively influencing our peers.

It’s no secret —  to be a successful business, you need to find new and creative ways to stay ahead of the competition.  With this in mind, Orpical takes all the necessary steps to develop client-driven business strategies.  In addition, we preserve these strategies throughout our relationship with our clients.  Strategy is unproductive without firm obligation to implementation.

Businesses simply cannot afford slipups in their relationships, and we understand that the key to creating loyal clients is building a culture of accountability.  So, what separates our model from others?  When you select Orpical to exponentially grow your company, you can count on us to:

Learn About You

First things first —  you can count on us to invest the time and resources to learn about your business and your industry, and offer insights you may have not considered.

Offer Solutions

We offer tactical solutions that are aligned with defined and measurable strategies.

Give You Attention

We’re realistic and proactive with our time management, so things don’t get put on the back burner.  We give personal attention to your needs, wants and desires that align with the newly developed strategy.

Tune Up

Think of it as taking your car in for a tune up…we’re not swapping out the engine, but we’re rotating the tires.  Orpical helps you modify your needs, wants and desires that do not align with the strategy.

Employ Technology

It’s been asked a thousand times and will be asked a thousand times more: “Why work harder when you can work smarter?” This might be a cliche question, but it’s still a good one.  We help employ technology to help clients realize the key growth word, LEVERAGE.

Become a Partner

A partnership could result in a number of different outcomes including access to new products, new market reach, and increased client loyalty.  Orpical becomes your valued, loyal and trusted strategic partner to position you to obtain favorable outcomes.

Strong Analytics

Data, data, data…we measure what it working (and not) by employing strong analytical tactics.

Get Social

We don’t just Tweet what’s good on the street.  Orpical fully engages social media based on what makes sense for you and not what is in vogue.

Creative Solutions

Everything is geared to help you increase sales.  Orpical provides the “fresh pair of eyes” including creative work product and solutions that solve problems, eradicating resistances to help drive your business more revenue.


“If it ain’t broke don’t fix it.”  We understand the importance of analyzing what you are currently doing as much as what you aren’t doing.  What is your business doing well?  What successful business relationships have you cultivated that have worked in the past?  Orpical establishes a professional and open-minded collaboration with your existing partners to sustain your success.  We unify the old and the new into one super-package.

Give Thoughtful Consideration

Your costs, cash flow, market conditions and constraints are all points of emphasis Orpical takes into consideration.  We recommend a strategy and implement tactics based on these points and others, understanding that your needs, wants and desires reflect on the position of your business and industry.

Need more info on Orpical?

Send us an email info@orpical.com, or give us a call 856-242-1520.