Welcome Mathew to the IFM Team!

Mathew Pust – Digital Campaign Manager / Traffic Appreciator

Mathew is our ‘Traffic Appreciator’ – the man who takes all the separate pieces of a digital campaign and fits them together to ensure every ad converts. He likes to dive into those reams of data headfirst, swimming around way in the deep end to create a strategy that elevates every ad.

With a double major in both marketing and general management, Mathew offers the perfect combination of management and strategy to create and cultivate digital campaigns that really make an impact. With access to new talent after joining our team, Mathew is excited to continue to learn and grow and to be part of the downtown energy of our office.

“In Front Marketing has a one of a kind culture with a team full of energy and drive. It’s a unique and exciting opportunity to work with such a dynamic group right here in Calgary. I can’t wait to be a part of the journey.”

When not playing in traffic, Mathew likes to hit the road and see where it takes him, from flights abroad to trips to the wilderness to hike, ski, camp or see what other kinds of trouble he can get himself into.

Experience

  • BBA from Mount Royal, Double Major in Marketing and General Management
  • Worked brand and market strategy for various local organization such as Fahr, Eau Claire Distillery, Fiasco Gelato, and HULL Services
  • Ran UnearthYYC, a content marketing startup for Calgary musicians
  • years playing in traffic

Specialties: market research, market strategy, film production, campaign management

Experience

  • BBA from Mount Royal University, Double Major in Marketing and General Management
  • During his time at MRU Mathew had the opportunity to work on Brand and Market Strategy for various local organizations such as Fahr, Eau Claire Distillery, Fiasco Gelato, and HULL Services. Additionally, Mathew has continued a post-graduation study to Co-Author a Gig Economy Market Research paper with two of his professors within the Marketing and Research Departments at MRU.
  • Has spent the last 7 Years working in AHS – focusing heavily on bettering patient care experiences. Recently Mathew took on a new role within the AHS management & Leadership team in the midst of the pandemic. It was important for him to double down during times of uncertainty and support his co-workers and patients.
  • Mathew has an entrepreneurial background running a business focused on content centered marketing for local musicians, UnearthYYC.
  • Throughout the last 4 years of University Mathew was gigging and playing in traffic for various local campaigns and short term special events contracts such as The Gathering – Music & Hawkers

Specialties: market research, market strategy, film production, campaign management

Google Analytics: The Most Powerful (Free) Tool Available

Google Analytics: The Most Powerful (Free) Tool Available

Before you start reading this article, we have one question:

Do you have Google Analytics?

If you answered ‘yes’, read on to get a better understanding of your analytics. 

If you answered ‘no’ or ‘I don’t know’, stop reading and call or text us. We can check whether you have an account set up for your business, and, if not, set one up for you – often on the same call and always for free.

Some of you probably answered the above question with a shrug, but are still forging on, trying to understand why you should have Google Analytics. The answer is: your online presence needs Google Analytics just like your house needs a foundation.

You can build your online presence without Google Analytics, but just like a house without a foundation, it will be weak and ineffective. To create a robust digital footprint, Google Analytics is no longer an option – it’s a requirement. And, because it’s free, there’s absolutely no reason to put off activating your account right now.

So now that everyone knows they have Google Analytics set up on their website, we’ll walk you through its benefits and the best ways to get those benefits.

Benefits of Google Analytics

Go back a couple of decades in advertising and campaigns were based on gut-feelings and guesses. Large ad agencies full of executives in grey flannel suits talked clients into big ad spends based on little more than their own enthusiasm and salesmanship.

But, in the new world of digital marketing, data is king. With today’s technology, we can get a clear picture of how effective every dollar of an ad spend is doing. This allows marketers to tweak successful campaigns to become even more successful, plan future campaigns around past successes, and (most importantly), cut any marketing with a low ROI to free up more budget space for marketing that works.

That makes today’s advertising much more effective.

The first step to getting the all-important data that can bring your advertising out of the Don Draper-era and into today’s more effective advertising is setting up Google Analytics so you can start using it. 

With the variety of tools available through that platform, you are able to track how users are interacting with your website, where they’re coming from, and what they’re looking at (and so much more). Not only can those numbers show you how healthy your digital presence is, they can also reveal how well your marketing, both digital and traditional, is doing.

Whether a prospective client/buyer sees an ad online, or a billboard on the side of the road, their buyer’s journey usually goes through your website. That means, if that radio ad you paid for is doing well, you’ll see it in your web traffic just like the effects of the banner ad you’re running or other digital marketing you’re doing.

But, of course, when you start looking at your digital footprint, Google Analytics becomes even more powerful. By tracking your visitors you can tell:

  • If your social media presence is bringing buyers
  • If your website is effective at converting 
  • Who is interested in your product
  • How each small change you make increases or decreases your traffic

These numbers will give you the information you need to make the best decision for you in your media-buys, so you can be confident in your ad ROAS (Return on Actual Spend).

The most important step in using Google Analytics

If you’ve worked with a developer or ad agency in the past, there’s a chance they set up your Google Analytics and still own, or have access to it. While it’s fine to let people and agencies into your analytics so they can pull data from it to better focus your advertising efforts, you should never allow any other business to control your data.

If you have control over your data, you are free to change marketers at will, and take that all-important information with you to your next marketer. However, when another company owns your data, moving becomes a tricky negotiation. Somehow, you have to cut ties, while maintaining access to your data, which is often impossible. So instead, you lose all of it, which puts you back at square one with your new agency. And there’s no reason for that to happen. 

So, before you go any further, jot down a note to yourself:

*Make sure I’m in control of my data.”

Because, the earlier you take control of your data, the more information you’ll have if you decide to move.

Effective practices 

Now that you know why it’s important to both have and control your Google Analytics page, let’s take a look at how to make the most out of this by going over a few frequently asked questions:

1. How often should I be logging into my Google Analytics account?

The more often you log in, the more effective you can be in tweaking your digital footprint. However, few business owners have the time, or employees, to check their analytics daily. 

At a minimum, we recommend logging into your Google Analytics account 2 to 4 times a month. If you have the time, a couple times a week is even more effective. After that, you’ll hit diminishing returns.

2. What are UTM codes, and how can I use them to make Google Analytics more effective?

Simply put, UTM codes are small bits of code added to the end of links that tags traffic coming through that link. It might be easier to grasp to think of UTM codes as door-greeters asking visitors where they’re from and then recording it.

So, if you started a Facebook campaign, you could create a UTM code, then paste it onto the end of the url link in that campaign. That way, your analytics can tell when a visitor came to your site via that link, allowing you to measure how effective it is.

With UTM codes you can track five different parameters, including:

  • Source
  • Medium
  • Campaign Name
  • Content
  • Keyword Term

UTM tracking can help you understand which ad campaigns are working to drive traffic to your website, and which ones need to be tweaked, or cut completely. 

What should I be looking for on Google Analytics?

Logging into Google Analytics can get overwhelming quickly, especially if you’re not sure what you’re looking for. For business owners who are in charge of their own analytics, we recommend tracking via four data points:

  1. Traffic levels and sources
  2. What your traffic is looking at: products, pages, content
  3. Bounce rates and time on site
  4. Where your visitors are from

*Bonus: If you have an ecommerce site, set up Advanced Ecommerce tracking to track where your online sales are coming from, and what’s bringing them in.

This gives you a good snapshot of how well your campaigns are doing, and if you’re appealing to an audience that is actually converting.

Your best snapshot of how your business is doing.

If there’s only one thing you take away from this article it is:

Google Analytics is a requirement for a modern business.

Since it’s free and easy to set up your self (and free to get us to do it for you), you have no reason to avoid it.

Once you’ve gone ahead signed up and signed in, things can get a little more difficult. With the ocean of information available. it’s easy to get completely overwhelmed by Google Analytics and give up. But, you don’t have to learn what every single number means to bring your business into the new age of advertising.. 

The two most important things to remember once you have Google Analytics is:

  • You should stay in control of your data
  • All ad campaigns, on and off-line, should move the needle on your analytics

If you can keep control of your data, and monitor where your traffic is coming from, and how your advertising campaigns affect it, then you’ve made a big jump forward in your advertising, and you’re empowering your business to do better.

The best part is, you’ve done it for free with minimal investment in time.

If you want more from your analytics, call us to get clarity with a free digital consultation with our experts. SEARCH

Getting More From Display Advertising

For years, the only metric for display advertising was how many people clicked through.

As ads proliferated across the internet, the click-through rate plummeted and many critics rang the death knell for display advertising – some even going so far as to claim they had ‘banner blindness.’

But from social media to blogs, display advertising is still here – and growing.

Once advertisers stopped looking entirely at the click-through rate, the benefits and possibilities of display advertising grew to encompass so much more than just that single click.

However, despite the growth, many advertising firms are still stuck in the early 2000’s – laser-focused on an outdated metric.

That’s why we do display ads differently. 

The IFM approach to display advertising

Today, the real strength of display advertising is its ability to gather clear data. That’s why we focus on giving you the information you need to fine-tune your whole advertising campaign to get a better ROI. 

If you’ve never considered the benefits of banner ads beyond the click, then it’s time to dig deep, and read on, because display ads can help you craft a better advertising campaign. You might even be surprised by the variety of benefits display advertising offers that have nothing to do with click-through.

What is display advertising?

Display advertising is simply a fancy word for banner ads. Those are the ads on the top or side of your screen when you land on popular blogs, news sites, or other monetized pages. Mostly, they resemble the ads of old – just like you’d see in newspapers or magazines. There’s usually a picture along with a bit of salesy text encouraging you to click on the ad. When you do click on the ad, it will take you to the sponsor-site. 

Because it resembles ads in physical publications, display advertising seems simple enough. However, there’s actually much more happening behind that display ad that makes click-through less important than it seems.

Interesting notion, isn’t it?

The problem with click-through

If they clicked, the ad worked, right? That seems straightforward. But if they clicked by accident, which likely we’ve all done, or find the ad misleading and close the tab right away, that ad didn’t actually do anything. 

And if you don’t know:

  • how long a person is staying on your website 
  • what pages they’re looking at
  • if they saw the ad and decided to check your webpage out later

Then you don’t know enough to make sure your banner ad is doing a good job, or if your advertising agency is.

By focusing on click-through rates exclusively, or even mainly, agencies flatten the impact of the banner ad, leaving you without a good way to track your ROI.

The true value of banner ads

The real ROI of display advertising comes when you start looking at it as more than just traditional advertising. From here, you can fuse the message with all that new, cutting edge technology to make that ad as effective as possible.

There are three main benefits to modern display advertising:

#1 You stay top of mind

Outside of click-through rates, the most basic aspect of display advertising is keeping your business top of mind. For those old, traditional ads, this was taken as an article of faith because there was no way of tracking who saw your ad, or the impact it had. Instead, buyers bought as many billboards, magazine ads, and broadcast spots as they could to stay top of mind. With new tools available to us, like tracking pixels, you can create metrics that allow you to monitor how effective your ad is at keeping you on top of the pack. So when a potential client does decide to buy, they see you first.

#2 You capture tons of data about your clients

Advertising without understanding your audience leads to lower interaction and lower ROI. Traditionally, this was combated through focus groups or surveys, which are often unreliable. But today, display advertising allows you to capture data from your audience without jumping through those extra hoops. That makes display advertising one of the easiest ways to really get to know who your ideal audience is, what media they interact with, and what advertisements really work for them. This is one of the greatest benefits of modern display advertising. If you’re not seeing any of the data that comes from your digital display advertising, you’re getting barely half the value of your ad spend. And that’s NOT okay.

#3 You can continually optimize and track your ROI within your campaign

One of the misconceptions of display ads is that the ad is placed indiscriminately – whoever lands on the blog or news site sees that same ad, no matter who they are. But with all the data available to advertisers, your ads can be optimized and directed at the audience that’s been defined through data capture. Using all that information, your ads are placed where your audience is actually living. For example, if you run a sporting goods business, you could focus your ad spend on sites where sports fans hang out, such as sports news sites, or social media channels. Then, you can track how effective those ads are, which allows for you to tweak your campaign for the best ROI. That’s a win-win.

Looking past the click

In many ways, a display ad is as much about knowing your audience, and how they interact with you, as it is about your audience knowing you and understanding what you can do for them. 

Properly utilized, this information is priceless. Not only does it help guide your display advertising campaign, but it allows for effective ROI tracking and tweaking over the course of each push. And at the end of the day, this makes your advertising more effective across mediums.

After 5+ years tracking and tweaking ROI for our clients, we’ve helped many create strong, well-tracked display advertising campaigns – and seen the return on investment first hand.

And join us next month, where we’ll look at how Google Analytics can help you further clarify the picture of your ideal client, so you can optimize your business advertising and communications for them.

Learn More about how we do things – Reach Out

BBB x IFM Digital Marketing Grant for COVID-19 Relief 

With so many of us working from home, it’s not only more important than before to get your company in front of clients, it’s more difficult.

Almost every company out there, from multinationals to multi-generational family businesses, is struggling with cash flow. However, now is not the time to sit back and wait for the troubles to pass. This is when business owners need to start pushing to ensure they’ll make it through, and thrive on the other side of this crisis. The problem is few businesses have the available funds to make that extra push to stay top of mind in their consumers.

That’s why we’ve teamed up with the Calgary Better Business Bureau (BBB) to offer a digital marketing grant for BBB members.

“We believe in local, Calgary businesses,” Dave Taylor, co-founder of IFM said. “We’ve worked with, and admired so many neighbouring businesses and entrepreneurs who are changing this city for the better, and we want to be part of that change.”

By offering this grant now, we hope to give local businesses a boost so they can keep building into this community we are proud to call home.

  • Contact Rob MacDonald at [email protected] or 403.531.8792 to set your business up for success with the digital marketing grant

In Front Marketing (IFM) has been a member of the local BBB since May 2018. Over the years, we’ve relied on BBB to help us find suppliers, customers and even plumbers.

So, when we came up with the idea to create a grant that would help local businesses during this difficult time, we turned to the BBB to help.

The BBB X IFM Digital Marketing Grant

When we approached Rob MacDonald at the Calgary BBB, he was excited to work together to help BBB members. Together, we created a digital grant that would not only help businesses get through this difficult time, but set them up to succeed in the digital realm going forward.

To do that, IFM and the Calgary BBB are offering a 50% discount on digital marketing for local businesses. 

The price breakdown looks something like this:

An investment of $500 + $250 grant from the Calgary BBB + $250 discount from IFM

= $1,000 value

Digital Marketing Grant FAQ

Who qualifies for the grant?

There are two, simple qualifications for this digital marketing grant:

  1. The grant is reserved for local, Calgary businesses
  2. It is available only to BBB accredited businesses

Whatever your business, as long as it meets these two criteria, it is eligible to start, or continue, digital marketing efforts for half the usual price.

What services are included in the grant?

Businesses who leverage the grant receive the same service all our customers do, including a free, initial consultation, along with tracking pixel implementation on their website. This allows us to make sure your digital marketing is effective by putting it in front of audiences who are most receptive to your message.

With the digital grant, we offer a 3, 6, or 9-month program. Whatever your choice for length, the media grant will get you:

  • 100,000 impressions delivered through display advertising
  • Custom audience creation and targeting
  • Ad design and creation
  • Campaign management & optimization
  • Conversion tracking and reporting

By making the move now, you’ll be able to dip your toes into the digital advertising space and see how effective it can be for your company, while only paying 50% of usual costs.

About In Front Marketing

We are a digital marketing company focussed on providing clarity and straightforward return on investment for online advertisers. Our team’s unique experience gives us the ability to not only provide the advertising you want but to show you how and where it is or isn’t working. 

We know that every company is different, which is why we focus first on what your needs are, and what works, instead of on what we offer. This allows us to pivot quickly, so we can use your advertising budget in the most efficient way possible.

By maintaining open, clear communication, and constant monitoring of your campaign, we can show you a clear ROI so that you can be sure you’re spending your budget wisely.

About The Calgary Better Business Bureau

Through integrity and performance, the Better Business Bureau works to create an ethical marketplace where buyers and sellers can trust each other.

They pursue this goal through a variety of avenues, including:

  • Creating standards that foster trust in the marketplace
  • Supporting practices that build trust and engagement by working with people on both sides of the sales process
  • Celebrating businesses that excel
  • Addressing dishonest or unethical  practices in the marketplace
  • Creating a community of businesses and charities

By creating a community of businesses that profit from working together, the BBB holds businesses accountable to the highest standards of customer service – one which buyers can trust.

  • For more information on how you can get accredited, or find accredited business, head over to the Calgary BBB website.

Take advantage of your opportunities during COVID-19

This grant is available for a limited time to those struggling with the new marketplace the pandemic has created. We believe that many of the changes we have seen, like an increase in digital traffic to well-positioned companies, will continue long past this global crisis.

By ignoring the changes happening now, companies are choosing to ignore the future of business. But, by making the move now, with the help of this grant, you can position your company for success in the new normal.

  • To get access to the grant and jump-start your online presence, contact Rob MacDonald at [email protected] or call 403.531.8792

We look forward to hearing from you, and working with you to strengthen the Calgary business community.

Reach out to In Front Marketing

https://infrontmarketing.ca/contact 

Aid Local: Bringing action to shopping local

The term shop local has been echoing throughout the city as a rally cry to support businesses that are affected by the COVID-19 restrictions on operations. Aidlocal.ca, a platform created by Top Shelf Media and In Front Marketing for businesses across Canada, gives an inside lane for businesses to connect directly with local customers and let them know what they can offer during this time of adjusted operations. This free service is easy to use. You can search by your location or by an address and you will see a list of nearby companies along with what they have available.

Right now, aidlocal.ca is growing daily as businesses become aware of this new way to reach the local community. Companies that would benefit from this platform can submit their business here.

Platforms like this are important to the future and success of businesses hit hardest. By purchasing gift cards and ordering delivery you provide revenue to organizations that require cash flow to get through this temporary standstill in business.

For any questions related to aidlocal.ca please reach out to [email protected]. or [email protected].

Risk, Opportunity, & Data

Leveraging data to craft a recession-proof marketing plan

The mere mention of a recession can cause panic as people shut their wallets tight and dig in. But for John McColman and Dave Taylor, the co-founders of In Front Marketing (IFM), recessions offer unique possibilities.

“We see it as an opportunity, a chance for us to provide better value to our clients,” Dave said.

That’s why when companies decrease marketing budgets as a knee-jerk reaction to downturns, IFM recommends a more aggressive approach.

“Clients and consumers are still spending in a recession, they’re just doing it smarter,” He said. “They’re doing a lot more research, which means that companies have to be aggressive in digital advertising.”

Then, as other companies pull back, it provides room for active companies to increase their market share – if they do it right.

Aggressive digital advertising

In a recession, each dollar needs to be spent efficiently. With the old way of marketing and its hazy ROI, that was impossible. No one knew exactly how the web of display ads, banners, and social media linked up to create a sale.

With IFM’s data-rich approach, the path of every conversion is clearly mapped from initial impression to purchase, giving clients the information to streamline ad campaigns. Underperforming media is cut to make way for ads that convert, creating a more cost-effective campaign with a higher, demonstrable ROI.

This creates flexibility in the system, allowing IFM to work with any budget to market when and how it makes the most sense, and pull back if there’ no concrete ROI.

IFM’s process starts with a deep dive into a company’s existing plan to pinpoint inefficacies and continues with real-time monitoring to determine which ads are working and which ones should be cut. Then, clients can move forward with a more effective model based on the data provided.

For IFM, this is more than a marketing approach – it’s the way they started their business.

Leveraging a recession

John and Dave opened IFM in 2015, in the midst of one of the worst recessions in recent memory. While other companies were closing up shop or retreating until oil prices began to rise again, they decided to push forward because they understood what clients wanted.

“We found that business owners were not being given any insight into what happens when they run a digital advertising campaign,” Dave said. “There was no real understanding of how a consumer engages with a business when they see an ad.”

Knowing their clients would be searching to find the best ROI from their advertising dollars during the recession, John and Dave knew their data-driven approach, tying investment to return, would win-over the companies.

So they began an aggressive, flexible campaign to grow their market share.

The power of data

By using this approach with other companies, the pair was able to show clients a better way forward, helping them to grow and thrive in the recession.

Recently, IFM helped the Calgary Flames clear the fog from their marketing campaigns. The team was able to prune ads with low conversion rates in order to focus more of their budget on ads that worked.

The IFM team

Today, John and Dave are celebrating In Front Marketing’s fifth successful year in business and about to set up shop in a new, 2000 sq/ft office space on the Red Mile.

The company was incorporated in February 2015, when John and Dave quit their day jobs to work from home.

The pair started in the marketing industry around the same time, and now have over two decades of experience between them.

Dave started his career with the Yellow Pages in 2009, before moving to Sun Media in 2012. It’s there he met John, who had been working with the company for three years at the time. The pair worked together for three more years as John climbed the corporate ladder to become head of online operations, and in charge of $14 million in annual, digital revenue.

After discovering their frustrations within the marketing industry, John and Dave decided to create their own company to give clients the data that shows real ROI.

To learn more about the power behind digital advertising and the data your business could be missing, call Dave or John to schedule a free marketing review and consultation with In Front Marketing.

‘The Agency’s Dead’ Part Two

The 3 key ingredients for an effective digital ad agency

This is part two of a two-part series. If you haven’t read the first part yet, click the link, read the article and come back here for the second installment.

The old ad agency is out of touch and expensive, caught up in a world of passive advertising campaigns with no identifiable impact. And it’s these stumbling old agencies that have created a void where a jungle of freelancers have jumped in to fill, but with varying results.

The gamble of an open, online marketplace

In the new world of advertising, freelancer’s portfolios can be exaggerated, testimonials outright faked and overseas freelancers are far enough away that repercussions from a bad job feel very distant.

Because of this volatility, online marketplaces like Upwork, Fiver and the like, are a gamble for business owners. They’re a kind of talent roulette table where fortunes are made or lost based on a freelancer’s profile. This is why reaching blindly into the void to find a creative team is not a great or sustainable solution for anyone – freelancers included.

Finding the middle ground

So if the old agency is too much of a dinosaur, and the freelance casino is too unstable, then what’s the solution? Finding the middle ground that moves with technology, while offering stable, quality work. Somewhere between the old, moribund ad agency, and the chaos of the freelance marketplace, the new digital agency is leveraging cutting edge technologies and trusted freelancers to create a manoeuvrable marketing team.

The 3 key ingredients for an effective digital ad agency:

  1. Numbers – digital campaigns should always have a demonstrable return on investment.
  2. Nimble – digital agencies should have the ability to tweak campaigns to ensure efficacy.
  3. Niche – with a plethora of freelancers available, digital agencies should be able to find a trusted, professional freelancer that specializes in your needs.

Numbers dictate the value of your ad campaign

The first and most important aspect of any new, digital media agency are the numbers. How many people saw your ad? Who clicked? Who landed on your site? How many conversions did you get from your last Facebook campaign? Traditional agencies, with their expensive ad campaigns in magazines, or radio advertising, cannot accurately track their numbers.

Tracking the numbers is crucial to your marketing investment

But accurate numbers are the only way to really gauge whether your marketing is worth the money you’re investing into it. Value in digital marketing is not about how much, or little, you spend, but rather how much, or little you make.

That’s why searching for the cheapest ad writer or strategist online doesn’t offer your company value. If you pay $100 dollars for a social media ad campaign and make a sale of $100, your campaign added nothing to your business and probably leached out time that could have been better used almost anywhere else. However, if you pay $10,000 for an ad campaign and make $15,000 in sales, the value of the campaign is obvious. But without the numbers, discerning that value is almost impossible.

In Front Marketing tracks all the numbers

With the right digital media company, however, you can see the results of each campaign and determine the one that will offer the most value to your business. When you find the most valuable method of advertising by parsing the numbers, you can start to scale your advertising in a way that will increase your profit and help your business grow exponentially.

Learn more about In Front Marketing’s number tracking.

Staying nimble sharpens your ad campaign

Once you start a traditional advertising campaign you’re locked in for the duration. The images have been compiled, the copywriting placed in magazines, voice-overs on the radio, and nothing can be changed. But if the campaign falls flat, there’s nothing for it but to continue and hope something changes.

Under the old model, you worked with an agency carrying an impressive roster of full-time employees, from strategists to designers, photographers to writers. The massive number of employees on payroll made for high overhead, which got passed onto clients as a monthly retainer.

But with a good digital advertising team behind you, each advertising campaign is waiting to be adjusted to perform better. By building a team of digital advertising professionals, you can create advertising campaigns that can be altered in real-time. In this way, no campaign is a flop, it’s simply waiting to be tweaked into an effective configuration.

In Front Marketing creates adaptable, effective ad campaigns

But even better than tweaking an already existing campaign is A/B testing your campaign to ensure that every ad campaign, and every change, creates a more effective ad. The ability to adapt sharpens more than just your advertising campaign. The digital agency makes it possible to change your team depending on your need at the time.

Learn more about In Front Marketing’s A/B Testing and adaptable ad campaigns.

Covering every niche with specialized skills

Every campaign, every ad, and every post your company makes should be designed with a purpose in mind. Whether you’re looking to increase brand awareness, or gain credibility and followers, each piece of your digital presence should be effective in its sphere.

Under the old agency model, businesses worked with generalists or ‘jacks of all trades’ in a variety of disciplines. Whether it was a startup looking to create buzz with a social media campaign, or an established corporation who needed a new website, the agency pulled from the same talent-pool of writers, designers and strategists for every project.

In Front Marketing uses specialists to create excellence

Today, there’s a freelancer specializing in whatever sphere you need to operate in. There are designers who work on creating the perfect visuals to accompany your Facebook ads and copywriters who specialize in writing persuasive case studies for specific industries.

Being able to pull from a massive pool of talent worldwide, allows the new agency model to help their clients create more effective ads, websites, and social media campaigns needed to stay in front of their target market.

Learn more about In Front Marketing’s services.

Finding a solid digital ad agency for your business

With such an ocean of talent readily available, almost anyone can pull together an amazing team with just a few clicks of a mouse. This offers huge opportunities for companies to work with talented creatives to make the most effective advertising campaigns that will convert readers into buyers, and shoppers into loyal customers.

However, finding those creatives, the ones who will work with you, and share in your company’s vision and passion, while delivering high-quality work on time, is no easy task.

At In Front Marketing we anchor the work of high-quality freelancers with a robust, trackable infrastructure that allows us to ensure your advertising dollars reap the highest return on investment possible.

Check out In Front Marketing’s services today and see how we can create a valuable digital ad campaign for you!

‘The Agency’s Dead’ Part One

Why old-school ad agencies are drowning in the ocean of freelancers

Nearly two centuries ago, Volney Palmer created the first advertising agency – a one-stop shop for companies looking to advertise in the quickly proliferating newspapers of the day. Suddenly, advertising was simple – talk to the advertising agency and you could create a campaign that could be run across multiple newspapers.

Then came the telephone, television, computers, the internet, Google, Facebook and the ever-evolving carousel of social media. Google can follow us across the web, Amazon knows what we purchase, and every click on your website can be tracked. The media landscape, and how you advertise in it, has changed drastically – but traditional advertising agencies have not.

They’re still out there charging brands exorbitant retainers for the privilege of accessing their murky marketing techniques with big promises and price tags – but with no ROI attached.

And that’s why the marketing agency Don Draper worked for is in palliative care….

An elegant solution from a less sophisticated age

In the heyday of the advertising agency, large companies employed hundreds of creatives to churn out concepts and advertisements. In the days of passive media, like print, that was the best they could do. So, agencies created catchy slogans, or jingles, and claimed any bump in profit as a result of their work, but no one knew if it was true or not.

Even with guesswork abounding, these cultural juggernauts charged retainers just for the privilege of working with them, so they could pay their vast team of creatives. But, every business owner knew the power of marketing, so companies of all types would pay monthly fees to ensure their place in the advertising agency’s roster.

But then the internet market came to be and that changed everything, or at least it should have. Freelancers, who were once restricted to large cities where they could bump shoulders with the right people, exploded on-scene from everywhere around the world. Today, the rise in freelancing even has a name: the ‘side-hustle’ phenomenon, or the gig-economy.

Then, as technology advanced, and more money was invested into advertising online, websites sprang up that could track users – where they came from, how long they stayed on pages, and if, in fact, those readers became customers as a result. Suddenly, a bright light exposed every corner of consumer behaviour, giving freelance marketers access to more data than even the largest agencies of the past.

But like many cultural titans, advertising agencies still refused to move.

Leaving behind those ‘masters of none’

As freelancers continue to grow in number, thanks to websites like Upwork, and Fiver, marketers have been urged to ‘niche down’. In response, freelancers have created new subcategories and specialties that cover a variety of business needs. By working almost entirely with clients who have similar needs, marketers and freelancers can learn to anticipate their client’s desires and better serve their niche over time.

Today, there are copywriters who focus on creating copy for contractor websites, designers who make their money creating infographics, and website developers who work with companies to create online educational tools for onboarding. Suddenly, businesses can find a freelancer who specializes in the exact product they need, and can produce an effective solution.

But agencies, with their high overhead, and large teams, can’t ‘niche down.’ Instead, they rely on a reputation built in a different era and hope they can ride their own coattails to success. This means agencies are still working with a spectrum of customers, applying the same outdated formula to each company that comes through their door.

Big names appear on the masthead but interns are doing the work

Big ad agencies, with their big budgets and big clients, attract big-name talent – the people who host Ted Talks, or have massive followings on social media. These big names, and the big ideas that come with them, draw companies back into the murky world of the traditional advertising agency to see if these miracle-makers can help them grow.

But for most advertising agencies, those big name creatives do very little work for clients. Instead, the client’s work is passed down the chain of command, given to writers, designers, and developers with no more fame or Ted Talks under their belts than any freelancer out there.

So, why pay the big price, if all you’re getting is a marketer with no more experience than your average freelancer for your monthly retainer? Instead of sticking with the tried and true, more and more companies are calling advertising agency’s bluff that they have something you can’t find through a reliable team of freelancers, or a stand-alone marketing team.

Investing in a better marketing solution

Advertising agencies are great at blowing their own horns – after all, that’s what the organization is there for. They can march out shiny, exciting campaign after shiny exciting campaign, and it looks good at first glance. They’ll impress prospective clients with amazing visuals, and stirring copy that impresses. They may even march out some metrics they created, or growth that in no way can be tied back to their advertising campaign. But what they won’t do is give you a step by step walkthrough of how their client’s customers interacted, or tell you how they A/B tested their visuals until they had the absolute best conversion rate they could get.

That’s because they don’t have the numbers – even though they’re available with the right campaign.

Taking a dip into digital ad agencies

As the shine comes off advertising agencies, and companies move toward a new model, it’s unlikely that those old agencies will keep up. Instead, advertising will move on, and catch up with the rest of the world.

As with any major transition, things may get a little rough before a new standard is reached. With freelancers popping up like dandelions in the spring, finding a good marketer you can trust on the open market is difficult. Too often, companies branch out from the traditional gatekeepers of advertising and get burned by half-schooled marketers working off the side of their desk who over-promise and underdeliver.

Without the right freelancers and the right team to track your campaigns metrics, the new ocean of freelancers can be scary. But it doesn’t have to be.

Join us for ‘The Agency’s Dead’ Part Two,’ where we’ll discuss the new, more effective way of marketing in the online world: Digital ad agencies.

In Front Marketing is moving into Commun-o

Community has always been a big part of our core values. What’s being built at Commun-o is a total game changer for the marketing community in Canada and we are pumped to be a part of it!

Feel free to stop by anytime for a tour of the building and our private office!

This also means a celebration is in order! Watch for the open house in July 2018 after this years Calgary Stampede.

Why a focus on data is key for your business and a standard for In Front Marketing.

Does this sound familiar?

You’ve purchased a display advertising campaign and a large number of impressions from a large corporation or local ad agency. After the campaign your agency has only told you how many “clicks” your ad campaign has received.

As a business owner what does “clicks” mean to you, and how are you supposed to determine if this has brought any revenue into your business?

When business owners ask this question, why is the answer always the same? “that’s just how we do things” or “we don’t have access to any other information”.

How are large corporations and major advertising agencies getting away with providing clients with such an insignificant amount of data and no one is holding them accountable to report more??

So let’s take a look at what happens when you book a Display advertising campaign with In Front Marketing.

First, we uncover data that is unique to your business. We create and install unique tracking codes called website pixels that allow us to compile information on the consumers who are interested in your business.

What behaviors led them to your website?  How is that behavior relevant to other consumers on your website?  What are they doing on your website and what is leading them to purchase or contact your business?

This information is being stored on every device that lands on your website and these website pixels create a pie chart to show you what interested every consumer on your website, and this pie chart is different for each individual product and service on your website.

The best part, this data doesn’t cost you a penny. This is your data, hosted on your website!  You just need a way to connect with it.

After 2 to 4 weeks of data collection, we now have an opportunity to create an ad campaign focussed around your target audience. We work to understand from your perspective, what does the ideal customer coming through the door look like, compare it to the data and strategically create an ad campaign.

Using a display advertising networks, we can now ensure your message is only being “displayed” to consumers who are performing a behavior that is relevant to your business.

They may be shopping with your competition, or doing research on your products, but regardless of how they are spending time online we have an opportunity to invite them to your business and monitor how they engage with you.

So let’s go back to the “clicks” — Did you know that a display ad typically drops a “cookie” onto your computer that is traceable by a website pixel?

This allows us to track consumers who do not click on ads (we are all afraid where the click is going to take us). These consumers see an ad, engage with the message, head straight to google and search for your business. The website pixels allows us to trace the cookie/pixel and determine which ad they saw. This is called a “conversion”.

The website pixel then allows us to determine what they do next.

Let’s say the ”consumer” views 6 pages on your website, placing a product in a shopping cart and then makes a purchase. The pixel stays with them, so we don’t lose them during this process. The pixel then shows us the pages they visited, the total revenue purchased by this consumer and relates that back to the individual ad they saw before coming to your website.

That “click” – it’s pretty insignificant now isn’t it??

With In Front Marketing you not only see “clicks” – You see Behaviors, You see Conversions and consumers who don’t click but still search out your business.  You see a full picture of website engagement, and best of all! You see performance, revenue, and real RESULTS!

Oh, and by the way, the website pixels will stay with a consumer for an average of 30 days once they leave your website. So, if they choose not to purchase or contact you today, but they continue shopping around and engaging with your competition, we stay top of mind with them and continually invite them back to your website. If their behavior changes and they no longer show interest in your products or service, the pixels will stop tracking them ensuring your ads never become annoying or spam!

Want to see real results for your ad campaigns?