Gerald Lopez

Internet marketing for humans

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GezzMedia - Internet marketing for humans

The Business Model

We are in a transitional period between "traditional" push marketing involving high costs of production, distribution and marketing; and digital- and Internet-based marketing involving extremely low production and distribution costs (for digital products) and marketing costs. Global reach using Permission Marketing, social media and other "pull" strategies has become available just within 20 years, to many if not most businesses.

In this transition period, there are the geeks and early adopters (presumably us), and there are those still struggling with the "traditional" mindset and skillset. These people need help adapting to the new market - these people are my potential clients.

My business model involves providing listening and consultation, co-creating Internet marketing plans, and implementing the plans by providing the assets (websites, Mailchimp, videos, social media); and their ongoing monitoring and maintenance. This also involves training the clients into the emerging marketing mindset and skillset, so that they achieve a level of independence and control.

My assets are my lifetime passion in design and media (largely hitherto suppressed), and the skills I have acquired in Internet marketing. I believe I have also acquired the ability to listen to a person's "story," in order to help them articulate the passion that drives them and their businesses.

I will start out using my own skills in website-building, video, etc; while building up a pool of reliable outsourced contractors, making the business scalable.

The hardest part is believing I can do it, in spite of lifelong self-esteem and financial issues, and in spite of knowing there are other "real" marketing and media geeks out there. But I also believe its not about the extreme skill, its about communicating to the potential client in a way they understand and feel understood (a big challenge for many geeks).

Ironically for an Internet marketing agency, I believe my initial efforts at getting customers need to be done offline - through business networking and referrals from friends and colleagues. This is because the potential customers are still on the "edge" - not quite immersed in the Internet culture, although their intention is to become so.

The question of how to create a "monopoly" is challenging. At the moment the only way I see this happening is through the culture I create - being the agency that listens, that helps you define the passion of your business, that not only takes care of your Internet marketing plan, but also educates you along the way. While others can "copy" this culture - which I think would be a good thing - ultimately clients will come to me because of the unique personality of my business and what it means to them.

After all, isn't that what brings people to Seth Godin?

Freelancer or Entrepreneur?

I am researching the process of outsourcing, and gathering a group of talented people.

Initially I will be doing the consultation and basic implementation work for two main reasons:

  1. To understand what is involved in that work, so I know how to coordinate the work when being done by others.
  2. To build up cashflow (hiring myself as the cheapest worker).

After having become comfortable with managing projects by subcontracting and outsourcing, I will explore how projects themselves can be managed by subcontractors or employees.

Ultimately, I want to build a business that can be sold. I think that defines me as an entrepreneur. This is scary as it is the first time I am contemplating such a strategy.

Funding

The advantage of this project is that it consists almost entirely of digital products. The physical assets, such as computer, software, recording equipment, are already in place.

The disadvantage is that I need to have other work to fund myself while this project grows.

This is essentially an experiment in bootstrapping. If I can make it, I can help others do the same.

Hiring

This is a highly challenging aspect for me, and I have a small comfort zone.

I have been a lone wolf all my life - making the decisions, taking the rewards, but also bearing the times of stress on my shoulders. Challenging times are much harder when you're alone! Yet I know I need to delegate, to trust, to engage in synergistic collaboration.

Who are the first employees I need? - a graphic designer, one or two good blog researchers and writers, a person to input and format WordPress content and metadata.

Where will I find them?  - Ask a few creative friends I know, look on elance.com

Why would they join me? - Initially for the pay, but also for the excitement of sharing in the growth of an edgy company.

How will I tell the good ones apart from the convenient ones? - They communicate promptly and clearly, they have a quality porfolio, they have a personal vision.

Whats my funnel? - I need to clarify that question with Seth.

After hiring them, how will I evaluate them? - Do they pay attention to detail, do they do work that surprises, do I feel they are really better than me, are they comfortable enought to challenge me?

How long after starting will I give them a formal review? - 6 months.

Whats my approach for talking about the uncomfortable? - Listening to them; not allowing anything to become uncomfortable; focusing on discussing the issues rather than personalities or blame.

Am I asking them to work on whats been done before, or on exploring the edges? - There will always be mundane bread-and-butter work; while encouraging a creative approach to everything we do. Sometimes there will be work that truly stretches, and which will expand our capabilities manifold.

Naming

Because I am interested in the Internet as a medium, because I have worked as a professional photographer, and because I would love to be more involved in media such as music, video, writing etc, I wanted it to be called a Media company.

I tried a number of ideas, but they were all taken. Then my wife asked, why don't you name it after your nickname? Some people called me Gezz, like, over 30 years ago...

It is short, it is meaningless (until you look in the Urban Dictionary), it could be memorable, and it kind of has a buzz to it. Gezz Media? GezzMedia?

The Urban Dictionary defines "gezz" as "love mayoneese." Can you take a mis-spelling of mayonnaise seriously? In the same dictionary "gez" is defined as "A person with this name stands out from others and attracts people to them by just acting as themselves..." Now, I kinda like that!

Insights on branding

I just realised that, as a business offering "Internet marketing for humans," I am challenging myself to change my image; from seriousness and possible aloofness, to lightness and freshness. My seriousness is my fear of vulnerability - how can I use this business to free myself of the darkness of my past; to rediscover myself as an artist

I am going to retake my photo, with a smile on my face, looking approachable and friendly. 

The tagline, "Internet marketing for humans," hopefully suggests that its about my business communicating with lay people in a non-geeky way. This is not to say that geeks are inhuman - just that, as far as I can see in other similar agencies, they forget that there is a great knowledge gap between themselves and their potential clients.

Promotion

As part of my project, I have written an ebook - an informal white paper - to explain the Internet market environment, especially for entrepreneurs and business people who are wary of the Internet. It will be given out free on my website, social media pages etc.Is this the right place to ask if you could review it? Is it easy to understand? Is it compelling? Is it factually ok? Please feel free to critique it honestly.

It is in a rough form, and will be formatted more attractively with graphics etc.

If you wish, you can email me a one-line review, and I will publish the first 20-30 (space permitting) with your name, business name and website.

Please respect my copyright, and don't distribute until it is officially published. Thank you very much!

Here is the download link:

https://dl.dropboxusercontent.com/u/5900639/TWILFY.pdf

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