When it comes to digital marketing, branding is often overlooked and can easily hinder a marketing campaign without proper strategy in place. This is where Gary J. Nix, a marketing specialist with Blue Fountain Media comes in. With a passion for branding and ambassadorship and a wealth of marketing experience, Gary is a must follow for digital marketing and business professionals.
I was first introduced to Gary at #brandchat, a weekly Twitter chat for branding/marketing minded individuals and have since been intrigued by his work.
Craig: Gary, for those that are unfamiliar with you and your work, when did you become interested in marketing and more specifically, digital marketing? What do you enjoy most about this line of work?
Gary: My official entry into the world of marketing took place in college. I was DJing here and there; suggesting the music people should buy and on the staff of the campus music video show. When I found myself reading books about how to perform those tasks better, I realized I should be in marketing. The digital part just came naturally with my affinity for being active in the online space. *Cue AOL dial-up SFX*
Craig: You show a high level of interest and expertise in branding, what is one of your favorite brand success stories?
Gary: Besides Apple – as I’m old enough to remember when they were a somewhat fledgling company trying to find themselves – any company smart enough to create a culture within makes me smile. Kanon Vodka is the latest to do so, but any brand that looks at Lifetime Customer Value as an important metric and does it well is a success to me.
Craig: Do you feel that branding is often overlooked by businesses, marketers and agencies as a strategy on the web? If yes, why?
Gary: From what I’ve seen, agencies as a whole concentrate the most on branding. With that being said, businesses are often so focused on quick ROI and marketers are forced by their bosses to do the same. I believe it’s partially panic and partially a byproduct of this now, Now, NOW society in which we live. The issue with that is the brand is essentially the heart of your business. It’s not only a logo or company colors. It’s the thing that draws (or repels) people to (or from) your business. That’s a fact that should never be overlooked.
Craig: In your opinion, is increasing brand awareness as important for smaller businesses as it is for larger corporations?
Gary: Increasing brand awareness is very important for small businesses to grow and make their mark. Sustaining one’s brand awareness is important for larger corporations because the little guys could be coming for their market share. Put all of this together and you can easily conclude that effective branding is important for ALL business.
Craig: What is one piece of cost effective advice would you give to a small business looking to increase their brand awareness web?
Gary: Look at free tools and take advantage of social media. Virtually every company has some sort of digital presence these days – because it’s necessary. If you have a website (which you should in 2012) installing Google Analytics to look at traffic, trends and conversion data is very simple to do. Social media channels can help you keep in contact with potential customers, present customers and, most importantly, you can monitor what’s being said about your brand. Keep in mind, you can’t control what people are going to say. Whether it’s good or bad, you should know how people feel about you and act accordingly.
Craig: What are 3 of your go to marketing tools?
Gary: Google Analytics for measurement, MailChimp for marketing and my brain for (weird and wild) ideas and strategies.
Craig: What are some things you like to do in your spare time to help get your mind off of the fast paced nature of marketing and branding?
Gary: I’m a sports fanatic. Always have been, always will be. Sometimes I like analyzing teams’ brands too (like The Yankees) but I like the competition even more. By the way, J-E-T-S, JETS JETS JETS!
I would like to thank Gary for taking the time to participate in my interview and for sharing some key, sometimes overlooked digital marketing advice. Other than the fact that Gary is a New York Jets fan (Go Bills), I highly recommend following him and his work if you are in the digital marketing industry or are interested in learning more about branding / marketing. Here’s where you can connect with Gary: Google+ | Twitter | Linkedin.
I do have one last question for Gary though (answer in the comments if you wish).
Will your colleagues catch you “Tebowing” around the office this upcoming NFL season?
About the Author: Craig Kilgore is a digital marketer with Mainstreethost and currently heads up their R&D department. Craig’s interests include SEO, paid search, content marketing, social media marketing and business development. You can find Craig on Twitter, Google+ and Linkedin.