Spotlight on: Eric Weidner, sfAMA Board Member and Web Expert.
Company/Title: Owner, Workbox Inc., since 1997.
What it does: We design and build websites to become the hub and center of online marketing for our clients.
“Design. Content. Analytics. All became inseparable for us early on,” says Eric. He focuses on building sites that clients can actually use—and use easily as part of a daily routine.
Helping David—not Goliath—become powerful, is a prime Workbox vision deliverable. So is an unbreakable online platform. The trick is to be as egoless as possible when considering technology and platforms.
“No matter who does the online marketing, whether it’s us, a third party or the client, I want to make sure the platform we build works for them, and works for a long time.”
That gives us a glimpse into a key core business value for Eric: A streamlined platform makes marketing accessible for business.
On your marketplace soapbox:
Many tech marketers think that marketing success is all about data. And, it’s not.
“A lot of work must go into a marketing system so it is present before the consumer or buyer even talks to a sales person or purchases online. While data and analytics have made marketing more accountable, good marketing is the balance between analytics and the people on the inside—the smart, engaging people who have created the marketing assets based on their knowledge, on how well they understand the story of what the offering means to others.
And the marketers who knock it out of the park, take risks.
You have to test outside the box. Marketers and owners expect results. But with data, the actual question to ask is: how can we take the smartest risk then improve what we’re doing? Did it work or not? Why not?
Think of the Old Spice, “Smell like a Man, Man,” campaign. They didn’t know if it would work. They tested it, and saw success. So the lesson is: Creative and analytics go together.”
So, why did you become a marketer?
“For me it’s the people you end up working with—smart people who know a lot of stuff that I don’t know. And if we can build something that works well and other accomplished people find impressive, well, then I’ve accomplished something too. Marketing is a huge exchange of knowledge and thought leadership. When you exchange ideas, you’re not giving away the shop. After all, other smart people will figure it all out too. We exchange ideas to help us succeed with the right kinds of clients, the ones that we succeed with better than everyone else.”
A marketing success is:
“Marketing is a world of updated ideas. To me, success is creating a platform that you can use, to achieve true marketing goals. After you launch, you meet your first round of goals. In six months, you plan for new goals. \And the goal of a platform is to help grow, without having to dedicate resources to the marketing platform itself.”
Marketing Real World
Your Marketing Strategy:
“Don’t say you’re the best in such and such – nobody believes or cares. Show them—prove it. Never SAY you are global. PROVE you are global. Prove it with content, stories, case studies. And then create a fast website. Don’t waste others’ time. Web sites must be fast. Slow sites reduce sales. Then you have to quickly look at your data to find out what’s working.”
Guiding Lesson Learned about marketing (most important lesson learned about marketing)
“There’s always somebody who knows something you don’t. KPIs may be important to a client and for us to put together a program that they understand, but the real question is, what does a company truly need? The people in a company really do know their business. Your job is to interpret what they need, and create the opportunity to learn from it. Rather than focusing on how to market a product, we build a platform—to help them do what they do best.”
Biggest mistake marketers make
“Assuming that the competition knows what they’re doing. We compare ourselves to others too often in business. It’s the assumption that your company is far behind everyone else, and you think that you’re in the only dysfunctional company out there. Truth is, all companies, organizations, are struggling with the same issues you struggle with. It’s easy to just mimic others to feel like you’re catching up. But, it’s an opportunity to do something better. Some companies succeed when they are focused on the goal of being better than their competition.”
“My wife. She inspires old fashion values. Put other people before yourself. And really be honest. Make a mistake? Own up and solve it. When you put other people first, they’re comfortable with the work you have to do together.”
Most inspiring marketing taking place today
“HubSpot is marketing to marketers and is extremely powerful; they know content marketing. They publish true content for marketers. An amazing success to study.
Marketing Sherpa – solid nuts and bolts insights about the real world application of marketing strategy into tactics, and how to measure and what works. Anybody who does online marketing will love these guys.”
Ideas to pay attention to
“Mobile first: for many businesses, the majority of first impressions are on mobile devices. And if they aren’t now, they will be soon. You must figure out the one or two things you’ve got to show your customer and what they want. Do that, and the desktop website is a slam-dunk.”
The future of marketing
“Mobile has become super-important. So is real-time marketing —knowing what your customers are doing right now. There’s a dilemma, though. Real time is the enemy of quality content. So it’s important to develop a strategy to solve that dilemma.”
Fires You Up
Favorite cause: Adult literacy. I believe literature is the greatest art form.
Last great book read: Proust’s In Search of Lost Time, and I read it again every few years. That, and some trashy sci-fi.
Favorite local companies: All the ones that make good wine. Or chocolate. Or dog treats.
Favorite Marketing event: Panel discussions at sfAMA—they are competitive with each other and it’s great for the audience.
Favorite marketing Thought Leader/Why: David Pogue, technology for the New York Times. He’s funny, and he uses stuff the way we use it.
Why you support sfAMA: sfAMA members are my market. And I learn something every time we get together.