Wednesday, 03 February 2016 00:26

Ch-ch-ch-ch-Changes

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bowieCh-ch-ch-ch-Changes, sang the great David Bowie, who recently dominated the news cycle by reinventing himself — once again — from beyond the grave. He faced the ultimate change with grace, class, dignity, and a very clear-eyed command of his circumstances. 

Here in Houston, where we're all bemoaning the freefall of oil prices, the bu-bu-bu-bu-Bubble has once again burst and the ch-ch-ch-ch-Changes aren't pretty.

Valued clients are no longer allowed to hire "contractors" (like lieberjohnson) and close friends trudge to work wondering if each day will prove their last taste of gainful.employment.ever.

We lived by the energy sword and now many feel like they're dying by it. Employees of all ages now know what it feels like to be a much-maligned millennial, defined and bested by economic circumstances beyond anyone's control.

It’s not a good time for the many who confused their six-figure salaries and net worth with their value as human beings.

But marketing and PR are the mother and red-haired stepchild of business reinvention. They always dress up and show up no matter what. Change is the currency of spin and cynicism aside, meaningful growth.

Real value lies in your ability to cost-effectively ch-ch-ch-ch-Change and pitch your brand according to the vagaries of a heartless world economy.

Money’s tight but marketing is never luxury. It should be an affordable investment in your business future. Act like a red-haired stepchild to survive and thrive in the under-$30/barrel environment:

  1. Stop overspending on websites. The average Joomla/WordPress/Drupal template costs less than $100 and between $5,000 to $15,000 to build out.
  2. Get your hourly rates down. You don’t need a big agency at $250/hour even for “crisis-communications” or “thought-leadership.”
  3. Pithy writers can spin anything at rates well under $100/hour.
  4. Monthly retainers need to die and go away. Hire marketing and PR firms for specific projects and let them work against hours.
  5. Don’t waste precious staff time on IT turf wars. Let your PR firm manage the technical aspects of your website.
  6. Don’t overlook the value of an intranet site. You can communicate daily and globally with employees for less than $10,000 plus a $50/hourly rate for content management.
  7. Social media isn’t a yawning maw only the witty and young can feed. Task your agency with identifying 3-4 topics a month then breaking them down into weekly or daily Instagram, Twitter, Tumblr, Facebook etc. posts you can make.
  8. Writing insightful, meaningful content for your website and keeping the site fresh with new blog items and changes costs little but generates great results in search rankings.
  9. PPC is complicated so let experts manage your spend at hourly rates you control.
  10. You have no reason to complain about limited “media” any more. The worldwide Internet of bloggers, consumers and review sites lies completely at your disposal. Talk, with the help of a reputable and cost-effective agency, is very cheap relative to the returns it commands.
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Stephanie Johnson

These are my thoughts about online marketing and industry practices, both good and bad, to help you understand the importance of controlling your image in today’s media-rich online environment.

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