Tuesday, April 17, 2007

WMC Interviews: Lee Smith

I recently caught up with Lee Smith, CEO of web marketing services firm Persuasive Brands, to talk about his views on what works in web marketing. Persuasive Brands provides web development, SEO, branding and online advertising services from the New Jersey-New York-Philadelphia area.

WebMarketCentral (WMC): What did you do before Persuasive Brands?

Lee Smith (LS): Prior to starting Persuasive Brands, I was the founder, President, COO and acting CEO of a leading online market research firm. In this capacity, I helped clients across all industries address their business and marketing challenges using information to help shape winning strategies and supporting tactics. I adopted this approach based upon my experience as a marketer myself developing, launching and managing international products. Many years earlier, I expanded my software development skills by attending Carnegie Mellon’s graduate business school—which was a tremendously enriching experience.

WMC: How did you get started in this business?

LS: I began Persuasive Brands to help clients fully leverage the marketing and awareness-raising power of the online environment. I was inspired by colleagues who were struggling with marketing challenges that could easily be overcome through marketing online. I demonstrated that with a comprehensive marketing plan that effectively differentiates a company’s offerings and uses search engine marketing, innovative online advertising campaigns and custom website development, firms can quickly and efficiently generate awareness, induce trial and drive sales.

When properly leveraged, the Internet is a tremendous “equalizer.” Never before have companies with highly targeted audiences or limited marketing resources been able to compete with large, well funded companies.

From these experiences and based upon the growing power of online marketing, Persuasive Brands was established.

WMC: Who is your ideal or typical client?

LS: While we work with firms across all industries and of all sizes, firms currently experiencing limited online success or those entirely new to the online environment tend to experience the greatest “Wow!” factor.

Within a few days after Persuasive Brands is engaged, our client has a better understanding of their business, the marketplace and how they compete. Within a month, the client has a marketing plan that includes compelling differentiating factors and a roadmap for success. And by the end of the second month, our clients experience increased inbound sales activity driven by organic search results, placement within leading directories, links from relevant websites, an integrated online advertising campaign and a new or substantially revised website.

WMC: What sets you apart from your competition?

LS: We bring a uniquely emotional approach to online marketing. We emphatically believe that awareness, trial and sales are driven, first and foremost, by a company’s message and supporting imagery. We work incessantly to ensure our client’s message instantly resonates with their target market and is promoted online using integrated and economical awareness raising methods.

WMC: How do you market and promote your business?

LS: Of course, we market and promote our services online. We have built our initial success by harnessing organic search results with highly targeted online advertising. Interestingly, referrals and expanding client relationships are increasingly fueling our business. While this is and should be the goal of every business, we are always exploring and developing new online approaches to grow our business—and, most importantly, that of our clients.

WMC: What's the biggest or most important marketing lesson you've learned since you started Persuasive Brands?

LS: I’ve learned two very important lessons since starting Persuasive Brands and during my 20+ years in marketing. First, develop a solid marketing strategy, but be open-minded. The online environment is dynamic but do not allow this to alter your business/marketing objectives and strategies for success. Stay the course but realize tactics that worked yesterday may not work tomorrow. Second, everyone should learn something new every day—and a strong client relationship enables all parties to be both teacher and student. What could be more enjoyable!

WMC: Anything else you'd like to add?

LS: Good marketing begins with defining and communicating your advantages. Focusing and building upon your strengths will, more than anything, contribute to your long term success. Then, it’s all about driving awareness.


Terms: Lee Smith, Persuasive Brands, online advertising, search engine marketing, online advertising, marketing strategy

The web marketing resources and tools site: WebMarketCentral.com

Web marketing, search engine optimization and B2B lead gen for tech companies: KC Associates

Contact Tom Pick: tomATwebmarketcentral.com


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