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WMC Interviews: Kelly Allan

This week, I had the opportunity to talk to Kelly Allan, founder of and senior associate at Kelly Allan Associates in Columbus, Ohio. Kelly's firm assists companies in a variety of industries with marketing and operations consulting, helping them to streamline business processes and achieve better results. Kelly has been widely published -- and is just a really nice guy.

WebMarketCentral (WMC): What did you do before starting Kelly Allan Associates?

Kelly Allan (KA): I was a writer, producer/director of educational programs for The University of Michigan Medical Center. Had I stayed, I'd be retired, fat, and unhappy. I had a great boss and great colleagues, but it wasn't what I really wantedto do. Staying would have been a compromise. I tell young people, "Don't sell your life for money. Go take some chances."

WMC: How, when and why did Kelly Allan Associates get started?

KA: I started the company full time in 1976, at age 24. I was too young to knowany better! There are people who, when they read about the evils ofdrinking, they give up reading. I decided to give up being an employee and follow my dream of starting a company. I started the company in my bedroom. It was difficult, but I loved every minute of it. I still do.

WMC: Whom do you target, that is, who is your ideal or typical client?

KA: The ideal client is full of energy to make things happen and to get things done --in an enlightened, healthy way. Our clients are local, national, and international. There are only a handful of companies that do both marketing/sales work and operations management work. We are one of them. When you do both, you attract companies that already have a systems view ofhow things really work. That puts us more in sync with presidents andCEOs --and increases our effectiveness on their behalf.

WMC: What is your key differentiator (or differentiators)? What separates you from your competition?

KA: I started the company with the ignorant notion that we ought to be able to pay for the cost of our advice and services by saving clients a LOT of money --or by making them a LOT more money. I figured we should promise that if within 90 days we couldn't provide a payback that couldn't would more than cover the cost of our work, we shouldn't take on the work. As Mark Twain said, '"Why not go out on a limb? That's where all the fruit is." Amazingly, we still live by that ignorant notion of extreme accountability. And, we like fruit.

WMC: How do you market/promote your business?

KA: We don't need much promotion because we tend to keep clients for a long, long time. Many have been with us for more than a decade. So, we are somewhat picky about adding to the list. Nor do we grow for growth sake. Many of my 25 associates have been with the company for more than a decade. New business often comes via word of mouth. We are also the only authorized contact point for Peter R. Scholtes, and we conduct seminars and consulting on his behalf. (Peter wrote The Leader's Handbook and The Team Handbook).

WMC: What's the biggest or most important marketing lesson you've learned since starting Kelly Allan Associates?

KA: I learned this lesson in the rain forest of Ecuador while doing client work: you must be able to prove you can do what you say you can do. You need to prove it quickly, compellingly, honestly, and humbly. If not, you might get killed.

WMC: Anything else you'd like to add?

KA: I encourage people to move things along quickly, yet thoughtfully. Did you hear about the new microwave fireplace? You can enjoy an entire evening in front of it in fewer than eight minutes. Now that's moving things along.


Keywords of the week: marketing consulting, operations consulting, marketing portal

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Twitter Twaddle, Part 2: Best Practices, Tools and The Future of Twitter

This is the second of a two-part series. Part one covered what Twitter is and why it's cool; this post discusses Twitter etiquette, tools, and speculation about its future.

How to Twitter Properly

Like any other social setting, Twitter has its own etiquette. This can be confusing to new users. (And, as you can see by spending more than a few minutes on Twitter, it's apparently elusive to many long-time users as well.) Margaret Mason has written an outstanding primer on Twitter etiquette, offering advice such as watch your ratio ("If only a few people follow you, but you follow a thousand or more, many people will assume you’re a spammer. That’s because you probably are. Go away, spammer."); never Twitter if you're drunk or high; and most importantly, "remember that everyone can hear you."

The brilliant Mike Volpe of HubSpot takes a different approach to offering his advice in 5 Things On Twitter That Annoy the Crap Out of Me. His practices-to-avoid incl…

Twitter Twaddle, Part 1: What Twitter Is and Why It's Cool

Most Web 2.0 sites fall into one of a few increasingly well-defined categories, such as social bookmarking (Digg,, Searchles), social networking (LinkedIn, Facebook) or file sharing (YouTube, Flickr, podOmatic). Twitter, however, stands alone. (Okay, there's also Pownce, but Twitter is better.)

Self-described as simply a real-time short messaging service and often referred to a microblogging platform, to those new to it, Twitter resembles nothing so much as a giant cocktail party where everyone talks at once and hopes others listen. You can tell who's important by how many "followers" that person has, though that's no guarantee anyone is really paying attention. People (or rather, Tweeple in the Twitter lexicon) can come and go without really being noticed, just like at a real (very, very large) gathering.

Twitter can be difficult to explain to those unfamiliar with it. Jennifer Laycock writes that Twitter is like Post-It notes; lots of them and in mu…

Top Notch Digital Marketing Tip: Know Your Audience

Looking for some online marketing tips to grow your business? Well, you’ve come to the right digital marketing resource! Web Market Central has been doling out the proper digital marketing advice for years. And as you already know, marketing to customers online is 100 times easier than using dated, expensive, and traditional marketing tactics. Like seriously, who uses billboards in 2019? Online marketing is cost-effective Easier to reach your audience members and potential customers And you know exactly who you’re reaching 

You have the ability to optimize campaigns and websites if they are not performing the way you want them to. You can clearly see how many people have opened your emails and clicked a link. You can even target who you want to when you want to.

So now that you're totally convinced of what you already knew, let’s give you today's top-notch digital marketing tip!

Know your target audience and knowing how to target them

These two online marketing tips are key. If you’r…

Tips Week, Content Marketing Part 2

Continuing the mad tips!

 Go 6 months without mentioning your product There's a study that compared CMI’s informational/educational posts to posts that mentioned their products and/or services. The posts that talked about the brand received about 25 percent of the total unique visitors that a regular, educational post did. At the same time, those branding posts received virtually no additional subscribers on sales-related posts, while regular posts brought in between 35 and 75 subscribers. The point is this: The more you talk about yourself, the more you’ll negatively impact your content marketing efforts. Keep the offers outside the content, and watch your program flourish.

WMC Opens up marketing tips section.

Do you have something helpful to share with others interested in digital marketing?

If so, WebMarketCentral wants to post your piece.  Just write it up and send it with art for evaluation prior to it being approved for publishing.  As a reward for sharing your tips and advice you will receive a backlink to your website.  The current value of the link is below from

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Mike Bannan

Tips Week Content Marketing Part 4

More tips, more tips, more tips!

Forget real-time marketing Some of the real-time marketing examples surrounding the tragic death of Robin Williams will make you sick to your stomach. Brands and publishers alike are tripping over themselves to leverage breaking news for business gain. The only situation in which you should be considering real-time marketing is if your content marketing strategy is near perfect. Only then will you be well prepared enough to tackle the risks of real-time (and reap the potential rewards). Focus on consistent, valuable information… become the expert… get the process in place… be patient.

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After last week's Quote Week, we're moving onto Tips Week! And our focus is Content Marketing!

Take “best of breed” seriously Ninety-nine percent of companies don’t do this. There are at least six principles that are essential to epic content marketing. The sixth, and perhaps most important, is setting a goal/mission to be the “best of breed” informational provider for your industry niche — i.e., to truly be the leading informational resource for your industry. This is critical to making content marketing work for you. If your content marketing isn’t eagerly anticipated and truly necessary, at some point, your audience will see through the fa├žade and ignore you. Ask yourself this: If your content marketing disappeared from the planet, would anyone miss it? If no one would miss your information, you’ve got work to do. Start by setting your goal, then set up the processes and invest in the people you need to reach that goal.