Zach Heller Marketing Week in Review

Learning is no longer something we do until the age of 18 or 22 and then stop. Learning is a lifelong process. That is important for you to know as a marketer, because you will need to grow and evolve your skills if you want to succeed in the field. And it’s important for you to know as a manager because you need to recruit and train people who are committed to growing their own skill sets over time. I’ll take a junior person with a growth mindset over a senior person with a fixed mindset any day.

If you missed any of last week’s posts, check them out now:

  1. Ethical Questions for Marketers – Part 2
  2. The State of Social Media Advertising
  3. How to Market Your Business Without Spending a Dollar on Ads

Happy Saturday!

Two Ways to Boost Your Marketing Knowledge:

  1. Subscribe to the blog and never miss another marketing post
  2. Subscribe to the monthly newsletter to get a curated list of the top marketing articles from around the web

How to Market Your Business Without Spending a Dollar on Ads

Is it possible? Can you really market your business without advertising?

The simple answer is yes, but it’s not simple. Building a successful business isn’t easy. If it was, everyone would do it. But the point of this post is that there is a common myth that abounds among the entrepreneurial and small business community, and that is that it’s only possible to launch and grow a business through advertising.

We know that’s not true because many of the most successful businesses in the country did not spend a single dollar on advertising until they were already successful. Brands like Amazon, Zappos, Warby Parker, Uniqlo, Lululemon, Krispy Kreme, and Go Pro – while many of them advertise now – grew initially without any advertising.

Confused? Wondering how it’s possible to grow a business without advertising?

It makes sense if you think about it. The first step to creating a successful business is solving a problem. Once you have a product or service that solves a problem that some segment of the market needs solved, you have accomplished one of the most difficult aspects of business. You are ahead of the game.

The next step is getting your product or service into the hands of consumers. While advertising is one way to do that, it’s not the only way. You can…

  • Go straight to the media with special promotions or a launch event and rely on early press coverage to get the word out
  • Go straight to influencers in the community with free samples and trials, aiming for a word of mouth effect
  • Partner with other brands that are already established in your space to get your product to their customers
  • Create a free trial and use content marketing and social media to attract an early audience

The most effective brands that use one of these “no-ad” strategies to grow cultivate an excited community of early customers, who become advocates for the product or service, and do most of the early marketing for you. Focus on solving problems, answering questions, and wowing that first group of customers, and you can grow your reach without advertising.

The State of Social Media Advertising

Social media marketing, broadly speaking, is made up of two distinct strategies – brand pages (organic) and advertising (paid).

While past advice in this area has focused mostly on the organic area, the truth is that most brands find it very difficult to perform well in this area. Organic social media marketing is harder than it ever has been before, and in that type of climate, most brands still get it wrong.

At the same time, the paid side of social marketing has grown up and established itself as an effective way to reach customers in many different industries. And so, it’s time for marketers to ensure that they are getting the most out of social media advertising.


Facebook is the largest social network and a well-established advertising channel. With a wide array of self-service options, brands can target Facebook users both on and off the Facebook website and app, in their newsfeeds and the right-rail. Target advertising based on demographics, interests, page likes and more, with different formats, like video, carousel, lead generation, and click to convert.

For more information, check out these tips for advertising on Facebook.


Instagram is owned by Facebook, and all advertising is controlled directly through Facebook’s ad platform. Options continue to be built out to support brands who want to target users of the photo sharing app. And all Facebook advertisers have the option of sharing their ads on Instagram as well.

If you are interested in advertising on Instagram, you should read more here.


Twitter advertising is less about direct conversions or lead generation, and more about branding and awareness. Brands are able to promote topics or tweets in order to gain exposure, followers, and clicks. These promotions can be targeted based on location and other demographics, as well as interests and follower data.


LinkedIn’s audience is there for reasons that are more specific than some of the broader networks like Facebook and Twitter, and due to that its advertising potential is limited to certain types of companies and reasons. Many B2B businesses have been able to use LinkedIn for lead generation campaigns as the targeting options are robust for company type, size, industry and job roles. You can target people with ads in someone’s feed, banners on an individual page, and sponsored In-mail.


Just like LinkedIn, Pinterest’s users are using the service for a specific reason. Most commonly, these are shoppers looking for products and ideas, in spaces like home design, fashion, and event planning. Its heavily-female audience is an interesting place for brands looking to reach more of this creative-minded consumer. Brands can pay to promote pins and target them to users based on interests and activity on the site. Learn more about Pinterest ads here.


Some people consider Youtube a social network, others put it into another category. But for brands looking to reach a larger audience online, Youtube has become a go-to spot for advertising. Brands can create and promote their own channels, create video ads that run before other content, and show banners alongside videos to people watching on the website. Because these ads are delivered by Google, the platform and targeting options are quite robust. While generally more expensive than Google search ads, Youtube is a great place to engage people with more dynamic content.


Snapchat has made a number of moves recently in an effort to court more advertisers. Their options are still changing and most of them are not self-service, unlike most of the others mentioned above. Currently, brands can sponsor stories, geofilters, and lenses, as well as create full screen ads that appear in between the regular snaps users view from friends. Its early days for Snapchat advertising and most smaller companies should wait to see whether or not this channel is an effective one before trying it out.

Ethical Questions for Marketers – Part 2

Welcome to the newest installment of our weekly blog series, Ethical Questions for Marketers. Each week we plan to introduce a new topic and explore it in detail, preparing marketers for the day when they face such a problem at their organization.

Last week’s topic was Customer Privacy.

This week’s topic: Price Collusion

Let us start by stating that there is often overlap between ethical issues and legal ones. And this week’s topic falls into both categories. Collusion is illegal. But just because something is illegal does not mean companies don’t do it. And often these things are not enforced or prosecuted with any real vigor, so it is up to the ethical business managers among us to be true to our customers.

Price collusion refers to the act of agreeing with other competitors in your market to set prices at or above a certain level. Often, the reason for this is to prevent a price war and artificially increase prices and profits.

Obviously, the losers in collusion are the customers. They end up paying higher prices than they would under normal competitive conditions. Hence the illegality of this behavior.

To be clear, there is nothing illegal about pricing your offering at or near your competition. In fact, this is one of the most common strategies that companies use in pricing their products. The key difference between this and collusion is actual contact and agreement between companies.

While it is your job as a marketer to maximize sales, and often that means setting prices as high as possible without lowering demand, it is important not to cross the line and establish a price floor in the marketplace, hurting consumers in the process.

Stay tuned next week for another installment of our Ethical Questions for Marketers series. If you have an ethical topic you’d like to see addressed, write us.

Zach Heller Marketing Week in Review

Marketers, in an effort to improve their results, often look for new things to try. Maybe that’s because it’s easier to look for new things than to rethink old things. Maybe it’s because we have a tendency to think what we’re doing today or what we’ve done in the past was effective and so why bother changing it. But the truth is, for most companies, the best and quickest way to improve marketing results is to focus on optimizing what it is that you’re already doing. Chances are by spending money smarter and making your website work harder, you can boost sales.

Check out last week’s posts below:

  1. Ethical Questions for Marketers – Part 1
  2. Unique Value Proposition – a Refresher
  3. Fill In Your Skills Gap to Advance Your Career

Happy Saturday!

Two Ways to Boost Your Marketing Knowledge:

  1. Subscribe to the blog and never miss another marketing post
  2. Subscribe to the monthly newsletter to get a curated list of the top marketing articles from around the web