Interview With Marketing Guru Jeremy Epstein: Costless Marketing, Innovative Solutions

Meet Jeremy Epstein, Marketing Navigator of Never Stop Marketing (@neverstopmktg) and espresso enthusiast. WashingtonExec found Jeremy through his blog and Twitter page of 2, 286 followers, clearly, Epstein is on to something. I emailed Epstein to request and email interview and that he please return the answers to my questions within the next ten days…He responded with the answers to my questions, a headshot, as well as outbound links within the hour, a testament to Epstein’s admirable personal brand. In this WashingtonExec exclusive interview Epstein explains some simple and costless tips for boosting your company brand as well as why marketing should be treated in the same way as innovation campaigns…some will be brilliant, but most will not ROI. He also provides information about best marketing practices, the one thing most executives don’t understand about marketing and some practical examples of successful company marketing campaigns.

WashingtonExec: Please tell us a little about your background and what promoted you to start “Never Stop Marketing.”

Jeremy Epstein: It just so happens that I have the answer on my website. Take a look here. I think you’ll like it:

WashingtonExec: You have a quote on your website that says, ““Those who stop marketing to save money are like those who stop a clock to save time.” – Henry Ford. In these challenging economic times, what are some cost-effective ways for companies (or individuals) to market?

Jeremy Epstein: Bake marketing in to everything you do, no matter how big or small it is.
You can creating marketing moment in the hundreds of touchpoints you have every single day….invoices, spreadsheets, proposals, contracts, email signature files, voice mail messages, and how your receptionist greets people.

Most people think of “Marketing” as something you layer on when you are done. Marketing is the process of giving people reasons to be picky about whom they choose and giving them (positive) reasons to talk about you.

I just finished a project with a company called Global 360 which was called “Make Everyone A Marketer.” It has since been nominated for a Groundswell Award from Forrester. All we did was help “regular” employees (Ops, HR, Finance, Legal) understand how what they do can create a marketing moment.

When we were done, the VP of Marketing estimated that we generated about $200k worth of equivalent marketing spend…all for free.

That’s how you do it.

Here are just a few examples:
1.      How a lawyer got a customer to become a reference…in 40 minutes
2.      How a Sr. VP at JNJ told 15 people about my company…because of my invoice
3.      An annual report
4.      What your receptionist does…

You can do this yourself through a Customer Touchpoint Assessment.

WashingtonExec: What do you think is the most common mistake executives make in regards to marketing?

Jeremy Epstein: Well, going back to Henry Ford…they stop marketing. That’s far and away #1.

Peter Drucker said that the only two things you can do to drive profitability for your enterprise are “Innovation and Marketing.” You’d never stop innovating, would you?

On top of that, I’d say the upfront requirement that marketers be able to predict ROI of a specific campaign. I think companies need to think about marketing as a “barometer” activity and not a “thermometer” activity. When Lenovo did this, for example, they had a 27% positive gain in market share.

What’s more, when you ask for ROI upfront, you are going to stifle innovation in your marketing efforts, which is what most of us want. The whole premise of my eBook, Dandelion Marketing, is that the arrival of all of these billions of channels makes it near impossible to predict what will or won’t work. You have to try a lot of things, knowing that most of them will fail.

But, since you don’t know what will/won’t work, asking for ROI upfront, by definition, puts the kibosh on new stuff…since you have NO idea how it will play out. For more on this, see this blog post.

WashingtonExec: What do you think is the next big thing?

Jeremy Epstein: From a marketing perspective, it’s the democratization of marketing to everyone in the company. It’s the culture shift that happens as a result of the arrival of all of these tools and what network empower.

See how fired up these Global 360 employees are as a result of being given the green light to go out and make stuff happen. And when I say “democratization,” I’m including not just employees, but the entire community of people surrounding an organization. For more, see this eBook: Community Driven Marketing: The Power of the Raving Fan.

There’s no favorite social media outlet…they all work in harmony to drive the results. I’m a conductor. The outlets are like pieces in my orchestra. I need them all to make the symphony. It’s just my job to understand which instrument is suited for which purpose best and then let it shine accordingly.

WashingtonExec: What are some examples of top marketing or best practices campaign’s that you have seen or that you have worked on?

Jeremy Epstein: Every 2-3 months, I give out a “Never Stop Marketing Award” to recognize all of these.

Here’s the most recent one. At the bottom of the post are the links to the previous ones.

If I had to net it out, I’d say it’s the folks who focus on the “nuts and bolts” of marketing operations, excellence, and discipline. In short, they understand that marketing is like a wedding cake.

WashingtonExec: Your company is based around your personal brand, is there something most people don’t know about you?

Jeremy Epstein: Aside from the fact that I married WAY above myself?

Considering I’ve got over 10k personal/professional blog posts and have been sending an email newsletter every quarter since 1991, there isn’t much that people don’t know about me.

I collect lapel pins from the places I visit. They are easy to find (by the cash register), easy to transport, and relatively inexpensive. I’ve got over 700.

I have a goal to go to all 50 states…I’m at 47 and 48 (Alaska) is happening in Sept. Leaves me with Nebraska and Hawaii.

WashingtonExec: Anything else you would like to add?

Jeremy Epstein: Shhh….don’t tell anyone, but I would do what I am doing for free because I just love what I do.  Here’s one example.

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