How I Learned All About New Media Marketing The Hard Way

The title of this post has been kicking me in the back of the head for a few days now. The truth is, I’ve been meaning to write this post for far too long but I kept putting it off for when I felt the time would be just right.

Many of my closest friends know how passionate I am about the work I do, but few truly understand how hard I’ve worked to get to where I am professionally. I can honestly say that every step I’ve taken over the last 8+ years since being in the online marketing business, have gradually given me the skills and knowledge needed to create a successful new media marketing business. Some may say I’ve been lucky enough to take my enthusiasm for online media marketing and turning into a living, but I’ll be the first to tell you luck had almost nothing to do with it.

My beginnings as an online marketer

My first job in the online world wasn’t very fun or creative but it taught me the basics of building an online business, back when the basics was all there was. Winter 2002, I was offered a job in a company that created various websites for the US market. They were looking for a means to branch out. Their idea was to basically take their existing websites and translate them from English to French and Italian. They got word that I spoke Italian as a mother tongue and invited me in for an interview.  The “web” working environment was completely new territory for me, but I felt at home almost instantly as I walked in. I even remember joking with them if they wanted to do the interview in Italian. That’s how comfortable I was that I was going to get the job, and so I did; translating website content. Once the sites went live, it was time to get them indexed by Google by finding index “directories” and getting Google to point to them as much as possible. This went on for over a year, right around the time Google’s Adwords system was taking shape.

Around that time, my wife and I felt it was time for a real change and packed up our little family for Israel. That’s where things really took off. A few months after arriving I was offered a position to lead the pay per click marketing division for a company which at the time had huge potential but no one dedicated to increasing sales through Adwords.

This particular company dealt in one of the most competitive markets of the online industry, targeted to the adult segment. In my first year with the company, I upped the ante by making sure we had one of the largest and most effective ad spends through not only Google but also on  Yahoo, MSN and any other ad network with significant media we could utilize.  We’re talking ad spends of anywhere between $70k-$100k a month.

Over the course of the second year, I was flying back and forth between Israel to the biggest trade shows in the US and UK “Ad:Tech, SES, Etc…” learning everything I could about search engine optimization and search engine marketing while meeting incredibly talented people in the industry. I was sucking up as much information as I could every chance I could. Even through my 11+ hour flights, I would study the latest industry news, trends and tactics. I wanted to be the best at what I was doing.

As much as I loved the opportunity and knowledge I was receiving, things were getting repetitive; I honestly felt that after 2 years of managing over 100k a month ad spend through the top ad networks, I learned everything there was to know about them inside out.

The company I was with was notoriously known for have zero human / personal values, so when I approached management with a request to move me up to a senior level position and was brushed off, I knew it was time to move on. I wanted my involvement with the company to lead from a strategy perspective. Luckily this was right around the time Social Media was coming to the forefront and business were looking for a way to make an impact. The next position I took was with modu mobile as their New Media Marketing manager. Truth be told, I loved the title, which no one really knew what it meant. So, I was basically given the freedom of building an online marketing strategy from the ground up. It was a perfect fit. The mobile industry was new to me but everything I had learned made me ready for it.

The results in the brand awareness I generated for modu a few months into the role were phenomenal. To this day, I thank the management “and the team” who had full confidence in me and the methods I used to present the modu mobile phone concept. One year into my role I flew to Vegas for the 2008 New Media Expo, where one of my biggest career epiphanies occurred….

Two pivotal career moments

Gary Vaynerchuk took the stage for the opening keynote at New Media Expo 2008 at the Las Vegas . The atmosphere in the room was like that of waiting for a rock star to perform. Looking back, It’s not so much what he was said, so much as the way he was presented it. I had seen Gary before only on the Conan O’Brian but listening to him live and seeing the audience’s immediate response was something else. It was the 1st time I felt I could and more importantly should focus all my enthusiasm and understanding of the online marketing industry towards building my own brand. Yes, I was married and 2 daughters to support by then and sticking to a 9-6 job was safe, but I was exploding with ambition. Experiencing the impact and opportunity of new media marketing on such a large scale was a real eye opener. It proved to me that there was legitimate business to be made. That set the trigger that launched Oren Todoros New Media Consulting. I had already created a video blog called Seovice, but It was time to channel my drive in a much more serious direction. I had waited long enough and felt at the top of my game.

The second major boost came when I picked up Donald Trump’s book Think Big. I won’t spend too much time talking about it, suffice to say it’s a must read for anyone who’s building their brand or business. Get it. You’ll thank me “or Donald” later.

Just give it a damn name

What started for me as search engine optimization and link building evolved with the onset of real time social interactions, and has come to be known as Social Media Optimization. For a while it seemed that these two camps were really divided and individuals from each industry thought the other was a total waste of time. The events I had attended and people I met up to this point really only got one or the other. Personally, I thought that there was huge potential in bridging the gap and bringing these two worlds together. As soon as I learned that an event called Affilicon was being organized in 2009. I reached out to the organizer for a speaking opportunity on the Social Media Strategies Panel. I was dead set on using this opportunity to share my thoughts on where our industry was headed on such a large scale.

Far too many in the online marketing industry and our society in general are blind to the potential of learning new methods of reaching their audience towards building their business. Search Optimization, Social Media, New Media Marketing, they’re all dependant on each other. Before there was the “Social Media” title, it was called message boards or forums, so they’ve actually always been there. Search Engines give you more to work with by throwing videos, images and conversations into the search results mix. That alone should ignite your eagerness to learn how to utilize them. Your company, brand, business, whatever, is unique. The only common goals and the ones you need to be most concerned about are communication and reach.

Our industry has evolved countless times over the last few years and will continue to do so at a faster pace than before. You can learn to adapt by being flexible, or you can keep wasting time giving things a name.

Learning from new clients

Oren Todoros New Media Consulting took off faster than I expected. The clients I’ve worked with such as Clip in Touch, modu, Starhome, have all pushed me to take the services and more importantly quality of the online brand building work we do to stellar heights. Here’s a tip if you’re faced with having to close important deals for your own business. Don’t let your competitors beat your enthusiasm. They might offer a lower price, faster service but if genuinely love what you do. No one should beat your enthusiasm.

Whenever I take on a new project, I make it a habit to not only work directly with the person who hired us for the job, but also with as many people within the organization as possible, so that everyone is part of the success. This is especially true when it comes to new media marketing. It’s never a one man show and we’ll never know our client’s business better them, so there absolutely needs to be cooperation and understanding, every step of the way.

Planning to succeed

I’ll conclude with this. Plan to succeed. Don’t go into any project / profession thinking, “I’ll just do what I can here, make a few bucks and move on,” thinking this way actually causes you a huge disservice by setting you back and giving your potential competitors a huge head start.

Trust you’re your instincts, and don’t leave anything up to luck. Work your ass off.

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