The way people consume media is changing at a rapid pace. What was once magazines, newspapers, television, and radio is now streaming TV, blogs, and podcasts. The old rules for reaching customers are no longer relevant, namely advertising on television, radio, and print. In fact, the playing field has been evened. At one time, to reach millions of potential customers, you'd need to spend as much for television, radio, and print media. Today you can reach millions of people for pennies on the dollar as compared to just a decade ago. There are entirely new rules for client engagement. That is why I was excited to recently sit with marketing veteran Sergio Garcia, co-founder of UR Business Network, a firm capitalizing on the new rules of client engagement through media.
Sergio fell in love with the United States when his family brought him here from Guatemala at nine years old to be treated at a children's hospital for rare kidney disorder. He was the son of an entrepreneurial father, which may be why Sergio has been an entrepreneur for most of his career, building advertising and marketing businesses in both the United States and Latin America.
UR Business Network was founded in 2012 and they have since broadcast thousands of hours of exclusive and syndicated content. Weekly episodes are hosted by a lineup on business owners, entrepreneurs, and technical experts. The podcasts are archived and then syndicated through blogging. All the shows are available on iTunes, Shoutcast and the UR Business Network website. Sergio has spent 20 years in marketing and advertising, and that's why his four new rules of client engagement are worth adhering to.
Your Content is Your Brand: A decade ago, your brand consisted of a logo, a mission statement, and a static website where consumers were expected to take your word for who you purported yourself to be through your paid media. Today, customers are researching the brands they work with long before they make a purchase which means they are more likely to make their buying decision based on the content you are sharing through your blog, podcasts, and social sharing. Consumers no longer have to take your word that your business is great, because now every business has the opportunity to prove value through the content they are sharing online.
Story Matters: When producing content for your business, now more than ever, your story matters. Customers are not just buying your expertise, but they are also buying into your story. Content proves value whereas your story allows your potential customers to become emotionally invested in you and your business. It's much easier to create a legion of followers (i.e. customers) when they know why you do what you do. For example, Toms, a world-famous shoe manufacturer, offers a simple albeit unremarkable shoe design, yet they have built a multi-million dollar business on their awesome story. Every time a person buys a pair of Toms shoes, a pair is donated to a third-world country. It's their One For One program that has created a massive customer movement and business empire. Your story... and the story of your business matter.
You Must Shake Hands to Do Business: Even though UR Business Network is a massive media empire that specializes in helping organizations through building or sharing already built media channels, Sergio says that there is no substitution for getting belly to belly with people. No media will ever be 100 percent effective unless, as a business, you figure out a way to get belly to belly with your customers and potential customers regularly. That's one reason that UR Business Network has grown so quickly. Currently, UR Business Network has more than 50 shows being aired monthly, with content streaming 24 hours a day, making it a great opportunity for businesses who want to create content, and even for those who want to sponsor shows to get in front of the audiences that follow specific content. That being said, Sergio attributes much of the success of their company to their regular, in person, networking events that the company hosts to bring together entrepreneurs, businesses, and content providers. There are many different ways each person can benefit from the content creation, and the best way to figure out how everyone can help one another is by bringing them together to meet, network, mix, mingle, and strategize, regularly.
Success is Influence, Not Money: If you want to build a massive empire, of the type that UR Business Network is creating, you'll need to influence people. The Internet, through podcasting, blogging, and 24/7 media streaming, allows you reach people exponentially. Ten years ago, you'd have to meet clients one at a time to influence them or you could spend hundreds of thousands, or millions, of dollars influencing them through TV, radio, and print. Today, the influence amongst millions is created by teaching the masses about you and your company through online media platforms. If you, as a business or business owner, are influencing millions of people, explained Garcia, then you are well on your way to building a massive empire. Garcia says that too many entrepreneurs predicate 100 percent of their success on cash flow, whereas Garcia says that positive cash flow is only evidence that your business is heading in the right direction and that the true measure of a business's success will always come down to the number of people being influenced.
According to Sergio Garcia, in the next five years, most consumers will be watching, listening, and learning everything right from their phone and tablet. This means that in order for companies to adapt, they'll have to change the way they are communicating with customers, or succumb to the businesses that do.
Photo: Sergio Garcia, founder of UR Business Network with his son, Sal.