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Whistle a Happy Tune: Cleveland Food Tour at Whistler’s in Avon

Located right at a very busy corner of Avon on Detroit Avenue and 611 sits Whistler’s Wood Fire Grill. Sort of a strange looking front as you drive by as it sort of resembles a shabby shack or old barn, but in reality it used to be an ice cream place — as we understand it. The front section is well lit and most likely this was added to put the actual 700 degree wood fire oven in, and it features a quaint little bar that seats four and about 5 or 6 tables in the space, which also leads out to a front patio.

The side entrance (main entrance) is the main dining room with a much larger bar. Why did we start with the decor? Well, for as amazing good as the food and service is, the actual decor and design of the place is at best confusing and at worst, really, really dated and kinda shabby, particularly when you look at the menu and corresponding prices — dinners are priced the same as much, much, MUCH higher end establishments. Now, having said that the food is good is an understatement — the food (and service) were fantastic. But, when it’s 5 p.m. on a Friday night and we are the only two folks in the place, there’s a sign.

Whistler’s is suffering from a brand identity crisis and is in desperate need of clarifying the message while updating the space to fit the menu and the cool factor of the wood fire grill. A bad website, awful decor, furniture from a cheap diner, yet the prices for a steak rival or if not more than Morton’s or Ruth’s Chris. It was strange, here you are in a rather expensive restaurant, yet you have sports on several TVs and really old WWII stuff, which made no sense at all? A bit of advice, hire a marketing professional to give you a little image makeover and a redesign of the front of house and the website, a clarified brand and message as to “what you are,” better and smarter promotions on social media and our bet is this place would be packed. Because…

The food is excellent. It’s fresh. It’s well crafted and thought out, and everything was absolutely cooked to perfection in that amazing wood fire grill.

The second bar in the front room had a few beers on tap and a nice wine and spirits selection. And, you can actually watch the wood fire grill from there, so it was a cool place to sit. We ordered the shrimp crostini and fried calamari as an appetizer, and both were very good — flavorful and fresh. The calamari was not frozen, it was hand cut, hand dipped and fried fresh and you can definitely tell the difference. Dinner was a 12 oz NY strip and lobster tail, which came with fresh zuke salad and a baked spud. Absolutely wood fired to perfection, flavorful, juicy and a perfect medium rare. The lobster was tender and moist, bursting with lobster awesomeness, and the sides were well prepared. In all, absolutely fantastic food. Great service, but I felt kinda bad for the cook and the waitress there on a Friday night hustling for tips with two whole customers.

Give Whistler’s a try, you’ll be glad you did. But, be prepared, it’s pricey (one dinner, two apps and a couple beers was over $100). I don’t mind paying for a good meal and good service, I just didn’t expect a $100 meal from a place that looks like really dark Flo’s Diner. Update the look, find your brand voice and this place — because of the cook and server — is a definite home run.

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As Your Home Services Business Starts the New Year, Five Signs You Need to Outsource Your Marketing

As Your Home Services Business Starts the New Year, Five Signs it’s Time to Outsource Your Marketing

By Rodger Roeser, CEO, The Eisen Agency

As we approach the end of another business year, it’s an excellent time to look back at your year and see how you did, where you may be able to improve and maybe be a tad more innovative in your approach to success. After all, who doesn’t want to improve or be more innovative, right? But sometimes I’m reminded of that great cartoon meme where two cavemen are pushing a cart with square wheels. Another caveman walks up to them with a round wheel and says “I can help,” and the two cavemen reply, “No thanks, we’re too busy.”

This mindset, of course is dangerous in business but sadly, quite common. We are so busy doing what we do, we fail oftentimes to take a step back and see areas of opportunity and improvement. It’s the basics and yet the bane of virtually every business development officer who genuinely can look at a prospect and say, we can help! Yet the business simply doesn’t invest the time in seeing if a given solution would actually improve the business. So, to that end, here are five very simple signs that a marketing agency would be of benefit to your organization, because we do believe every business — regardless of size – should at the very least have some type of marketing agency representation and support to either augment or be your marketing team.

  1. You don’t really do a lot of marketing.

This is a very good indicator that you’re either spending too much money on internal staff salaries, or you have folks that likely shouldn’t be doing “marketing” doing “marketing” — such as the business development person, administrative assistant, HR or worse — you. If you average out most agency fees at between $50 – $150/hour (fees vary) it’s pretty simple to gauge how much time is actually being invested in actual marketing activities. Knowing that the average salary of ENTRY LEVEL marketing professionals is about $35,000/annually plus benefits, for most businesses, particularly small ones, agency is simply significantly less expensive while also gaining far more experience and expertise than an in house, entry level professional. So, if your marketing is pretty basic, you just need a few things here and there (perhaps some website updates, some social media work, a press release here and there, some presentations developed, maybe a few ads) agency is likely a far more fiscally sound choice, and most certainly, you’ll get more experience. An agency professional can also assist you in laying out a proactive plan, so instead of knee jerk or reactive work, you can actually endeavor toward the achievement of core business goals.

  1. Your marketing staff seems constantly overwhelmed.

So, on the other side of the coin of the business that does mainly basic marketing activity, the flip side is the internal team that is so busy all the time they are struggling simply to maintain a tactical work flow. And, when large projects come in that need to be completed, an already overwhelmed staff is no longer even treading water. Constantly working late (or overtime) or the overly demanding boss frowning on folks that actually have a life, is the top reason most in house marketing professionals stay at their job for less than 12 months (actually, research shows the average in house person in marketing changes/leaves/gets fired every nine months — that’s bad). And, if you have a team that is constantly working and a fever pace, there’s no time to actually step back and look at ways to improve or update or be strategic — it’s simply get it done and move on to the next task. The big fallacy is that in house teams should be able to do everything, and that having an agency is just another expense. Not true. A good agency is simply there to assist when the work just becomes too much. You don’t need to be on a monthly retainer — call an agency when you need some help on a project or contact basis. Most are happy to help. Use them when you need them, and don’t when you don’t.

  1. You’ve been doing the same old same old, and is there anything else out there?

Well, of course there is! A sure fire sign that you need an agency is when you feel you’re not getting fresh ideas or concepts. Or, your internal team seems to be doing okay, but are generally just pushing the rock up the hill and doing it again tomorrow and the next day. You have good programs. You have good people, but you may just need to interject some fresh ideas or look at some strategically and tactically superior ways to go about something — after all, you stopped using your fax machine didn’t you? And, that VCR has been replaced, right? Just like old technology in your everyday life, there are constantly new things available to marketers to allow them to perform their job more efficiently or do something differently. Good agencies know these tools, work with them and know what would and what probably would not work for your specific business or business challenge. And, look at it this way, an agency doesn’t “sell” solutions so if a given piece of software may work better, the agency can be objective in sharing that — rather than the software salesperson. That objectivity and the ability to put the right pieces together is a tremendous advantage, and you’d be amazed at how an internal team can be energized by some fresh thinking or a new campaign.

  1. Your internal marketing team constantly turns over.

This is and has been a big challenge for business. As mentioned, research shows the average in house marketing professional will work for your company for about nine months — then leave for a number of reasons. Often times, the hiring company simply doesn’t know what it needs when hiring a marketing professional. More times than not, the internal hire discovers the reality of the gig to not quite be what they signed on for. With a good agency (that understands your needs and your business) you have a genuine partner that is objectively there working toward your success (admit it, you can’t say that about every in house hire) and can put together the perfect pieces of the agency for the constantly varying needs of the marketing of a business. Why would you hire a social media professional when this person will likely only work (or should work) on your social media for a couple hours/week. So, pretty soon, the social media specialist is planning events, writing power point presentations, doing new business — oops, you lost another one. Hire what you need, and use what you need when you need it.

  1. And the number one sign? Your numbers are down.

It’s most obvious, yet all too often ignored aspect of marketing. You did benchmark all your important KPIs (Key Performance Indicators) from the previous year and have been reviewing KPI performance each month and each quarter right? And from that review, tweaking and revising work, right? If you look at the myriad of analytics (which you should review with your marketing team at least monthly) look at the trends. Are you media placements going up? Web and social media traffic? Sales numbers and trial establishment? Whatever is critical to the performance of your business, it must be measured and managed. After all, how can you manage something you can’t measure? But gee, my marketing team is so nice and fun, and we did bagel Tuesday yesterday. That’s great, and personality and culture is important, but you have to look at numbers, too. If things are not trending or going the way you wish, it is time to bring in a professional (that understands your type of industry or business) and have them do a quick review. In most instances, I can spot from a mile away areas of opportunity and improvement. How many in house folks will say to you: “Boss, I’m just not doing a very good job for you but I don’t actually know what I’m doing or how I can improve.” That would be none, so it is critical for you and the health of your business to be able to rely upon folks that can objectively advise and provide not only counsel but direction. If you haven’t worked with any agency ever, or in the past two or three years, do yourself a favor and bring one in to at least take a look under the hood. Just like you when you see a doctor or dentist, a little preventative care goes a long way.

 

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Five Marketing Tools Every Real Estate Marketing Professional Needs to Know

Five Cool Tools Every Real Estate Marketing Rock Star Needs to Understand

 

By Marina Nasonti, The Eisen Agency

 

Not only has the real estate industry made a huge comeback, but investors, builders, homebuyers and sellers are again making money in the market. So, being the recognized as the go to realtor continues to be critical to success, and being smarter in the marketing efforts that augment the referral is paramount. And, in our day and age with millennials not being seduced into to becoming a homebuyer, attracting younger buyers is truly a challenge – even with superior marketing efforts. Realtors need to heavily rely on attracting customers not only through social media promotion and engagement, but real estate apps including, Zillow and Vert. After all, this is the generation that developed alongside the Internet.

 

At leading real estate marketing firm, The Eisen Agency, we thrive on being successful leaders in today’s fast moving global marketplace, and have the time, energy and expertise to focus on individual industries and great marketing tools to marry those strategically and tactically to the benefit of our clientele. Each of our executive’s knowledge and expertise span across a wide variety of industries – from travel to real estate – so our team’s expertise is our client’s advantage. Here are five cool tools every real estate marketing rock star needs to understand in 2016.

 

  1. Buffer

This simple analytics platform is the best way to decrease social media time, increase engagement and drive traffic to your organization’s website. This interface allows you to share content across multiple social media platforms and accounts. Buffer uses data specific to real estate to analyze and distribute your published post during the best times of the day. The platform also allows you to add photos and videos or use their new tool, Pablo to visualize your post. Pablo creates social media images, allowing users to choose different templates and fonts. So, save yourself a few hours each week and purchase Buffer.

 

 

 

  1. it

Scoop.it allows businesses and professionals to discover, curate and publish a wide array of content to increase visibility and drive visitors to their website. This platform not only allows you to collect articles on specific content but search millions of users and topic boards related to the real estate industry. And, this tool integrates with Facebook and Twitter, sharing your curated content with the click of your mouse.

 

 

 

  1. Klear

Klear is a social intelligence platform that serves as a sophisticated influencer search engine. This platform can connect you to the right people around the world and become a very successful networking tool. It will also analyze your engagement, performance, benchmark your landscape and provide insight so you can stay ahead of the curve.

 

 

  1. Canva

Producing engaging content and producing it consistently are two large obstacles when it comes to implementing a marketing plan effectively. If you are looking for an easy-to-use tool, loaded with features to create visually engaging content to share with your audience, you have found it. From magazine covers to social media ads, Canva has you covered.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

  1. Propertybase

Propertybase is a cloud-based customer relationship management software that is user-friendly, versatile and flexible. This software allows real estate marketers to capture leads, send branded email campaigns, manage listings and track an offer to closing. So focus on real estate and let Propertybase focus on maximizing your visibility and providing value to your clients.

 

 

And, while this is by no means an exhaustive list of every “cool” tool out there, it’s a good sampling of some of the whiz bang tools our team uses to the advantage of our clientele. As in in house marketing executive or small business owner, having an outside agency that is dedicated to constantly finding better ways to share your message and grow your business efficiently is a tremendous competitive advantage.

 

About the Author

 

Marina Nasonti is an account manager with leading national marketing and public relations consultancy The Eisen Agency. With offices in Greater Cincinnati and Greater Cleveland, The Eisen Agency represents clientele across the country who strive to grow their business and organization more efficiently, lowering overhead costs and increasing expertise through outsourced agency/client strategic partnerships. Nasonti is a graduate of Kent State University. More information can be accessed at http://www.TheEisenAgency.com.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Agency Advantage Series: More Experience, Less Overhead

Agency Advantage Series

By Rodger Roeser, CEO, The Eisen Agency

 

In our six part series that explains the many benefits of working with an agency rather than increasing overhead and staff in house to handle non-core, marketing related duties, we aim to educate businesses and brands, both large and small, as to the many advantages of having agency representation. Over the past decade, we have seen a fairly significant shift in businesses hiring more and more internal staff, verses outsourcing these tasks to an agency.

And, while we understand and appreciate why it may seem attractive to house all these folks internally, this series seeks to debunk a number of myths of internal placement, and give business owners and in house marketing executives a viable, and in our opinion better, alternative to additional internal hiring and the time and effort of that practice. The key to each of these is having a good, solid and trustworthy agency that fits and understands your business – not a vendor, but a trusted and valued partner in success.

 

  1. More Experience, Lower Cost

What if your business could hire someone for literally any marketing position you have available, and you would be accessing or working with someone that has 20 + years of experience? No matter which piece of the puzzle you feel you need, you would get executive level, senior level experience, expertise and know how. And, accessing that level of expertise would actually be tens of thousands of dollars LESS than the average entry level salary of a marketing person. Does that sound too good to be true? Absolutely not, that’s how an agency partnership works.

Hiring a firm gives you access to a vast group of the right professionals that in many cases, have decades of experience each. And the right firm will afford you access to this level of experience, yet it’s still significantly less cost than adding even entry level staff internally – which is about $30K annually plus benefits. So, hiring an agency, you CAN afford to hire experienced, expert people to manage and execute marketing tasks.

In addition, there are no benefits to have to pay out. No sick days, no office supplies and a host of other benefits typically offered by businesses that make low salaries add up. And, if you’re looking for senior level expertise and experience, $30K/annually isn’t going to cut it – now you can expect to pay on average $70K for director level and into six figures for executive level. You can have executive level for less than the price of entry level when you work with the right agency partner. And, when you don’t need that level of expertise, the agency has entry, junior, and mid-level practitioners each with expertise in varied areas of marketing.

No ONE person is going to possess all of the key and core expertise you need (not to mention, there’s only so much time in the week), and continuing to hire more and more folks as the marketing industry continues to get even more specialized is, very simply, not a good investment. With the right agency, clients pay for exactly what they need. Salaries and increasing overhead are a killer for businesses, which is why in most cases, when cuts are made those cuts are made to the marketing staff and marketing budgets. And, as if this weren’t enough, the average internal marketing person is actually working on productive core marketing activities slightly less than 50 percent of the time, so even that entry level practitioner that is costing $30K is actually only working the equivalent of $15K.

At the very least, you owe it to your business to consider outsourcing marketing and marketing communications activities – not just for big ideas or big projects, but rather for the day to day marketing of your business. In most cases, the cost savings are significant, and the ability to afford exception talent is within your grasp.

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Marketing Tips for Your Manufacturing Business: Outsource to the Pros

As Your Manufacturing Business Approaches Year End, Five Signs It’s Time to Outsource Your Marketing

By Rodger Roeser, CEO, The Eisen Agency

As we approach the end of another business year, it’s an excellent time to look back at your year and see how you did, where you may be able to improve and maybe be a tad more innovative in your approach to success. After all, who doesn’t want to improve or be more innovative, right? But sometimes I’m reminded of that great cartoon meme where two cavemen are pushing a cart with square wheels. Another caveman walks up to them with a round wheel and says “I can help,” and the two cavemen reply, “No thanks, we’re too busy.”

This mindset, of course is dangerous in business but sadly, quite common. We are so busy doing what we do we fail oftentimes to take a step back and see areas of opportunity and improvement. It’s the basics and yet the bane of virtually every business development officer who genuinely can look at a prospect and say, we can help! Yet the business simply doesn’t invest the time in seeing if a given solution would actually improve the business. So, to that end, here are five very simple signs that a marketing agency would be of benefit to your organization, because we do believe every business — regardless of size – should at the very least have some type of marketing agency representation and support to either augment or be your marketing team.

  1. You don’t really do a lot of marketing.

This is a very good indicator that you’re either spending too much money on internal staff salaries, or you have folks that likely shouldn’t be doing “marketing” doing “marketing” — such as the business development person, administrative assistant, HR or worse — you. If you average out most agency fees at between $50 – $150/hour (fees vary) it’s pretty simple to gauge how much time is actually being invested in actual marketing activities. Knowing that the average salary of ENTRY LEVEL marketing professionals is about $35,000/annually plus benefits, for most businesses, particularly small ones, agency is simply significantly less expensive while also gaining far more experience and expertise than an in house, entry level professional. So, if your marketing is pretty basic, you just need a few things here and there (perhaps some website updates, some social media work, a press release here and there, some presentations developed, maybe a few ads) agency is likely a far more fiscally sound choice, and most certainly, you’ll get more experience. An agency professional can also assist you in laying out a proactive plan, so instead of knee jerk or reactive work, you can actually endeavor toward the achievement of core business goals.

  1. Your marketing staff seems constantly overwhelmed.

So, on the other side of the coin of the business that does mainly basic marketing activity, the flip side is the internal team that is so busy all the time they are struggling simply to maintain a tactical work flow. And, when large projects come in that need to be completed, an already overwhelmed staff is no longer even treading water. Constantly working late (or overtime) or the overly demanding boss frowning on folks that actually have a life, is the top reason most in house marketing professionals stay at their job for less than 12 months (actually, research shows the average in house person in marketing changes/leaves/gets fired every nine months — that’s bad). And, if you have a team that is constantly working and a fever pace, there’s no time to actually step back and look at ways to improve or update or be strategic — it’s simply get it done and move on to the next task. The big fallacy is that in house teams should be able to do everything, and that having an agency is just another expense. Not true. A good agency is simply there to assist when the work just becomes too much. You don’t need to be on a monthly retainer — call an agency when you need some help on a project or contract basis. Most are happy to help. Use them when you need them, and don’t when you don’t.

  1. You’ve been doing the same old same old, and is there anything else out there?

Well, of course there is! A sure fire sign that you need an agency is when you feel you’re not getting fresh ideas or concepts. Or, your internal team seems to be doing okay, but are generally just pushing the rock up the hill and doing it again tomorrow and the next day. You have good programs. You have good people, but you may just need to interject some fresh ideas or look at some strategically and tactically superior ways to go about something — after all, you stopped using your fax machine didn’t you? And, that VCR has been replaced, right? Just like old technology in your everyday life, there are constantly new things available to marketers to allow them to perform their job more efficiently or do something differently. Good agencies know these tools, work with them and know what would and what probably would not work for your specific business or business challenge. And, look at it this way, an agency doesn’t “sell” solutions so if a given piece of software may work better, the agency can be objective in sharing that — rather than the software salesperson. That objectivity and the ability to put the right pieces together is a tremendous advantage, and you’d be amazed at how an internal team can be energized by some fresh thinking or a new campaign.

  1. Your internal marketing team constantly turns over.

This is and has been a big challenge for business. As mentioned, research shows the average in house marketing professional will work for your company for about nine months — then leave for a number of reasons. Often times, the hiring company simply doesn’t know what it needs when hiring a marketing professional. More times than not, the internal hire discovers the reality of the gig to not quite be what they signed on for. With a good agency (that understands your needs and your business) you have a genuine partner that is objectively there working toward your success (admit it, you can’t say that about every in house hire) and can put together the perfect pieces of the agency for the constantly varying needs of the marketing of a business. Why would you hire a social media professional when this person will likely only work (or should work) on your social media for a couple hours/week. So, pretty soon, the social media specialist is planning events, writing power point presentations, doing new business — oops, you lost another one. Hire what you need, and use what you need when you need it.

  1. And the number one sign? Your numbers are down.

It’s most obvious, yet all too often ignored aspect of marketing. You did benchmark all your important KPIs (Key Performance Indicators) from the previous year and have been reviewing KPI performance each month and each quarter right? And from that review, tweaking and revising work, right? If you look at the myriad of analytics (which you should review with your marketing team at least monthly) look at the trends. Are you media placements going up? Web and social media traffic? Sales numbers and trial establishment? Whatever is critical to the performance of your business, it must be measured and managed. After all, how can you manage something you can’t measure? But gee, my marketing team is so nice and fun, and we did bagel Tuesday yesterday. That’s great, and personality and culture is important, but you have to look at numbers, too. If things are not trending or going the way you wish, it is time to bring in a professional (that understands your type of industry or business) and have them do a quick review. In most instances, I can spot from a mile away areas of opportunity and improvement. How many in house folks will say to you: “Boss, I’m just not doing a very good job for you but I don’t actually know what I’m doing or how I can improve.” That would be none, so it is critical for you and the health of your business to be able to rely upon folks that can objectively advise and provide not only counsel but also direction. If you haven’t work with any agency ever, or in the past two or three years, do yourself a favor and bring one in to at least take a look under the hood. Just like you when you see a doctor or dentist, a little preventative care goes a long way.

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