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Ryan Deiss on the Merging of Direct Response and Branding

Hello from sunny San Diego, California.

As I write this, Ryan Deiss is taking the stage for his opening keynote at Traffic and Conversion Summit 2016 and this place is absolutely rocking!

Ryan Deiss at Traffic and Conversion Summit 2016

While Ryan is speaking here I want to write up a quick synopsis of his opening keynote for you.

Ryan’s keynote centers around a warning to marketers…

“Companies that focus on branding alone will go broke if they never figure out how to ask for the order.”

And, on the other hand…

“Companies that focus on direct response will go broke because everyone on Planet Earth hates them.”  🙂  

In other words, here’s what you look like if all you ever do is SELL, SELL, SELL.

This can work if you’re a monster truck rally that pulls into town once a year, annoys the crap out of everyone with uber-aggressive ads, aggregates all the rednecks in town and then promptly leaves to do it all over again in some other city.

Today, marketing is about optimizing for the relationship.  It’s about making deposits into what Ryan calls “the relational equity account” before you start making withdrawals.

Ryan, in this opening keynote redefines branding…

“Branding is anything that makes a deposit into a customer or prospect’s relational equity account.”

…and redefines selling…

“Selling is anything that makes a withdrawal from a customer or prospect’s relational equity account.”

There’s absolutely nothing wrong with asking for the order — when funds are available for withdrawal.

4 Ways to Make a Relational Equity Deposit

Method 1 – Make ‘Em Laugh

This is tough to do.  Even the big Madison Avenue ad agencies get this one wrong.

Some laughed… most didn’t…

Quiznos Files For Bankruptcy

But getting this one right can be lucrative…


At DigitalMarketer, we’ve begun to show a bit of personality in our marketing as well…

Method 2 – Make ‘Em Cry

This one is also tough to pull off — but can have an amazing impact.

Ryan isn’t suggesting that the goal of your marketing is to make people cry.  The goal is to make them feel something.  The goal is to make them feel a connection with your brand.

Here’s something we put together to make this connection at DigitalMarketer…

Method 3 – Make ‘Em Feel a Part of Something

Once again, this is difficult to do but extremely effective at making large deposits into “relational equity accounts.”

Here’s a great example from Apple.  This ad launched the Macintosh computer in 1984 and marks what Ryan believes to be the beginning of one of the strongest (and most lucrative) “tribes” on the planet.

At DigitalMarketer, we even produced our own video to communicate what we believe to our “tribe” and those thinking of joining.

Method 4 – Deliver Value-in-Advance

In other words, give your prospects valuable, usable content they actually want BEFORE you ask them for money.

And the goal of this content isn’t to convert…it’s to indoctrinate, engage and (hopefully) amaze…

This isn’t new.  Content Marketers have been singing the praises of creating value-in-advance for decades.

What IS new and what makes this a sustainable business model is… RETARGETING.

Because of retargeting, you can deliver actual value in advance and be confident that you’ll be able to follow up.  Even if you don’t have an email address.

Here’s what it looks like…

An example of ad retargeting

Step 1 – Create an ad that is only intended to amplify a piece of valuable content

Step 2 – Run traffic to that piece of content.  (This content needs to be outstanding!)

Step 3 – Drop a “pixel” or cookie (you get this from the ad networks like Facebook, Google, etc)

Step 4 – Retarget with a RELEVANT ad.  This ad should be more direct response.

Step 5 – Run traffic from this ad to a landing page intended to generate leads or sales.

In step 1, we make a deposit.  In step 5, we make a withdrawal.

It’s that simple, folks.

If you want to learn more about ad retargeting, visit our our Retargeting Resources page here.

And, if you’re here in San Diego at Traffic & Conversion Summit 2016, come by the DigitalMarketer booth and say hello!

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