Entrepreneurs want themselves and their business to look good. They want to reach new customers. But they often struggle to post high quality pictures and videos consistently on social media, so they turn to an agency for help. Marketing experts know how to craft an interesting message and get it in front of the right people in a variety of ways.
Diane Moca Does your business really need a marketing agency? I mean, after all, you can take pictures and video with your phone. You can post them on social media yourself, right? While that's what we're talking about today on Our Creator Economy Entrepreneur Learning Series. I'm Diane Mocha, reporter at Talk Lab. I'm with Jimmy Allen, the CEO of Bureau Gravity, the agency that really opened my eyes about what goes on behind the scenes in the marketing world. So what is the difference between an agency posting on social media, someone doing it themselves? Are you really just saving people time or is it more than that? Jimmy Allen Well the best bridge story for that is changing the oil in your car. So when I was in high school, you'd change the oil in your car. You'd get a filter wrench and a pan, and you would feel like, "Hey, I'm really taking care of my car because I'm changing the oil." But as you got older, as I got older, I wanted to take that to a service and let them do that for me, because the opportunity time, the opportunity cost of having somebody else do that for me far outweighed the convenience or inconvenience of doing that. So an agency I think really fits into the digital side and the communication side for a company when founders recognize that they don't have the time to do that service themselves. They don't want to mess around with that. And there is a time and a place where maybe an influencer or an individual young influencer wants to post and explore and get that skill set down. But eventually, even an influencer is going to want to have a team around them, a production team. And there're a lot of factors that enhance using an agency, which, I think number one is consistency. So you have a team of people around who can help you be consistent. They can give you feedback on what you're saying. They can run camera systems, they can help market it. They can do the media buys for it. They can do all the services that really make the strength of using social media. But not just social media. What are the other outlets for your messages? There are so many, you can have physical events, you can have networking environments. So agency is a huge concept, but it's really there to drive the convenience for a founder who wants to get to the real value proposition, trying to solve the problem of what the company has in front of it, which is to sell more of what they're doing and understand how to position that better. So that's a long answer to that, but man, it's a big question. Diane Moca Well, you talk about other outlets, so like I said at the beginning, people know how to reach social media and get their message out there. But is there more that you can do? You talk about programmatic marketing, Does that go beyond social media and is that something people can learn to do themselves? Or is it really a specialist that needs to do that programmatic? Jimmy Allen Yeah. Well, I kind of put all that into this concept of total control. You want to have total control. When you're an expert at something, when you're a professional, you have control over the situation, meaning that you're thinking about backups, you're thinking about the month ahead. You're thinking about the things that a novice generally isn't thinking about. And I think when we bring concepts like programmatic media or buying, programmatic buying, and just even media buying in general and marry that to production, and then also marry that to the agency side and all the roles that go along with the website building and web development and branding and all of those things. When you marry all that stuff together, and you can do that day in and day out with an agency and they can provide all that for you, you're going to get more control over what your desire is, which is to get past the functional side of what you're doing and get into the nuance and how people receive all of that. So I don't even think you get a chance to see what the potential is until you get the fundamental things integrated into a very turnkey system and we just call that total control. Diane Moca And so with programmatic, with that system, what kinds of outlets are you reaching beyond social media? Jimmy Allen Well, one of the things that the trade of advertising has evolved into digitally is that there's a global market for it, right, because everybody's connected digitally. Everybody's got a phone. When we put phones in people's hands, we essentially went past the printing press and said, "We don't have a physical object that needs to be literally delivered to somebody." We can deliver that same information and the person is carrying the delivery device around with them. So the programmatic side of marketing means that we can reach specific audiences directly on the phones or the monitors that they're watching. So one way of maybe putting that in context is to think if you want to reach, say, an investment group, if you're a big food manufacturer and you know that investment firms are good firms to reach out to because they could be a part of the ecosystem that you're really targeting. That investment group, those people might go to work in the morning and they may be listening to Spotify. And so your podcast could be there and you're targeting that audience on a podcast, but that same content that you're creating could be delivered in an ad on their phone while they're scrolling that morning in a business meeting. So they see a banner ad, they could click on that and go to a landing page. But then also they get home at night and now they're sitting around watching something, they're relaxing, sitting on their couch and they're watching Hulu. And Hulu then would serve up that same digital content to them through OTT. So that ecosystem, that digital delivery ecosystem is what programmatic provides. So you can get to it. But that programmatic side needs to be married to production and attractive content. So all of that synergy is about having total control over what your marketing is today. Diane Moca I mean, obviously, if someone comes in here to a studio and does a video, it's going to have a different level of quality than if they shoot it on their phone. But why is that important when everyone just accepts and understands that a picture or video from your phone is okay? Jimmy Allen Well, I think they bring up a big question again, you want things to be... When I say attractive production, that's just kind of a generic sense of you want to put on your best face, you want to put on your best look. And working with a production team, you're not doing it yourself. It's very hard. I think it's difficult to film yourself. A lot of people do it and they do it really well, but they're investing their entire time into that. So they're setting up a studio, they're setting up lighting, they have a space to record in or maybe their style is different, maybe it's handheld. But the fact is they've created an attractive production style that works for them. Now that productive attraction style needs to be consistent. So in a percentage, if you think percentages of companies or founders, that's not going to be the go-to for them, to do it themselves. So you're going to need an agency. And really what we're talking about is just emerging. I mean, companies now, major brands, are all using those attractive production styles and capabilities, and they're putting influencers in front of audiences and then they're using social media platforms and they're using programmatic to get those people in front of the viewers they want to see. So it's a complex system, right? But at the end of the day, it's accessible today. With Bureau Gravity, you can access that control and it's really a question of what problem are you trying to solve, and how do you get your solution in front of that audience that is going to buy that service or product that you want? So wow, really complicated, but we've gotten the system down. We've invested years and years and years of trying to understand all of this and then taking the risk of building a lot of this infrastructure so that a client can just walk in and it's turnkey for them. So they're not changing the oil in their car anymore. Diane Moca Sounds expensive. So is it accessible for even small business owners? Jimmy Allen I think it is now. I think one of the goals that we've had, and I've been questioned about this, but I really wanted to drive the cost down so people could access it. I'm a firm believer that what ails our communities right now is the us and them. So those that have resources and those that don't have resources. So our goal has really been to bring the cost down so you can get access. And that's part of the reason that I'm a big advocate of public access resources in a community. So Talking Cities can be and could be supported by the city of Aurora as a way to say, "Hey, young influencers, young producers, all the young people in our community could be using these facilities and we need some type of offset because we can't charge them for that." I can't charge an 18-year-old or 16-year-old to come in and produce a show here. But if the city would partner with us we could provide these studio spaces and let him run more often. I mean, gosh, we're in here for 15 minutes to record this show, but then it's sitting here 24 hours a day ready to go, and we need to put more energy into that pipeline. And by putting more energy in that pipeline, we get better skill sets. The kids that are using it, or the adults, whoever's using it, is getting better and better. Then companies can hire them and there becomes an economy of scale and everybody wins then. But we're at the early stage of this. And I think this is a great opportunity for people, communities, and leadership, to really understand that now's the time, let's go. Let's educate our community together. Diane Moca And we're doing that with an event coming up. It is a public-private partnership because we've got young people coming in here, they're competing for our contest. We're looking for sponsors who want to support that, who want to support those creators in the community and want to come here and be part of that. And that's exciting to be part of that. And I thank you for doing that, and I thank you for joining us on this edition of The Creator Economy Entrepreneur Learning Series for Talking Cities, I'm Diane Moca.