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Sunday, August 13, 2006

Dale King: Today, I'm interviewing Internet Marketing expert, Michael Fleischner. Hello Michael, how are you?

Michael Fleischner: Doing well Dale, thank you. I'm very excited about having this opportunity to talk to you about Internet Marketing - certainly one of my favorite subjects.

Dale King: Michael, tell our readers how and when you got started marketing on the Internet.

Michael Fleischner: I actually began my Internet Marketing career in 2000 when I was working for a publisher that was migrating towards an online business model. My first entry into online marketing was a media purchase from AOL of $1.2 million. This was back in the day when banner ads actually produced a positive ROI and there was an ability to own a particular vertical within the large search engine directories. I continued to market on the Internet through establishing additional partnerships with Yahoo! and HotJobs while adding specific Internet marketing campaigns for our products and services.

In 2004, I decided to launch based on my frustration when attempting to find a complete online marketing resource that could provide my marketing staff (novice as well as seasoned veterans) with the latest tools and information across all marketing disciplines, access to marketing experts, internet marketing secrets and the latest resources.

Dale King: Some Internet Marketing experts advise newbies to steer clear of certains areas of Internet marketing, like selling e-books on how to make money, advertising services, SEO services, etc., because their too competitive. Do you agree with thatassessment?

Michael Fleischner: Competitive or not, marketing experts who focus their resources on fundamental areas such as SEO services, advertising, etc. are still exploring opportunities - especially for those businesses that focus on a particular segment or niche with a unique offering. Being a "Me-too" in this competitive environment won't get you far unless you offer a highly differentiated service and tailor your marketing to the needs of that segment.

Dale King: How is Internet Marketing different now, as opposed to when you first got started online?

Michael Fleischner: When I first started in the area of Internet marketing, it was all about generating traffic. Over time, as the tracking has improved and the understanding of our consumer's online behavior has expanded, we are much more focused on ROI. If a particular online marketing campaign is not producing a favorable ROI, compared to other online marketing opportunities, the expense is quickly reallocated.

A good example of this is with a recent online Google Adword campaign. We saw a significant change in conversion rates, for specific keywords, drop from 4.3% to 0.73%. One can speculate on the reasons why, but the numbers don't lie. We quickly moved our Google spend to other vertical oriented site in our market niche to make up the realized shortfall in revenue.

Dale King: How important has goal-setting been to your overall success?

Michael Fleischner: Very important. I have found that having goals, short-term and long-term targets are essential for making progress in the right direction. On a regular basis, you need to evaluate your progress against your goals and at least once a year, make sure your goals are the right ones to have. Its also helpful to evaluate that your strategy, the process you've implemented towards achieving your goals, is still valid.

I have found the true key to goal setting is working with your team to get buy in as goals are being established. Success is made more possible when all of your associates are focused on the same goals and these goals will better serve your customers.

Dale King: How important has reading been to your overall success?

Michael Fleischner: I'm sure that anyone you speak to, realizes the importance of reading - particularly in your chosen vocation. I do my best to read articles online daily but also take time to sort through trade papers to identify relevant information. Often times, I'll flip through a trade pub when it hits my desk, rip out those articles that I see as being important and make time later in the evening to review them.

Dale King: If you could recommend one book that all marketers should read, what would it be?

Michael Fleischner: Actually there are two. The first is "Built to Last" co-authored by James Collins and Jerry Porras. This book combines everything I learned in my 12 plus years of business into one publication. The second book, written by the co-author of Built to Last, Jim Collins has been my roadmap for the past few years, "Good to Great". It profiles those companies that went from mediocre to being an industry leader and explains precisely how they got there (based on extensive research). No marketer, or business person, should be working on a business without having read these publications.

Dale King: In your opinion, what technology has changed Internet Marketing the most over the last 5 years?

Michael Fleischner: Bandwidth. Bandwidth. Bandwidth. An increase in bandwidth and consumer adoption of the high speed connection has had the greatest impact on how we market via the Internet today. It has created a richer more dynamic environment for the end user and has increased the ability to deliver your marketing message in a more compelling fashion. In my opinion, this is the one thing that has changed internet marketing the most.

Dale King: What new technology do you see changing Internet Marketing over the next 5 years?

Michael Fleischner: Its hard to say - no one really knows. However, one thing is certain. Internet marketing experts will continue to see significant change based on tracking software, new technologies (bloggs, rss feeds, podcasts), and emerging technologies yet to come. Marketers will have to determine which technologies they can use to create a more compelling message about their product or service and continue to improve the segmentation of their customers.

Dale King: What person has influenced you the most in your lifetime, and how?

Michael Fleischner: I have had a number of mentors in my professional career. I believe the individual who influenced me the most was a former publishing executive who taught me the importance of negotiating and putting together win-win deals, not being afraid to take a risk. By taking risks, you soon discover new possibilities, new opportunities, that never existing before. This is good for all parties involved and ultimately benefits the consumer you're attempting to serve.

Dale King: If you could give my readers one piece of advice, what would it be?

Michael Fleischner: Marketing is everything and everything is marketing! I had lunch with the former Chairman of a major ad agency and this was his mantra. I couldn't agree more. The key to a successful marketing campaign, business, or even career, is knowing that you are always communicating. This is not to say that you have to be overly cautious but rather think about the implication of your messaging.

Dale King: Thank you very much . I appreciate you taking the time to do this interview.

Michael Fleischner: Thank you Dale. Hope to speak with you again soon.


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