Episode 56:

Daniel Lemin, the founder of One Good Brand, is a digital reputation and online marketing veteran with deep agency and digital brand strategy experience. He was employee no. 400 at Google where he served on the global corporate marketing and communications team. He is the author of “Manipurated,” an Amazon bestseller, that exposes the inner workings of online review sites. Daniel also serves as the head of consulting for Jay Baer’s Convince & Convert consulting group, where he provides digital marketing and customer experience counsel to global brands and organizations including the United Nations (Food & Agriculture Organization), Best Buy, Petco, BMC Software, Telogis and Pella Windows and Doors. He’s been seen in the New York Times, USA Today and on Fox News, CBS Radio and many other news outlets.

 

 

What you’ll learn about in this episode:

  • Why online reputation work is such a great opportunity for agencies
  • How Daniel got into online reputation work and how came to write “Manipurated”
  • What makes this kind of work more profitable for agencies than SEO work
  • Tools that are great for this kind of work
  • Why every person inside an agency needs to be good at this — and why Daniel advises against having a dedicated team that does only this kind of work
  • How agencies can price this kind of work out
  • What agencies can do to get B2B clients that aren’t as concerned about reviews as B2C businesses like restaurants to understand the importance of this kind of work
  • Why agencies need to be aware of their own reviews (typically from employees)
  • What agencies that have bad reviews can do to improve that
  • Why negative reviews on social media are more urgent and need to be acted on quickly
  • How agencies can structure this out in terms of packages to offer clients
  • The Snapchat-like video reviews that are coming soon
  • What agencies can do right now to start doing this kind of work
  • Some resources to help with this

 

The Golden Nugget:

“Agencies must find a way to make money off of customer experience.” – @daniellemin Click To Tweet

 

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Speaker 1:

If you’re going to take the risk of running an agency, shouldn’t you get the benefits to. Welcome to Build a Better Agency where we show you how to build an agency that can scale and grow with better clients, invested employees and best of all, more money to the bottom line. Bringing his 25 plus years of expertise as both an agency owner and agency consultant to you. Please welcome your host, Drew McLellan.

Drew McLellan:

Hey, everybody. Welcome back to another episode of Build a Better Agency. You are going to love the conversation today. This is something that many of you are thinking about, some of you are already doing or want to do. And so we are going to dive into the whole idea of helping clients manage their online reputations, which opens up a whole new, I think, a whole new revenue stream for agencies. And my guest, Daniel Lemin, is a respected authority on the reputation industry. So he was an early Google hire and was one of the first pioneers to recognize the importance, impact, and power of online ratings and reviews on businesses and the ongoing struggle that business owners have with managing, or even in some cases paying attention to their online reputations.

Daniel is the head of consulting for Jay Bear’s Convince and Convert consulting team. And he also provides agency strategy and innovation coaching through his own consulting firm, One Good Brand. And he also has just written a great book, which I’m going to let him tell you a little bit about. Daniel, welcome to the podcast.

Daniel Lemin:

Hi there. Thanks for having me.

Drew McLellan:

So this is a hot topic right now. It seems like you can’t turn around, for any business, and not find somebody who’s reviewing somebody.

Daniel Lemin:

Yeah. It’s a hot topic. It’s also a bit of a hot potato because no one seems to want to own the problem. We all complain about it, but no one really has functionally in organizations where an agency said, “Hey, you know what? That’s our thing to solve.”

Drew McLellan:

Which the good news of that is, that means it’s a great opportunity for agencies, right? To grab hold of that position?

Daniel Lemin:

Absolutely. There isn’t really an agency structure or category that is best suited to own this type of work, online reputation work. Traditionally I think search agencies, digital agencies have been the ones that said, “We can do that,” But it’s a very myopic view. You’re talking about Google search results and that’s part of the puzzle, but it’s not the whole story. So it is actually, I think a major opportunity for agencies.

Drew McLellan:

So talk a little bit about, first of all, tell everybody a little bit about your book and how you came to study, learn about experiment in this space.

Daniel Lemin:

Yeah. It’s interesting. This is a topic I’ve always been interested in. I cut my teeth and grew up on being a PR person. I did media relations for many years, including at Google. And actually, it was at Google I got exposed to this notion of the dark people who inhabit the corners of the internet, those dark, shadowy characters, spammers and these kinds of folks and all of the different things that engineers at Google have done over the years to try to diffuse them, diffuse them reduce the impact they have on search results and people’s navigation of the internet.

And it came full circle to me during a conversation with a friend of mine who had a hair salon. And he was describing to me these crazy things that were happening to him on Yelp and City Search. And it came back to me many years later now that I connected the dots. I said, “Bobby,” my friend’s name is Bobby, “so Bobby, I think you’re being manipulated by people, not just consumers. I think the platforms are manipulating you as a business owner.” And we joked about it for a little bit. And he’s like, “I think you need to write a book about that. We would call it Manipurated.” And that’s what we called the book. I was like, “That sounds good to me.” as a marketing person, I like made up words, so that’s how it came to be.

Drew McLellan:

And how has it evolved? Because I’m sure back in the day when you were looking at spams and all of that, now it’s not the seedy people in the dark recesses of the internet. It’s the soccer mom who’s bent because the restaurant didn’t treat her well or the hotel was dirty or whatever. So it’s evolved into something completely different, hasn’t it?

Daniel Lemin:

Well, it’s a situation where things have been piled on top of an already annoying problem. The shadowy characters still exist.

Drew McLellan:

Sure.

Daniel Lemin:

And that problem hasn’t gone away, but now we’ve piled onto it all of the force and fury of customers. So people can go on any number of different sites, sometimes many of them, multiple ones in one day and complain about something that happened at a business or interaction they had with a business. And all of those things actually add up to a multifaceted problem, the shadowy kind of characters are one aspect of it and real human being customers are another aspect of it. And they all require slightly different tactics to solve and address, but they are part of the same underlying customer experience or customer online reputation issue.

Drew McLellan:

So if an agency says, “We want to step up and own this. We want to help clients monitor and manage their online reputation, but I have no idea how to do it. I’m not sure even how to start.” If you were helping an agency create this as a new revenue stream for themselves, what are the basics that they need to understand and be able to be able to even wrap their head around it?

Daniel Lemin:

It’s an interesting question. And I have actually worked with some agencies to start wire framing or skeletoning out this as a practice area. I think one of the things that makes this work different than, say SEO work, which might be something some agencies with digital capabilities would manage, is that I perceive that customer experience work, online reputation work, it actually has the potential to be quite profitable for an agency. Because what you’re really offering is strategy and counsel rather than boots on the ground work.

And so for an agency that says, “What should we do to start exploring this?” My first question is, “Who do you typically sell your services to? Are you selling to a CMO? Or are you selling more to the downstream, the brand manager, or a corporate communication manager?” [crosstalk 00:07:13].

Drew McLellan:

Or a business owner, right?

Daniel Lemin:

Right. Or a business owner, absolutely, because they’re different things. If you’re selling to a CMO, what they really just care about is growing the bottom line. So you’re going to have a slightly different product set there that is very much about strategy, not as much about tactics, more about strategy. For someone who’s a business owner, or maybe a brand manager, you are going to have to tackle some of those SEO kind of concepts and understand how to make money on them for your agency, but also throw into the mix a deep, deep understanding of how customers perceive that business online, what they’re saying about them, what the cadence is of their comments, where they’re saying them, those kinds of things.

Those are the areas where you’re going to offer counsel back to the client and say, “Look, we can certainly answer your complaints online if you wish us to as an agency, but you might actually want to think about fixing some of these issues that are causing you to have bad reviews in the first place. Those aren’t things that we can necessarily do for you, but we want to tell you about them and help you figure out how to fix them.”

Drew McLellan:

So when you say that an agency isn’t going to be boots on the ground, what you were talking about is that oftentimes what’s being talked about online isn’t really a marketing issue, but it might be just for example, of a clean room at a hotel kind of issue.

Daniel Lemin:

Right.

Drew McLellan:

Which is not typically an agency’s bailiwick to show up at a hotel and clean their room. So what you’re saying is, yes, you would be boots on the ground in terms of managing and monitoring, and even potentially responding to what’s happening online. But the other opportunity is to provide business council to your clients around fixing the core issues that are triggering the online discussion in the first place?

Daniel Lemin:

Yeah. That’s it. It’s a gap audit of their whole brand as it’s manifested all on these different sites, Yelp and TripAdvisor and these places. Of the things that you say about your brand, do customers actually perceive those things to be true? And if not, why? And if they don’t perceive that, we either have to stop saying them because that’s not a way you can really build and sustain a brand. Or we have to reinterpret or reinvent the way that you talk about that and fix them so that people start experiencing that, right?

If you promise fluffy towels, plush linens and a clean room, and you deliver thin towels, thin linens and dust in the corners of the room, it doesn’t matter how much you really talk about those fluffy towels, you’re not going to get that message to break through.

So it’s a little bit of tough love for the agency client relationship, but done well I have seen some agencies really succeed at grasping, or grabbing a hold of these issues and really, really capturing the trust of the client who come to depend on them for that tough love council. It’s a very good place for an agency to offer up.

Drew McLellan:

Well, a lot of agencies are frustrated because they’ve been shoved down the food chain and that conversation is what brings you back to the C-suite and having business conversations as opposed to marketing tactic conversations.

Daniel Lemin:

Yeah. Totally. And I see a lot of agencies when we were working on social media programs for clients, they started to say, “Hey, we’ll offer community management. So we’ll manage your Facebook page. And people make a comment, we’ll reply to them. We have a whole message tree that we use.” And I think we’re getting to a point where first of all, it’s really hard to make money on those services, but it also is really hard to demonstrate value with that kind of approach. Clients are like, “I could hire somebody to do this for a lot less.”

Drew McLellan:

Right. I’m going to hire a college intern or a kid right out of school to do it.

Daniel Lemin:

Correct. Yeah. And I think this is a way to reset that, that, that discussion with a client and say, “Yes. You’re actually right, you can do that and maybe you should. The things you don’t know about your business are the following.” That’s really where agencies can offer value within this narrative.

Drew McLellan:

And are there certain tools? Or are you tool agnostic? Are there certain tools where you’re like, “Okay, if you’re going to be in this business of listening, observing, monitoring, and then helping manage that online reputation, are there tools that…” And again, keep in mind that for a lot of my listeners, these are agencies of 10, 20, 30 employees. So the Radian6’s of the world probably are not in their client’s budget frame. Are there tools out there that you recommend? Or is it, it doesn’t matter the tool, it’s really what you do with the information you get?

Daniel Lemin:

Yeah. Well, it’s interesting. A lot of the tools that do a really good job at this are geared to small and medium businesses. So the good thing there, these are tools like ReviewTrackers. ReviewTrackers is a monthly subscription in the two digit range. It’s 50 bucks, 80 bucks, depending on what you need, what you use, they’re geared to that. So it’s actually very easy to get access to the data you need without having to subscribe to a Radian6, which is great.

Drew McLellan:

Yeah. It’s a great tool.

Daniel Lemin:

It’s really great. Yeah.

Drew McLellan:

Absolutely. It’s just out of budget for a lot of-

Daniel Lemin:

Completely.

Drew McLellan:

Yeah.

Daniel Lemin:

And note there aren’t really, on that enterprise level, there isn’t really a need, unless you’re McDonald’s or Chipotle or something, to have something so big for ratings and reviews. You can back your way into the insights you need. There are many ways of slicing this. There’s the semantic or text analysis of reviews. You can just look at star ratings. There’s different ways of doing it. But the nice thing is there is a wide diversity of tool sets that can be used and that makes it very accessible whether you’re a two person agency or a 200 person agency, it’s accessible. And that’s great.

Drew McLellan:

Is there a spot either in the book or on your website or someplace where you have outlined some of your favorite tools? Because I know that my listeners are like, “Okay. Well what are those tools?”

Daniel Lemin:

Sure. Yeah. I have a whole section in the book about the different listening tools for ratings and reviews, ReviewTrackers is one, frankly, that I think highly of. But there are a whole bunch of them in that category. And one I actually just got turned on to, it’s not in the book. I didn’t know about it at the time. It’s one called Brand24.

The nice thing about it, it’s like a Radian6 in the sense that it’s a bit of rating and review listening and also a little bit of social media listening, but it’s a global platform. So if you have clients in, they’re actually based in Poland, if you have clients in different languages, it does a really good job of tracking things in different languages. And it’s very inexpensive compared to a traditional listening tool.

Drew McLellan:

Cool. Okay. So I’m an agency. I’ve decided that this is something I want to do. Is this a, I have a set to team that does this? Is this something that lives in the account service department, do you think? How does this play itself out inside an agency?

Daniel Lemin:

I always prefer for a service like this to not be a standalone group for two reasons. One is this is something everybody in the agency should be good at. It should become a core capability for any agency that cares about their client relationship. But the other reason is if you build a new group to do this, you’re number one, going to be competing with yourself in a sense for business internally. And also that group is going to become so busy there will be declining rate of returns at some point if there’s a couple people on that team and that’s all the capacity you’ve got, a couple people.

Drew McLellan:

Right. Well, and they also aren’t going to have the in-depth knowledge of each specific client the way somebody who’s embedded in a client relationship would, right?

Daniel Lemin:

Yeah. Right. Exactly.

Drew McLellan:

Yep. So as you think about how this unfolds inside an agency, agencies are so used to selling stuff and things, so again, we’ll do four blog posts for you and we’ll monitor your Facebook page and we’ll, whatever that is. How do you recommend agencies think about building out the pricing strategy for this kind of consultative service that is, in some cases preventative, like you’re paying me to watch and listen and advise, but you’re also paying me to be at your side while we problem solve and then helping you watch that play out? So it’s a multi-phase from preventative to reactive and everything in between.

Daniel Lemin:

Yeah. This is probably one that has more of a peak and valley budget outcome for client budgets during the year in the sense we’re that you might do quarterly health checks of their business on rating and review platforms. And you’ll pull a report together to show them, this is how you benchmark this quarter versus last quarter or last year. And those would be pulse points.

And in between what you could be doing for them are things like you could be doing monitoring of these platforms and then sending them reviews that are of concern for some clients. They may even, in some cases, a client may say, “I want you to engage on my behalf on these platforms. Apologize for things we’ve done wrong and then let me know about it after the fact so I can go back and fix it.” I don’t don’t know that I would always advocate that’s a good thing to do, but for some client relationships that may actually be the best method to achieving it.

And then they actually think there’s a lot of coaching potential for agencies with their client teams. So where a lot of things go south with ratings and reviews is customer service. So say I complain about a plumber on Yelp. It’s a really bad experience. The customer service aspect of that is where things can actually go from a bad review to a complete brand crisis. And it is incumbent on the customer service folks at these companies to be the last line of defense there. So I’ve seen some agencies be very successful going in and doing crisis modeling and training for customer service teams who haven’t traditionally done that kind of stuff. And that is a nice additional service to offer up and it’s another way of broadening the client relationship.

Drew McLellan:

And as agencies wade into these waters, it’s easy to see if you have, if you’re a hospitality agency or things like that, it’s apparent where the reviews live and how important they are. How do agencies help their, for example, B2B clients recognize that their online reputation is at risk or needs to be monitored? And how do they help educate their clients who are not in industries where we’re just so used to reviews, for example, for restaurants that we don’t even think about it? Of course, a restaurant would want to track that. But if you’re a B2B company and you sell medical devices, I think it would be easier to dismiss it. So how do agencies get on the radar screen of all their clients regardless of their industry?

Daniel Lemin:

It’s a good question. That’s a really good question. So the most eyeopening thing an agency can do is, for a B2B company, and believe it or not, there are as many ratings and reviews for B2B companies as there are for Chipotles of the world, to audit that and take that report to the client. That is often a thing in a B2B setting the client has, and I mean this in a literal sense, never even thought about. This never even crossed their mind that this would happen to them. They think we’re immune to reviews, thank God, which is not true.

So it is a case where software doctors, whatever it might be, particularly software, there are a whole handful of rating and review sites for software companies in particular. So those are all things that are ripe conversation for agencies to have with clients. And it’s very eyeopening for both the agency that may have never dealt with that before, but also the client that thought they were so far away from having to think about this. It’s an immediate trust thing like, “Well, you’ve exposed me to this problem helped me fix this. Because I didn’t realize this happened and it’s going to hurt my buyer funnel or buyer journey.”

Drew McLellan:

So I want to turn the lens a little bit, because not only should we be doing this for our clients, but we need to be mindful of our own online reputation. So it seems to me as I’m listening to you talk that agencies are not immune to this either. So how would you recommend to an agency that, A, they begin to monitor their own online reputation? And B, what are some areas where you see agencies maybe fumbling the ball, or struggling with this issue for their own sake?

Daniel Lemin:

That’s a good question. To the best of my knowledge there is not yet an agency rating or review platform. I haven’t seen one. I have to imagine it is due to be launched in day now, because it’s just about the last industry that I’ve not seen evidence of it. That said, where I see agencies actually fumble again and again, and again is with employee reviews on sites like Glassdoor.

Drew McLellan:

Yeah. Like Glassdoor.

Daniel Lemin:

Absolutely. I actually just went through this with an agency, a client of mine in Los Angeles here. Terrible review was on Glassdoor, I mean really, really damning criticisms of the agency. And part of it was an acquisition of another group and there was some bad blood in the water. And they were left scrambling because they were beginning to lose business due to this. People, when they were about to hire this agency, they would do their background check and then find these reviews and think, “Wow, there’s a lot of people who don’t like to work there.”

Drew McLellan:

Right. Glassdoor shows up so high on Google that again, you’re right. Whether you’re an employee or you’re a prospective client, odds are if you Google the agency, it’s going to show up.

Daniel Lemin:

Yeah. Absolutely. In particular, since there’s a lack of another better option there, right? There is an agency review platform. So one of the things Glassdoor surfaces up is a summary, or basically a pie chart of approval of the agency leadership. Do you approve of them or not? And specifically this agency had some client losses due to that graphic. They say, “You seem to have employees who don’t feel motivated to work with you and were worried that could be difficult for us as clients, so we’re not going to work with you.”

And it was a complete fumble on their part. They weren’t paying attention to it. They weren’t doing the right things to solicit reviews from employees. And they’ve fixed that. They’ve have recovered a little bit from that, a very dark period. But it is an area where I see agencies fumble the ball again and again and it’s one that they really should pay attention to because recruiting is a big part of our business, right?

Drew McLellan:

Absolutely. The labor market is getting tighter and tighter. Yeah. It’s a challenge. I think both, both from an employee point of view, but as you say, it’s also a perspective client perception.

Daniel Lemin:

Yeah.

Drew McLellan:

Yeah. Yep. So what are some of the best practices that you taught them or helped them with to course correct all of this? I mean, obviously you can’t change bad reviews overnight and you can’t all of a sudden turn the pie chart happy overnight. But what did you help them do in terms of addressing the issue?

Daniel Lemin:

Well, here’s the good thing. They’re a mid-size agency about 30 employees and they only had a handful of reviews on this site, Glassdoor. So it doesn’t take much to move the needle in a case like that. Just mathematically, if you’re a one and a half star and you get 10 new reviews, you can move the needle very quickly in doing that. So part of what we did, we worked on activating a high potentials outreach program where we found the people we knew to be very happy in the agency and said, “We want you to be honest, but we want you to give us feedback on Glassdoor.” And that really helped a lot.

The other thing that we did was went back and left responses on those really nasty reviews. They happened to all be ex-employees at this point, due to the acquisition, went back and left reviews, comments on their reviews and said, “We’re sorry you had this experience. And you’re right. It was a very difficult acquisition and were sorry that you had that experience. We think we fixed a lot of those issues.” But we went back, there were seven or eight that were particularly critical. So we addressed those very candidly and then moved forward to try to solicit some good reviews. And they’re back up, they’re not a five star agency or employer on there, but they’re somewhere between three and a half four stars, which is much better than they were. So the whole thing took about eight months.

Drew McLellan:

Yeah. It’s not a quick fix.

Daniel Lemin:

It isn’t.

Drew McLellan:

Yeah. Yeah. So all the more reason to be watching it before there’s a problem.

Daniel Lemin:

Exactly.

Drew McLellan:

Yeah. So are there other things that, besides watching sites like Glassdoor, are there other places? So I think about, honestly, one of the places that I see most people complaining about brands are in feeds like Facebook and Twitter.

Daniel Lemin:

Yeah.

Drew McLellan:

So are there some specific strategies around that either that agency should employ for themselves or for their clients when it’s not an official review site, it’s just a watering hole for people to talk about whatever’s on their mind?

Daniel Lemin:

Yeah. It is a slightly different context, right? If someone complains on Twitter about something, there’s usually an active and urgent situation right now. It’s not a passive complaint like, “I just never really liked the sandwiches.”

Drew McLellan:

Yeah. It’s a customer service issue usually, right?

Daniel Lemin:

Yeah.

Drew McLellan:

Yeah.

Daniel Lemin:

Very often. And so that is a case where there needs to be an urgent escalation plan to the client to say, “This is happening and we need to fix this right now.” And that is something to work out in advance, obviously you don’t want to try to manage that on the fly. That can be a good part of just any crisis planning.

So as agencies are going through crisis planning in 2016, ’17, think about how you can integrate not just reviews, but that Facebook, Twitter phenomenon on into your crisis plan, because it can help you forestall bad reviews from happening.

There is some evidence to show that people don’t actually complain on a review platform first. Typically they complain on a review platform second or third. They’ve tried calling, or emailing, or tweeting up the business first. So you want to do everything you can in those intermediate steps to intercept the play so to speak. I’m not great with the sports analogies.

Drew McLellan:

I’m right with you. You want to block the kick. Right.

Daniel Lemin:

Exactly. And I just call those intercept opportunities. You want to take every one of those you possibly can and clients love when someone thinks proactively for them like that. Because to show that if we do this, we’re preventing that is a great way to keep a good relationship.

Drew McLellan:

And again, circling back around to what we talked about earlier. So if you are being the proactive partner and you are doing the monitoring and the listening and then the advising or the waving the flag or the heads up when there’s a problem, is that typically… I know you were talking about sort of the ebb and flow of we’re going to monitor and then we’re going to give you a report on progress. But are you advising agencies to have some sort of an ongoing monthly retainer for that listening and monitoring? And then does it include a certain amount of escalating to counseling? Or does that become an add-on? Or how are you helping agencies structure that in a palatable way for clients? Because it feels nebulous to clients I suspect. It’s like, “How much listening will you do? And how many problems will we have? And what will that…” You know what I’m saying? So how are you helping agencies structure that?

Daniel Lemin:

A little bit depends on the client relationship. If you have an ongoing media monitoring outreach retainer with clients, what you can do is add a little bit more to that on a percentage basis, 10, 20%, more, 30% more to add online review monitoring to it. A slightly different workflow, obviously, but very similar structure. You’re looking on a, probably twice daily basis for mentions and when you see something, you act on it based on the plan that you’ve got. So you can use it to expand the scope of an existing retainer. And then you have whole new retainer opportunities in terms of potentially ongoing coaching for customer service people that may be an entirely new revenue stream. You might also find online reputation monitoring as a standalone product to offer.

Search, if digital’s a big part of your product mix as an agency, you can offer search results, monitoring, Twitter, Facebook, social media monitoring, online review monitoring as a full service package, and be able to offer up suggestions as things happen to make changes along the way to proof search results, or try to suppress certain search results you don’t want there. So there’s different ways of packaging that for an agency, whether it is incrementally growing an existing retainer or trying to find a brand new one to open up.

Drew McLellan:

And the great thing about it is whether it is a tack on, as you say, or it’s a whole new retainer. It is retainer revenue, which agencies are struggling as clients go to more project-based pricing and everything ebbs and flows more than the good old days when you were the agency of record and you had a monthly retainer that you just could eat off of every month as you were doing the work. This is an opportunity to bring some of that retainer relationship back to your funding mix, right?

Daniel Lemin:

Yeah. Yeah. And to be fair, there is a lot of project-based revenue here to be had as well. A lot of the things we were talking about with reputation audits, the quarterly, or yearly benchmarking, those kind of things, obviously there’s additional project opportunity there as well.

Drew McLellan:

Well, the nice thing is it project layered on top of a retainer. So to your point earlier, it ebbs and flows, but there’s a constant flow as well, which a lot of agencies are not enjoying with some of their clients because it’s so project driven now.

Daniel Lemin:

Yeah.

Drew McLellan:

Yeah.

Daniel Lemin:

Yep.

Drew McLellan:

Yeah. So I know that you’re always looking out for not only what are we doing today, but what’s coming next. So at the rate of change that our worlds are in today, what’s next on the horizon for ratings and reviews and online reputation management? What’s coming next that agencies should be watching and have on their radar because while it may not be impacting their clients today, it’s coming?

Daniel Lemin:

Well, I think a big one is there has been some talk about video based reviews. And honestly, on Yelp, you can today not really leave a video as a review, but that is something that’s probably coming in a very, very short period. There will be these little Snapchat length reviews of a business like there’s a hair in my salad. There is a fly in my coffee, these kinds of things, right?

Drew McLellan:

Right. Right. Right.

Daniel Lemin:

And the media becomes more short form, the demand for response and I think the anxiety level is just going to grow higher and higher and higher for businesses. They don’t know how to respond to these things in a real time basis. So that is that’s probably maybe a year or a couple of years away. I haven’t really seen a great platform like that yet. But something to start thinking about is, how could an agency help a client train for that? It’s something who often best done at the local level management, or store manager, that kind of thing. They’re the ones connected to it. So how could we start to build these skills in for folks, when it happens we’re ready you to act on it?

Drew McLellan:

Well, think about how shareable that will make them too. I think about if somebody did a funny video about the hair in their food and all of a sudden it’s on Yelp or whatever platform it ends up being, how much easier and more compelling that will be to share, which only exasperates the bad review.

Daniel Lemin:

Yeah. Yep. And already we’re also saying some evidence of travel companies right now using bots, messaging bots to do customer service. So you can message them on Facebook or in an app and say, “Hey, can you send some water up to my room?” Or, “My hair dryer is broken.” And the response on the other end is not a person, it’s a machine that says, “Hair dryer up to room 301.” and those things are happening too, whether there’s play there for agencies or not, I think yet remains to be seen.

Drew McLellan:

You think that would be an opportunity for some great brand to, not dialogue necessarily, because I know it’s being served up by a bot, but to make that more genuine to your brand and authentic?

Daniel Lemin:

Yeah.

Drew McLellan:

Yeah.

Daniel Lemin:

For sure. For sure.

Drew McLellan:

So if agency owners have been listening to us and they’re like, “I need to get me some of this. I need to start doing a little bit of this.” What are some things that they should start to explore, or think about, or do to ready themselves to build this discipline into their agency? And to your point, if everybody in the shop should have this as a mindset and a skillset, how do they prepare their own staff to wrap their arms around this?

Daniel Lemin:

I think actually something every agency should do, every single agency, they should do this for themselves first and start on Glassdoor. You can wrap your arms around it pretty quickly. And it’s one site. It’s one set of data. You’re not dealing with everything, right? And start there and you’ll get a really good feel for how this is different than media monitoring or some of those other things that you might do. So start with create the audit project or process for yourself first. And then you can insert, find and replace a client name for your agency as the next step.

But it’s eyeopening to start. And if you start doing this for an agency, intuitively you’re going to want to do it for yourself. That’s always the case, right? So I’ve seen some agencies do it. I was telling you I helped an agency here locally in Los Angeles do this. Start with yourself. And then that will teach you a lot about what makes this medium a little bit different and how it behaves. It will also help you with the actual running of your business, recruiting, retention and so forth.

Drew McLellan:

Yeah. You’ll see the fruits of the labor as well, which you can talk about then.

Daniel Lemin:

Exactly.

Drew McLellan:

Yeah. Are there resources that you would recommend that agencies avail themselves of, or connect to? If this is a trend or a revenue stream that they want to really start paying attention to? Where are you watching for trends around all of this?

Daniel Lemin:

I read some of the common things like the Smart Brief email newsletters, particularly the small business version of that often has some really great dialogue about ratings and reviews issues. I digest some of them weekly in my email newsletter. So it’s a good one maybe to follow as well. It’s the Manipurated Newsletter.

The other place that I always like to advocate for is this, it’s a membership-based, but it’s free membership, it’s inbound.org, which is a basically digital marketers community. It’s people who deal with all kinds of things. It started as an inbound marketing site. But what it is now is really all digital things that people deal with and it’s a great place for employees to get in the weeds of some of these topics and learn the history, the current state of affairs and that kind of thing. And it’s free. You don’t have to pay for membership there, so that’s always helpful.

Drew McLellan:

Absolutely. This trend is not going anywhere is it? This is not a blip. This is not an episodic thing. This is only going to get more pervasive and more impactful as we move forward, don’t you think?

Daniel Lemin:

Yeah. For sure. We’re at the beginning of, I think a real groundswell shift to a focus on customer experience. I think a lot of CMOs are going to start, in fact, they’ve even said in surveys, CMOs say, “The thing I care about in 2016, 2017 more than anything else is customer experience.” If agencies can’t find a way to make money off of that, it’s going to be very detrimental to them.

Drew McLellan:

Yeah. I think that’s a great point is that if that’s where the CMO is focused, that’s also where his or her budget is going to be focused. And so they have to get that money from somewhere. So maybe coming out of more traditional marketing streams to focus on what I think most CMOs or business owners would say is this huge hole that is just gushing money out of it and they’ve got to figure out a way to plug that hole.

Daniel Lemin:

Yep. Yeah. Absolutely.

Drew McLellan:

Yeah. So Daniel, this has been awesome. If folks want to track you down, if they want to subscribe to your newsletter, I know you create content in lots of other places that they’re going to want to get ahold of. What’s the easiest way for them to track all of that down and to, to drink in all of the stuff that you’re doing?

Daniel Lemin:

Yeah. It’s easy to find me, so everything’s hubbed on my book site, it’s manipurated with an R.com. That’s got all of the stuff there including email and newsletters. That’s a good place to start.

Drew McLellan:

Okay. And we will for sure include a link to that, everybody, in the show notes. So be sure to grab that. Daniel, if they want to reach out to you directly email Twitter, what’s the best way for them to do that?

Daniel Lemin:

Twitter’s always good. It’s my name Daniel Lemin. That’s always a great place. I can also email if people, if they prefer old school. If that could be considered old school, it’s [email protected]

Drew McLellan:

Okay. And Lemin, everybody just so you know if you’re getting ready to tweet Daniel, it’s L-E-M-I-N.

Daniel Lemin:

Yep.

Drew McLellan:

Not like the fruit. So Daniel, thank you very much for sharing your expertise and your insights. I’m hoping that you’ve really lit a fire under folks to recognize that this is a huge opportunity for great ROI work that they can bring to their clients and have incredible impact on their clients’ business.

Daniel Lemin:

Yep. Absolutely.

Drew McLellan:

Yeah. So thank you very much for your time. I appreciate it.

Daniel Lemin:

Thanks for having me.

Drew McLellan:

You bet. Okay, gang, that wraps up another episode of Build a Better Agency. I will be back next week with another guest who’s going to help you build your agency to be bigger, better, stronger. In the meantime, if you’re looking for me or you think I can be helpful, you can find in agencymanagementinstitute.com. And my email is just [email protected] As always, if you’re finding value in the podcast, A, make sure you’re subscribing so you don’t miss a single episode. But B, if you would be so kind as to go and leave a rating or review, which seems appropriate to say given the topic today, that really helps other folks find us and also helps me know what shows you love the most and what I should do more of. So appreciate it. And I will see you next week. Talk to you then. Bye.

Speaker 1:

That’s all for this episode of Build a Better Agency. Be sure to visit agency managementinstitute.com to learn more about our workshops and other ways we serve small to mid-sized agencies. While you’re there, sign up for our e-newsletter, grab our free e-book and check out the blog. Growing a bigger, better agency that makes more money attracts bigger clients, and doesn’t consume your life as possible here on Build a Better Agency.