Traverse Legal is proud to sponsor the radio interview of Owen Frager, the Chief Innovation Officer of the Frager Creative Group (pdf) & author of the blog "The Frager Factor." Owen is a domain marketing legend, whose statue within the community is unparalleled.
Owen Frager is a marketing strategist who has made a career out of looking beyond the accepted ways of doing things, often with startling results. Owen's creative and innovative qualities enable him to envision and anticipate the future user needs.
His marketing concepts and programs have generated over $7 billion of shareholder value, rapidly advanced eight middle managers to CEO and led to the acquisition of four private companies by billion-dollar brands. These included an innovative strategy in a sensitive healthcare segment that combined personalized online marketing with community organization tie-ins to increase one pharmacy’s annual sales from $18 million to $600 million, directly resulting in its acquisition by CVS. Frager was previously a sales and marketing executive responsible for successful customer-focused communications strategies at technology leaders such as Océ, Citrix Systems and Alcatel.
Today, the worldwide outsourced Frager Creative team of award-winning writers, designers, filmmakers, interactive experts, presentation wizards and brand strategists helps entrepreneurs and corporate managers to define and open new markets, accelerate growth through innovation and, in some cases, fundamentally change industries.
ANNOUNCER: Welcome to VTalk Radio Tech Spotlight, with your host, John Bentley. This program is sponsored by Traverse Legal, PLC, a law firm specializing in internet law, domain disputes, and technology company representation at www.traverselegal.com.
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DAMIEN: Welcome to the VTalk Radio Tech Spotlight.
DAMIEN: Good morning and welcome to the VTalk Radio Tech Spotlight. I am Damien Allen, and joining us on the phone in the studio today is Owen Frager, the Chief Innovation Officer of the Frager Creative Group (pdf) & author of the blog "The Frager Factor." Good morning and welcome to the program, Owen.
OWEN: Morning, Damien, how are you today.
DAMIEN: Not too bad at all sir. Why don't you tell us a little bit about the Frager Creative Group. What it is that you do?
OWEN: Well the Frager Creative is a very unusual, I think, one of a kind kind of agency in that it's made up...it's one of the worlds first virtual ad agencies. By virtual agencies, I mean virtual agencies do what many do today which is not have a physical building or an office, but use digital technology to connect the very best resources regardless of where they are located geographically, and therefore, put the very best talent on the job. So if you use a traditional advertising agency, for example, you have an organization and account manager who goes in and talks to you and then goes back and generally they never have the top people working on the average accounts. They always work for the top money accounts and they may specialize in print, they may farm out video and so forth. Here you have the single mind's mind who puts together the best team. I might use a writer who does better with film, and another day a writer that does better with motivational stuff or a sales person or a writer who knows how to optimize keywords for the web. So we're very flexible in that we can basically put together teams of talent rather than have to make the most of the talent that we can afford to keep in the building.
DAMIEN: And what we're talking about here today is the domain name?
OWEN: Right. I got into domain names as a result of many years of advertising and marketing in the business to business side, you know, one of my strengths was to simplify products and messages. Especially I've worked in very high technology areas, and had a lot of experience introducing, I guess, what you'd call technological revolutions, products and services that never existed before and basically revolutionized the way somebody did business. Simply you might think of it like a snow blower or a snowplow as compared to a shovel. And to launch those products a lot of the companies had cryptic names, you know, like 91-50b or the C22 2010 and they marketed them by horsepower or by megahertz, you know, things that nobody understood. So my stance was always about using terminology and plain English to put them into language that offered a benefit to the reader or benefit to the audience or indicated a solution to a problem that they could relate to, and that began right with the name of the product, because the name of the product is an opportunity to write in the name of the product if you can be exactly clear what it does for you then it's great. People sell drills at the hardware store, but the people coming in to buy them are looking for hoes. People go buy cameras, but they are essentially not buying cameras they're buying memory. Dove may sell soap, but people are looking to be clean and smell good. So it's understanding what the customer gets as a result of what it is you do and trying to find a name that states that to them so it can have more appeal.
DAMIEN: So in essence, you're trying to find the brand that's going to say everything you need to say about your product right away?
OWEN: Right, because the best of the best domain aren't in advertisement. They don't need advertising, because they are an advertisement in and of themselves. If you go to chairs.com, you're looking for chairs. If you put chairs.com into a search engine, you're looking at a lot of companies that sell chairs and then you have to sort through all that information to find out do they make chairs, are you looking for chair parts, are you looking for antique chairs, are they giving you paid advertising, you know, do you have to drive somewhere, but just by putting in chairs.com or something that simple you know exactly what you want.
DAMIEN: So if you're going to be utilizing an internet marketing strategy, or if you're going to market, primarily or quite heavily on the internet, what would be the best ways to get bang for the buck. I mean, there's so much information.
OWEN: First thing you need is a variety of names, what I call multiple avenues of customer reach, and you want to have these names based on key words that are important in your industry, because, as you know, Google is $400 or $500 a share. There's a reason it's that price, because today Google is essentially the vehicle. It's like one big mall and it would be great if products could find customers, but they don't. Customers need to find products and Google has played a big role, and you could spend a lot of money advertising to buy position on Google, but even then most people don't go beyond the first page, and you only can get 2 or 3 paid advertising companies above the fold there. But you can get tremendous organic results on Google by No. 1 having a bunch of domain names that are based on the key words of your industry, and by writing content that is rich in key words. I'll give you an example, you know, I have a friend who is a marketing director at IBM. He did not get up in the morning and search for a job as marketing director of IBM; he searched for a job as marketing director and happened to end up at IBM. So after you have your brand name, IBM, and you put your marketing director job under IBM, unless somebody gets up in the morning to go to IBM to look for a job as a marketing director, they're not going to find that. So a lot of the job sites, what they do, is they go into corporate sites and pull all the information into their sites and reorganize it in a way that people search for it and through this resume and head hunting and recruiting search methodology is how I really understood how products find customers and customers find products. Often times today it's about finding people who share your values and social marketing and word of mouth are what gets the words of the product out. You know, you're looking for a good phone for your kid is going to college, and you have certain budget restrictions, and you have certain concerns about them abusing the plan and running up your bill, and you have certain concerns about what happens if it gets stolen, you have certain concerns about, you know, not having enough electricity there and needing batteries because you want to be able to reach them in an emergency. So today with the web, you tend to be researching all of those key words related to things of concern to you. You're not just going to Verizon and saying what's the cool phone that they're selling this week.
DAMIEN: In deed. So as you're doing a marketing campaign on the internet, what are the things that you're looking...when a client comes to you and says, you know, we really want to push on the internet more; what are the things you need to do...or what are the things you tell them they need to do?
OWEN: I'll give you an example of something that I set up with a client that makes software and software that helps, you know, there's been a very big problem on campus, and everybody today is concerned about the environment and sustainability. A few years ago, my friends at Kinko's...I've done a lot of work in the copy business and print business all my life, and so I'm very aware of how copies are made and how people buy copies and what copies people outsource and what copies people make at home and color copies and so forth, but a few years ago, course packs for college course basically the professor outsourced those to Kinko's, and you'd go give a certain number and you'd pick up all your courses. Today all those course packs are on the web. And basically what's happening is all the students print out all that stuff and colleges are basically cut into the business of offering free printing, because for years colleges had paid copiers all over the campus...you'd pay, you know, either from your campus card or you pay with coins to make copies of things, but you'd buy Kinko's but now you're printing courses off the internet and it got to be a huge problem for campuses especially with limited budgets, because printing is not only expensive, but a lot of people print things and then someone comes over to them and says, wait a minute there's a party over there, and they forget that they printed it, and you go around the campus and you'll find all these trays sitting with output that nobody is claiming. Not only that, but you've probably had this experience if you go to print a web page, and I just did for this article that I was going to talk to you about about branding, I got 28 pages that printed out, because all of the ads on the side that weren't part of the article came out on separate pages. So multiply that times 30,000 students at a college, and you can imagine what the problem is. So one of my clients made a product that was built into all of the different manufacturer copies, Canon, Recoe, Zerox and so forth and it was a secure document release product that basically printed big prints to servers and then you'd go up to the copier and order the claim to print all you would have to do is swipe your card or put in a code, and often that code had a quota or a budget and once you exceeded the budget, you had to pay for it so it made students more responsible about printing. So if you get the word out on that, you know, people aren't interested in buying printers. Colleges aren't interested in buying printers and copiers. First copiers are all coin operated and they self liquidate themselves, and printers they really wouldn't go out looking to buy printers, they're looking to eliminate this printing problem they have. So when I did research on Google, there were about 15,000 key words that had to do with this problem, none of which had to do with printing or buying copies or campus. I had to find where there were discussion groups. There were a lot of campus groups often organized by students about sustainability and about the problem of paper waste, and they're having discussions online. They're having contests, and they are trying to figure out how to eliminate this problem. So first thing I did was set up a domain name called www.endprintwaste.com which right away, as I said earlier in the interview, it states a benefit to the organization and then I got some testimonials from some people who had bought the product. I used my English like IT Direct or University so it was clear that this was End Print Waste on campus where the product was focused, and I bought some Google Ads as well as wrote some press releases that got out to Google organically. I think we were covered in about 80,000 different pages, and then we set up a specific lending page at www.endprintwaste.com where we offered a 90 second demo that explained the problem and how this solves it and who the different manufacturers were that you could work with. So it was more of an informational, almost like a public service announcement rather than a commercial for a specific product and then those interested could fill out a form and then they could get the right company to market in the right area because a lot of the campuses are global, and they have more than one location. The program was extremely successful, you know, basically the cost of the Google ads and the cost of the sale, what you get from the sale and the organic coverage that you were able to get from writing an organic press release with these right words in it and getting these words picked up by the right organizations. All the colleges put us in their different newspapers and so forth. It all happens online. It's kind of like a central nervous system, an organism that keeps growing and spreding if you have the right words the words travel because people put out alerts that they're looking for information on a certain topic and it's like a match making service where you're information gets to those who look at it. So in a sense it is like getting up in the morning and going to Google and trying to find something that people may have and then you wake up in the morning and find it in your mailbox and it finds you. This program has done millions of dollars in sales, but it has also produced about 15,000 demonstrations a month of this product to campuses all over the world. All automated, all self-contained, and it would never work if it said, you know, we want print better, you know, better printers for campus...zerox.com. You'll never get a response to that kind of an ad if it was under printers on zerox or the yellow pages so it was a completely different philosophy of understanding the problem, understanding the audience, understanding the web works, understanding how the web works, understanding how domain names work, and putting all of that together into what essentially was that may be a 200 word press release, and a simple 132 character classified ad which is really what a Google ad is.
OWEN: That and monitoring it to get it right so you'll get the response.
DAMIEN: Absolutely amazing, and whether it was a PSA or it was an actual ad campaign in order to get that focus to the point where it's just automatically shown and you're getting that kind of traffic. People, you know, looking sustainability is a huge issue right now.
OWEN: Damien, it's not only that kind of traffic, but they only have a product for campus so if you obtain Google for leads for, let's say you get someone that wants to save money on prints at Ford Motor Company in Ugoslavia, you know, that's not what this demo was relevant to so you would end up paying for a clip and it would be wasted. One of the problems with the Google campaigns that most people, in other words, whether it's a Google campaign or a domain name, you know, that's a tremendous tool out there, Google, and the ability to help customers find products and help people find customers who share values and so forth, but you have to have the right things to pay them off. If you have someone who is looking for a shoe that they saw on Sex in the City, you know, just to go to a search that says "shoes" and to go to Nordstrom's and then to go into Nordstrom's to find the shoe department and then to go through 300 pages and spend 20 minutes to try to find the shoe, you know, that's not the way the web works. What you have to do is write a blog post where you have a picture of that shoe and an article that uses key words such as worn by Jennifer Hudson in Sex in the City and then people who put in I'm looking for the shoe Jennifer Hudson wore in Sex in the City they go right to that shoe, and they can order that shoe right from the source. There are even tools like a company called Like.com that basically if you want find a shoe like Jennifer Hudson wore in Sex in the City, but you don't want to pay the Guiche price, it will find...you put in your zip code and it will help you find a knock off shoe like that so you can look like her and get her outfit in a neighborhood near you. So it's understanding all these technologies, how they come together and not wasting the opportunity, because if I didn't use End Print Waste on that ad, if I would have used the manufacturer's name, you know, college IT people who talk to other IT people, it's a peer to peer kind of decision, they're not going to want to look at self-serving corporate kooks. They're not going to want to go to some corporate website index page and then have to fish through all the information to try to find what they want, they you know, make a nice informative 90 second presentation that shows how their peers are achieving welcome success with credible sources, reading of quotes from people that they know and respect and endless information. That makes the best use of the Google target and also being able to write the ad so you get exactly the guy who makes the decision and in some cases in the campaign, what's great about it is the guy was going online, he had already made the decision to buy a competitive product, and he was actually doing research to find a quote from a happy customer that he could use in his RFP or whatever the government or education, non-profit kind of purchasing process is. I think they have to have something like three bids, or they have to have some quotes, and they have to have some statistics, and because I used those statistics in my Google ads, you know, I actually intercepted people that were late in the decision process and were in the middle of the sales cycle. So they were the most highly qualified prospects that were out there. So we weren't just looking for, you know, it was actually an information warfare of the most strategic kind. We weren't just putting an ad up like you put an ad up in a mall and home that 1,000 people walk by it and someone's going to see it and remember it. This is actually almost like recruiting. A head hunter would do trying to find the very, very best person with the most qualifications, and the most receptive who has the means, the budget, the motivation, the opportunity, and the interest to want to explore this and then giving him a real factual fact-based presentation so he can make an informed decision and then can share it with other people that might be involved in the decision process, because when you put the thing online, there may be many people that look at it in the traditional sales process, you know, it might take 12 months to even get to see the right person, but you make a demonstration, you know, you lug in all your equipment, you make a demonstration, and then they say, "Well now I have to show it to my boss and he's in Chicago." or we're on a break and that he has to show it to his guy that he reports to who's in the district, and by having this all online, they can put their comments on it and send it to the next person and the next. And you can in a week if you do it right what it could take 12 months to do.
DAMIEN: Well this is all extremely interesting, a lot of information here, Owen. What do you see the future of this thing with the economy the way it is, and what else is going on?
OWEN: What's happening now is since I built these tremendous skills working for corporations, I've been starting to try them out for myself, and I believe that right now more than any time in history, the internet has empowered the individual person to be able to put one of these things together and to run it and to get prospects and to build a business and to launch a product just as if they were a bigger corporation. Even using the virtual team kind of a concept like I talked about the Touretsu I guess it's called and the Japanese are bootstrapping, and I decided to focus on a company called grand names at www.grandnames.com, and we're featuring, not only domain names, but business opportunities that people stuck in corporate jobs, people recently laid off, can examine how they can get onto the internet, and how they can begin a business and unlike the businesses in the corporate world that they may think cost 100,000,000 dollars and take 5 years. We also have a seminar available called Domain Success where we can show them tools and technologies where they can get online and start to build a business and start to find customers the way I did with these programs I'm describing to you. Simple press releases and simple tools like Work Press and Blogger that are out there for anybody who can send an email even without html skills can set these tools up, and we guide you hand by hand. We hold your hand and we guide you step by step and there's forums with other people who have done it the same way, and I think now people are realizing that the only person that is going to be responsible for their future is themselves, and while the economy looks bleak and the chances of getting a job seem bleak outside in the real world, the virtual world, the online, road is virtually untapped and there are opportunities to do what I've done; band together with other like-minded people and form teams and get encouragement with very, very little investment you can live your dream and pursue your passion.
DAMIEN: Where would somebody go if they wanted more information?
OWEN: You go to www.grandnames.com.
DAMIEN: Alright. Thank you very much for joining us today, Owen. Oh, and what is the Frager Creative Group's web address?
OWEN: Oh that would be www.fragerfactor.com. And we run a blog that's read by 25,000 people a month. We've got other subscription products that go out to all the major executives in the ad and marketing world. And we get a lot of relationships and a lot of feedback, and we get a lot of interest over Grand Names, in fact, it was because of these executives that I started it, because they are all looking for, you know, it's obvious we're all going to have to work beyond our 65 year retirement, and they're looking for things they can set up and continue to be productive and not have to work so hard, but to have some kind of an income coming in that is kind of like a retirement plan. And the web is this opportunity. It can be that.
DAMIEN: We thank you for joining us today, Owen.
OWEN: Thanks, Damien.
DAMIEN: You've been listening to the VTalk Radio Tech Spotlight. My name is Damien Allen, and we have been on the phone with Owen Frager from Frager Creative Group. We'll see you next time. Have a great day.