Alright – so today we’ve got the honor of introducing you to Lorrie Thomas Ross. We think you’ll enjoy our conversation, we’ve shared it below.
Lorrie, appreciate you joining us today. So, naming is such a challenge. How did you come up with the name of your brand?
I never intended to name my business Web Marketing Therapy® – we re-branded to this name a year or so in thanks to my clients who were calling me their “marketing therapist” and commending my team and I for transformational work and our therapeutic, holistic approach to marketing.
A handful of clients (who did not know each other) were repeatedly saying the same things to me like joking about getting on my therapy couch, saying I staged interventions on their bad marketing, and how we made them feel better/less stressed/empowered, etc. The feedback was such a gift, the more I listened, the more I knew therapy had to be in our name.
I bought the domain www.webmarketingtherapy.com and sat on the idea of re-naming my company for a while (the name was Lorrie Thomas Web Marketing originally). I will never forget sitting at lunch with a very old-school marketing pro and her telling me I should never change my name to Web Marketing Therapy (don’t you love it when people “should” on you??!) and how quickly I was able to educate her about what the name meant, making marketing better, healthier and more functional. In that moment, I knew Web Marketing Therapy must become our official agency name and focus.
Awesome – so before we get into the rest of our questions, can you briefly introduce yourself to our readers.
It’s important to disclose that I am a recovering salesperson. My marketing career really began in sales, working for Saks Fifth Avenue. A client who I was personal shopping for made me a job offer I couldn’t refuse while she was in the fitting room, promising me that I could make a lot of money on the internet. I had a great job with Saks and leaving didn’t really make since, especially since I had no idea what kind of work I was signing up for (I didn’t even own a personal computer and had never used email!) but intuition kicked in and I took the leap. At the ripe not-old age of 21 in 1999, I sold online advertising in Santa Barbara, California for one of the first online advertising networks (and we did party like it was 1999!)
Selling obnoxious banner ads to clients who didn’t have a sound marketing strategy wasn’t filling my bucket, so I took my dot-com money, walked away from the company and took a manager position back at Saks. Within 3 months, I recruited to sell advertising at an software startup. The money was too good to pass up and I had college bills to pay, so I left retail for good and after years of successful ad selling, I was asked to shift from selling ads to buying ads to help my company at that time with customer acquisition.
Turns out, I was pretty good at marketing. And this was back in a time where there were no books, courses or training so I learned digital marketing on the fly, experientially.
My career changed drastically thanks to being offered a web marketing teaching job at UCSB, for entrepreneurs and corporate employees. Teaching marketing was a game-changer. For me, the business owners in my class were SO much more exciting to serve versus being part of big, inefficient corporate machines where things moved a the speed of stop.
I watched my students optimize their marketing and every week, they’d come to class to share results. Teaching opened doors to speaking at conferences, where I got approached to be a consultant, which led to me seeing more dramatic results.
A super dysfunctional job was the nudge I needed to start my own business. That was in 2005. I never looked back.
If marketing feels difficult, overwhelming or stressful, then you are doing something wrong. I founded Web Marketing Therapy® to get great leader and organizations on the right path to success. I was SO sick of seeing small businesses and entrepreneurs struggle with digital marketing and fall victim to organizations pushing products or services that didn’t really fit their unique needs.
My marketing and education background have made me a “markeding” evangelist (that’s not a typo, it’s a mashup: Marketing + Education = markeding®). In addition to leading a company (and managing a dream team), I am staging peaceful revolution on the way that people and companies think about and approach marketing. Approaching marketing in an ethical way with a pure, educational purpose helps people better understand why to support an organization’s products and services, takes the stress out of marketing and gets more “good” organizations over their fear of marketing so they get in the game.
I developed a five-factor framework for marketing success that puts the puzzle pieces together so marketing clicks. Web Marketing Therapy is a marketing optimization firm that diagnoses, prescribes and guides healthy, sustainable marketing solutions via advisory, training and marketing management.
Do you have any insights you can share related to maintaining high team morale?
If you want to successfully manage a team and maintain high morale, you need to lead with love. Love for your team but also love for yourself. It’s essential for team management to not tolerate anyone bring you or the team down. I tell my team repeatedly that I work for them. While we serve our clients, as a leader, we also need to look at our role as being of service to the people who work for us and treat that role with great respect and care. Respect is reciprocal.
I remember years ago my CPA telling me I was paying my employees too much. I shortly therafter fired him, not just because his advice was wrong, but because I watched him run his business. The way he treated his team yielded in his team not having enough time to take great care of the firm’s clients. I align myself with people I respect, this guy wan’t in that category.
Leaders need to know that they are NOTHING without a dream team. I love the amazing women (and one wonderful man!) I work with.
Can you tell us about what’s worked well for you in terms of growing your clientele?
The most effective way to grow your clientele is to stop thinking about marketing in a pushy, car-salesperson way and start thinking about how to educate your prospective and current customers.
Focusing on educating as the marketing foundation to attract and close the right customer is a “respect is reciprocal” approach that converts. It has always been the most effective marketing formula for my business and my clients.
I believe in marketing with an educational focus so much that I trademarked the term markeding® to convey the mashup of marketing and education to my clients.
Markeding (not a typo!) – is the most effective (and ethical) way to build credibility, visibility and sellability. I noticed a pattern from my years of teaching marketing courses, speaking and working one-on-one with clients: a fear or distaste for sales and marketing. Marketing means maximizing relationships. Customers have needs in good times and bad, how can you help them?
I am constantly reminding my clients to focus on what you want to help your customers understand. When you do this, the copy, ads, video, social posts, etc all become aligned and effective. Look at what you CAN do (not what you can’t) You CAN ALWAYS EDUCATE. Educate your audience on all marketing channels- website, email. blog, Facebook, Twitter, Linkedin and Instagram. Posting positive, helpful content to keep your audience engaged and empowered is essential.
Staying connected with customers (marketing communications) in a helpful, positive, meaningful way is the #1 best practice organizations need to be focusing on right now. When in doubt, educate. Approach marketing in an educational way.
Markeding® puts relationships at the center of the marketing strategy, and in doing so empowers them, sowing and growing business even in times of distancing.
- Website: https://www.webmarketingtherapy.com/
- Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/lorriethomasross/
- Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/lorrie.thomas
- Linkedin: https://www.linkedin.com/in/lorriethomasross
- Twitter: https://twitter.com/webtherapist
- Youtube: https://www.youtube.com/user/webmarketingspeaker
Laura Grace Sears, Mushaboom Studio