Back to Blog

How to Implement Digital First Marketing - With Neal Schaffer

Jun 06, 2021

Tom Bailey, founder of Succeed Through Speaking, interviews Neal Schaffer.

Neal Schaffer is an authority on helping innovative businesses digitally transform their sales and marketing. Founder of the digital marketing consultancy PDCA Social, Neal currently serves as a Fractional CMO for several organizations. Neal also teaches at Rutgers Business School and the Irish Management Institute. Fluent in Japanese and Mandarin Chinese, Neal is a popular keynote speaker and has spoken on four continents in more than a dozen countries. He is also the author of 4 sales and marketing books, including Maximize Your Social (Wiley) and the recently published The Age of Influence (HarperCollins Leadership), a ground-breaking book redefining digital influence. Check out Neal’s Maximize Your Social Influence podcast for marketing inspiration.

Why you've got to check out Neal's episode:

- Discover how Neal helps those that need marketing help, whether they are a start-up and don't know how to leverage social media marketing, a mid-tier business who feel their staff are junior with digital or an enterprise business who need to move in a new direction.

- Understand the biggest challenge of not doing the marketing you need to be doing or that your marketing you are doing is simply not working. This could show up as a poor return on investment or awareness of your competitors gaining more traction from their marketing.

- Why marketing is the engine for business growth and why you should be where people are looking for more information relating to your product or service.

- Learn the one piece of advice that Neal gives relating to the topic of Digital First Marketing. And understand the three key areas of Search, Social and Email marketing - you need to approach each of these with a digital first mindset.

- Get access to Neal's free eBook which will be called the Digital First Playbook. You can also apply to be a part of Neals community of members using the links provided below.

Resources / Links


Tom Bailey: Hello and welcome to the Flow And Grow Expert Interviews. The place for experts and entrepreneurs who want high value ideas to boost business results.

Hello, I'm Tom Bailey. And in today's episode, I'll be speaking with Neil Schaffer, who is the founder of the digital marketing consultancy PD CA social is also a popular keynote speaker podcast host and the author of four sales and marketing books. So, Neil, hello, and a very warm welcome to today's episode.

Neal Schaffer: Hey Tom. Thanks so much for having me here.

Tom Bailey: I really appreciate it. And out of interest, whereabouts are you in the world?

Neal Schaffer: I am in Southern California. So about 15 minutes away from Disneyland, for those that have ever been here. 

Tom Bailey: Incredible. Thank you so much. And let me now share just a little bit more about Neil before we get started with the interview. So amazingly Neal also teaches at a business school and at the Irish management Institute, is fluent in Japanese and Mandarin Chinese, CMO for several organizations and has spoken on four continents in more than a dozen countries. So, you've been keeping yourself very busy Neal from the sounds of things.

Neal Schaffer: Pre coronavirus. Yes. Yeah.

Tom Bailey: Fantastic. And the title of today's episode is how to implement digital first marketing. And Neal is going to show us how to do that in just seven minutes. It's the question number one today is who are your ideal clients?

Neal Schaffer: Oh, well, my ideal clients, it's funny because I don't really have a specific niche. My background is B2B, but I also work with B2C companies. And my ideal clients are really those that need marketing help, whether they are a startup and they don't know how to leverage digital and social media marketing maybe they are more mid-tier, but they feel that their staff are more junior in experience with digital. Or they're more sophisticated enterprise, but they need to move a new direction with their digital marketing. Those are the types of ideal clients for what I call my fractional CMO service.

Tom Bailey: Fantastic. And these people who would require this service, what's typically their biggest challenge do you find?

Neal Schaffer: Well, the biggest challenge is that they're either not doing the marketing that they know they need to be doing, or their marketing is just not working. They, they, they know it's outdated. They see a lot of spend, but they don't see the results. They know that their competitors are doing better marketplace. It's usually a combination of those things. Sometimes it's, you know, it's just. They're competitors. They have new earnings reports and they attribute, you know, how they did well to the digital marketing or to the social media marketing. And these are the sort of trigger points that usually drive executives to seek out you know, people like myself to help them.

Tom Bailey: Great. And, and I guess if they don't get their marketing, right, what impact does that have on their business typically?

Neal Schaffer: Well, you know, marketing is really the, I mean, it should really be the engine for business growth. So, you can have as many salespeople as you want. You could have a, you know, a website and, and do all the things, but if you're not really creating the right product for the right markets and really, you know, being where people are looking for information related to your product or service obviously you miss out on a tremendous amount of potential and it could really stall the growth of your company to begin with.

Tom Bailey: Fantastic. Thank you. And I guess if anyone's listening to this and that they're resonating with this message, they're struggling with their marketing. What's the one piece of advice you typically give them to get them started in the right direction?

Neal Schaffer: Yeah. So, I've been working on this concept called digital first marketing that you hinted at. And it's really a, it's funny because in 2020, in March, I published my fourth book, which is called the age of influence. The age of influence is all about influencer marketing. And I had a load of companies reach out to me for help with their influencer marketing. But what I realized with coronavirus. Is that a lot of the basic digital marketing things that they should have in place? They didn't. So, I ended up working with these companies, primarily not on influencer marketing, but on everything else. Really coronavirus. And, and I think that obviously it's going to be gone hopefully sooner than later, but some of what it brought to us are going to remain with us. And I think the entire digital transformation of how consumers do shopping, look for information consume media that is only accelerating. So, digital first marketing is really looking at okay, where are the main areas that we need to invest when we think digitally. And those main areas are going to be searched, social email, because those are the three things that people tend to do digitally. They're searching for content, they're reading emails or texts, or they're in social media.

So, we really need to have a three-pronged approach and we need to approach each of these with a digital first mindset, meaning that. Just throw away everything you've been doing outside of digital. I mean, it's still important, but it's just not as important going forward and really focus on, Hey, go back to those early days of coronavirus. Remember how you could not communicate with your customers unless it was digitally and take that mindset and that spirit and start really strategically investing in each one of those three areas.

Tom Bailey: Fantastic advice. Thank you so much. And so those people that are listening now and they do want to get started on this journey and move to digital first marketing. Do you have any resources or content or guides or anything you can share with them to help them really get started in the right way?

Neal Schaffer: Yeah, I am in the final stages of proofreading, a free ebook. I'm actually writing a book. My next book will be on this digital first approach. I really wanted to create a digital marketing playbook. Because I don't think it exists. And if it does exist, it's from like a decade ago where we didn't have Tik TOK, we didn't have influencers. So yeah, so that, that book is yet to come. But the preview, which is this free ebook will be coming out, hopefully in the next week or two. So be on the lookout for that. It's going to be called digital first marketing. So, you probably can't miss it.

Tom Bailey: Amazing and it's the best place to get that your website?

Neal Schaffer: But yeah, that'd be on my website,

Tom Bailey:  Fantastic. Thank you so much. And I also know you've got a membership available as well. Did you want to talk about that briefly?

Neal Schaffer: Yeah. So, you know, much like Tom, the listeners of this podcast. I also have a community or a, you know, people that read my blogs, listen to my podcasts, read my books. Some are more from the corporate side. And they're the ones that tend to invest in this fractional CMO consulting. But there's also a lot of entrepreneurs, small business owners. Marketers that just want to up their game consultants, coaches, and what have you. And I funnel all those people that I can help them into a group coaching community. So, it's part group it's part mastermind, just because of the caliber of people that have joined. And it is a paid membership community, but that's where you know, I just launched this in April 1st of this year. So, I'm really excited about the results that I've seen so far, but yeah, that's where I think I can help. You know, if, if I, if the one-to-one approach is too expensive for companies but also people want more of a community and they want to be networking and want that mastermind experience, then I would push them or not push them, but introduce them to digital first group coaching, membership, community, and all the benefits they can reap from it.

Tom Bailey: Great. So, what I'll do then is I'll post the links and then to in the show notes, but I'll also post the link to the membership as well. So, people can click on that and find out more if they are, if they are interested so on too. You're the subject of you for a minute. And the next question is, what would you say is your greatest mistake or failure that you've made in business and what did you learn from it?

Neal Schaffer: Well, we all make a lot of failures and I can go back in my career before I was a marketing consultant and look at failures. I made in, in, in B2B sales. What have you? I think overall the biggest failure is not executing fast enough when opportunity knocks. And this is something that everybody. Can attest to, and everyone's probably nodding, but it is a reminder, you know, you don't, you don't grow unless you fail, you don't fail. If you don't execute all about the execution. Gmail was in beta for like 15 years, I think until they said it was an official product. So be in beta, it is a, a living, you know, your, your company and products can be a living entity that are constantly morphing and constantly improving. And you're never going to get to the perfect stage at any point, because you know, your competition is changing and consumer needs are changing. What have you. So just accept that and embrace it.

Tom Bailey: Great. So, fail forward and don't wait for it to be perfect before you launch it. Then the last question today is what is one question that I should have asked you that will also give some great value to our audience?

Neal Schaffer: I suppose it would be all about, because I wrote this book on influencer marketing and up until now, a lot of the podcasts interviews were around that, but it's really, you know, if it's funny because you listen, obviously people that are listening to this are podcasts, listeners and people don't talk about influencer marketing. But they talk about it in a different way to talk about, Hey, you should collaborate with other people in your industry. Collaborate with other podcasters or YouTube is, are content creators that is influencer marketing. You're tapping into the power of others. And that is the number one way, you know, other than creating video and creating Tik Toks If that's your thing the number one way to really leverage social media. Is this concept of collaboration, collaboration with other people in your industry, collaboration with your employees, if you're a bigger company, collaboration with your customers, I really want you to think about that hard. Those are going to be the things that are going to get you the farthest in social media marketing.

Tom Bailey: Amazing some great advice to end on. So, Neal thank you so much again for your time today. I really appreciate you coming along for this podcast.

Neal Schaffer:  Tom, I love how short snappy and the value that you add on this podcast. Thanks for having me. It's going to be great.