At the time, I had many options of where to go next.
The reason I came to IMPACT, however, was because I loved Bob Ruffolo’s vision for where he wanted to take the company and our community.
At the time, most of the work IMPACT did centered around marketing retainers and website redesign projects, and our ideal client needed to be prepared to spend $5000+ per month for marketing or $20,000+ for a new website.
Not everyone who reached out and wanted to work with us could afford this, so, as a member of the sales team at the time, I often found myself turning away potential clients instead of finding ways to work with them.
Around this same time, IMPACT was building a thriving online community in the form of IMPACT Elite, our Facebook Group, and our list of 20,000+ blog subscribers.
The members of these two groups include some of our most ardent supporters, many of whom are not and may never be clients of IMPACT -- and we couldn't ignore that
IMPACT’s mission has always been to help people and their organizations succeed, and when you think about it, saying “no” doesn’t fit very well with this mission.
Bob saw these things - the prospective clients we couldn’t serve and the strong and growing community of marketing and sales leaders - and recognized an opportunity for IMPACT to deliver value to all of them, regardless of whether they were in a position to hire IMPACT for marketing services or a website redesign.
This opportunity was transforming IMPACT into a publisher.
It all started because he saw we were saying “no” when we could be saying “yes.”
We did all of this in an effort to be able to say “yes” and help more people and businesses.
It was a huge risk.
As an agency, we went against everything agencies are supposed to do and removed most of the information about our services from the homepage.
Imagine telling your CEO you’re going to do the same.
Believe me, I had my doubts, but everything I was seeing and reading underscored that this was the right move for us at the right time - and really it was the ONLY direction we could go if we truly wanted to embrace Bob’s publisher vision.
Last November, we debuted the homepage you see above, which features a picture from IMPACT Live 2017 and was very much the bridge between IMPACT the agency and IMPACT the publisher.
However, we realized that the vision could be even larger than this and today, we are building a full fledged media company that encompasses publishing, events, a thriving online community, educational resources, and yes, an agency.
A year ago we had marketing retainers and website projects.
Today, we’re working to offer value to you that doesn’t cost a thing like great educational content and webinars, affordable software tools like Vidyard, Lucky Orange, Sigstr, Databox and Accelo that help you do your job better and faster, support services to help you use them, and conferences and other in person events that deliver a helluva lot of bang for the buck.
And this is just the start.
Over the course of the next year, and the year after, and the year after that, expect to see more changes, because we’re listening.
Why Brands Need to Think (and Act) Like Media Companies
We’ve taken a set of actions to evolve into a publisher.
If you’re a regular reader of our content, or attend our webinars or live events, odds are you’ve heard us talk about why brands need to think like a media company/publisher too.
People don't want to be marketed to, but they DO want content.
People can easily spot and avoid marketing in today's world, but they actively seek out content that is helpful and educational, addressing their questions, problems, and challenges.
By thinking like a publisher and doubling down on the creation of high-quality, thought provoking, and educational content, not only will brands like yours naturally attract an audience, but that audience will be more likely to stick around and share that content with others like them.
"The absolute best way to start a business today is not by launching a product, but by creating a system to attract and build an audience. Once a loyal audience is built, on that loves you and the information you send, you can, most likely, sell your audience anything you want."
The truth is, we’re all on a journey going from doing just regular inbound and producing marketing content to something dramatically different, something of greater value, even outside of marketing.
Although this journey is unique, we have to be open to where we’re supposed to be versus staying stagnant and doing it like everybody else.
In IMPACT’s case, we’re doing things and going places that other agencies don’t do and wouldn’t do.
People have told us we can’t be a publisher AND be an agency, but our focus is YOU, and what YOU really want.
So, now I ask you…
What does YOUR customer really want? If you’re really listening, you will know when it's time to pivot, and you will know what that pivot should look like.
Does YOUR company have that same philosophy and mindset right now? Because this is the journey we’re all on.
If we’re truly obsessed with our customers and listening to them, they are going to show us what our next business model or offering is and how its supposed to evolve.
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