When Single Throw Internet Marketing signed the Ray Catena family of luxury car dealerships on as a client, its first task was to rid the auto retailer of digital marketing “waste.”
Single Throw's founder and CEO, Larry Bailin, uses the unpleasant term to describe a phenomenon he finds equally vile: spending tens of thousands of dollars on Internet marketing strategies that just don't work.
Catena's existing digital marketing plan consisted largely of buying up search terms on Google and hoping they generated clicks from potential customers. The problem was, one of those search terms was "cheap used cars."
For a dealer specializing in Land Rovers, BMWs and Jaguars, those three words are pure blasphemy.
"I'm sure if Ray himself knew he was being associated with the word 'cheap,' he would have blown a gasket," said Bailin, who was honored last week as NJBIZ's Executive of the Year.
Re-evaluating that approach allowed the Wall-based Single Throw to save Catena $60,000 — and quadruple the auto dealer's return on its marketing investment, Bailin said.
"It's about getting to the right people, not a shotgun approach," he said. "That turns into revenue every time."
That has been Bailin's driving focus since the company launched in 2001: eliminating wasted dollars from already stretched marketing budgets and, most of all, generating leads for customers.
And not just leads — good leads that turn into paying customers.
"We're a sales organization, and that's how we position ourselves to our clients," Bailin said. "We're really good at finding customers, using the right tools in digital and converting them into long-term opportunities for our clients."
Bailin launched his digital marketing agency, somewhat ominously, on Sept. 11, 2001.
At the time, the "dot com" bubble had burst, and no one wanted to hear the word "Internet," Bailin recalled.
"When I started doing this in 2001, my job was completely to convince people that they need this," he said.
"But we haven't had to do that in a long time," he continued. "If you're in business, you realize the Internet is a critical component."
But that doesn't mean effective digital marketing strategies are easy to come by.
In September, Adobe released a study titled "Digital distress: What keeps marketers up at night?" which found that 61 percent of marketers surveyed believe digital marketing is a constant cycle of trial and error.
And just one in three marketers thinks their companies are highly proficient in digital marketing.
"Only approximately 15 percent of what is spent today on marketing is spent on digital," David Welch, Adobe's vice president for marketing insights and operations, said in an interview with CMO.com, an Adobe company. "This number is growing, of course, but it's still quite small relative to everything being spent across the board. So many marketers are still in learning mode and don't have a full appreciation of what digital is all about."
For Bailin, however, successful marketing in the digital space is his sole focus. So now that companies accept that the Internet is full of potential, the task falls to Bailin and his staff of around 40 to determine how those companies should use the Internet to maximize exposure and reach potential clients.
"You can't boil the ocean, so what do you pick and choose as the most important things?" Bailin said. "People are coming to us to, I guess, cut through the noise."
And to cut down on that pesky "waste."
That's the sort of approach that has worked for client Wilentz Goldman & Spitzer, a law firm based in Woodbridge, Bailin said.
The firm was having trouble generating solid leads from the Internet and its website, Bailin said. So Single Throw worked with the firm to identify potential clients by highlighting the different problems the firm could solve.
"People don't search for the solution; they search for the problem," he said. "(The firm is) actually signing more cases because they're showing up the right way in search engines."
Bailin, who said his company tracks and measures the success of its efforts religiously, found that Single Throw's digital strategy increased the number of Internet-born leads coming to the law firm fourfold.
"The website leads used to be garbage over there before," Bailin said. "Now they're coveted. They're the right leads."
And the philosophy at Single Throw is that if it works for their clients, it will work for the agency, too.
To that end, whatever the company advocates to its customers, it puts into practice with its own digital presence. And that has brought business to Single Throw.
Sara Lee is a Single Throw client that found its way to the company through the agency's website, Bailin said. The agency is also in talks with KEF, a Marlboro-based manufacturer of home theater equipment, after KEF contacted them through Single Throw's website, too.
"Your marketing company needs to practice what they preach," Bailin said. "We get the good leads, too."
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