About the interviewee
Mike Koehler, CEO and Chief Strategist, Smirk New Media
Koehler was in the newspaper business for 15 years, bouncing from newsrooms in Missouri, Oklahoma and Washington State, preaching about the need for transforming content and connection with readers. In 2010, Koehler launched Smirk New Media, a digital marketing firm in Oklahoma City, focusing on online strategy and content.
Tell me about your firm (number of employees, location, type of companies you work with, etc.).
Smirk New Media’s main office is in Oklahoma City with six full-time employees, as well as contractors around the region. We partner with agencies to provide social media services, as well as services small businesses all the way up to Fortune 500 companies.
Tell us about what you see as the challenge in reaching potential clients today.
We face a variety of challenges when reaching potential clients, especially as a firm offering the fairly new (and misunderstood) service of social media strategy and digital content creation and managment. We are sometimes facing clients who don’t fully trust and are uneducated by our services, or have worked with or hired someone who doesn’t possess the skills that our team offers.
What mistake do businesses make when it comes to client development?
The mistake I often see is that businesses will be all sell-sell-sell, especially in how they use the web to promote themselves and connect with potential clients. On both the client and provider side, there is a shocking lack of vetting, so both sides may end up getting burned by assuming what exactly the other knows.
Tell me how your approach is different.
As the owner of a social media and digital marketing consultancy, we faced the challenge of potential B2B clients in-sourcing those services with hires rather than outsourcing the work to us. When we saw that this internal competition was not always being successful for the customer, we diversified our offerings, emphasizing our ability to recruit, place and train employees by leveraging our expertise. We created a unique branding and website for this effort (SocialNetworkStaffing.net), which enabled us to have somewhere to steer prospects, no matter their depth of interest or future plans for our services.