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The Fleecing of Small Business - Predatory Marketing Parasites
The advent of the internet, its stringent standards governing who will be the coveted TOP result for any native search engine query (the place where money is truly made on the internet) and the inability of the typical business-decision-maker to decipher the ever-changing scam marketer acronym speak, rhetorical sales tactics selling themselves (takes consumers seven touches to feel comfortable, the customer path or journey, persona mapping) and flat out dishonest and dishonorable people who are in business for two reasons: to cheat businesses out of their money and set themselves up as a parasitic siphon on the business's cash flow has resulted in the redistribution of hard earned money to ne'er-do-well marketing parasites. It is happening every day all over Milwaukee metro and America.
This review is one case study. Everything you are about to read is TRUE, actually happened AND even as this individual fleecing of a small business is being documented MORE are coming to light. Check back often for the next editions of The Fleecing of Small Business.
Edenwood Ranch & Preserve, just a couple hours north of Milwaukee, is a sportsman’s paradise, full of trophy elk, fallow deer, white tail, and glamping. Edenwood’s business plan appears solid, so let’s break down how it was dragged through a morass and left for dead by a top-of-the-heap marketing parasite agency.
“I couldn’t make this up if I tried,” said Edenwood owner Kevin Schmid.
Smooth-talking marketing sales snakes love to troll tradeshows. The disrespect of trying to sell you when you are paying for the opportunity to retain clients is the first red flag. A manager from Edenwood Ranch became caught in a predatory marketing web at a sports show. The favorite target is a middle manager who will feel safe behind jargon and nonsense reports after needless meetings.
The owner of Edenwood Ranch & Hunting Preserve hires good people and tries to allow them to do their job. By the time he sensed and realized something was horribly wrong Edenwood had been charged $40,000 for a template website, $24,000 for a two-day video shoot, $2,000 per month for two years pay-per-click (which translated to ZERO sales in two full years), and another $20,000 for a tradeshow debacle (the details of which are difficult to fully process and believe could be possible).
Hear that? Baaaah is the sound of a perfectly innocent business getting FLEECED. Sadly it really sounds like this: cha-ching cha-ching CHA-CHING!
In total, Edenwood Ranch & Preserve lost $132,000 of their hard-earned money. Money taken for “marketing” with no chance of generating even the cost back. NONE of the services Edenwood paid these bloodsuckers for translated into profitable business. Imagine the client’s conversation over dinner one night:
“How was your day, hunny?”
“Oh, not so great…wasted $132,000 on some marketing vermin, and our business still hasn’t turned a dime of profit. Please pass the green beans?”
Kevin Schmid from Edenwood realized what he thought was an investment in building his new business was money completely lost that would never be recouped much less deliver any ROI… But that is okay because as you will soon read digital marketing is not quantifiable in terms of ROI... At least that’s what the parasites say to keep businesses in the trough they feed from.
The parasite marketing pretenders must have figured their floor wasn’t high enough because they flew in on a helicopter. Yep, a helicopter. Despite Edenwood Ranch being only a couple hours north of the Greater Milwaukee area, these clowns apparently decided to live it up since they weren’t the ones paying. After the crew arrived, owner Kevin Schmid received a phone call from his wife. “There’s a giant helicopter parked out front. Yes, a helicopter. You had better get home.” The helicopter wasn’t used for filming, just transportation…not one single shot, despite all of the aerial opportunities.
Rodents typically want little more than food and maybe a place to live, and so it makes perfect sense these web marketing vermin spent two days making the video and demanded free food and lodging. They were living the parasitic marketing dream in every regard. And as for the business they were working for, who doesn’t love a good crew of moochers? Rumor has it these marketing rats used to have a lawn service called Front Yard Technology. It failed when people refused to let them eat dinner or sleep over.
The web flooring tech rats hired “professional” models for the video who never showed up. Client to the rescue Edenwood used their own employees. Doesn’t that seem like the way it should have been planned from the beginning?
Eventually the bottom line blood-sucking parasites were done partying on Edenwood’s dime and whatever else this masquerade of a videoshoot was for them. Before Edenwood’s owner could get home from his other business and call out, “Don’t let the door hit you in the—” they wanted to get out of town, BUT the helicopter would NOT start. What to do? Stuck, client on the way to figure out what the hell was going on, Mayday! Mayday! Mayday! Helicopter won’t start! Mayday, the marketing parasites scrambled like roaches at the flip of a light switch to get out of there. Edenwood had a helicopter as a daily visual reminder on their front lawn of the regret sinking in fast and deep.
The finished video was a poorly contrived hodgepodge with pictures integrated and soap opera music, but then what can you expect for a $24,000 two-day job? That’s 24K IF you don’t include food and luxury lodging. The moral to this segment of the TRUE story is template website developers who sell pay-per-click, banners ads and social media management shouldn’t be hired to shoot or edit video...they shouldn't be hired at all.
A BRIEF INTERMISSION: This Review is ALL 100% TRUE
iNET’s team of videographers later shot a replacement video for a fraction of the cost in 1 day. The iNET team drove there in a trusty automobile, ate their own food and used iNET’s state-of-the-art drone for aerial shots. The finished result was, in Kevin Schmid’s own words, exponentially better AND was one-fourth the cost (no need to put a value on food, room and board).
While the video was a bad experience but by itself just a $24,000 loss (if you don’t count food, room and board, plus the massive frustrations), the tradeshow refuses to take second fiddle in this calamity without at least being presented for consideration. Unfortunately for Edenwood – and maybe the worst marketing company ever – what happens in Las Vegas DOESN’T really stay in Vegas. Some handouts DO though.
It’s hard to fathom the stupidity required to conclude people walking through a show in a huge convention center would WANT or even consider carrying a big brown cardboard box around, or back to the hotel or on the plane. Rodents like to chew cardboard so maybe that had something to do with this "marketing" decision? The floorboard-dwelling tech rats hired models to hand out 16’’ x 12’’ cardboard boxes with a 35 mm printed picture on top and a flashdrive inside… And nothing more. Everybody entering the show was given the Edenwood box (but wait, their name was NOT Edenwood then, that piece still to come). Every single attendee pocketed the flashdrive and threw the rest of the box away on the floor.
iNET would have recommended nice bags to make carrying everything you get at a big show easier. But for parasitic marketing people it is about how much money you can get out of the client, NOT how much you can make them, and they needed to justify the $20,000 they billed Edenwood. They hired models, they came up with a marketing gimmick to make an impression, and they did. Imagine how delegitimizing handing those boxes out was in the eyes of show attendants. BUT wait... there is MORE.
What’s in a Name?!
Sometimes a true story just makes your skin crawl like a flea-bitten rat, and this one is getting there, don’t you think? These marketing technology gurus had another idea so dim you might wonder if they were out to intentionally sabotage “Edenwood.” Originally the luxury hunting and northwoods vacation estate was named Little Tex Hunts. Well, when you are a big shot king of the marketing sewer you know instinctively how businesses should be named. Naming is part of who you are. You name marketing unquantifiable in order to explain to logical business people why they should pay for something that generates no ROI, and you name yourselves with titles like Paid Search Specialist, Digital Marketing Specialist and Social Media Manager, Digital Marketing Consultant and Account Supervisor.
The name these savants of parasitic marketing picked (and they loved their pick) was in use and Federally Trade Mark protected by a direct competitor in Michigan. “Are you sure this is all legal?” asked Kevin Schmid repeatedly, only to be assured by the parasites all the rights to the name were taken care of. “Don’t worry about it, just trust us,” they insisted. Imagine Kevin’s surprise when just a half hour into the show he was called to his booth because a VERY irate gentleman needed to talk to him. When he got to the booth the gentleman had left and left a message: "The first $250,000 I am going to spend suing you will be just to show you I’m serious; the second will be to recover damages."
Next thing you know, Edenwood owner Kevin Schmid found himself facing a half a million dollar lawsuit full blown with blustering attorneys and his reputation as a member of good standing in the business community very seriously impacted. Edenwood discovered the wannabe web rats never looked into anything legal. They didn’t take his concerned questioning seriously and lied about researching or clarifying the legality of its use. A mere 3 months later – after changing the title and logo on all of their branding, business cards, mailers, ranch towels, vehicle graphics, etc. – they had to change the name AGAIN, this time to Edenwood Ranch & Preserve.
PROFITLESS Template Website: $40K?
Edenwood was charged $40,000 for a small, generic template website a kid in a basement could set up as well or better than they had by simply going to a template site platform and entering minimal data. The web flooring tech rats didn’t understand Edenwood’s business, filling the site with WRONG information, including stating Edenwood does helicopter transportation (they never did and never even entertained the idea). Could it be these leeches were trying to justify their big shot adventures to fleece Edenwood with the video? Did they have delusions of turning their broken down helicopter into another siphon on Edenwood’s bottom line? Really, how does a marketing company write that a company, who never did and never even considered helicopter transportation, provides helicopter transportation for their clients? Where is Paul Harvey? We really need to know the rest of the story on the helicopter.
Edenwood had to fight with the marketing vermin just to get blatant lies removed from their overpriced website. Of course, Edenwood was then charged huge amounts by the marketing vermin to correct their own mistakes. Tens of THOUSANDS of dollars later, there were still NO customers from anything the parasites did.
At the hands of what you would have to assume was a Paid Search Specialist, pay-per-click went on for two years at $2,000 per month. Pay-per-click was a direct bleed from Edenwood’s bottom line. The only calls that came to Edenwood from pay-per-click were solicitors. That is who clicks paid ads: your competitors and people wanting to sell you things. Many times Edenwood attempted to cut their losses and cancel the costly PPC campaign, but the web rats resisted. “Just trust us,” they would say. “We know better than anybody,” they pleaded. And at the end of the day, how is a person with multiple businesses, even one business to run and a family to care for, supposed to know the marketing people they had entrusted were actually parasites with the one goal: to GET money FROM Edenwood for themselves.
$132,000 and two full years lost because marketing people do what will get them money, forsaking what is in the best interest of the businesses they are working for. The Edenwood team still feels violated and likely always will. Worst of all, other businesses are having the same thing done to them right now.
Here we come to save the Day – iNET… Shining a light on false and parasitic marketing
It was already demonstrated how iNET did better videos with a fraction of the budget and zero inconvenience. With a smaller budget, iNET built an exponentially better website structured and designed entirely to sell Edenwood's services. And with ten percent of the budget, iNET SEO wizards got Edenwood more real leads in the first TWO MONTHS than a wannabe parasite marketing agent did in TWO FULL YEARS.
From Kevin Schmid owner of Edenwood, “iNET is open, honest, and doesn’t offer pie in the sky. When they say they’re going to do something, it gets done – the client never has to ask again. The account reps are transparent, explaining everything thoroughly. Above all, results are measurable. They understand your industry and don’t try to change your business into a competitor’s trademark. Everything iNET does Makes Me Money.”
Businesses like Edenwood Ranch & Preserve with owner Kevin Schmid are completely ideal for a truly dominant branding agency. When marketing makes him money, Kevin increases his marketing budget. It’s a night and day difference.
Is Your Wisconsin Marketing Agent Fleecing Your Business: "Yes" to one or more confirms what you already know.
- Are you asked to meet with your marketing agent far more times than seem necessary?
- Do you pay your employees to review unquantifiable, in terms of results, marketing expenditures?
- Does your Paid Search Specialist beg you not to turn off pay-per-click?
- Is your business marketed with pay-per-click?
- Have you been told even though no one is buying anything or making contact from pay-per-click or retargeted ads they are two of your seven unquantifiable impressions?
- Do you have a Social Media Manager?
- If you put any other business’s logo in place of yours would your website represent their business equally as well as it represents your business?
- Does your marketing feel like an expense?
- Is there no ROI to speak of in relation to your marketing?
- Did your marketing guru try to change your business name?
- Did your marketing guy ride in on a big white helicopter?
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