JRS is pleased to participate in this interview with Authority Magazine

Sell your skills — so many major corporations still don’t have a mature digital marketing department. If you don’t understand your value to the organization, you’re not able to communicate it to your superiors. Also, if you decide to consult or start your own enterprise, you’ll need to communicate to owners/staff/etc… the value of what you do.

Marketing a product or service today is easier than ever before in history. Using platforms like Facebook ads or Google ads, a company can market their product directly to people who perfectly fit the ideal client demographic, at a very low cost. Digital Marketing tools, Pay per Click ads, and email marketing can help a company dramatically increase sales. At the same time, many companies that just start exploring with digital marketing tools often see disappointing results.

In this interview series called “How to Effectively Leverage The Power of Digital Marketing, PPC, & Email to Dramatically Increase Sales”, we are talking to marketers, advertisers, brand consultants, & digital marketing gurus who can share practical ideas from their experience about how to effectively leverage the power of digital marketing, PPC, & email.

As a part of this series, I had the pleasure of interviewing Joseph Skibbie.

Joe has been helping businesses “#BeSeen” and “#BeHeard” for close to 20 years. A traditionalist who cut his teeth in the Financial Services Industry, Joe believes more business gets done with the shake of a hand than the click of a mouse. Joe understands the rapidly shifting Communications environment and brings his experience as a Small Business Advocate and Entrepreneur to his clients.

Joe has a grounding in traditional communications, yet understands how integrating digital marketing strategy can expand a campaign’s reach. Joe’s passion is helping his clients grow, Joe is anxious to help you #BeSeen and #BeHeard.

Thank you so much for joining us in this interview series! Before we dive in, our readers would love to “get to know you” a bit better. Can you tell us a bit about your ‘backstory’ and how you got started?

Sure thing, thank you for allowing me to participate. I started work with a privately held, Community Bank. We were as hands on as you can get, including hand delivery of monthly statements. I learned the importance of relationships in dealing with my superiors, community members, and fellow staff. I managed the annual marketing activities of the bank, including community reinvestment, ad portfolio management, and philanthropic giving. After six years as Marketing Director, I realized that banking wasn’t a dynamic enough industry for me and I needed a change. I moved to North Texas and ended up in a Public Policy role for the Plano Chamber of Commerce. This is actually where I developed an appreciation for digital marketing. Campaigns were starting to leverage the power of digital for fundraising, member engagement and campaign communications. After completing my MBA in Marketing Management at University of Dallas, I came back to Chicago and started JRS Marketing Communications.

Can you share a story about the funniest marketing mistake you made when you were first starting? Can you tell us what lessons or ‘takeaways’ you learned from that?

We pride ourselves on the long term client engagements we’ve developed. Effectively communicating the deliverables and providing honesty and clarity in our reporting. The only mistake I can recall is in how I handled one of our first customers. To put it lightly, we had ‘creative differences’. This client in particular had a view of how their website should look. One that we didn’t agree with. There was no steering this client away from the document they provided which was a word layout with numerous fonts, colors and sizes of text. Something that I would not have associated with the newly established agency. I hadn’t developed the skillset necessary to steer the client away from their desired design and ended up severing the agreement. While laughable now, it was a devastating failure for our first client engagement. Fortunately, we have a short memory and haven’t had to encounter a similar instance since.

None of us are able to achieve success without some help along the way. Is there a particular person who you are grateful towards who helped get you to where you are? Can you share a story?

There is not one, but numerous individuals along the way. Some for what they’ve taught me about how to perform, others for teaching me things I would not duplicate. I am a firm believer in the philosophy that you are the average of the five people you spend the most time with. I am always looking to meet and network with people to absorb a new perspective or way of doing things. A true experience sponge, always willing to receive new inputs.

What do you think makes your company stand out? Can you share a story?

Over the years, we’ve encountered numerous ‘marketing consultants’ and ‘digital marketing gurus’. As the years pass and the encounters increase, more and more of these folks come seeking opportunities at JRS Mar/Com. What makes us stand out is very simple. We do what we say, we implement our solutions with processes and procedures to make sure our deliverables are uniform, and our team is amazing.

You are a successful business leader. Which three character traits do you think were most instrumental to your success? Can you please share a story or example for each?

Thick skin — no one is going to gift you success, oftentimes, people are going to stand in your way or block your path to success. Unless you have mental toughness to overcome these perceived and real slights, you won’t make it very far.

Determination — Similarly, there are constant ups and downs on the journey of owning a small business. We’ve had 66% of our billings not renew in one year and we’ve had tech challenges almost shut us down. Some days are tougher than others, but a favorite college coach of mine, Gary Roach shared with me, ‘some days you’re the steamroller, some days you’re the pavement.’ That saying has gotten me through the tough times, whether I’m driving the steamroller, or underneath it.

Ability to Change — we’ve had two or three shifts in our structure, each time necessitated by changes in our service arena or customer base. If we stuck with one vision of how our company was going to function, we’d have been out of business a long time ago. You must remain flexible to customer demands. As the market shifts, you have to understand how that changes your deliverable and how you can structure a solution to meet the shifts.

Are you working on any exciting new projects now? How do you think that will help people?

We’re always evaluating new tools and products that can help our clients. Currently we’re looking at social audience research tools for media distribution and incorporating Interactive Video into our client engagements. We want to provide ‘wow worthy’ engagements that deliver online lead generation, increased social engagement and ultimately drives revenue.

Ok super. Now let’s jump to the main questions of our interview. As we mentioned in the beginning, sometimes companies that just start exploring with digital marketing tools like PPC campaigns often see disappointing results. In your opinion, what are a few of the biggest mistakes companies make when they first start out with digital marketing? If you can, please share an example for each.

Starting without goals or an end point in mind is the single biggest factor to failure in Digital Marketing campaigns. It just doesn’t translate. You wouldn’t go in to an ‘analog’ networking environment and tell one person you work in sales and the next person you work in manufacturing. You build awareness through repetition. That is singularly important in digital. After conducting the research to determine how people search for your product or service, you must present a unified front in online communications. This goes down to every detail, including how you reference your business in communications. From an SEO standpoint, it’s called Name, Address & Phone consistency and it includes every profile you open, every add you run, how you label images on your website, and the content of your web/blog copy. We’ve created a Project Strategy Map to document the steps necessary. You can find it here: https://jrsmarcom.com/digital-marketing-strategy/

If you could break down a very successful digital marketing campaign into a “blueprint”, what would that blueprint look like? Please share some stories or examples of your ideas.

While the components of each campaign are unique, the steps for increasing social audience engagement, maximizing search engine traffic, and augmenting traffic via paid channels are fairly uniform. We use the same brush strokes, just different colors where necessary. Again, the finer points of developing a strategy can be found via our online Project Strategy Map: https://jrsmarcom.com/digital-marketing-strategy/

Let’s talk about Pay Per Click Marketing (PPC) for a bit. In your opinion which PPC platform produces the best results to increase sales?

Social Media has been the traditional winner to educate, inform and incite purchase, but since COVID, prices have gone up 3–4X. We’ve been finding success in both Google Paid and Programmatic advertising at lower CPC’s, especially in the top of the funnel. Retargeting efficiencies allow for pinpoint precision in the application of client marketing spend.

Can you please share 3 things that you need to know to run a highly successful PPC campaign?

Relevant, revenue specific keywords

Accurate/succinct creative

Retargeting, no one takes desired conversion action on first visit to your site

Let’s now talk about email marketing for a bit. In your opinion, what are the 3 things that you need to know to run a highly successful email marketing campaign that increases sales?

What the customer wants to learn about

Where in the funnel email recipients are

Video — a video is worth a million words…

What are the other digital marketing tools that you are passionate about? If you can, can you share with our readers what they are and how to best leverage them?

Coca Cola doesn’t share the secret recipe, nor can we. ☹

Here is the main question of our series. Can you please tell us the 5 things you need to create a highly successful career as a digital marketer? Can you please share a story or example for each?

Never ending thirst for information (if you’re doing it the same way as last year, you ain’t doing it right) — we are constantly analyzing performance metrics from client campaigns. It’s how we were able to save budget resources to implement on more effective campaigns. Without understanding the environment, analyzing trends and reading up on current events, we would’ve missed major opportunities to keep client relationships thriving.

Understanding of information (how to read, analyze, and summarize data) — reports are great, but who’s gonna read them. By design, our small and mid-size business clients don’t want to get too deep into the data. That means we have to be able to give an executive summary on the various tasks executed on their behalf. Presenting a library of data in a way that communicates the results, without going too deep into details is a necessary skill.

Networking — this one will never be out of fashion. Whether it’s face to face, via zoom, or on social media (LinkedIn), you must stay in front of people to remain relevant. There is just so many messages, sent from so many people, that if you’re not in the mix, you’re out of sight/out of mind.

Sell your skills — so many major corporations still don’t have a mature digital marketing department. If you don’t understand your value to the organization, you’re not able to communicate it to your superiors. Also, if you decide to consult or start your own enterprise, you’ll need to communicate to owners/staff/etc… the value of what you do.

What books, podcasts, videos or other resources do you use to sharpen your marketing skills?

Jason Falls — Winfluence Podcast

Anything by Search Engine Journal

Digital Marketing Summit (attend)

The Hype Machine — Sinan Aral

Thank you for all of that. We are nearly done. Here is our final ‘meaty’ question. You are a person of great influence. If you could start a movement that would bring the most amount of good to the most amount of people, what would that be? You never know what your idea can trigger. 🙂

I am currently managing a PAC (political action committee) around voting rights and diversity, equity and inclusion. After feeling helpless over the last few years, both limited by the necessity of employment and choosing to invest time in being a good father, I thought that starting gennowpac.org would be a way to slowly impact change over the next 30–40 years of my life.

Also, aware of the challenges to accessing fresh fruits and vegetables in most minority communities, I started a Youtube podcast around three of my favorite things. Beats, Beds & Browns (www.beatsbedsbrowns.com) focuses on emerging hip hop artists, gardening (in all its forms, from homestead gardens to commercial ag interests), and brown spirits (whiskey/bourbon/etc…). Through conversations with industry representatives, we make gardening approachable for all levels and have a good time digging in to the creative mind behind some of the areas best artists.

How can our readers further follow your work?




This was very inspiring. Thank you so much for the time you spent with this!