A Little Bit About Me

Posted on: November 10, 2011

Thank you for visiting the site and for checking out my blog—your comprehensive source for inbound internet marketing insights and information!

My name is Ben Landers and my goal is simple (yet lofty):

I want to radically change the way you think about and approach advertising and marketing AND convince you to use data and technology to measurably improve your marketing performance.

Why should you listen to me?

Good question… Before I answer the question, let me tell you how I got here.

After graduating from Ohio University, I started my career in the late ’90s as an early employee of HotJobs.com. Although this was the tail end of the dot-com era, brace yourself… this isn’t some get-rich-quick story you’re about to read.

I was selling recruitment advertising and web-based recruitment software to companies in the Midwest—specifically, Indiana and Southeastern Ohio (talk about a hotbed of tech activity!). Back then, companies were spending millions to advertise their jobs in the print newspapers. As part of the digital generation, I remember thinking, “That’s crazy—what .NET developer is going to look through the jobs section of the newspaper—they’d be online!” To me, any company advertising their jobs in print, might as well include a byline in the ad that says something like, “We’re a stodgy old company, averse to modern technology. We use typewriters instead of computers. Better join us quickly because we probably won’t be in business in three years.”

So my job was to convince these slow-to-change Midwestern companies that advertising their jobs in print was out and that the internet was in. I didn’t get rich, but it was a fantastic opportunity. Not only did I learn a ton about online marketing and web development, I also learned a lot about sales. By the time HotJobs was initially acquired (by Yahoo!), my stock options were underwater (worthless) and I was ready for a change.

My career took some interesting turns over the next four years—including a stint at technology giant (and epic fail) MCI/WorldCom and a few years running the DC office for a small sports marketing agency (at the time, I was a semi-professional cyclist). It was through the sports marketing agency, I met Phil Coupe. Phil was the vice president of DrinkMore Water, a regional bottled water company serving the MD/DC/VA area (which is where I grew up). Phil was moving back to his home state of Maine and suggested I take his place working directly for Bob Perini, the founder and CEO of DrinkMore.

I remember at the time thinking, “What in the world am I doing—I’ve gone from high-flying dot-com to the largest meltdown in corporate history (next to Enron) to a sports marketing firm, and now I’m interviewing with a guy that runs a local bottled water delivery company?”

Then I met with Bob.

I remember a handful of things from my first meeting with Bob. Bob wore a baseball hat, a T-shirt, and khaki shorts (sans belt). He was incredibly charismatic and radiated a confidence you just don’t find that often. I remember him asking me about my goals (to own my own business within five years… the only thing stopping me was the right idea) and explaining to me some of his. He wanted to grow DrinkMore Water—fast. DrinkMore was spending a lot of money on “traditional” advertising. Bob wanted to create a system to accurately track all of his advertising strategies—from event sponsorships to print Yellow Pages ads. He also wanted to go “all in” with online marketing and evolve DrinkMore’s (at the time) eight-page brochure website.

Just over four years after I met Bob, we had built a system to accurately and quantify every single advertising and marketing strategy DrinkMore employed. We used the system to confidently eliminate over $120,000 in print Yellow Pages advertising—something that sounds like a no-brainer now, but this was back during a time period when nearly every business owner was INCREASING their spend and ad sizes.

We took a fraction of the money saved and went “all in” with online marketing. We re-built DrinkMore’s primary website and launched an e-commerce site, as well as several other niche websites to promote various aspects of DrinkMore’s business. DrinkMore’s original website has less than 1,000 visits per month. Today, DrinkMore’s main website alone generates close to 10,000 visits per month. A single DrinkMore website generates more sales than every other DrinkMore marketing strategy combined (including referrals). Not too shabby.

The birth of Blue Corona

In the summer of 2007, on my 31 birthday, Bob and I set in motion a new business concept. At a small deli in Rockville, MD, we decided that I would take the ad-tracking framework we had created for DrinkMore and my online marketing expertise and start a new company to do for others what we had done for DrinkMore (using DrinkMore’s data as our initial case study).

In January 2008, Blue Corona was born.

Today, I’m the president and CEO of Blue Corona, one of the country’s fastest growing and most successful web marketing and SEO companies. Through Blue Corona, I’ve personally helped over 100 companies accurately track every single advertising strategy—highlighting ineffective strategies and eliminating them—and use inbound marketing strategies such as pay per click (PPC) advertising and search engine optimization (SEO) to double, triple, and even quadruple the leads and sales they receive from the web!

Why you should hire me.

My sales pitch is simple. Technology and data have forced the world of advertising and marketing to change. Traditional marketing strategies many companies previously used to generate growth are broken and cannot be fixed. They are (rapidly) being replaced with new strategies and tactics such as content marketing, inbound marketing, mobile, PPC, SEO, social, and more. To succeed, you need to become fluent in the new language of marketing—which is a combination of accounting, copywriting, statistics, sales, and science.

You can try to get up to speed with all of this on your own, or you can engage me and/or Blue Corona and we’ll take you from zero to 100 in a tenth of the time it would take you on your own.

So, take a look around my site or visit Blue Corona. Sign up for my email newsletter and subscribe to this blog. I eat my own cooking—providing as much free, valuable content as I can reasonably produce (and, as a result, a graph of either my web traffic or inbound leads looks a lot like a hockey stick). That said, I also receive visits from a lot of competitors, so recognize that I’ll always reserve my best ideas for my current clients!

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