Why I Made the Transition to Digital Marketing

Digital Marketing

In 2007, my partner Jim and I had taken the company we started together in a tiny little one-room office public.  Digital marketing was nowhere on my radar…

It was a great adventure, right up until when the financial crisis hit and micro-cap stocks lost over 90% of their value.  You learn more from adversity than you ever do from success.  You also learn a lot about the people you’ve surrounded yourself with when things get tough.  Jim and I were disappointed that the boisterous, arrogant investment bankers who initially told us to be aggressive were now cowering in fear and wanted us to hunker down.

The aggravation of it all was more than I could bear, and I made a very conscious decision to move out of broadcasting and take some time to figure out the next phase of my career.  But it was 2009/2010 and in those days you had to make your own opportunities.

I call 2010 my PhD year.  The writing was on the wall for broadcasting so I was putting that behind me.  Digital was clearly where things were headed, but the path was cloudy, at best.  It was the kind of path I knew would have to be forged, not followed.  There was no school, at least not in the traditional sense.

That’s a whole other story, though…

I immersed myself in every conference, workshop, and webinar I could find, with the goal of learning enough about what was happening on the leading edge of digital marketing so that I could begin building a business model.

After several iterations to get it right, we’ve now settled largely on what you will see unfold in this blog.  It’s a moving target, but the concepts we’re sharing here have real value and are relatively simple to apply to your own business.

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Steven Ludwig
After 3 decades as a professional marketer, serial entrepreneur and business consultant Steven Ludwig shares his best practices for small business marketing for owners, managers, and marketers with limited time, money, and expertise. Steven started his professional marketing career in broadcasting in the early ‘90s in Chicago after attending Valparaiso University. After a brief stint at an advertising agency specializing in entertainment and sports marketing where he worked with radio and television stations, movie theatre companies, record labels, musicians, and professional sports teams, he moved to Nashville to form The Marketing Group with his long-time business partner, Jim Wood. Having worked with some of the largest brands in the world, in 2010 he returned to local marketing primarily out of an interest and excitement for working with small business owners to build stronger companies. That desire comes out of early days in radio, where he worked closely with everything from car dealerships to restaurants, insurance and real estate agents, banks, home services companies, and specialty retailers of all kinds. Over the past decade, he has been on the bleeding edge of digital marketing technology, constantly seeking to understand complex strategies employed by giant corporations and then translate those capabilities into tactics small businesses can execute at a local level. Today, in addition to other business ventures with his wife and other long-time business partners, he still lives outside Nashville in Franklin, Tennessee and currently serves as Executive Chairman of EmpowerLocal, a digital marketing company building a nationwide network of digital, hyperlocal news and lifestyle publishers to provide efficient advertising opportunities for local, regional, and national brands.


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