John Corcoran 4:35
Yeah. And it was like obviously way before madman came out, but But you had an image of it that there was something more exciting about it.
Pat McGovern 4:45
It was just it just seemed crazy. It just seemed like wait, people pay you money to produce ads that sell toilet paper. What What are you talking about? So it just drew me It drew me in and all the stories about advertising and it just seemed fascinating. And so I just like I said, I gravitated toward that. And you studied journalism.
John Corcoran 5:08
Was that because that, that you knew that that’d be a good career for going into? copywriting?
Pat McGovern 5:16
Yeah. So it was, it was how the school was organized back then. And again, this was a million years ago. It was a school of journalism. And then within that school, they had different kinds of sequences, they call them. So one of them was advertising. So you could go into the advertising sequence, like another one would be more of kind of print journalism at the time, right. So if you wanted to be a reporter, if you want to get, you know, into, you know, magazines or newspapers, I think there was another sequence on on strictly PR, so they have those different kinds of venues, I chose to advertising, again, for the reasons that I just told you. So it was, it was a crazy, it’s been a crazy profession. But it’s one that I feel kind of lucky because I actually went to school to be in the space. And that’s what I’m doing. So you
John Corcoran 6:06
actually did a lot of copywriting. Eventually, early in your career, actually, you worked for a couple of different FunJet vacations and sun country airlines. Dramatic and sounds a little bit more exotic than it actually was. But what was what was that experience? Like you’re selling, you know, kind of trying to the goal is to fill a plane of people going on vacation somewhere exotic?
Pat McGovern 6:30
Yeah, yeah, it was, um, the travel space is really, really fascinating. That part of the travel space was very retail driven, right? And what I mean by that, you know, I think of like somebody who owns a store, every day, you know, how you did, right? You know, who came in the store, and how many sales you got. And the working at FunJet was very much like that. So to give people an idea of what we’re trying to do is, you charter a plane, what does that mean? It means you’ve got control of that plane, you own all the seats on that plane, you might have about 154 seats that we’re going to Cancun, if that plane left full, you’re making money. If that plane is in full, you can lose money, you can lose a lot of money. So and it’s such a volatile industry, right? Gas prices go up plane fuel goes up. You’re talking about pennies, it’s a game of pennies that will make or break you. So it’s every day you’re hammering it out, you’re grinding and out trying to get trying to get a sale. So you’re going to amazing places, but But behind the curtain, it’s it’s it’s a bit rough and tumble.
John Corcoran 7:42
And you were in this industry when 9/11 happened when Yeah, of course travel, you know, completely collapse for a period of time. What was that? Like?
Pat McGovern 7:51
It was it was very, very scary. It really no one knew what was going to happen. You don’t you’ve heard all kinds of stories. I mean, literally no planes at all were flying in, then how do you get people back to flying? And how fast is that going to go? And it was it was very much of a wait and see what’s going to happen? No one really, no one really knew. And, you know, a lot of companies went under a lot of companies got hurt very, very badly. It was a really scary time. I mean, there was massive layoffs throughout the industry. You know, what’s crazy, John, as you fast forward a little bit in the industry bounce back, like let’s go even forward now. Right? March 13, march 13 2020, for me is the day the world shut down? Yeah. And travel gets decimated again. You look at the numbers. Today. You read the reports, and it’s like, travels back, and it’s gonna be back bigger than ever. It’s yeah, it has. It’s very cool. It has a lot of ups and downs, which is part of the appeal. Right. You know, that’s, that’s definitely part of the appeal in that space.
John Corcoran 8:59
Yeah. Some of the work that you do now, though, is more in the higher education space. And you got a variety of different clients that you work with. Which, since you mentioned, the pandemic, what was that experience like for you? You’re at Ascedia at this point. Sure. And all of the clients that you’re working with, you’re helping clients to on a digital transformation and upgrade their website and things like that. Right. And for many clients, I’m sure this was a day of reckoning, and they realize like, we need to put a lot more into digital.
Pat McGovern 9:31
Yeah, yeah. So again, we let’s let’s let’s go, let’s hit the rewind button and go back to the 13th of March and 2020. Jan, marketing and advertising is they are the canary in the coal mine, right when things get pulled back. That’s the first to get hit by it. And we all knew what was coming. Okay, if everybody’s going home, business is going to be cut. And that’s going to be marketing. And that’s really going to mean advertising. and people are just going to be pulling back. That’s what I thought. In so for a while, it was very scary. And what happened was, the ball just bounced our way a bit. People didn’t cut back as much as we thought, some business that that people that we thought might go away came back, people invested a little bit. So at the end of the day, I don’t want to sound like make it sound like it was, it was fantastic. It wasn’t it was a very scary time. But we had a number of things just go our way. So we made it through that whole whole process. What was interesting about it, then is people’s how they perceive that and what how they viewed things, that where things were going. And they’re really basically kind of two camps. The camps. First one is what you mentioned, John is, yeah, I’ve been caught flat footed in the digital space, and I need to amp up my game. That’s one camp. The other camp was, you know, what, everything’s gonna come back just a matter of time. Okay, you know, things just don’t come back. There’s always changes, it’s always a little different. And those organizations, I think, suffered from that, from that kind of approach.
John Corcoran 11:22
It was one of the higher education, you know, you work with law schools and universities and things like that, you know, that was a massive change. I know, my wife works in higher education. So, you know, her and her school, they’re now January 2023, there’s still classes that are not back in person. Are there people that are still doing all their classes remotely? Sure. It’s definitely it’s definitely affected that industry tremendously. Yeah.
Pat McGovern 11:45
So let’s just take on the higher ed for a minute, because it’s a fascinating industry. Right. John, as you mentioned, I’m in Milwaukee, we’re in part of the Midwest, the Midwest is being decimated right now in the higher ed space. Why? Because the demographics aren’t in our favor at all, it was cliff, and it’s happening big time.
John Corcoran 12:02
So longer people are moving away to the coasts, or what is the know, it
Pat McGovern 12:07
just there’s less population of younger people going to college? Right? All right. So you’ve that got that factor in there, okay, then you’ve got a factor of there are just less males interested in going to school? There’s a big push on, like, do I really need a college education, especially if it’s going to cost me $200,000 a year. Right. So you’ve got that factor playing in which means schools are very, very competitive for bodies. So where they have an in, I give it to, I give it to higher education, as opposed to maybe another space, like manufacturing, higher education has realized for a number of years that they their website is critical for bringing in new students and prospects. Where they, I believe suffer is in how they market to the students, especially in a digital way. And now it’s been it’s, it’s, it’s gonna continue to be a rough period of time for again, a number of schools within the Midwest, Northeast, especially out there in California, John, your guys aren’t gonna suffer as much from them just because of the population, demographics the way they are. But a lot of schools are really going to be suffering. And the pandemic didn’t help them at all. I mean, they sunk a ton of money into things just like vaccinations, testing, plexiglass, right? I mean, just putting all those things up trying to keep their staff safe. You know, some of these schools just didn’t have the have the the war chest this is some of these bigger institutions do so bad. I
John Corcoran 13:39
imagine it also just mentally, there’s got to be a lot of institutional. What’s the word? Inertia? Where people don’t want to feel like, well, we’re higher education. We can’t be running Facebook ads. We can’t be running Google ads. Do you experience that? Are we past that point now? Yeah,
Pat McGovern 13:59
yeah, it’s it. I would say in a large part, it has turned a corner. But you know, not as fit. Let’s, let’s put it like this. John, when I just throw out a couple industries to you, if I were just to say, hey, tech, or automotive or higher education, you want to put higher education in the category of fast moving, you know, just not right. I mean, they’re not. They’re not built for speed.
John Corcoran 14:26
Right. Yep. Yeah. Deliberately. So they’re not built for speed. Yeah, right. Great.
Pat McGovern 14:30
I mean, there’s there’s pluses and minuses with that. Unfortunately, they’re suffering some of the the minuses from it in a big way.
John Corcoran 14:36
Yeah. Yeah. So what about some of the other companies that you did see, really move quickly, and, you know, upgrade their website and adopt other digital strategies during the
Pat McGovern 14:49
pandemic? Yeah, you know, what my experience has been is they are much better positioned then than the plate plate players who did not And, uh huh, in that in combines two things, right, that combines, they’ve realized that we’re going to need to, we’re going to invest in the website and really think about it as an important marketing tool. And then we’re going to really have to invest in some of the, in some of the tactics in order to drive people to our website. And additionally, we’re going to need to ratchet up content. So the net net of this is, yeah, those players, those players were are having good years. And in fact, in manufacturing, some of these players are really, really having strong years, despite some of the like, the huge setbacks that the whole economy encountered that and by that, I mean, supply chain, lack of trying to get people to work at these places, right, which is a major, major hurdle as well. Yeah,
John Corcoran 15:53
yeah. What about the local travel companies he worked with? He worked with a number of travel bureaus and things like that, that, you know, for them. It must have been a rough go, especially 2020.
Pat McGovern 16:03
Yeah, try again, travel, travel, travel got decimated travel is a space that is is that got hurt. There’s no question about that. But that all depends too. On these, the types of certain areas got hurt more than others. By that. I mean, here in the here in Wisconsin, in other places, you know, the drive business actually picked up a great deal during COVID, just because people want to get out. At some points. They were literally closing national parks down because of amounts of traffic coming in, right. We had that in, in Wisconsin as well, in different places. Again, drive markets really experienced an uptick. Other places that were, let’s say, you know, in, over in Europe, they suffered dramatically button. Here’s the thing. Now, again, these are all bouncing back. And I think the slowest one is probably cruises, because of the I think the perceived,
John Corcoran 17:05
yeah, well, I mean, the pandemic, right. I mean, there was there was there was off the coast to here is
Pat McGovern 17:11
still out there, isn’t it?
John Corcoran 17:11
I think so. It was horrible.
Pat McGovern 17:15
Yeah. But you know, that will come that will come around, as well as people kind of like, as we move more, more away from, you know, people’s worries about that, that will come back. Yeah, you know, you’ve dropped the price low enough, and people will go, what are
John Corcoran 17:28
you looking at it right now, in terms of, you know, digitization and digital strategies that are working? Well, we’ve got the proliferation of different you know, social media channels, tik, Tok, Instagram, YouTube, Facebook, a lot of these big tech companies. And so a lot of companies are putting energy and effort into that. And then there’s also looks like there can be backlash against those things. There’s, there’s talk of, of regulating those industries more so. So how much energy do you have the clients put into their website versus all these different social channels?
Pat McGovern 18:05
Yeah, it’s, it’s all? If it’s the short answer, John, is this, put all your chips into all of it, is do as much as you can? Okay, that said, you have to look at this realistically, like people don’t have budgets that will most people, most of the clients that we’re dealing with, don’t have budgets that are gonna go for all of that. So you have to start thinking about it in phases. All right. Is your house in order? What do I mean by your house? Do you have your website? I mean, is that in good shape? When’s the last time you fixed it? Who’s working on it? Like, could you find information? Clearly? Do you have enough information on that? Right? Let’s just go through a couple of those things. You check yes to all those. Awesome, that’s great. Now, let’s start talking about are we driving enough people enough traffic to your site? Alright, and what’s the best way of going about that? Now, again, I would look at those social channels and say, All of those are important. What’s important for your specific type of business? If you’re manufacturing widgets, heavy duty manufacturing, you know what tic tac may not be the right place to start with? Right? Maybe let’s start talking about a little bit more LinkedIn. And how do we post content there? Right, let’s start talking about those types of things. Let’s start talking about your email campaigns. And what are you doing to just connect with those people who you already have a relationship with? UNQUOTE, right, let’s start there. But everything’s on the table. It’s just a matter of when. Yeah, right. Yeah. That’s how that’s how that’s how that’s how I’m looking at it in terms of where things are going. John. There’s a couple of trends that are really really important. You hit on one of them with tick tock in and put it like tick tock slash YouTube. There are form video is exploding. So no matter what you’re reading about, that is a place to indefinitely invest in and that’s going to continue. As people have shortened attention spans, that’s going to continue to be a very, very smart place to go. campaigns like ABM Account Based Marketing programs What this basically is without getting too wonky or too far in the weeds is basically a, a targeted type of campaign. And this was great in the ABM space, or excuse me b2b space, where you’re trying to really get in front of key decision makers, that might be a CFO, that might be a head of sales, that might be somebody in HR. So these targeted types of digital campaigns are going to continue to get investment. Especially if the economy, you know, goes a little south, right? Everybody’s talking about recession, how hard we’re going to hit, is it going to be a soft landing? Is it not going to be? I think those areas that when the people I’ve talked to, it’s those areas that are able to people are able to see the kind of results, they’re getting ROI, and be accountable for them. See, again, the results. That’s what that’s what’s going to get the investment.
John Corcoran 20:56
Pat any final thoughts before we wrap things up on what you’re seeing in the marketplace, with some of the companies you’re working with and what’s working in digital?
Pat McGovern 21:08
If you’re thinking about reinvesting if you’re thinking about moving forward with your website, you’re probably too late. The time is now to start doing those types of things. So that that train has left, it’s time to catch up if you’re not going down that path. So that’s where I would put that it’s where I would put things that’s just not my opinion. That’s just the way the world is going. Yeah,
John Corcoran 21:30
it definitely go check out Pat’s website, Ascedia.com. Talk about a slick website that is also really laid out in a way you can find the information that you’re looking for. Yeah, it’s really, really well designed. Where can people go to check it out and learn more information about your pet?
Pat McGovern 21:51
Thanks, John. Yeah, hit me up on LinkedIn, Pat McGovern, on LinkedIn, I’m on that quite a bit. And also check out over a pint marketing, some great podcasts on there as well. Definitely go check that out. All right, Pat. Thanks so much, John. Thanks for having me on the show. This is awesome.
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