What Chicago Taught Me About Digital Marketing.


What Chicago Taught Me About Digital Marketing.

What Chicago Taught Me About Digital Marketing.


From YMG – The Award-Winning Digital Marketing Agency in Chelmsford, Essex.


Recently I took a trip to the Windy City itself, Chicago.

Whilst there I realised something – my experience would make an excellent blog for the relevance of good digital marketing in the modern world.

But what does my trip have to do with online marketing? Well, I present to you an analogy.

Imagine Chicago as the internet. The busy gridiron streets as a search result. Me being a potential customer looking for what your business offers. The various convenience stores being results.

With that analogy in mind, here is what Chicago taught me about digital marketing.


Consistency Is Key.

Having not been in the states for at least 10 years, I was unfamiliar with many food establishments and convenience stores.

Whilst walking down the streets of Chicago, I looked for a place to pick up basic supplies for my stay. I decided not to simply go into the first place I saw. I had time. I was going to stake out my surroundings. After a while, I noticed something. Every few streets I was seeing a 7-eleven. All within a minute walk of each other. So, after realising they must be reliable, I had made my choice and became a customer.

I chose 7-eleven because I had already seen it several times over.

Furthermore, I remembered seeing advertisements for 7-eleven on the train from the airport and on top of taxis on the short walk to my hotel. They were exposed to me before I needed what they offered. So, when I was ready, I converted.

Now, I’m not suggesting opening several stores in downtown Chicago. But, as this is an analogy, let’s use what happened to me and put it into the context of digital marketing.

Your mailing list and Facebook advertisements are the consistent exposure to your potential customer. They know about your business before they need it. So, by the time they’re ready to convert, your business is already in their mind. Furthermore, with a good SEO ranking, these two factors combine to a high conversion rate.

Ergo, consistency is key. In both physical and online marketing.

(See, you didn’t think I’d get there. But I did.)


Brand Colours.

During my trip, I’m not sure that any business I purchased from more than once didn’t have colours that stood out and suited their brands. Dunkin’ Donuts, Baskin Robins, Starbucks, and 7-Eleven all have distinct brand colours.

And no, I didn’t only consume donuts, milkshakes, iced coffee, and cans of energy drink my entire trip. Yet, they are the only businesses I can remember – most likely to do with their brand colours.

So, let’s break down why their colours work:

  • Dunkin’ Donuts – Pink & Orange. Suggestive of something fun and sweet.
  • Baskin Robins – Blue & Pink. Once again suggestion of a treat and something playful.
  • Starbucks – Green, White & Black. Colours evoke a premium feel. Better than the rest.
  • 7-Eleven – Green, White, Red and Orange. A mixture of colours representing a small amount of everything. Like a convenience store should.

As well as these brands having these colours in their logos, they also represent these colours in their stores.

So, let’s translate this to the world of online marketing.

Something as simple as the colours of your brand says a lot about your business. And sometimes, in the online world, a logo is all a potential client will see. So, it’s important your brand colours say the right thing about your business. Are you friendly and approachable? Are you new and cutting edge? Are you prestigious and high end? What do your branding colours say?

This principle will also be attached to your website.

If your online site features colours that don’t reflect your business, your customers will become less likely to convert. It may also result in your website gaining a high bounce rate, which will lower its SEO.

So, in conclusion, I was attracted to these businesses by their brand colours. Likewise, customers will be attracted to your website and business through your brand colours. So, pick them carefully, and reap the benefits it brings.

To read more about branding colour, click here.


The Power of Recommendations.

I was in the Windy City. So, of course, I wanted to try an authentic deep-dish pizza.

Every pizzeria boasts that it serves ‘the best deep-dish pizza in Chicago’. There’s a lesson to be learned here immediately – just because everybody is doing something, it doesn’t mean it’s good. Stand out, don’t copy.

Anyway, back to the pizza!

Everywhere boasted that it served the best in Chicago. So, where did I go? To the place I had been recommended – Lou Malnati’s.

And I know you’re dying to know if it was good. Well, I’m here to tell you that, yes, yes it was. So good in fact that my cousin and I went back there several days later.

One recommendation turned into two separate sales for that pizzeria. Which of course is good in any line of business.

But how do we translate recommendations to marketing and your online presence?

Of course, things like Google Reviews and Yelp are a good example of this. Yet, reviews and recommendations stretch further than that. With social media websites like Facebook and Twitter, one review can go global in an instant. Of course, the beauty of the modern age is that, depending on your industry, you may be able to do business across the globe with minimal effort.

So, do everything you can to keep your online reviews positive. If you get a negative review on your social media pages, contact that person and ask what you can do to rectify it. Turn their negative experience into a positive one. Sadly, you can’t please everyone. But, you’d be surprised how far acknowledgement and a small amount of effort go into changing someone’s experience.

Once the reviews are good, you’ll begin to see the benefits it brings to your business.



Ultimately, my realisation was simple. Traditional marketing and digital marketing aren’t that different at all. Putting my trip into perspective, they were the exact same experiences someone may have online. With only a few points changed.

Everybody knows the importance of traditional marketing. So, realising how similar traditional and digital marketing are, makes digital marketing just as important.

And for those of you wondering, yes. I had a great time. Chicago is cool. Thank you for asking.

What Chicago Taught Me About Digital Marketing.
Proof that I visited Lou Malnati’s.

To read more blogs from YMG, click here.


YMG are an award-winning and full-service digital marketing agency based in Chelmsford, Essex, and home of the Jargon Buster series, helping business owners to understand the technical terms of digital marketing.

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