Internet Marketing: Watch out, get educated and be an informed consumer!

University of San Francisco is offering Certificates, and Master Certificates in Internet Marketing, but beware of the rookies trying to sell you, or teach you about what they themselves barely seem to know.

If you find the advertisement on Facebook it seems to lead you to the website usanfranonline.com, however it opens up like any other early year 2000 capture website. It looks to convince you that they are the source for internet marketing, however the website and brand presentation fail on the most basic level. Once you spend a few minutes looking around and realize that nothing is interactive (with exception to the video) you start to get the feeling you landed on an infomercial (and you kinda did).

The video featuring Joe Laratro is the hardest thing I have ever had to watch, here is a individual that is mildly known for being an internet marketing source dragging through one of the worst video pitches . What’s so bad about it? Well in case you didn’t fall asleep yourself, let’s look at how it failed.

  • Video Length: 3:30 Seconds

Well if you can keep them that long, then great.  Unfortunately for most an initial pitch might want to meet the industry standard of 60 seconds.

  • Background: Blurry fake back drop, of what one can assume is San Francisco

Video Media is Social Media, how about a real shot of the San Fran Campus, perhaps a real scene which helps deliver the real feel to what’s going on. This next one really hammers home our point.

  • Message: Speech? Joe is reading off a teleprompt at best! What is worse he is doing a bad job of it, his eyes and facial expressions make me want to cry for him. Let’s try genuine, you know the most important part of Social Media and Internet Marketing back in 2009 till now!

Does Joe Laratro not know enough about what you’re talking about to have real pitch to the camera? If this doesn’t come second nature to him, then he shouldn’t be doing this!

If you are going to do this, let’s get a video shot in documentary style and have him talk to the side angle as if you where addressing someone in the room.

Summary:

While I am sure that Joe Laratro knows something about internet marketing, it’s a lot like watching a newspaper try to launch their first website, cumbersome at best. In this case, it is possible that their program could teach you something, and it better if it’s endorsed by USF. When you visit their main website, it at the very least shows signs of branding and web development that are only few years outdated (i.e. they have social bookmarks at the very bottom of the site, but nothing that allows you to see and interact with what they are doing with the most basic tools in twitter or facebook.

It’s great that someone in academia is trying to get into the digital world of internet marketing, just wish they had learned how to do it for themselves before trying to teach others.

Consumer and Business Lesson:

Do your homework, don’t take anything at face value, while the website may seem impressive even if it does show signs of Social Media and modern internet marketing, dig deeper and find out how they are using it so you are at least prequalifying them before tossing your money away.

In the end this is about protecting your brand, seeing the big picture and looking beyond the fact that the tool works. SEO doesn’t sell anything, SEO or Social Media create exposure which will lead to websites and calls. You have to make sure during execution that the brand image is consistent and shows value to meet a need.

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Sidenote: While this may seem personal, I have never met Joe Laratro or attended any of his meetings. I was drawn to this publically available media based on two concerns.

First, There are many people who have jumped out of the woodworks claiming to be SEO or Social Media experts and business owners should be aware of the most basic tools to determine if someone is credible.

Second, I spent years in student affairs and hold a Bachelors and Masters from Accredited Universities. I  have also studied online with Capella University and Walden University for Doctoral Level classes. I believe in online learning as a tool and when you toss together a program as vague and questionable as USF has here it makes all future programs and online degrees look bad.

***Note my upcoming book will look at this in detail***

About Basil Puglisi

@BasilPuglisi is a Content Contributor and the Chairman of the Board for Digital Ethos. Basil C. Puglisi is also the Digital Marketing Manager for PMG Interactive. As the Digital Marketing Manager he provides oversight and support to Digital Campaigns, from Website Development to Search and Social Reach.

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