Girl Scout turned Marketer by Nature
I learned about Jessica Lohmann at Ethical Brand Marketing on vKind, the world’s premiere vegan business directory and content machine I’ve had the pleasure of working with. When I contacted Jessica to contribute a marketing story to Vegan Marketing Success Stories, she shared about working with Ärzte gegen Tierversuche e.V. (Doctors Against Animal Experiments) to design a truck ad that’s now rolling across highways in Europe. More on that later—let’s learn about Jessica!
When and how did you go vegan?
April 1, 2017 (Easter Monday) after watching a random video on YouTube about shredding male chicks. (That’s my veganniversary too!)
How did you get into marketing, and what kind of marketing you do now?
My mother suggested I study marketing at the age of 16 because I was a rockstar at selling Girl Scout cookies in upstate New York when I was younger, so I graduated from the University of South Carolina with a BBA in Marketing in 1991.
I’ve been self-employed since March 1, 2013 and first branded myself as an English native speaker because I live in Germany, where native speakers are in high demand. I offered random freelancing services such as marketing strategy creation, copywriting, website audits, voiceovers, social media marketing, translations (German to English), etc. In 2018, I founded Ethical Brand Marketing and concentrated more on strategy creation and 1:1 consulting, voiceovers and copywriting—the things I loved the most!
Five years later, it’s now 2023 and I’m about to launch my first program called “Marketing by Nature” for nature-loving freelancing creatives who want to attract eco-friendly clients and animal rights/environmental organizations.
So, to summarize, I transitioned from freelancing to consulting to teaching.
What kind of work fires you up right now?
Helping people use their creative talent to find the right clients so that together, they can design epic campaigns that inspire entire generations to connect more with nature and shop consciously.
Share your best marketing win, and one marketing horror story.
Win: Even though I didn’t win the Lush Prize 2022 in the Public Awareness category for my book, I’m still very proud that I was shortlisted with 6 others, one being Humane Society International for “Save Ralph.”
A client win: You know my truck ad story with Doctors against Animal Experiments. (See image below.)
Another one is a 48% increase for bookings for a South African tour operator only 3 months after implementing a marketing strategy I created for him and getting him listed in the CACH (Campaign Against Canned Hunting) Ethical Tour Operator List. 434% = Increase of direct bookings from 2nd quarter 2015 (3 months before hiring me) to 2nd quarter 2016 (6 months after hiring me).
Horror story: Well, I’m actually supposed to launch my program TODAY, however, my dog was operated on 2 weeks ago Monday. It wasn’t planned. She had a mass removed from her left thigh and it turned out to be a malignant MAST cell, grade 1, so at least it won’t spread, but we’re not 100% if they got it all, so there’s that. Also, the wound is wide open now because it’s her thigh and is hard to bandage. We’ve managed to figure out how to do it and tend to her wound several times a day and have to keep her still with the “cone of shame.” Also with several trips to the vet, and one to the emergency vet on a Saturday, didn’t make this launch possible today.
Two days before the launch of my new program, my paid intern whom I mentored throughout the research, course creation, and pre-launch phases, and who was equally very helpful with deliverables, quit to spread his wings and work on his own program, with much left on the table.
It’s OK though, I’m moving along as I need to move and I trust all will be well…
(Whew! You’re a trooper, Jessica!)
Photo courtesy Markus Barth
Who or what vegan company do you think is crushing in marketing right now?
- Sandra Nomoto (whaaat?! shucks)
- Our friends at We Animals Media (Jo-Anne McArthur and her team/contributors—also featured in my book)
- Vegan Business Tribe is all over the place, but I still haven’t taken the time to really check them out.
- The Vreedom! Quest
- Animal Justice Academy (an initiative by Animal Justice, also in my book)
What are the most common mistakes creatives make in their freelancing business?
- Expecting clients to magically appear: You’ve honed your craft, and hoping that clients will come to you without making any efforts to attract clients. The “build a website and they’ll just come” dream that never comes true. The opposite behavior is shown in mistake #2.
- Marketing on the fly: This shows up when you prioritize busy tasks and are not strategic. For instance, if you are doing a bunch of marketing activities without planning first, such as being all over social media, posting whatever comes to mind at that time. One reason is because you may resist marketing and self promotion because of the harm marketing abuse and manipulation is doing to our environment and psyche. And so, you probably also believe that marketing’s a waste of time, so why waste even more time on planning since you feel you know how to post on social media? This results in chaotic behavior and unfortunately makes you look desperate and like you’re chasing clients, as well as wastes your time doing things that don’t work because in order to find out what will work for your brand, you have to be strategic.
- Publishing content without putting out an offer aka being a Well-Intentioned Messenger: In the qualitative survey I conduced in April with nature-loving creatives, I found that 47.8% of the respondents include offers in 1–25% of their content and when I dove deeper in personal interviews, it was more like 10%. 21.7% of the respondents (never) include offers in their content (0%). Since many feel self promotion is icky and self-serving, they often post high quality educational content without putting out their offer. I’ve seen this many times: They write how-to or step-by-step content which relates to what they actually offer, however, at the end of the post, they don’t add that they can help them with this task, they just end it with the call-to-action of “take these steps” out of fear of self-promotion. If you do this, too, keep in mind that what this does is prompt your readers to find someone else to do this for them, and so writing this content is great, however, if you don’t promote your offer, you’re actually doing your readers a disservice which is the exact opposite effect you want to achieve.
- Believing being “eco” or “vegan” is enough to stand out in the market: This worked 10 years ago, but not anymore. The market is quickly becoming over-saturated, even though I believe there is room for everyone. I only believe this if you differentiate yourself, though. If you have high expectations of clients coming to you without having to do much marketing, you have to separate yourself from the rest, whether you niche down to one particular industry or client, or you specialize even more in your craft. Either way, when you build an irresistible offer that is relevant, timely and in demand for your audience, you are more likely to attract them than when you just offer your random services.
What does ethical marketing mean to you?
To help protect nature from over-consumerism, I define ethical marketing as the dynamic and conscious practice of crafting, communicating, and delivering value-laden offerings to empower individuals to make conscious choices that cater to their needs and desires while fostering a deeper connection with nature.
Ethical marketing promotes honesty, fairness, and social responsibility to help consumers make a conscious choice.
It presents an offer in an authentic way to give consumers the information they need to make a discerned decision.
Customers should buy products and services because they either need or want them, not because they were persuaded to buy them.