5 Marketing Lessons from My Trip to New York City

5 marketing lessons from my trip to New York City

I grew up in a small town of like 2000 people so going to New York City was a big deal. New York City is one of those places that you constantly see in movies and TV shows and I was pretty excited to visit.

I honestly didn’t sleep the night before. I was up making a marketing lessons checklist of places I wanted to go to, and things I wanted to do.

During my trips – I like to keep my “marketer” glasses on and see things through the eyes of a marketer.

I do this regardless if I’m visiting Eureka Springs, Arkansas or Galveston, Texas, which helped me learn a good amount of marketing lessons.

New places are great sources of new ideas. You don’t necessarily need a new concept. What works in one place may not work in yours. But, if you can think of a way to put a spin on a great product to cater to your target market, then you’re on the right track.

With that being said, here are five things that I observed while visiting New York City.

#1 Local online marketing matters

In my experience, in every couple, one person is the planner and the other one is the “let’s just go” person. I’m the one who loves to plan our trips.

Before this trip, I couldn’t have you told the difference between Manhattan and Brooklyn. By the way New York City is composed of  5 boroughs most of the “touristy” stuff in in Manhattan.


Yes, I had a few friends who had visited in the past, but that was about it.

What I needed was something or someone local to direct me where to go and what to do. It’s different when you have someone who grew up in the area that knows everything about the place.

Unfortunately , I didn’t have any friends in New York so I heavily depended on local review sites.

Everything from Google Places to TripAdvisor became a “local” guide during the trip.

Do people trust online reviews? 

That’s a legitimate question.

Earlier this year, BrightLocal released a report where they found that 85% of consumers say that they read online reviews to determine whether a local business is a good business.


The same study also found that 79% of consumers trust online reviews as much as personal recommendations.


Remember that as a business owner, most people will do a quick Google search on you before they even walk through you door, which means that local marketing and reviews matter.

My recommendation is that you get listed on all the local review sites and promote positive reviews from customers.

Action Items:

First get listed on Google places. This is the main site your business should be listed on.


Once you’ve done that use a website like getlisted.org and enter your business’s name and see where you’re listed and where you need a profile.

You don’t have to be on every site, just the ones that are relevant to your business. For example, if your a clothing store you probably don’t need to be on Urbanspoon.

local search optimization

#2 There is no substitute for quality (marketing lessons)

I often joke and tell people that I do marketing and not miracles, because there are no shortcuts to success. I know that it’s a cliché but it’s true. If your product or services are good, people will eventually find out about it.

Online marketing only amplifies your reputation. Yep, it only amplifies your reputation.

Hey how about you tweet that!

Online marketing only amplifies your reputation. http://clicktotweet.com/ fafO3

A clear example of this in NYC was the rivalry between Grimaldi’s and Juliana’s pizza restaurants. The lines to both restaurants were enormous, we had to wait about an hour before we could even order. But the pizza was amazing and I would definitely recommend it to anyone is NYC.

Marketing can bring a product or service to light, but at the end of the day if your products sucks, then no amount of marketing can remedy that ill.

On the flip side, if you product or service is awesome, online marketing will only amply that awesomeness.

By the way if you’re in crossing the Brooklyn Bridge make sure to to check out either Grimaldi’s or Juliana’s pizza .

Marketing Martin Ramirez brooklyn bridge

#3 Creativity can help overcome a lack of resources 

While visiting Time Square there were people who would charge bystanders to take a picture with them. Anything from a guy dressed as the hulk to a guy dress like Sheriff Woody.

I don’t know how much money one those street performers make, but one thing is clear. They are using their creativity to overcome a lack of resources. Maybe they don’t have the money start a retail store but they sure can work as a street performer.

Martin Ramirez Marketing

Also, while visiting Central Park, my wife and I got a tour on a pedicab. The guy charged us a few bucks and took us around the park.

Martin Ramirez

Okay, what does this have to do with marketing?

When it comes to marketing lessons, I hear people wishing they had more money for marketing and that if they had more money their marketing would be more effective. While more money can definitely help, it does not guarantee success.

The truth is that a lack of resources can actually be a time of incredible creativity. For example, when I first got started with my marketing business, I used to use shop light when I recorded my videos.

You have to start somewhere! Because of that experience, it made me believe in myself, that I can overcome obstacles with a creative mind.

Yes, sometimes I look back and cringe at my previous work, but we all have to start somewhere.

The great thing about living in this era is that there are a lot of free online marketing tools readily available for anyone to use. It’s just a matter of taking the time to understand how to use such applications, and make it work in your favor. Technically, any product or service is marketable, as long as there is an audience.

Need to drive traffic to your website? Leverage free social media sites like Facebook and Twitter and use some creativity to drive more traffic.

Need to have a phone line system? Use google voice.

Don’t have the funds to run a PPC (pay per click) campaign? No problem. Take the time to research SEO and apply them. A great place to learn about SEO and online marketing is Quick Sprout University 

Learn Online marketing

Again, just funnel some creativity into your business even if you lack resources.

#4 If you start with the wrong reference point you’ll get lost 

One Sunday morning, we decided to visit Hillsong NYC. We got off at the Union Square stop, and I had my Google maps app out. Boy was I about to learn some marketing lessons!

But I didn’t look at the compass to see which way was north and I guessed wrong- really wrong. We ended up walking a block that way and 2 blocks that way and one block that way. But that didn’t matter because I started with the wrong reference point.

New York Map Martin Ramirez

When marketing, we make a lot of assumptions and we are usually wrong because a bunch of marketers come up with the ideas instead of listening to the ideal target audience.

Making assumptions is a huge risk. Again, this all goes back to research. Your target market is your support group. Without them, your website is useless.

Action Items:

Listen to your target audience.

  • 1. Send out an online survey
  • 2. Call your top clients
  • 3. Ask your friends what they think your business or organization is good at.

#5 Word of mouth is still powerful 

As a proud digital marketer, I sometimes get stuck in my online bubble world (where I keep my eye out for marketing lessons), but the truth is that a lot of people still ask friends and family about places to eat, visit and shop. Word of mouth is reliable. It cuts through misconceptions and questions that people have about a product. Maybe a lot has to do with facial expressions and body language; two factors that are missing in an online recommendation.

Furthermore, word of mouth usually happens between two parties that have a direct relation to each other. From one friend to another, or a coworker to a boss, are a couple of examples to start with. This direct relationship is another factor that makes word of mouth recommendations so powerful. Let’s look at it from another point of view.

If a random online blog said not to go to a restaurant because it didn’t serve good food, yet your close friend who you’ve known since high school gave you the opposite advice, chances are you’d still go and check it out.

While in New York City, I would ask shop vendors where they recommended visiting and they would give their honest opinion. So this brings up the question. What are people saying about your business or organization?As a business owner, you need to know what other people are saying about your product or service. Don’t pretend you didn’t hear the negative comments or you’ll miss out on great marketing lessons.

That can really hurt you in the long run if you leave those issues unaddressed. Instead, turn negative comments into something positive by improving on some of the concerns.


The trip to NYC was fun but it also taught me a few valuable lessons about marketing. If you’re ever in a cynical rut, or feel like you’re not generating any new ideas, I recommend going on a short trip or vacation. It’s money well spent, which can help you think of new and creative ways for your business or website. Don’t be scared to try something new.

With the right research and after listening to what your target audience has to say about their needs and concerns, you’ll be able to put out something that people will keep coming back for. I hope these tips and marketing lessons help.

Let me know what you think in the comments below.