The MARKETER

MASTERING THE MARKET - Overcoming Business Challenges to Achieve Success in Marketing and Branding

December 15, 2023 Monte Clark Season 1 Episode 2
The MARKETER
MASTERING THE MARKET - Overcoming Business Challenges to Achieve Success in Marketing and Branding
Show Notes Transcript Chapter Markers

Do you ever wonder what it takes to be successful in the field of marketing and branding? Want to understand how to navigate challenges and form lasting relationships with clients? This riveting episode is just what you need. We do a deep dive into our company's recent accomplishments, including the signing of a new contract in the wellness industry. We tackle common fears that clients often have about not being experienced enough and how a fresh perspective can actually be an asset. We also discuss the pivotal role case studies play in establishing credibility and the benefits of our pricing model.

Is selling marketing strategies in the B2B space proving to be a challenge for you? Rest assured, you're not alone. Join us as we unpack strategies to overcome this hurdle and the importance of fostering strong relationships with clients. We share insights into how asking insightful questions and understanding client's needs lead to customized solutions. We also discuss the creative process behind branding and how good communication can result in successful branding outcomes. 

Looking to build a successful company and set expectations for future growth? Let's get into it! We stress the importance of planning for an exit to ensure all aspects of your business are covered and value is built. Client happiness is key, and we discuss setting and meeting client expectations, using SWOT analysis, and continuous improvement through iterations and data analysis. Wrapping up the episode, we delve into the significance of branding in marketing, and the role of active listening in creating successful campaigns. So, get ready for an engaging conversation filled with valuable insights into overcoming business challenges and achieving success.

Want more? https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCpz3MJtB5wkuzoESfGd9xVw

Speaker 1:

Let's talk about your business a little bit. Just give me an update. How's things been going? What's been happening?

Speaker 2:

Things are good, actually Really good. I signed a new contract like 10 days ago, almost two weeks ago, so our large package.

Speaker 2:

So that was exciting and it was the first time ever signing after Thanksgiving, which was also really exciting, and as a result of it and the you know, the couple small jobs I had over the summer and the two I told you about, including the architecture firm that I met at a bar and the travel agent that came through the website it's going to be my strongest year since I launched, so I'm just very excited about that. This, the new account, is in wellness and you know the travel agent is in hospitality, so they're both right up my alley. The architect is a designer, obviously, so they all just kind of fit the bill as far as our direct abilities go, with a more shallow learning curve, because the you know, like I get, I sometimes speak with some leads who are, say, in nanotechnology and there's startup in nanotechnology, and I don't have any experience in nanotechnology, but I kind of understand it and you know, the whole purpose of my process is to learn about whatever we're doing. And one thing it's interesting, like what those prospects fear the most is not our process or even us, it's the potential, the possibility of them having to teach us their business.

Speaker 2:

And you know I'm always I always say I'm like you're not going to be wasting your time talking to us all the time telling us about your business. That's our job. To go learn about your business, like we'll talk to you once in a formal interview and then we'll have a point of contact. That is our point of contact. We're open access. They, per contract, should be open access. But we're not like up your butt, you know. Tell us what this means, tell us what that means, tell us what this means. That's literally why we do the research.

Speaker 2:

So you know, and it gives us an edge because it makes us really objective, because we're coming in as sort of newcomers and we have a perspective that you know, someone close to the market or your business may not, anyway, so like these conversations have been happening. But I'm very, very happy. I'm very happy with how the year is about to end and I'm looking forward to next year. I think it's just going to be. It's just going to get better and better.

Speaker 1:

I always find it kind of interesting when I'm talking to prospects and they're wanting to know what my experience in their industry is, and with the notion that you know well, if we work with a lot of companies in their industry, we will definitely be better than somebody that hasn't. And I mean, in some ways that might be the truth. In some ways, you may have tried a bunch of strategies and gotten to the point where you know a few things that work. You may understand what the, you know what the speak is right, you know how to say things and jar again and how people react and respond, and stuff like that. I do think there's some value, though, to fresh perspectives, fresh ideas coming in and looking at it differently, because you know, I mean, the fact of the matter is, I mean, if you're a company and you're out there looking for somebody else to do marketing, you haven't been that successful with it so far. Right, or you wouldn't be looking, so doesn't really matter overall, I don't think so. I don't think it does.

Speaker 2:

I know where the fear is coming from, though they just want to. It's not even that they want to know that we know about their industry. They want an example of a success story of someone like them. That's what they want. That's what they want they're like, okay, so you've done the nanotech guys, for example. You know, okay, you've done all these cool things for, like, this spa and this, you know this hotel and this, whatever, and you've never worked in nanotechnology or like you know B to G, business, government sectors and this and this, and we just want to see like a success story there and I go. You know, well, I can't give you that. I can tell you what we've done for these people. And that's the fear I get it because you know we're spending money.

Speaker 2:

I mean, it's the same thing. I do the same thing. I did the same thing with you. I asked you if you'd work with other creative agencies and with branding agencies like mine, Just to get like a picture. You know, because I'm also the type who does my due diligence. If you give me a testimonial or I see a testimonial by somebody who's similar to me and has a similar business as mine, I will hit that person up and I'll be like can you tell me about your experience with? You know, with Monty or with a bound or whoever? And because of what we always talk about in these conversations, we've had credibility comes from the source.

Speaker 2:

I don't care what you say. Like what you say, I believe what you say. I have no reason to not believe you, but I need to. I need to be convinced, and you know, if the sale is strong, we're spending money. So you want to, you want to have a little bit of a proof of concept beforehand, and that's why I know our own weaknesses.

Speaker 2:

Black Ribbit's greatest weakness is lack of case studies. Our greatest weakness is our lack of case studies. Right now. We are so, so well positioned. Finally, and it's you know it's taken the standard five years, but I have the like. The pricing model is down, it's it's, it's perfect, it's, like you know, competitive, it's scalable, it's on a scale. It starts low, it goes pretty high, but it's very chewable for anybody Someone on a budget or people who are just ready to go. And you know the model is sound, Our process is is very strong. We have a good team behind us, we know what we're talking about. You know, we're educated, we're, and all that, and so when we talk, it's clear we know what we're talking about. And when I say we, I mean we, like the team is good, they know what they're talking about and and they're good at what they do. But every time it comes down to show us the numbers, can we see some metrics?

Speaker 1:

We don't have it.

Speaker 2:

And I say I'm very open about that, as I as I am, and I say you know, we had to go through COVID. We've only, we don't, we're only five years old. Only three years was like dead. 21 was a total. Bus 22 was transformative.

Speaker 2:

This year we've seen some real growth, but metrics and branding by nature take at least a year for anything useful to come out, Like. I can't give you any numbers that are useful. The only thing I can tell you is how internal processes and, you know, employee engagement and cultural alignment these things have come, come into existence as a result of the work that we've done and what we've delivered. You know, the staff and the teams within our clients organizations are running with a lot more clarity. They have true purpose and direction, they know where they're going, they have a communication protocol, they know how to talk to each other, the language is clear. Now I can tell you all that and that they're more efficient, they're more effective, you know, and they're hitting their numbers. They're hitting their numbers and their milestones quicker and easier and more productively, since we delivered. But I can't tell you how they're doing in the market because they're not in the market yet. So you know it's interesting.

Speaker 1:

So how are you overcoming that hurdle or that objection? Because I mean, you've got to, I mean to your point. I mean that's the one thing that a company can that has a lot of history in, you know, a particular expertise or an industry can typically do is show you know. Well, here's our case studies of what we've done in the past, you know, and today's success does not guarantee tomorrow's right. So you started in COVID. You're Now, I mean, you've got a couple of clients that are keeping you busy, and that's fantastic. Congratulations on that, thank you. How are you overcoming that issue? Is it just to focus on the disciplines and pointing out the problems that need to be solved by the particular prospects that you're talking with and them, just from a relationship standpoint, getting to the point that they feel comfortable with you to say, yeah, we'll give you a shot, or what are you doing?

Speaker 2:

Yeah, I mean pretty much. You basically nailed it. You know, again, I do have some data that I can share, like what I just described, some internal, like internal organizational stuff that's happening as a result of our, our deliverables and the strategies we delivered to our clients. And again to your point, our oldest clients at this point are like a year, a year old. You know, we've we, we picked them up last year and like, for example, one of my, one of my star clients, we've been, we signed with them roughly this time last year and you know we delivered in the spring and then we moved to a consultant level, like we do which is another rarity to make sure that the program we delivered is actually being implemented and adopted. And it's been a year now and they're the product that we set off to strategize and engage a go to market plan with is just now being launched, like they were building it in the last six months.

Speaker 2:

Because that's what happens you have to design, create the strategy first, and then design the thing that the strategy is informing. Otherwise, you do the thing that I always recommend against your start designing and they're like wait, what is the even the point of this thing? And then you have to make changes and you waste a whole bunch of time. So the way that I mitigate that challenge is by bringing up these stories that are true and exist and then what you said, just asking the questions that reveal a very clear way of thinking about these issues that is interesting and exciting to the prospect, to the point where they go oh, we didn't even think about that. Or you know, that's definitely something we need and I love what I'm hearing. Or you know, to get them to get to the magic words when they say, okay, we can't wait to get started.

Speaker 1:

So that's.

Speaker 2:

I don't want to be the one who says, okay, when do we start? I want them to say, okay, when do we start? And the goal is that. So we push, I push the narrative to, you know, just asking a lot of questions. And you know, and it's a two way street, like I or you know, and one of my strategists, talking to the prospect, has to get excited about the project too. You know, the chemistry has to be there in order to even nurture any sort of excitement. You know, if the, if the prospect, it's you know, it's like any relationship.

Speaker 2:

If we find that it's just not a good fit. It's pretty hard to fake that, you know. And not to mention we're pitching like a four to six month contract here. I don't want to be dealing with consistent contention and awkwardness because it's going to screw up the entire process anyway.

Speaker 1:

And it typically does not wind up being successful. That's right yeah.

Speaker 2:

And if you're screwing up the process, you're screwing up the outcome, and screwing up the outcome screws up everything and you're they're not going to feel good about it. You're going to put out a crappy product, like you're not going to feel good about it, and everyone feels like they wasted time and money. So that excitement really comes from both sides and if the if you know, if it's a cool product, if it's a cool client and chemistry is good and they're doing something awesome, then then it's, then it gets easy. It's just easier because, because you like each other and it comes from a place of, okay, we like each other, we respect each other, let's you know, let's see, then someone has to take a jump, you know, and if, if we're speaking to a, an influencer, then they need to influence the decision maker, and then we meet with them and hopefully the stars still align. It's just, it's a, you know, it's what you always talk about. It's a warm buildup, it's not, it's not like okay, we just met for 30 minutes, are we going to do this?

Speaker 2:

You know this last one. This last one was we had I had four meetings before we went to contract over about six weeks, and it was one, one introductory, then then like a more discovery sort of meeting, then meeting the team and meeting the teams and then, okay, let's, when do we get started? It was awesome.

Speaker 1:

Yeah, you know, I have. I have a strong belief that in the B2B space it's no like and trust before business happens. You know, and I have a, I have a friend and he's a brilliant guy and he says you don't need to know the person or like the person or even trust the person. Do business with him. You have to believe that they can solve a problem and if they can solve the problem for you, then that's. You know, you go to the doctor. You don't have to know, like or trust your doctor, and I'm and I, you know I get what he's saying and, on the same hand, I disagree with it. If I don't like my doctor, I'm finding a new one, sure, and if I don't trust my doctor, I'm definitely getting a second opinion. I'm going to go with the opinion that I trust and you know. So, knowing the, knowing who you're dealing with, and I think what you're talking about there, with the, the relationship standpoint, you've got to have rapport and you've got to have a relationship, the, the if you want a long term relationship with the company that is going to trust you.

Speaker 1:

And because marketing is not a black and white game, you know you've got, you've got specific strategies that, honestly, anybody can employ. Anybody can create an email campaign, anybody can create a website, anybody can do SEO, all this other kind of stuff, you know. I mean it's it doesn't matter what the strategy is, it's how well do you know the market and can you create the messaging? And that's all that you're talking about and all that you do in your business is most companies don't especially if they're startup or smaller companies don't really know how to communicate their unique value position, the problem that they solve. They don't understand who they should be communicating that to, and that has to be solved for anybody. I think AI really has leveled the playing field for a lot of marketing companies. I don't know if that's a good thing or a bad thing. I think it's both, but you know how are you? Are you incorporating AI with anything that you're doing when, like, let's say, the nano tech company?

Speaker 2:

you know, yeah well, we, you know, we, we leverage it to, to, to just create.

Speaker 2:

Let's just say, speed up creating messaging and and copy and just copy, copy, just writing. But the thing is and I've stood by this since last year, since the beginning of the year until we do the research, develop the strategy, then the prompts are generic, like we need, I need to have a strategy based on data that makes sense for the audience we're trying to reach for the problems we're trying to solve, for the challenges we're trying to overcome, in order to properly, or at least usefully or effectively prompt an AI to either you know, whoever chat, gpt, claude, whatever and without that, then the automation is still way too generic. And the point is, even if even it doesn't matter how robust the, the system is, the AI is, if you're not giving it the right prompts, anyway it's always going to spin out something generic. So the point is you need to know what you're trying to, what you're trying to achieve, and then AI is very useful and in that capacity it's not, it's not replacing anybody, because you still have to. Your why is not going to come from an AI, it's just not. Yeah.

Speaker 1:

That's true.

Speaker 2:

You have to figure it out from an emotive place, and that's difficult to do with AI.

Speaker 1:

Well, right now anyway, what do you feel like you're the best at as a company?

Speaker 2:

Oh, our strength is is 100% in our process. It's really the, the ABCD, it's the four phase. Do this before you do this, before you do that. And one thing I'm personally good at is just from my my life experiences and and personality and how I've evolved over time is is my own intuition is just being able to read the words, to hear the words not said. And this is how we train our, our people who do the research, and consolidate the research and analyze the responses and and our insights and so on, Because it's really uncovering emotive messaging is coming from how something is interpreted, and that interpretation is subjective, but it's interpreting something real, it's interpreting an objective response.

Speaker 2:

So that, in itself, is that's where, like, the art happens, the creativity happens, right, so you have, you have the design process, the strategic process. That's very sort of one, two, three, four. It's programmatic, but then you have how do you put the emotion into that? That's where the art comes in and the creativity comes in. That's why copywriters are magic, because they they know how to take data and dry information and spin it into something that means the same thing. It's just said in a way that's magical and you know as tactile and is resident and is visceral and all that, and so we're really we're good at that. Our team does a phenomenal job at one following process, which just brightens everybody's minds and eyes when the clients see the thing coming into shape, from starting from an interview to developing the model and the framework and everything. That's when people get excited and that really is our strength. I actually I say that and you know a lot of meetings. I say our, our greatest strength is our process.

Speaker 1:

So when you are communicating let's say you're starting your conversation, let's say I'm a new prospect. What's how you communicating that? What's your unique value position like if I'm you know? Let's say I Don't know what you want me to be hotel owner. Let's say I own five hotels. We sat down for lunch. You know what problem are you solving for me and how are you talking through that, that process as your guys of strength and what it will bring to me um, I so I always begin with understanding of you know future desired states, like where it really is, the it's three years from now.

Speaker 2:

We're enjoying a coffee or a beer and you know you're really happy with what's happened over the last three years, what has made you so happy and If you can put yourself in that future position as the prospect One, it means you have vision to. It, means you can think backwards from there and then together we go backwards. Okay, so what happened that Got you to this place? Is that you know employee engagement? Is it more staff? Is it expansion to new locations? Is it you know more revenue? You know, is it's what? What is it that? That that caused all these Milestones to take place, to get us to this, to this moment in time, three years from now, and that in itself just reveals a lot Right off the bat, because you're just going backwards, you're not saying, okay, you know we just have a deliverable that's a brand book and it's a logo and this and that, because it's not, it could be.

Speaker 2:

And something that I always insist on, for example, is to do the research phase, the first phase, as a separate agreement, because it's what's what's Designed to create the scope of work. Without the research and the insights, we don't really know what it is we need to solve. We're all kind of speculating here and Until that becomes clear, I'm not going to recommend anything about strategy, anything about design, anything about go-to-market plans. I'm just not going to do it. I refuse because I need to make sure you know that we're all on the same page in terms of the issues and challenges we're trying to solve here and the research itself doesn't.

Speaker 2:

It doesn't show only one Strategic option either. You know, we uncover a whole bunch of stuff by asking the right questions Because in that Conversation you just referred to the first conversation we're developing the initial scope that will guide our questions in the first place. So we're not asking useless questions when we're doing the discover, the research phase, so that the report that we deliver has real insights regarding the original Problems that we identified, that formulated the original questions Like another fear a lot of clients have or customers have is they're like so are you just going to deliver a 120 page document with a whole bunch of information that we don't know how to use?

Speaker 2:

and I say no, because that happens often. But with us we ask, we go in there asking the right questions with the right Intentions and then that results in a whole bunch of options Okay, this is the most feasible, this is the least expensive, this is gonna take the longest, this is gonna take the shortest amount of time, and so so I am. That's where that how we begin, that I like.

Speaker 1:

I Like that approach of saying what's in vision three years down the road, what's that look like for you If they haven't really thought about that, or if they haven't, you know, put that kind of effort into it. You kind of know where you're at, you know with them and where you need to start. But but imagining, you know, I Really do like that approach because if you, if you're sitting down and you're saying, picture yourself at the end of it next year, you're now successful, what does that mean? Yeah, what's that mean for you? Is it, is it new business? Is it new customers? Is it, you know? Is it To your point, you know? Have you brought on new employees? Are you?

Speaker 2:

yeah.

Speaker 1:

Living a life of luxury. What? What's success to you Totally and then working backwards from there.

Speaker 2:

Yeah, and the more specific it is, the better you know. And it can include like I have more time off, you know I'm working less I have, I can delegate more or whatever, and like, the more specific it is, I make you know the. The company's making a hundred million a year by year three from now, you know, or it's making ten million a year, like so. So how do you break that down? How much are you making today so that we need, so that we can understand what to beef up to make Five million by next year, seven million the year after that and ten million by year three, because it's not gonna be ten million next year, it's gonna be in three years. So yeah it's, it's.

Speaker 2:

It's a really just Sort of mapped out way of Figuring out what, what it is you're even here to do.

Speaker 1:

Yeah, the past couple of days I spent with a client. It's the first time, so company has been around for quite a while, but it's it's the first time that they took their entire leadership off-site, went three hours away to a resort to do Some strategic strategy sessions for their next year and the and three years ahead right, three year outlook With a focus on 2024. They asked me to come in and lead that and they had scheduled two hours to do a SWAT analysis. Well, I had done a SWAT analysis just a couple of months ago. So they thought, okay, two hours just to do that and I thought you're probably gonna need more time, but let's see how it goes. Well, I'm not spending about four hours on their SWAT analysis. Wow, and you know the approach is. You know the approach of sitting down with somebody and saying tell me what success looks like, looks like for you in a year Is basically giving you the opportunity to now come back and do that strategic planning with them, because so much of strategic planning centers around your communication in your marketing and this particular company identified Collectively as a group that communication, both the internally and externally, was one of their primary problems, one of their primary weaknesses, I should say.

Speaker 1:

And when we got to the marketing point, I said you know what's your unique value position? What? How do you separate yourself from all of your competition? And the owner, to his credit, he said what I want it to be is right now, our greatest weakness, and it's communication. And I said let's make it your unique value position and you know, over the next 12 months, right, what you have to do to turn your greatest weakness into your greatest strength, and so much so that it becomes your unique value position. And then you just look at 12 months and you break that down into a quarterly, monthly, daily thing that you focus on Over that course of time, but so that this time next year we sit down and you say Our company communicates like no other company in this industry, both internally and to our customers, and so You've got a great approach in that. Is that how you won these last two clients?

Speaker 2:

Yeah, I mean, yeah, it certainly has to do with it because it I can't say it's not a great approach. But it's not a great approach to do with it because it again it paints a picture in a way that wasn't thought of before, and not to not only that, it it offers KPIs and and measurable Milestones. When you think about it like that. So when you say, okay, what is what does success look like to you? Let's put, let's put a value behind that right and so that you're working up to something, you're setting goals and you're setting tactical goals. Your strategy is this long-term thing, and then you're setting tactical goals to get to that point. And so when I explain it like that, everything starts becoming clear. And Not only that. I have, I have this philosophy where I say I Don't know if it's unique to me, but People like hearing and I say even if you don't have an exit planned in your future.

Speaker 2:

If you don't see yourself selling your company, or that was never even on your mind or anything Always build as if you're going to exit, as if you're gonna sell your company. Yeah, because if you do that, then you're consistently covering all your bases, because you don't know what's gonna happen in five years. If you can, if you build it as if you're gonna sell it, then you're gonna be looking at your internal protocols, your communication protocols, your league, your legal Structure, your financial structure. You're gonna look at all the facets of your company. You're including your brand equity, your communication plans and so on, and as such, you will inherently grow and consistently build value. So this, that part of the conversation, ties into the future desired state. Then, between those two sides Sides of that coin well, people get excited because they start seeing, they can start visualizing this amazing success and this amazing Company ahead of them, where you know I actually verbalize where the market's gonna be fighting to get on board with you. They're gonna be, they're gonna be bidding on you, regardless the market value.

Speaker 1:

Yeah, you know. Another thing that that does is when you focus on that is it it makes. Your client is Actually the person, that's the decision-maker doing the job, and your, your responsibility, is to make them happy, right, yeah, and the only way you can make that person happy is to understand what their expectations for you are. Right, it's the same as like parent to child relationships if you would almost you know if the parent doesn't properly communicate. Hey, these are my expectations for you. This is what I want you to do. If you accomplish that, we're good, and if you don't, we're not.

Speaker 1:

You know when you're, when you set it up that way, and so many marketing companies are, and marketing people are so focused on the disciplines Right, they're so focused on, oh, we need, we need email and we need, you know, we need social media and we need you know all these and all. And it's like I'm, at some point, going to collectively come back to you with some you know, virtual ROI that I says that says that I've been successful, right, without really understanding, okay, what is success to you? You start with that at the beginning and say define it for me and then we'll back our way into it. You can't fail under that scenario. I mean you can, but that's only if you're not meeting the expectations right. But I mean if you understand clearly what they are and you meet them, you can't fail. So how do you define, how do you set the expectations and then fold those into the individual strategies or channels that you're then implementing?

Speaker 2:

Um, we. So it's, it falls in line with the same, the same narrative. So with with the future desired state, we break that down into phases. So, again, if we say in three years, you want this, that means in six months, you want this, we want to be in this place in six months because we can. Okay, we can see three years from now.

Speaker 2:

But in order to get there we need to break that down into more chewable milestones. So you know, in our case we will say let's start the research. And then from the research we developed more milestones out of our insights. You know what needs to happen per the current state of the market, the current state of the brand, the current state of the organization and so on. And we find again this SWOT analysis thing. Like we find things that are working really well, we find things that aren't working at all, we find redundancies that are just wasting time and space and so on.

Speaker 2:

And then our and then our goals are sort of fleshed out there. That could include leveraging certain opportunities that exist that are easy to grasp or grab on to, to start developing the strategy around that will then feed into the company's current strengths that they're already good at. So it takes. Let me rephrase one thing that we really try to lean into Is leveraging an organization's strengths so it costs less to actually get off the ground, like if you're already doing something and you're good at it, do more of that thing if it's actually producing results.

Speaker 2:

And so, in terms of creating solutions to these problems and being able to set those expectations, it's, it's very boring, but basically we set a calendar with milestones and a timeline and we say we're going to hit this mark at this time. And it's all rooted in analytics and research. And because we're a design thinking company, we're a design company, we do, we do these iterations, so we do the research, then we offer recommendations and we offer the strategies and then we implement what we strategize and then we do it again, we do the research again, we test what we already did you see how that's fairing and then we reimplement, and so on and so on and so on. And the creativity comes from iterating and interpreting the data, and the analytics come from the data, from doing the research, and so on. And so this, this cycle that continuously goes and consistently sets expectations, consistently hits milestones, just over and over and over again.

Speaker 1:

So it's kind of like split testing. Yeah, it's kind of like launch it out there, launch it again, launch it again and kind of see which one's playing off and which one's doing well. How do we revamp to improve? And then it's a. It's a continual improvement process. I should say it.

Speaker 2:

that's exactly what it is and you know, monty, that that was an example. Like if I do, if I do a ground up, you know, first phase, finite, deliverable. The first phase of the ground up is a branding program, like developing a clarity of purpose with a clear mission, with a clear vision, with a clear messaging, a clear story. You know clear character of brand character, clear positioning, you know how the values separate this organization from the organization and how that's going to feed their recruitment process, their how that's going to define their employee value proposition and connect it to their customer value proposition, and so on and so on. And that that in itself is the first phase of what you and I just described.

Speaker 2:

And then you deliver that and you start running the program. And as you run the program, you monitor the program. You see how it's fairing, you see how the different facets are being picked up, if it's being adopted by the employees, by the organization itself, if there are any points of friction, why do those points of friction exist? If it's seamless, fantastic. You know the data. And then that that whole thing, let's say phase one, could potentially take six months or it could take six weeks. It just depends on the scope and the amount of you know stones we have to turn over, and how old the company is, how big the If it's been in the market, if it's new to the market. All of these dependencies affect the timeline and the cycles.

Speaker 1:

How much do you feel companies should invest in marketing? Ha, ha, ha, ha, ha. Man, and I'm talking about from a budget standpoint. You know, I know it goes all over the board. Yeah, but you know you're working with some larger, some smaller clients. We all do. People take different approaches, but you know when you're how do you advise clients? They should look at their spend.

Speaker 2:

Man that is. It's just such, not a trivial question. So the you know, there's like a baseline response to that, which I think is fair. I think it's fair and I stand by it. It's really a percentage of your annual, either your annual revenue or your target revenue.

Speaker 2:

So one could argue that, you know, if you're, if the rule of thumb is to, if you're a B2B, then the rule of thumb is to spend three to 5% of your annual revenue on branding alone, on marketing specifically, which is go to market tactics and events and activities For a B2B is about 10 to 15, maybe 10% of your annual revenue. And so, per that it's, you can argue that if you haven't gone to market yet, you could say that 10% of your projected revenue should go to marketing, because the math is basically the same. But you could argue that and then, if you want to be conservative, you just you just lower it. You say, okay, if, if our annual revenue, if our projected annual revenue, is a million dollars, so you're saying I should spend $100,000 on marketing and the answer is yes, that's what I'm saying this year.

Speaker 2:

You should spend $100,000 on marketing if you want to hit a million dollars in revenue. And so by that rule of thumb again, just by doing simple math, you could argue that if you spend $50,000, you'll make $500,000. Or you know, or like, if 5% will get you a million dollars, then it's 50 grand will get you a million dollars. It's just it's. But then you know that's like the top level response, because you also can't start measuring certain things right off the bat. You need to spend money to get the product, to get the program, to put it into place, and then it'll take you another year just to see it live in the market.

Speaker 1:

So let's break that down a little bit. So you're saying 3 to 5% on branding and then another 10% on go-to-market strategies. So let's talk through. You know, from your standpoint, how do you define that 3 to 5% on branding? What are those branding activities?

Speaker 2:

So that's a great question. So. So branding is specifically developing strategy. So, for example, that could house anything from developing your, your narrative, your messaging, nurturing your narrative, your messaging, defining, formalizing your mission, vision, values, your brand pillars, basically, the spirits that guide your communication in all its capacity. That could also house your visual identity, which includes the look and feel, your logos, your typefaces, you know, your brand architecture, how the hierarchy of your organization is set up, because all of these things drive the marketing and the marketing is the tactics. Marketing is how you communicate all that stuff to the market and that's why branding is always.

Speaker 2:

People don't like spending the money on the branding part, because it's all this preparation to go to market. Nothing is actually used yet. You're developing the program and again, that can take, depending on who you talk to. It can take anywhere from a few weeks to a few months and you know how fast you can go about it, how much you're willing to cut and if you're like a tiny three person company versus, you know, 5000 person company, it just depends and that's why, to your point, it's the budget is like all across the board and you could get.

Speaker 2:

I can make this really simple. You can get your brand off the ground with a decent program, meaning a brand book with a good style guide, with good messaging guidelines, with good narrative, with a useful story and brand character. That's going to drive all your marketing. You can get it off a good one that's like worth. It is, let's say, 10 grand, 10 to $15,000. I think anything below that you know you're, you're. You might get like logo and a style guide out of it, but your narrative is missing. Or like the narrative is created through speculation and just the founders vision, for example, without any real market research, which you know you can do that. There's nothing really against that. It's just less formal and you'll probably revisit the process down the road.

Speaker 1:

So that three to 5% includes a lot of the brand vision and strategy you're saying so and a lot of the go to market strategies. If you would, you're going to find that includes your messaging, you're and there's a lot of research involved in that. So that 3 to 5% of your budget you know to your point, if you wanted to make a million dollars, 3 to 5% of that you need to apply to your overall strategy, your image, so on and so forth. Then you're saying another 10% on the specific go to market strategies. That can be anything. You know is there are there a few things that are absolutes for people like you're saying, your go to market strategy always needs to include these things.

Speaker 2:

Well, it always needs to include your narrative. It needs to include you know your, your positioning as an organization, so you know, for example, if, if Monty is going to do business with someone, you show up as Monty. You don't put on a mask, so, and Monty is your strategy, that's your branding. So that's what needs to exist every time in all your marketing, whether it's in an email or a phone call. In a phone call, it's Monty talking in Monty's voice, in Monty's delivery and Monty's tone, upholding your values and how you approach life and business in general, and that comes through every time. It's the same thing in marketing. If your marketing looks different in every channel, if it sounds different in every channel, if it's you know, if it feels different or whatever, then there's discrepancy, then the market gets confused and they don't know what you're doing, what you're selling, who you are, what you're all about, and that just gets lost.

Speaker 1:

So it's sorry, go ahead, no, it's literally the things that scare people.

Speaker 2:

It's the intangibles that need to always be included. So it sounds weird saying that, because it's the stuff you can't see that needs to be in the thing you can see.

Speaker 1:

Yeah, it's totally true. You know, one of the things that I've found with a lot of companies that I work with is that over time, that brand message, that brand strategy, gets disjointed across channel. Right you may be, you may have things out here on Facebook and all of a sudden, you haven't used Facebook a while and you've made some brand strategy adjustments and now you've you've made those adjustments on LinkedIn and Twitter and stuff like that, and you're doing that. But over here on Facebook you're saying something totally different and it's like what happened there, and and or your website. You know you're out there on social media and you're you're communicating all these new, exciting things and everything else, and your website's just a dog's butt over here, you know, waving around and that's not.

Speaker 1:

That's not cohesive with what we're saying over here, and so so often it's figuring out all right. Well, you know, based on let's look a year ahead, here's where you want to be Now, here's the mess that you've got behind you that needs to be cleaned up, right? And so often it's it's it's not not everybody's starting from fresh, right, I mean, you've got to. You've got like a bunch of trash out here that you now have to revamp, and that increases the amount of time that it takes just to get you kind of back to even Totally, totally.

Speaker 2:

Yeah, and that in itself is scary. It's scary because it's it just takes time and it does take money. And you know, it's the thing that, again, tacticians hate this because they're like nothing is happening while we're doing this and it's like, well, a lot is happening. You're cleaning house in order to release useful tactics and, instead of doing this for five years and seeing no results, do this for six months and then get into it with a fresh start, with a fresh outlook, with a clear outlook, and then the next year and a half is going to be awesome.

Speaker 1:

Yeah, totally, you got any nightmare stories?

Speaker 2:

Nightmare stories. Man, something just off the top Trying to think like nightmare stories.

Speaker 1:

No, I haven't had a really bad.

Speaker 2:

Bad experience with with a customer in quite a while, which is great knock on wood.

Speaker 1:

But let me. Let me pull one out of the tank from a long, long time ago, but I'll share the eye. At one point in my career I was freelance designer, right and I met with this solopreneur. I don't even remember what his business was, to be honest with you, but he wanted a logo and he wanted a quote. Unquote attack a hummingbird, okay.

Speaker 2:

What the heck is that attack a hummingbird?

Speaker 1:

That's what attack hummingbird he wanted the hummingbird.

Speaker 1:

To like to like, look like it's, it's like a check mode. Yeah, because you know, you know hummingbirds are so, so fierce. But but so I, I launched into discovery. If you would trying to figure out, all right, what would an attack hummingbird? And of course, you know, you get these.

Speaker 1:

You get these people who have something in their mind yeah, they've got something envisioned, and they've got literally no ability to communicate what their vision is. I mean just none at all. They spit out random words attack hummingbird. You know that that like mean nothing and they, but they can't describe to you what it is. So you go through all these efforts of going out and finding different images. How about this? How about that? How about this? Would this represent what you have? Would this be attack hummingbird?

Speaker 1:

You know, and using other hummingbirds, and you're using other pictures of birds, angry birds, you know, and stuff like that. No, no, no, no. And you wind up spending so much blasted time just trying to get inside their brains. It's one of those, it's one of those examples where you can never be successful because they can't define for you what success is right.

Speaker 1:

And so I went through round after round of logos, never was able to find him anything. He kept, you know, wanting me to do different things. He eventually sent me this picture of some random bluebird in a in a really cold day, and it was sitting on a pole and it was, all you know, tucked in, feathers out, and it looked it looked angry, you know somehow Like I'm pissed off at so cold out here and I'm like, okay, well, why don't you just use that bird if you want? You know, doesn't have to be a hummingbird, you know. And what it taught me right there and that was if I ever have a client who can't express what success is, who can't define what success is and what I will do for them to achieve that success, that is the definition of a bad client and don't work for that client.

Speaker 2:

Yeah that's a good screening process? Yeah, Absolutely. You made me think of a also. It was also a logo project. That's so funny. I worked on and this was before I used to do this particular process that I employ a black rivet. It was years ago and basically the same thing, like speaking to the client you know what, what is your vision like, what are you trying to accomplish here and so on. And then six months, six months of work on this logo and this was a very big project and it was thrown in the garbage after six months.

Speaker 2:

And he meant something that was from his family, crest or whatever. And and and and and and and.

Speaker 1:

That's the way it always is. Anytime you get clients like that, you can, you'll do the most magnificent artwork and design and everything else, and in the end they'll use something that their seventh grade kids scratched out.

Speaker 2:

Yeah.

Speaker 1:

That they think is just amazing. That is trash.

Speaker 2:

Yeah, it was one of those. Like you know, I'd already sort of grown into a designer, so I didn't take it personally, but I was like man, that was a lot of work you just threw away and you know still got paid.

Speaker 2:

And it was, but it was just one of the. And then you know, my colleague goes, he's like well, at least you have a ridiculously long portfolio piece. Now I said, I said, I said, I said I said I said that's true, silver linings, it was funny, man, it was so funny. But yeah, oh well, but but that that's. That's why now I always argue, I say if you do this process where you do research strategy, then design visuals, then the potential for argument reduces every step of the way, because now it's something is informing something which is informing something else which is informing something else.

Speaker 2:

And to the point where I've worked with clients who come in with a logo before we even do the research. They're like we already have an idea, blah, blah, blah. And I and I say I'm happy to look at it. But I'm going to tell you right now there's a chance we'll use it, as is. There's also a chance we'll scrap it completely. And you won't be happy with that when we develop the strategy, because you'll see that it just doesn't fit anymore. And and they go, oh okay, yeah, I like that. And I say okay, and I and I and I mean it. There's no guarantee that we won't use it, but let's just do the work and see what happens, and when we get to that point, then you'll and I get nine out of 10 times you're like man, this, this, this doesn't work anymore.

Speaker 2:

It's like yeah.

Speaker 1:

Totally. You know, at some level I almost, I almost feel like a counselor.

Speaker 2:

Oh, yeah, totally.

Speaker 1:

When, when working with clients, kind of using that approach right, because you really have to get into the mind of somebody and because you know, for the fact of the matter is, we've all got different personalities, right, I mean there's a, there's a number of specific personalities. How we you know, how we are is always minutely different from anybody else, how we think, is usually different from anybody else. And and when you, when you are a business leader, solopreneur, whatever, you think about a lot of things, I mean I think back to the owner of this company that I just did the strategy for. I mean the guy has so many things on his plate he just simply doesn't have time to sit down and think strategically from a standpoint let me look a year ahead and from a marketing standpoint, what does that mean? What do I need to do? What do I need to accomplish? And yet it's all in there. It's all there. They just don't know how to get it out.

Speaker 1:

And so I think that's one of the greatest values. If you could create a unique value position around that, right, I will get out of your head what is there that you don't know how to get out? I wish I could kind of make that your, you know, my, my UBP, because, yeah, that's cool. A lot of people think they can do that, but but they don't right. And so I think what you're telling me, why you're successful with clients and I remember you were telling me, you know, one of your greatest successes was to make when your clients cry.

Speaker 1:

Yeah, yeah, in a good way, because you were able to pull that out, it happened again.

Speaker 2:

Yeah, a few weeks ago.

Speaker 1:

Tell me about it.

Speaker 2:

That was during the research phase. It was amazing Just from what we found certain findings that reinforced, you know, what she believed about herself and so on and what her husband believed about her, and just just all this uplifting reinforcement just made her feel, just she was overwhelmed and that was the first time that ever happened in the research phase. It was just just delivering data, it was, it was, it was incredible. It's like it's honestly such a you know we were flushed every time that happens. It's just an amazing experience.

Speaker 1:

That's really cool, really cool.

Speaker 2:

Yeah.

Speaker 1:

Yeah, is that kind of why you got into marketing?

Speaker 2:

To make people cry, to see that kind of emotional response to something that you can deliver for somebody.

Speaker 1:

Yeah, it definitely has a lot to do with it, and specifically, specifically, the branding side which is the prerequisite to marketing and so, or developing strategy and narrative and so on.

Speaker 2:

And because it's it's the part that some yeah, it's just, it's just, it's just, it's just, it's just, it's just, it's just, it's just, it's just, yeah, it's just. It's so emotionally driven and being able to get at that and identify it in a way that, to your point, is, you know, showing someone what they weren't even able to express is, is kind of magical.

Speaker 2:

And I realized I have that ability early on, when I was here I was in a graphic home- 12 years ago 10, I don't remember, it's like 12 years ago and the it was the first time that a client said about me that you know he was able to. He was able to see something that I didn't have wanted, you know, through through her descriptions of what she learned and so on. And actually what was cool was that I actually delivered exactly what she described. And then I was like, so we have, I have this, but when you were talking, I envisioned something completely different and I showed her that and she was like, holy shit, like I had. No, I she's like you just nailed it. I didn't even think that's what it was, but that's, that's what it is.

Speaker 2:

And I was like, and that was the moment that I felt that for the first time and I wanted to, I wanted to recreate that feeling over and over and over and over again, cause it's it's just exciting and and so you know, humbling every single time to be in that situation, to be able to share that moment with somebody and with a client where you just get them, you know, and they say that they the compliment we get, that black rivet always gets is we. I've never felt so, heard, like ever, so so that's. That's just a beautiful thing to hear. I can't think of a better compliment, honestly.

Speaker 1:

That's absolutely the truth. I mean, and that is the sign, if you ask me, that is one of the signs of an exceptional marketer, somebody that can really listen more than they are talking. And you know it's also leadership, if you ask me. I mean because the best leaders are always the best listeners and they're listening to respond, not waiting to talk. And that's the best marketers too Listen, hear what the problems are and then respond. Don't just wait to get a message out there, don't just throw out. You know what you think it should be, because you think you're a quote unquote marketer. So, yeah, well done, well done. Well. I'm excited for this New clients of yours. I want to definitely keep me posted and how it goes with them and let's make sure we get some of your stories out there Quite honestly, I don't know.

Speaker 1:

I mean, yeah, the white papers or case studies you know are great to show what somebody's results are after the fact.

Speaker 1:

But I think the stories that you have in that I'm a listener and we get to the strategies and we pull out the things that matter, you know, and that create real experiences for our clients and stuff like that those are unique and I think if you're leading with those with prospects and stuff like that, I think more people are interested in that, honestly, than the end result, because I think if you are able to accomplish that, then the end result should be mostly automatic right, you can't help but to grow, you can't help but to do better, and everybody will feel that you know in the end.

Speaker 1:

And then, once you're able I talked to Isaac and my team about that all the time you know, yeah, in six months, in a year, down the road we're gonna have a bunch of numbers to throw at people and a bunch of numbers will look attractive. Oh, we took a client from 1 million to 2 million or whatever you know. But does that mean you're gonna do it for them? No, not necessarily. But when you can share stories like what you're sharing right now and then you're gonna do it for them stories like what you're sharing right now and saying we look at the end, then we pull out what needs to be pulled out of your mind and help craft and create that message that matters to you. If it matters to you, it's gonna matter to your client. And then we weave that throughout across your channels and create the strategies around that Can't help but grow. I think that's almost more valuable and more of what somebody needs to see than yeah, I did this for somebody else.

Speaker 2:

Sure, yeah, the case studies are a reinforcement. Honestly, it's just, and it's something I wouldn't even show until they asked yeah, you know. I just I like to have them for that moment, because you also you know we often talk to numbers. People Like they just they know they need this, but they want to see the numbers. So it's just, it just depends.

Speaker 1:

Again it's.

Speaker 2:

I agree I don't think it replaces this at all, but I think it's a good supplement to have. It's always a useful reinforcement.

Speaker 1:

Well, this has been awesome. Yeah, it was awesome. Thank you, I appreciate the conversation.

Discussing Business Progress and Overcoming Obstacles
Overcoming Challenges, Building Relationships in Marketing
Process-Driven Approach to Achieving Success
Marketing
The Importance of Branding in Marketing
Communication Challenges in Design and Marketing
The Power of Listening in Marketing
Importance of Case Studies in Presentations