Your 10 minute marketing plan

February 2, 2016 by · Leave a Comment 

view from horseback of a dusty trail following other riders

Recently a friend mentioned that she relied only on word-of-mouth to promote her business, and maybe she needed to try something more. I offered to give her some ideas. After I finished writing, I thought this might be useful for other people, too.

This is kind of a paper napkin marketing plan—that cliche of business. It’s the basics, quick and dirty. There is lots of information available, and you can ask me, too.

I view marketing as common sense, but from the point of view of the people you are trying to attract. When we get outside our own assumptions, jargon, embarrassment about talking about what we love to do, or however we cut ourselves off from communicating with potential clients or people who might know potential clients, there is lots of room to experiment and explore appealing ways to reach out to and attract people to learn about what we do. Read more

The metaphysics of marketing

April 22, 2014 by · Leave a Comment 

Rope, blanket, flaxen mane against a sorrel horse's shoulder

This principle is how marketing works. I’ve observed it over and over again, but never more starkly than in the following story.

My client, a small engineering firm, wanted to do more work with architecture firms, and we had just developed and printed a new brochure designed to appeal to architects. (This was before the predominance of electronic media.)

After the brochures had been mailed, the principal and his two project managers decided to cold call a number of the architects they had mailed to. We wrote call scripts and role played making phone calls. They plugged away at their call lists, but the results were not exactly encouraging.

Then an interesting thing happened. Read more

Sales is not a dirty word

December 5, 2011 by · 4 Comments 

A day-old buckskin foal sniffs the water trough for the first time.

‘Sales’ is not usually the first word chosen by professionals to describe how they acquire new clients. They prefer ‘marketing’ or ‘business development.’

For example, a professional colleague said to me recently, “Everyone else is out there marketing so hard, it is essential to be out there too.” Her firm recently hired a new associate who has energized their team because he “feels responsible to actually market,” as my friend put it.

This anecdote speaks to one of the dilemmas of operating a professional services business: to do what you are good at and love to do, you need work; work comes from clients; clients come from a regular, ongoing system of practices called marketing, sales, and business development, often interchangeably.

Dear reader, are you thinking, “Duh!” to yourself? I know it is obvious, but many professionals resist doing the sales and marketing needed to have thriving businesses. Read more

What Jetexas taught me about patience & persistence

June 28, 2011 by · 2 Comments 

Bay foal sniffs yellow lab's back over the fence

We have an elderly visitor at our house this week. His name is Jetexas. He is an elegant, sweet-tempered black Labrador retriever. He is bright-eyed and glad to be alive, even though his body doesn’t work as well as it used to, especially his hindquarters.

He spends most of his time sleeping, but when it’s time to get up for a meal or a trip outside, he needs help, and getting his balance those first few steps takes time.

Today as I helped him get up and guided him gently towards the outdoors, I had to wait several times for him to come along with me. Yes, I can carry the 65-pound dog, but forcing him doesn’t help him or me. So I wait, guide, wait, call him, wait, help him balance, and wait some more. Patience with persistent guidance gets him safely and happily down the steps to the lawn and back up again. Read more

I’m not sure I should tell you this

February 28, 2011 by · 6 Comments 

frightened horse showing the whites of his eyes

I struggle with my own marketing. I agonize over finding the right words for my own marketing message. All the objectivity and inspiration that I love bringing to my clients . . . POOF! Suddenly my head is going in circles.

Finally I realized that I need to get OUT of my head to make progress. And I need another human being to interact with who can hold an objective, outside perspective.

Why is this so important? There are a few reasons.

Now more than ever we are required to be crystal clear in our marketing communications, and that all boils down to our core message: the bedrock of how you promote your business. Read more