How I Like To Approach Marketing

Insights on marketing new ventures, emphasizing organizing marketing strategies, differentiating between lead and lag measures, and implementing effective processes for business growth.
How I Like To Approach Marketing

Marketing something new is intimidating.

I’ve been building brands and businesses for close to 20 years and I still get anxiety whenever it’s time to launch.

Will people love it?

Will they even notice?

Is it even ready to share with the world?

Marketing for a small business or brand is a very nuanced discussion and there is no way that one or two paragraphs are going to serve as a magic bullet.

Instead, here are 3 important exercises that help me:

1. Get your marketing strategy organized.

While we know our product or idea better than anyone, the details can often get lost in translation.

I like to organize my thoughts using something called a Vision/Traction Organizer, or V/TO. The entire methodology is wonderfully detailed in Gino Wickman’s seminal book, Traction it has become an essential tool for me these past few years.

While I encourage all entrepreneurs to read the book, part of this process includes the following exercise for establishing a marketing framework:

  • In 1 sentence, describe who is on your “customer list” or who is your target market?

  • What are 3 unique things your business does that make people want to buy from you?

  • What is your “proven process” or what makes your business or product work?

  • What is your “guarantee” to your customers — is there a promise that you can absolutely make?

Now stop and take 5-10 minutes and go through this exercise for your business or project.

Need some inspiration? Just shoot me an email and I’ll send you the ones we created for Fresh Markets.

2. Understand Lead vs. Lag Measures and use them to track progress.

Understanding and optimizing for this will change your business.

Put simply, a lag measure is something you track after an event occurred.

In our pop-up market business, a good example of a lag measure would be “How many vendors sold at our recent farmers market?”.

It often involves analyzing data on a past outcome that you had little ability to control.

Read that last line again.

Conversely, a lead measure is an action you take to help create an outcome.

A good example of a lead measure would be “How many vendors did we reach out to on Instagram each day to see if they wanted to sell at our pop-up market?”

The fundamental difference is that lead measures are pegged to an action regardless of the outcome.

Now go read that last line again.

Still with me?

Good - it’s all starting to come together.

3. Embrace the power of processes.

Processes are why some businesses and entrepreneurs get ahead while others seem to spin their wheels.

For a small business, a process can be as simple as creating a templated list of items and following it.

For Fresh Markets, we have a template card in Asana that has a list of a dozen or so actions that need to be done every time we launch a new event.

Whenever we have a new market, I duplicate the card and start to assign out tasks to our team.

This allows us to move faster and more cohesively, which in turn allows us to create better events than any of our competitors.

Now, let put it all together but first, just 2 more things…

Food For Thought

If you haven’t done so, go through the exercise on creating a marketing strategy for your business.

Next, see if you can identify 2 or 3 lead measures you can distill from your marketing strategy. Remember to focus on specific actions you can take today versus longer term goals.

Now, create a process or punch list of “things” you can implement to get organized and create measured accountability for your growth. Be sure to establish frequency requirements and deadlines.

Lastly, go on, get to it!

back to writing

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