Guilty of the frantic scramble in your marketing?

FranTarkentonI grew up in Minnesota in the 70s and I love football which meant that back when I was a kid, my world revolved around the Minnesota Vikings and our incredible quarterback, Fran Tarkenton.

At the time of his retirement, Fran owned EVERY major quarterback record out there. Fran was known as The Scrambler because he was famous for being able to pivot and run around in the backfield, dodging defensive players and giving his teammates time to elude a defender or get open for a pass.

He was something to behold. Off the field, he was articulate, intelligent and called a “thinking quarterback.”

I admired him on and off the field. He was a great role model. So no great surprise that when he retired, Fran successfully pursued other professional aspirations, including launching over 20 companies.

Being a scrambling quarterback was really the perfect training ground for Fran’s entrepreneurial efforts. Whether you run a huge corporation or a one man hot dog cart — owning a business is about scrambling for opportunities, dodging disasters and looking down the field, hoping you see the perfect play that will advance your efforts.

Sadly, marketing is never the biggest guy chasing you down. Which is why so many business owners let their marketing slack off or erratically cycle in and out.

Marketing is creating the game plan before the game and then executing it.  Sure, you call an audible now and then and change things up.  But, you mostly follow the plan.  When you plan/execute your marketing well, you can scramble after opportunities.  But you don’t wait until the need for marketing chases you.

Back in the 70s, during halftime and after every game (yes, even in the dead of MN winter), my neighborhood buddies and I would gather in our shared backyards to play a little football. So picture little Drew McLellan, out in the back yard, wearing his #10 Vikings jersey scrambling as I shouted that my teammate should go long. (Who doesn’t love that play?).

Fast forward to today — and I’m excited to tell you that a much older Drew McLellan got to be a guest on Fran Tarkenton’s radio show, aimed at entrepreneurs.  (listen to the segment by clicking here)

How cool is that? We talked about some of the challenges that business owners/leaders face when it comes to marketing, like:

  1. Marketing is not part of their daily routine — so they cycle. Go like crazy when things are slow and then do nothing when they’re flush. If the dry spell is too long, they go out of business.
  2. Chasing after new business and ignoring existing customers (spend time/money in the exact wrong way — it should be spent on employees, current customers and then prospects not the other way around).
  3. Marketing is too self centered/focused. Way too much me/we and not enough focus on the customers’ needs.
  4. Try to do too many different marketing tactics all at once and don’t do any of them for a long enough period of time or with enough depth. Better to do fewer but do them better.
  5. Business owners need an outside perspective. Why/how is their business different/unique? What is the value proposition that only they can offer? But they can’t figure it out on their own. It’s like trying to describe the outside of a bottle — if you are inside it. Can’t unknown what you know.

Are you suffering from any of those mistakes?  Are you so busy scrambling that you’re applying the same philosophy to your marketing?

Create a marketing game plan and follow it.  Leave the scrambling to other aspects of running your business.

Want to listen to Fran and I chatting about business?  You can listen to the live broadcast of the show this Saturday (June 8th) at 8-10 am CT or 3-5 pm CT on Sirius 104. Or you can listen on demand at siriousxm.com.  Get more details here on Fran’s radio show page.  Once I get the mp3 of the show, I’ll add it to this post as well.

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The new phone book is here — where’s yours?

photoNormally at MMG, we caution clients to be careful of the “I don’t listen/watch/do therefore neither does my target audience” trap.

We usually do not represent our target audience and even if we are like them — there are plenty of exceptions to the rule.  And sometimes the exception is you!

But in this case I will say — how you (and I) use our trusty, dusty phone book is probably pretty similar to how the rest of the world responds to them as well.

Mine?  It went from bag on the lawn to recycling bin in one fluid motion.

If you are still spending money on phone book ads — unless you know that your target audience still uses them (pretty much the 65+ crowd), there are better places for your money.

P.S.  And don’t let the “how did you hear about us” question fool you.  TV and the phone book are the usual answer when they respondent either doesn’t remember or doesn’t want to say.

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Are you willing to double your profits?

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…do you want to double your profits?

Seems like a silly question, doesn’t it?  Who wouldn’t want to double profits?

Wanting to and being willing to do what it takes are two very different things.  But I’ve found a playbook that might give you an edge.

Double your revenue and profit in 3 years or less.  That’s a bold promise and one most authors wouldn’t dare make.  But Cameron Herold doesn’t appear to be just any author.  Cameron earned his chops running high-growth businesses such as 1-800-GOT-JUNK? where in his six years as COO, the company roughly doubled in size every year, growing from $2MM to over $106MM in sales.

What I appreciate about Herold book’s Double Double (click here to buy*) is that it’s practical “how to” stuff as opposed to a lot of theoretical discussion.  Lots of good examples and very tangible tools.  But all of that said….this isn’t revolutionary information.  I doubt you are going to read anything that makes you slap yourself on the head and say, “I’d never have thought of that.”

So why read the book, you might ask.  Well, if you’ve already doubled the size your revenue in the past 3 years and are on track to do it again — then you probably shouldn’t waste your time.  But if you’re like 99% of business owners/leaders — you may be familiar with many of the concepts but you aren’t making it happen.

So read the book.  Take notes.  And notice the focus.

I think most business leaders know what they need to do to make their business successful.  But then one of three things happens:

  • They get distracted
  • It gets too difficult (they don’t want to do something they need to do)
  • They get worn out and don’t have the energy

The other danger is that most business leaders try to do this in a vacuum.  They don’t involve their team.  They don’t create a vision that’s so clear anyone in the company could draw it and they don’t protect/chase that vision like a middle linebacker at the Super Bowl.  While Herold’s book can’t toughen you up to do the hard work — he has written a playbook you can follow.

Part One: This is what I would call the prep section.  This is about creating your map.  You can get somewhere without one, but why go to all that extra work?  Measure twice, cut one!  This isn’t just about vision, it’s about how to go from vision to action plan and how to create a culture where everyone is pulling in the same direction.

Part Two: This section is the nitty gritty of how to execute on the plan.  It covers just what you’d expect it to — right people on the bus, marketing, tracking/measuring progress, etc.

Part Three: This section talks about having the heart of a leader.   Herold talks about juggling all you have to do, finding some balance and the heart murmurs that come with running  business.  His chapter about the roller coaster was worth the price of the book alone.  Having owned my own business since 1995 — I have felt everything he described and then some.

This book is a call to action so read it with a notepad by your side.  I’d also recommend that you read it with your management team and then discuss your ideas together.  It would be a great pre retreat homework assignment and then you could really dig into the planning.

Bottom line — if you want your business to be stronger, more profitable and more fun — this is an excellent playbook.  But…reading the book won’t be enough so don’t bother buying it if you aren’t also willing to do the hard work.

 

*Yup, an affiliate link.  The author sent me an advanced copy of this book to review.  So did a bunch of other authors.  But this book is worth sharing with you.

 

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