Hello there, and welcome to How To Do Marketing Snacktime, I’m so very pleased that you can join me.

To kick off our snackable series, I’d like to open up with a piece of advice around being curious and being curious with your target audience.

So, I have three kids who are all at school, and I reckon my biggest piece of advice to them is always ask questions until you know the answers.

If you have children, you know that sometimes with kids and sometimes as adults, we want to ask a question and for some reason, we won’t because we feel it’s not appropriate.

Or we just don’t ever think to ask the question, even though we don’t know an answer to something.

And so, a lot of the time my kids will come home from school and they’ll say “Mum, I just don’t understand this concept” and I’ll say “well, why didn’t you ask the teacher, you know that’s what the teachers are there for, if you want to know the answer to something you’ve got to ask.”

Now, when I switch hats to a marketing consultant and when I’m working with small businesses, so many times I’ll hear small businesses ask questions out loud about their target audience. “Well, I wonder what social media platform they’re on”, “I wonder what interests them on social media”, “I wonder if they would pay this price”, “I’m just not sure that they would appreciate this or I don’t know whether they would value this”, or “I don’t know what magazines they would read”.

And my piece of advice would be exactly the same to you as a small business owner, as it is to my kids.


Ask questions until you know the answers

That applies to your target audience.

In my experience, people genuinely like to be asked questions. People really appreciate someone else being interested in them. And then there’s people who really enjoy giving their opinions to people.

When you’re asked a question, as long as it’s not an annoying question or a stupid question, or you’re not asking someone at an inconvenient time of day they will usually answer.

If you don’t know an answer about your customer, or you don’t know enough information about your target audience to be able to make a good decision with your business or your marketing, ask them.

This could be some formal customer research where you could ask a group of your existing customers, or even a group of people that represent who your potential target audience might be.

You might send an online survey; you might use a Facebook poll in a group. You might just go out to your personal Facebook feed if you think that there’s going to be some people in there that represent your target audience.

You can pick up the phone to call people that you think might represent your target audience, or pick up the phone to call existing customers, to work out how they think and some of the behaviors that they have might give you clues as to how your target audience think or behave.


Once we know the answers to these questions, we can confidently make marketing decisions

We will always need to have that mindset where we encourage and accept that we need to do a little bit of trial and error when we try things for the first time.

It is so much more refreshing and you have so much more confidence investing in something if you’re pretty certain that it’s going to work, because you’ve actually gone out and asked the question and you have enough answers to be able to back yourself to make a decision.

So, I can’t emphasize the importance of talking with your customers enough and asking them the questions.

It doesn’t have to be formal research, but just have the mindset of ‘if I don’t know the answer to this, and I think I can get the answer by simply asking a question, then I will ask the question’.

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Podcast Transcript:

Jane Hillsdon:

Hello, and welcome to How to do Marketing Snack Time. Time for another little marketing snack. So a question I get asked a lot by small business owners is how do I know when I need to actually get a marketing consultant? How do I know when I actually need to pay for a marketing consultant or start paying for marketing advice? Which I think is a really, really good question because not every small business owner will need a marketing consultant depending on where they are. There’s probably quite a few things that they might be able to do themselves, or might be able to enlist the help of, you know, a website developer or a copywriter or someone who kind of specializes in a tactic such as Facebook or Instagram without actually going and investing in a strategic marketing consultant. So I’ll start off by saying all kind of talking about when you might not need a marketing consultant. So there’s kind of three main scenarios where I don’t think it’s necessary for you to invest in a marketing consultant. So the first is if you are happy with your business as it is, and when I’m talking about that, I mean, financially in terms of the number of people that work for you in terms of the income that you’re earning in terms of the profit margin that you’re attracting, you know, if you’re kind of comfortable with where that is, and you really just not need to kind of maintain that.

And there’s really not much that you’ve had to kind of do in the past to do that, that point in time that you’ll probably really need to think about getting a marketing consultant on board is perhaps when you decide to grow that business further, or if your market all of a sudden becomes a little bit competitive, but if you’re kind of where you need to be at a financial level personally, in terms of your income and profit, you probably don’t need to invest in a marketing consultant. Number two, you don’t need to bother with a marketing consultant if you’re not confident enough in your small business or your product or your service, to be able to invest in yourself. Marketing is an investment in time and an investment in money and investment in resource. And if you back yourself, and if you know that your business is going to be a success, you just need to get it in front of the right people.

Sure. Go and grab that marketing consultant by the horns. But if you don’t, if you’re not confident, then don’t go out and get a marketing consultant that won’t solve your problem. The third is probably relates a little bit to the first one. You know, if you’re comfortable enough to say, you know, I get word of mouth referrals. So I don’t really need to invest in marketing. All the business that comes my way is word of mouth. So I’m good, you know, I’ve got it. And if you’re happy with that and where your business gets to at that point, great, you know, keep it going that way. A word about word of mouth word of mouth is probably the biggest source of referral for any business of any size. And at any stage it’s always the most effective form of marketing where you say variations in the amount of word of mouth is dependent on how spectacular your business is.

If you are delivering a product or a service that people are fairly ambivalent about you may get a dribble of word of mouth and referrals, and that’s fine if you’re kind of happy with that level great, where you deliver an exceptional product, or if you really kind of fit a gap where you’re solving a particular problem in the marketplace that nobody else is, and you’re doing a spectacular job of that, you will see that word of mouth amplify, you know, and Seth Goden is a huge advocate for just being super good at what you do for the right amount of people for your right target audience. And if you can get that equation right, then you will have the word of mouth. You will have people talking and remarking about your business. Honestly, I don’t see that happening a lot.

If you can do it great. There’s probably not a lot of a reason to, to invest in a huge amount of marketing. Okay. So when do you invest in a marketing consultant? So firstly and foremost, of course you invest in a marketing consultant if you are serious about growth. So when you want to start getting your business in front of new people, when you want to start understanding, you know, who can I sell to, I’ve got my existing group, my tribe, my customers, I’ve got the low hanging fruit. Now I need to actually take this to a whole new level. That’s when you might start considering a marketing consultant and particularly one that can actually develop a strategy that plugs into your business. There’s not a lot of point. You won’t get a lot of success approaching marketing. If you’re serious about growth, approaching marketing at a tactical level here, or just kind of going for one tactical provider here.

Because even if you do just go and get your website attended to, that’s not going to be enough to actually drive serious growth, that’s going to be part of it, but there’s going to be more parts that are involved to actually get your business to the stage of growth. If particularly if you’re ambitious. The second reason that you might get a marketing consultant is when you need a fresh set of eyes and a fresh perspective from a marketing point of view. So you need someone to actually review your positioning and your perception and your messaging. You know, what about your communication efficiencies? Is the marketing that you’ve been doing, is that getting you the best results that it can? A marketing consultant will be able to kind of help advise on that. And I think, you know, one of the biggest things that we notice is when we go in and advise at a strategic level we’re able to kind of be that fresh perspective and that fresh set of eyes that can be the customer advocate or your customer advocate.

And go, hang on a second. I don’t understand what you’re saying here. So yeah, you’re using a lot of jargon that I don’t understand. You know, you’ve got to take me on the journey here. I don’t know what the hell you’re talking about. The third instance where you might need a marketer is if you are actually looking to diversify, if you’re looking to launch a new product or a new service, or perhaps your business is looking at changing direction and you actually need, again, some strategically planned comms around how you’re going to do that and some real consideration into, okay, well, this is the market that we service now. But we need to actually go and build up some, some visibility and awareness and engagement in this market over here, marketing consultant is the person to help you there.

Also another time when you might need a marketing consultant is if you are a business where you have a great pool of customers and you are you know, you’ve got a level of kind of financial stability that you’re happy with, but you want to increase that financial stability a little bit, and also make sure that you’re leveraging your existing customers by actually becoming more valuable or letting them see, see the value in you, as opposed to just kind of buying what they’re buying now. So increase, maybe their spend with you, increase the frequency of transactions with you, or maybe it’s just actually getting your, your customers or your clients that have been with you for years to actually start remarking about you. You know, they stop talking about you because you’re part of the furniture these days, which is great. They love you, but we actually need to start, you know, giving them a bit of a shake and invigorating their love for you and actually getting them talking about you so that they would be, you know, for great reasons. Of course, there would be many other reasons, but they’re certainly the ones that I would navigate to first.



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