Marketing Plans That Help Small Businesses Scale
The strategy behind a marketing plan balances the speed of growth with the capabilities and resources a business has.
Hosted by Kevin Dieny
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[00:00:00] Kevin Dieny: Hello, welcome to the Close The Loop podcast. And today we’re going to be diving into marketing plans. We’re going to go back to the basics a little bit, in a sense, talking about the strategy, the planning, what should businesses be doing? And ultimately we’re after, what are the marketing plans that can help a business scale?
[00:00:19] Kevin Dieny: So that’s a little different than let’s say, give me the best marketing plan for my business per se. Because a marketing plan that helps scale is a little different. When it comes to a marketing plan, we’re talking about a business, trying to figure out what it’s going to do next. I think a marketing plan really is about helping a business know, okay, what’s the next step?
[00:00:39] Kevin Dieny: I think every business has had that point where like, well, I could do everything better. I could spend more money. I could get more leads. I could try to get more sales. I could try to keep my clients longer. There’s a lot to do. So what should I be doing next?
[00:00:52] Kevin Dieny: And especially when it comes to scaling, that means more money in the door and quicker and faster. So this is a little different spin. To help us dive into this topic I have a very special guest. His name is Nick Packard. Nick is the founder of NP connect, a fractional CMO business, that works with companies of all sizes to accomplish their marketing goals.
[00:01:15] Kevin Dieny: From creating logos, to building websites, to defining and executing digital marketing strategies, Nick is a complete resource to businesses throughout the US and abroad. Nick is passionate about helping small businesses grow. He comes from a family of entrepreneurs, really cool, and knows firsthand the ups and downs that comes with the territory.
[00:01:35] Kevin Dieny: He also knows that these business owners are good at their craft, but may not have all the skills to reach the business’s full potential. When not at work, he is at home with his four daughters and wife. His life is pure chaos and he loves every minute of it. So welcome, Nick!
[00:01:52] Nick Packard: Hey, thanks for having me on.
[00:01:54] Kevin Dieny: So we’ll jump right into this. We’ll go with what makes a marketing plan work well, or what makes a marketing plan fail for a business? Nick?
[00:02:03] Nick Packard: I have five key factors is what I found when creating a marketing plan to make it actually work for you. And you know, the funny thing is it’s the same exact marketing plan for every client I’ve ever had over the past 12 or 15, however many years it’s been, since I’ve been doing this. The first key to it is understanding what your value is.
[00:02:18] Nick Packard: And then how you share that or, here’s why I exist. Here’s the value I can bring to you. And then here’s how I’m going to share it to you. I think that’s the first point of any marketing plan.
[00:02:27] Kevin Dieny: I also have Matt Widmyer with us. He’s a colleague of mine. He’s on our sales side. So when it comes to, the marketing plan of a business, how does that trickle over into, let’s say the sales department, Matt?
[00:02:40] Matt Widmyer: Yeah. I mean, I’m hopeful. It does trickle over on to the sales side, right? That means, that means the marketing is working. It’s a lot of trial and error. Right. The comradery between marketing and sales is super important.
[00:02:51] Matt Widmyer: The hand holding, the expectation, no campaigns out of the blue, right. Communication, between the teams. I feel like a super, is like the secret ingredient for a successful, operation between sales and marketing. So I would just say, communication, collaboration… to sum it up.
[00:03:09] Kevin Dieny: So Nick, you mentioned that there’s a couple parts to what you’re used to delivering in a marketing plan. And one of them was, you know, figuring out that value. And I look at that also, like how does that brand going to set themselves apart? Why is all that ultimately important? And what are some of those other points that you’d mentioned?
[00:03:26] Nick Packard: Yeah. Yeah. That really comes down to the USP, that unique selling proposition. The big piece of the five pieces, I really talk about the marketing plan or like the, you know, knowing your value, why you exist, defining who your ideal clients are, and communicating to them in their language.
[00:03:39] Nick Packard: Build a community around your organization is another one. Create a system that has some strategic and systematic results. And then walk your prospect through the first several parts of the sales process.
[00:03:50] Nick Packard: Those are the main key points of any good marketing plan. And I would totally agree that, having sales interact with marketing to help create those is really important. For me in my business, I have a thing called a free digital assessment that I offer.
[00:04:03] Nick Packard: And really what that’s all about is my value is my knowledge in marketing. And in being able to help someone identify key areas they might be missing out on. So whether that be their website, their social media, their email marketing, whatever that may be, I offer a preview for free.
[00:04:16] Nick Packard: Hey, you sign up for my website here. I’ll give you a five page report. I’ll spend about two to four hours on looking through all of your stuff and being like, hey, here’s some areas that you probably haven’t looked at. Like your SEO value is low here, you don’t have a capture, your follow-up emails are this, your social media, you’re only posting on holidays.
[00:04:33] Nick Packard: I’ll kind of call, call it out. And in a really good way, right. To say like, Hey, here’s some really good missed opportunities and they will be like, holy cow, not only is this guy providing me with value, but now he’s actually bringing me into his community.
[00:04:44] Nick Packard: He’s addressed that he understands where I’m coming from. So all those things fit into that first part of that.
[00:04:49] Kevin Dieny: Gotcha. So the marketing plan that’s going to help a business scale essentially is going to take what’s parts of the business that are working and help them work at a higher efficiency. Taking some elements of the business that are not working like you’ve mentioned, and either remove them from the equation.
[00:05:06] Kevin Dieny: So you can spend your resources better somewhere else. Or get them working actually. Right. So what exactly is the function of a marketing plan? If we go really simple, basic, like one-on-one on this, what is the essential functions of a marketing plan that is trying to do for the business? Nick?
[00:05:23] Nick Packard: I think it really defines the goals of the company and what the result you’re hoping to get is. Overall the marketing plan should say, Hey, I want to develop more leads. I want to have a better process. I want to know who my clients are better. I want to know what services I should be offering.
[00:05:36] Nick Packard: So really just, it defines those really high level goals.
[00:05:39] Kevin Dieny: And Matt, you mentioned the alignment part. So let’s say the marketing plan is we want to generate leads, or sell this product, or get more engagement out of this group. From the sales side, it’s like, well, that’s nice. Is that aligned with what the sales team is trying to do?
[00:05:55] Kevin Dieny: Right. So what are some of the pitfalls there if it’s not well aligned?
[00:06:00] Matt Widmyer: Well, yeah, I think I actually love your approach, Nick, with the essentially a diagnosis, right? You have this, you have them go through this Toyota 125 point inspection and then figure out, what are the areas that this business might potentially need to improve?
[00:06:14] Matt Widmyer: From a sales side that makes our job very easy, because what you’re doing is you’re essentially saying, Hey, this is where I need help. And then we have the solutions, we’re the product you know, the product experts on the sales side. So we’re just coming in, um, saying, Hey, we have the solutions or services that can help fill those needs.
[00:06:33] Matt Widmyer: We go back to what I was saying before the alignment is, is huge and marketing helped pave the way from that side.
[00:06:39] Nick Packard: That’s basically the loan calculator model, right? It’s really simple, if you fill out the loan calculator for a car, for a house or whatever, it gives the loan agent, whoever, all the information they need. I know how much money there they have to spend. I know what their monthly income is.
[00:06:49] Nick Packard: So you’ve already gone and done half the work. So again, part of the five point marketing plan, the last one was walk the prospects through the first several steps of the sales process. So that way the sales team gets a qualified lead because everyone has their job.
[00:07:01] Nick Packard: Even like on a football team, the kicker has got a kick, the quarterback’s got to throw, the running backs got to run, the wide receiver has got to catch. Right? Well, everyone has their job. And so marketing’s job is to deliver quality leads to the sales team. And then the sales team’s job is to close. And that’s more than that obviously, to educate, to grow relationship and do all these things.
[00:07:18] Nick Packard: So if you have those two working at a really high level, your conversion rates should be really high.
[00:07:24] Kevin Dieny: That’s always good to know, or to have that those metrics on hand too. And it leads me right to the next question. Right? So Nick, why measure the marketing plan?
[00:07:33] Nick Packard: Man, it justifies my existence, right? That’s everything, you know, marketing is all about testing and measuring. There’s no silver bullet for anything. Things are always changing different channels, different customers, different groups. So you have to be able to track that. What am I spending?
[00:07:47] Nick Packard: What are my impressions? Your funnel, of like how many people am I sending out to? How many people are interacting? How big is my audience growing? All those things funneled down into how many leads are we developing? And so if you’re not addressing each area of that funnel and understanding the data each point, you’re not going to do yourself as a marketer any favors.
[00:08:05] Kevin Dieny: There’s a few other things I was curious about when it comes to developing the marketing plan. So there’s three things. The first one is how much should the businesses current resources be used to evaluate the marketing plan. Part number two is how much are we looking at the competition to develop our marketing plan?
[00:08:24] Kevin Dieny: And the third part is how much are we looking at our consumers, our clients, our customers to develop that marketing plan. How much are we looking internally, externally? To develop this marketing plan.
[00:08:36] Nick Packard: Externally should be the least amount of your worries, because really it’s all about your unique selling proposition, your business, and your customers are a big part of that. So those would be my two biggest areas of focus.
[00:08:46] Nick Packard: It really starts at the top with leadership. So overall though, the leadership, whether it be owner, whether it be a board or directors or whoever that may be. They should really set the tone to say like, Hey, here’s what we need to accomplish.
[00:08:56] Nick Packard: And we need to accomplish 10% growth or whatever. Okay, marketing, how are you going to do that? Then the marketing leadership can get strategic and be like, okay, let’s create our our goals, and our goals is we’re going to get a new website, we’re going to do this, we’re going to do that. Right. You’re going to pick, pick your three things.
[00:09:10] Nick Packard: And then what things are you going to do that are going to lead to that goal of a 10% increase? That part starts at the top. The customer sides are really, really important side because if you don’t understand your customers well, you’re not going to accomplish your goals.
[00:09:21] Kevin Dieny: So then that leads me right to a perfect next question for you, Matt, how do you know that the goals, KPIs, metrics, the stuff that we’re asked to do are realistic?
[00:09:34] Matt Widmyer: Um,
[00:09:36] Kevin Dieny: Matt, I want you to make a million dollars in sales.
[00:09:38] Matt Widmyer: Yeah it is a little bit loaded, a little bit loaded question here. How is it realistic? We’re going to have a plan going into it. Right. And we’re going to learn and, we’re going to learn relatively quickly. It’s a work in progress, so we’re going to learn on the fly, but we are going to make tweaks and adjustments.
[00:09:55] Matt Widmyer: And if it’s still not working, then maybe something does need to change back in the marketing side. This is why this feedback loop is so important between marketing and sales. You don’t really know truly, unless you actually start going through that, you know, the experience.
[00:10:08] Matt Widmyer: That’s why it’s so important to have somebody own this quote unquote from the marketing side and from the sales side, just they can kind of collaborate, um, everything that they’re learning along the way.
[00:10:17] Nick Packard: Truth be told the sales, more than half the time, the sales team has all the ideas. They’re the ones with the boots on the ground. They’re the one talking to the customer. But if the marketing team doesn’t engage them in the right way and test and measure some of the ideas, and some of the things that they have, it’s not going to work.
[00:10:33] Nick Packard: I can think of you know a couple of things off the top of my head of like, I would’ve never, ever thought of something like that. Had I not had that conversation with the sales team just to be like, Hey man, let’s just have 15 minutes and just tell me your ideas. That to me is golden. If marketing isn’t doing that, then that is a problem.
[00:10:46] Kevin Dieny: Making sure that the marketing plan that we’re going off of for the businesses plan, businesses goals… how flexible do they need to be? There is new information that we learn along the way that may require us to change or pivot. How set are we on that original marketing plan, let’s say we made, six months ago? Should we constantly be changing and starting over again?
[00:11:07] Nick Packard: I think goals are important that they should be set realistically, so that way you can achieve them. But I do think along the way, You’re going to find other things that have to get done to either accomplish those goals, or that would be a good thing to do in addition to those goals.
[00:11:19] Nick Packard: And so I think it does happen, but overall, I think if you’re not holding yourself accountable to like, Hey, we agreed to this at the beginning of the quarter or the beginning of the year, like we’re going to get this done. We’re going to see it through. I think it’s a really important part of any organizational structure.
[00:11:32] Kevin Dieny: Yeah. The other thing I was thinking about, what’s required to accomplish this? Not necessarily, we need this many more sales or this many more leads. What’s the work required? So for a website, what’s the work required to build this.
[00:11:46] Kevin Dieny: Okay, this is fairly substantial. We don’t have any developer. We don’t have anyone who even knows what they’re doing with the website, but we say, we, we actually do have a lot of good people who can write emails and stuff. So it becomes sort of like, well, in my business, it may make more sense to emphasize one channel or another, just because I happen to have people who are more familiar with this or that. But at the same time, it’s like, should we go outside the business because we don’t have that stuff here because how important is it to have this thing we don’t have expertise for?
[00:12:16] Kevin Dieny: You know? So thats that’s a little bit also complicated about a market plan. Yes. We want to accomplish this. This seems like the best way to do it, but we don’t have the resources internally. Should we go outside?
[00:12:26] Nick Packard: That’s why I have a job. No, that’s a great point though, because most companies, especially, you know, I work with a lot of smaller, medium sized businesses who may have a one or two person marketing department that they’re really good at admin stuff. They’re really good at certain things, but not everything.
[00:12:41] Nick Packard: And so then it’s really up to leadership to say, We have to bring in resources for this. And what I’ve found to be honest, is that not only does it help them get where they want to go, but it also strengthens our team because you’re bringing in new, outside knowledge to the existing team. And it helps them like, again, depending on the resource, right?
[00:12:57] Nick Packard: Like certain agencies will just hand box deliver you something. My job is in consultants or whatever you want to call me or fractional CMOs. Our job is to create the processes and the knowledge internally. So that way they can survive without you. I’ve worked myself out of the job. And I think that’s a really valuable piece to keep in mind when companies do consider outsourcing, is that does this fill a need or does it help the company grow?
[00:13:18] Nick Packard: And I think those two questions will really help you determine what is the best fit, you know, for a solution like a website or social media or whatever that may be.
[00:13:26] Kevin Dieny: Yeah, that’s really, really, it’s really good. And yeah. Uh, there’s a lot of channels. And then some businesses are, some leaders are more like, look, you know, I think that this channel worked work for me, but I don’t know. I haven’t been keeping up with trends. I haven’t been keeping up with the market very well.
[00:13:42] Kevin Dieny: So I’m just going to keep doing what I, what I know, but is what I know all there is. That’s sort of where it comes down to. Okay. What is it worth to find out, you know, to, to see if there is more potential here? Because we’re talking about scaling, we’re not necessarily talking about, just pulling one or two fish out of the sea here.
[00:13:57] Kevin Dieny: We’re talking about, can we tap into a well, that will provide us not necessarily unbounded, but a lot of scale, a lot of opportunities there to move the business in that direction.
[00:14:09] Nick Packard: Well, I think you brought up a really interesting point there. Is that most owners or leaders may not have a complete understanding of, of where their business is at because maybe they started it 5 or 10 years ago and they knew it really well then, but now they’ve taken a step outside of the business in a different role, right.
[00:14:23] Nick Packard: An important role, but different role. One thing that I provide and I think is really important is I do a document called a target client profile and messaging. And so what it really does is it creates a written Bible of sorts that talks about you as a company, your why statement. That I’m a big Simon Sinek guy.
[00:14:38] Nick Packard: So it’s like, why do you get out of bed every morning? Why are you unique? And then it’s like, how, and, what do you sell it? And how are you different? How you differentiate yourself, then it goes into identifying your buckets of customers. There’s different groups you can put your ideal prospects into that.
[00:14:52] Nick Packard: What do they have in common? What are their challenges? What motivates them to want to work as you? What are the key messages for them? If you break things down that way, you have a documented. So now not only do you have a training tool for new employees? But now every time you want to start a marketing campaign or a sales campaign or anything, you know, have like, here’s everything we need to know.
[00:15:08] Nick Packard: So I know that their challenges are this let’s make a sales campaign to address these challenges. Let’s do an ad campaign to motivate them because now I know what motivates these people. It literally is, becomes your Bible and becomes a written, documented piece of, of your company that you can now, now share and use.
[00:15:22] Nick Packard: And everyone’s on the same page.
[00:15:25] Kevin Dieny: That’s really cool. I love the documentation factor. I’m a big visual person. So we use tools for that. We’ve also covered our whiteboards. We have hundreds, documented, written on. An ideation stage level of like, okay, could this work this way? Could this work that way?
[00:15:42] Kevin Dieny: And that leads me to the next question I have. And this one, I’m gonna throw it to you Matt. How far should the marketing plan go? Should marketing stay in its swim lane. And, and as soon as marketing, hands it off their done. Or should the marketing plan include what’s going beyond marketing’s hands?
[00:15:57] Matt Widmyer: You should know Kevin. Marketing’s never done
[00:16:01] Kevin Dieny: Marketing’s in everything?
[00:16:03] Matt Widmyer: Nick too. I mean, four girls? Yeah, marketing never ends. Right. Uh, no, I mean, I think a lot of that depends on the bandwidth of your business, right? So if you have one sales rep at your company, then yeah. Marketing is going to be probably, we’re probably going to rely a little bit more on marketing to take it a little bit further down the funnel.
[00:16:25] Matt Widmyer: If the bandwidth justifies, if you have a sales team of, 10, 20 reps, we can do a little bit more work on our side to the discovery of things. It’s mixing quality with quantity. You’re not going to get as many, but, the further down the funnel you get, you’re not going to get as many solid leads.
[00:16:42] Matt Widmyer: I think that what you’re asking is really dependent on the bandwidth of the sales team. So if you’re, you know, whether you’re working with one or 20 or 50. If you really have that many reps, you’re basically just relying on marketing just to help differentiate between suspects, names on the list to, you know, people who were, are real basically, and, breathing and doing something.
[00:17:05] Matt Widmyer: So, uh, yeah, it’s just, you know, again, super dependent on the, on the bandwidth of the sales team.
[00:17:11] Kevin Dieny: Yeah, that’s really interesting. And so let’s say the question is, what about a marketing plan helps a business scale, Nick? What is it about it that’s going to help a business actually do the scaling, why would a marketing plan help that business scale?
[00:17:28] Nick Packard: I think to make it work is just accountability. That’s the biggest piece of it is that like, don’t just… talk about it, be about it, by saying all the things. If you don’t do those things and it’s not going to work, or if you don’t do anything, right, like just having meetings for meetings sake is not really a good thing, but to actually make an actionable plan with accountability.
[00:17:46] Nick Packard: That’s really how you make it scalable. That’s really how you make it work. And that’s how you can engage those effective or not because, let’s face it not all of our ideas, whether it be from marketing, sales, or leadership, all these ideas are great. They might have unrealistic expectations.
[00:17:59] Nick Packard: You don’t know if it’s possible, unless you do something about it. And so by being actionable, you can figure out how would you know, if it’s working and how you can go from there.
[00:18:08] Kevin Dieny: So when you say accountable, are, are you talking about a team, a person, a department owns the components of that businesses plan and are responsible for achieving the goals with the available resources they have that’s where my head’s going… Is that what you’re talking about?
[00:18:24] Nick Packard: Yeah. I mean, totally because we all make money from somewhere. Right. And so we all have to be accountable to make that money. And we’re all responsible for that. From a marketing leader standpoint, do they have the right team internal or external to get the things done?
[00:18:35] Nick Packard: And if they don’t, are they doing a good job of communicating to leadership to say, Hey, this is the goal, but I can’t get there with what I have. It’s not that you have to get it done without any help or any assistance. It’s just being able to openly communicate, Hey, this is what I’m capable of.
[00:18:47] Nick Packard: This is what we’re capable of. Can we actually accomplish it and then, you know, doing it? So, yeah.
[00:18:52] Kevin Dieny: Gotcha. And that’s when the business goal that goes from this is, would be nice, a pipe dream to reality. Okay. This is like the actual next step. We’re going to take, I’m actually going to come in and I’m going to do this thing, or I’m going to accomplish these tasks that I have, and those tasks lead up to accomplishing the overall goal.
[00:19:12] Kevin Dieny: How much of an onus does that put on the teams? Right? Like making sure you have the right people in your teams to accomplish these things, how does that become really important? Or is it okay that sometimes it takes a little longer, cause we have to get people up to speed?
[00:19:27] Nick Packard: No, and that’s the importance of setting deadlines. And so I like to work with 90 day goals with, with clients. I actually do business coaching as well as a fractional CMO. And 90 days is a reasonable amount of time to get something accomplished but you have to set the reasonable goals. And it’s really not about if you have the team internally or not.
[00:19:44] Nick Packard: It’s it’s. Do you have the resources within your community, even if you don’t have them in trying to get them done? Excuses are like a-holes or everyone’s got one, they all smell like, you know, whatever it is. Right. So that’s like the saying. And so it’s like it’s, to me, it’s like, if you’re going to make a 90 day goal, make it realistic and then get the job done with whatever you need to get done.
[00:20:01] Nick Packard: So if you need to have extra resources from here, if you need to do whatever, make it work, you have, you’ve got to work to accomplish that goal because that’s what your word, that’s what you said and that’s what you have to do. And so that’s the kind of accountability and the kind of mindset that I have when it comes to goal setting with the client is like, Hey, if we’re going to do this, we’re going to do this.
[00:20:18] Nick Packard: Come hell or high water, or whatever that phrase is, we’re going to get it done.
[00:20:22] Kevin Dieny: Yeah. Yeah. So what’s the difference between just simple goal setting and building a marketing plan then?
[00:20:28] Nick Packard: Um, I think the plan helps accomplish the goals, right? So it’s like I’m setting a goal of increasing revenue by 10%. And then I have these five things, my marketing plan that I’m going to do to achieve that goal. And then those five things are going to break down. I actually break make a strategy on a PowerPoint documents really, really simple.
[00:20:46] Nick Packard: So I, I have my goals listed and I have, why is this a goal? And then what are the things that I need to do to achieve each goal? Like for building a website. I have to write content. I have to create a site map. I have to do all these things.
[00:20:58] Nick Packard: And then how do you measure each one? Okay, I’m going to measure this by like how many impressions, how many ads, how many pages he was telling me this, or, or whatever the things are. Right? So it’s like you create a very easy step-by-step plan and break things down.
[00:21:09] Nick Packard: Okay. If my goal is this what five or 10 or however many things do I need to do to actually accomplish that. Now I have created tasks that I can assign to myself or to other team members or to outside resources to make sure that everything gets done in that, for that goal or that task.
[00:21:26] Kevin Dieny: That’s awesome. So, Matt, you do this a lot where you take a larger goal. Let’s say this is a six month, year long goal, and you break it down into, like Nick said, a 90 day, a quarter or a monthly or weekly. So why do you do that?
[00:21:41] Matt Widmyer: We do it to learn and see what works.
[00:21:43] Matt Widmyer: We have initiatives that we work on and stuff like that, as well as all the things that have came from marketing in the past. We do it for the sake of learning and always getting continuing to get better at what we do. We never, it’s never set and forget like, okay, we found the right approach. Let’s just use this from here on out.
[00:22:01] Matt Widmyer: No, cause people, you know, things change people evolve, new business needs arise. So we’re always trying to kind of like, you know, put feelers out there. Kind of see what else could we, can we uncover under the, even if it’s the same group of people, right.
[00:22:14] Matt Widmyer: A different talk track might make a big difference. So it just really depends on where they’re at. Maybe a new tech, becomes a relevant thing within some of the groups you’re calling and stuff like that. You can never know enough about a prospect and a marketing does uncover quite a bit, but I don’t think, anything that can help assist a sale in one of the services or solutions you provide is, definitely something that we want to know.
[00:22:37] Matt Widmyer: And we want to be able to document it somewhere in a field or something like that, just so we can, we can have that at our disposal and make, have higher quality conversations.
[00:22:46] Kevin Dieny: Gotcha. So the Nick, how do you as a business leader? I think one of the most common painful questions is how will I know that this will work? What do you say to that?
[00:23:01] Nick Packard: Uh, you know, I go back to KPIs on that. I just say, if we set our goal for, we’re going to have this many impressions as many, you know, whatever the metric is that we’re measuring against, that’s our goal. I tell him the same thing though. Our goal is to make it work, but what’s going to happen is we’re going to learn something either way.
[00:23:16] Nick Packard: We’re going to learn if it, if it works or not, I’ve had things that have completely failed, but what we’ve got is some learnings from it. Like we know that this audience with this amount of money, why these platforms doesn’t work now. So we know not to do that again. And it’s an expensive lesson, but now that you know, and so now that you, you know, you can kind of adjust your marketing to do different things.
[00:23:33] Nick Packard: It’s really easy to say, we can have metrics or things that we can, we can shoot for. But at the end of the day, our goal in marketing is to test and learn. That that is really what it comes down to.
[00:23:46] Kevin Dieny: And I think that’s sort of a, a side pitch for external help. Right? I know when I was at an agency, it was like, well, you could learn this yourself. You could bring on your own team. You could spend a year, maybe two, whatever it takes, or, you know, if you spend a lot of money to learn faster, to figure out things that we have spent the last 10 years, kind of perfecting.
[00:24:05] Kevin Dieny: So we’ll accelerate your learning sort of like, maybe not, we’re trying to educate you along the way, but we’re going to accelerate your marketing pretty far down the line. And that was a pretty strong case for why an external agency or something would come in. Like at the time us would come in and support a business.
[00:24:23] Kevin Dieny: That was a big deal. That was a big selling point for us is we have hundreds of years of, you know, if you were to take it out at all, you know, worth of experience. So how. How does the business interpret that and be like, well, why don’t I just go full external? Why would I ever want to put internal team members that aren’t going to learn as fast and aren’t going to be exposed to as much.
[00:24:43] Kevin Dieny: So I’ve seen both of those and I’ve seen it clash a lot within, you know, internal versus external teams.
[00:24:48] Nick Packard: Yeah, and I think it’s really how you want to look at it. You know, a lot of companies now are trying to find ways to retain talent because you know, finding work right now is really hard. And so to be like, Hey, we’re going to bring in an extra, it’s a selling point to them. Might be, Hey, we’re going to bring an external resources to help make you better and more efficient your job, which is going to lead to more career opportunities for you, both within the company and you as a professional.
[00:25:08] Nick Packard: Or the other option is, Hey, we don’t have a budget for this. So we’re going to go external a hundred percent of the time because we’re going to save on employee costs or this, that, it really just depends on the vision of, of the company leadership and where they want to go with it.
[00:25:19] Nick Packard: You know, like to me, there’s, there’s a case for both of those. I, and I have clients that are that way too where, so, I am literally their only marketing department. I am the one person I’m outsourced completely. I worked 40 hours a month for them and that’s it. And I have others where I work 60 hours a month and they have a whole team and I’m training their team.
[00:25:33] Nick Packard: And then three months from now, they will just have my name on old email signatures. And that’s the only thing they’ll know of me. So it really just depends, you know,
[00:25:41] Kevin Dieny: Yeah. Yeah. So, Matt, do you think, uh, does a business marketing plan, do you think only work for businesses that are larger or can a marketing plan work for, you know, small companies or is it essential for companies of any size? Do you have any thoughts on that?
[00:25:56] Matt Widmyer: Yeah, marketing. I mean, having been on the marketing side myself, I, it is an essential function.
[00:26:01] Matt Widmyer: I’m not just saying that because you guys are here, but it, but it’s uh no, it’s a necessary component because what marketing does is it takes the great, as Nick said, you know, salespeople do come up with a lot of these ideas. Marketing has a great way of, uh, they’re doing it right. It has a great way of organizing these ideas and actionable plans.
[00:26:22] Matt Widmyer: That seems to be a weakness across the board for a lot of sales leaders, because they’ll have a dream one night, where hey, we should, we should do this this way or whatever. And then marketing marketing is typically the team that puts those ideas to fruition.
[00:26:35] Matt Widmyer: So, yeah. It’s, it’s all sizes though. It’s not just, I wouldn’t just limit it and that’s maybe the image that some people have that, like these gigantic only, you know, marketing departments only available in these gigantic companies. It’s like, no, I mean, it’s just depends on what degree you want to do marketing, right.
[00:26:53] Kevin Dieny: Yeah. So that brings me to the next question Nick. So how do you, and you’ve got to come up against this because I feel like I’ve never not come up against this. And that is the word marketing is almost synonymous with spending money. Why should a business care about making a marketing plan when to some businesses, the marketing plan just is going to mean spend, spend, spend?
[00:27:13] Nick Packard: That’s what all marketing should be looked at is investment. You’re going to spend money to make money and that’s literally the, if you don’t look at marketing that way, you don’t know what marketing is, to be honest with you. Literally your investing in developing leads and developing your brand and developing all these things.
[00:27:27] Nick Packard: And it’s an investment. And if you aren’t seeing a return on that investment, then you’re making poor investments into your company. and then it’s figuring out what better ways you can invest in marketing. And that is the honest truth and I don’t sugar coat anything. When I hold a seminar, I usually have a thing where the first question I ask in the group is can I borrow 20 bucks from someone?
[00:27:43] Nick Packard: And I’ll ask for cash. And then the first person to give me 20 bucks, I’d take that. And I give them 50 bucks right back out of my other pocket. And I say, that is marketing. There is a belief that I’m doing something that’s really worth it. And I’m getting something in return. And I am believing that this is investment is the right thing for me to do.
[00:27:59] Nick Packard: And if you don’t have that belief, if you don’t have that, that mindset of, of marketing as investment, it’s not a good thing for you.
[00:28:05] Kevin Dieny: So part of marketing is the effort generating content, ads, demand, putting in the time and effort. The other part is making sure that those efforts are efficient and that oftentimes comes down to tools. Like, I don’t know how I would do email automation at all without a tool. That would be crazy, trying to make sure I email the right people the right times out of an outlook or something that seems insane.
[00:28:29] Kevin Dieny: So that’s why those tools exist. So how important is the stack? The marketing stack, in keeping the marketing plan on track?
[00:28:41] Nick Packard: Yeah. I mean, because most of those, the truth is that technology solutions, whether it be software for email or your website or forms or anything like that is going to make your business so much more efficient, it’s going to track things. That’s going to do things, automate things that normally team members would have to do.
[00:28:56] Nick Packard: You can customize things. I mean, that is really the lifeblood of marketing is technology. Ideas are great, but you know, just like Matt was saying too, they have to be executed. They have to have, ideas are one thing, but to execute them is another, you know? And so technology helps you do all those things and helps you track it automatically.
[00:29:11] Nick Packard: So it saves a ton of man hours. It’s, it’s, it’s a necessary thing.
[00:29:16] Kevin Dieny: We like live and breathe by that as a company that produces a lot of tools and the aspect of what we do is look, you can listen to the calls yourself. You can listen to 200 calls. You could go ahead and do that. But we know how painful that is, and wouldn’t you rather be doing what you’re normally want to be doing in your business, managing, hiring? So that’s exactly one of our bullet points of our value, right?
[00:29:44] Kevin Dieny: You could do this yourself. Sure, but if you let us do it, you know, we’re going to do it for way cheaper than the hourly and the things that you’re doing and allows you to go back to doing what you do best in your business. That’s usually one of our critical points of why our tool fits into a business. But it doesn’t fit into a business that has one call, you know, like that person could listen to the one call.
[00:30:05] Kevin Dieny: So when we’re talking about scaling a business, we’re really talking about, we’re pushing things past the limit. Of when they’re still going to be micromanaged one by one at a time, like we’re just going to put out one social post one email. When we’re talking about scaling, we’re often in marketing talking about pushing the limits and allowing automation, allowing these tools, and other efficiencies of scale to come into play so that you’re not just sending one email, you’re sending thousands, hundreds of thousands.
[00:30:34] Kevin Dieny: You know, calling one, you’re calling tens of thousands. So by moving things into that larger scale, you’re going from, okay, I’m getting this many sales to tons more because you’re now operating in a totally new sphere of scale. And that is I think, a big deal where still where technology comes in. But it only fits in when it, matters when it’s part of the plan.
[00:30:55] Kevin Dieny: Cause if I generate 5,000 leads tomorrow for Matt’s team, he’s going to be drowning and he won’t be able to work all of those. It’ll be a total waste of the money we spend in marketing and they have to be aligned. It has to make sense. And so when we say scale too, I think it’s also important.
[00:31:11] Kevin Dieny: And you can talk about this Nick, to scale a business up incrementally. And, and by that, I mean, like you ratchet up the scale in a way that is manageable. So if marketing is going to scale, you know, 2X to tomorrow, can the rest of the business support that.
[00:31:29] Nick Packard: Exactly. Yeah. Well, so I have a lot of staffing clients actually, which, which is really funny. I don’t know how that happened, but, and they have that same issue with like, you know, if too much marketing is spent on the client side of the business versus the candidate side of the business, then all of a sudden like, oh crap.
[00:31:42] Nick Packard: Now I’ve got 50 job orders to fill and I have no candidates to fill it with. Right. And then vice versa. I have all these candidates and no jobs, and now they’re going to hate us. It’s always that balancing act with anything like that. So it is, especially within the company, from a production side, I work with a lot of eCommerce brands where Hey, if our marketing does really well and we create a really big demand for it, all of a sudden the production people are being pissed at us because now they’re working overtime and this and that to try to figure out how they can keep up with, with production.
[00:32:06] Nick Packard: And then the customer service team getting more calls. I mean, everything affects every other part of the business. It all works together. And so if you don’t think about that as a, from a 360 view of everything, it’s gonna. You’re going to cause more pain than, than, you know, than anything.
[00:32:21] Kevin Dieny: Yeah. So Matt, it seems like it’s really important to keep things fairly simple. Like, these are the couple KPIs I have. Not a thousand, not a hundred things that I feel like if I do this one, I’m going to slow down on the other one. So how important is not just realistic goals, but like simple, easy to see how you impact the goal, type of goals?
[00:32:44] Matt Widmyer: Yeah. I mean, I think you have to look at what, you know, what’s what are the expectations of the teams. Before you generate any leads, what kind of system is it falling into? It should be one question that marketers are asking, right. Because if you’re, if everything gets called once and then if they don’t pick up then, okay, that’s that one’s game over.
[00:33:02] Matt Widmyer: No, like you, you want to have some kind of a follow-up protocol or something like that. So I think to be able to scale, you need to keep the KPIs simple. Just because you measure something doesn’t mean it’s useful for whatever it is that we’re measuring here.
[00:33:17] Matt Widmyer: You just keep it simple, how many leads were generated? How many people did you try reaching out to? How many people do you actually connect with and then go, you know, further down the sales process. Like how many, how many appointments did you set?
[00:33:27] Matt Widmyer: And And. You know, hopefully you close some deals on that and how many was it? So I would just keep them think about all the milestones along the way, like what has to happen for this to move forward and where everything lies in the milestone. And then once you start to see, compare where things are at with that campaign or initiative, and then compare it with some historicals, you’ll be able to uncover, one or two things like, okay, this is, this is where these are falling off.
[00:33:53] Matt Widmyer: This is what we can do about it. Right. So marketing is typically coming back. I guess if you’re doing it right, or if you’re having, a valuable conversation with sales, you’ll come to the table with a couple of recommendations. Cause you guys are probably measuring it a little bit better than the sales team is, right?
[00:34:10] Kevin Dieny: Okay. So then this this is a good point for concluding things and wrapping it up a little bit. So, Matt, did you have anything that you heard before we, you know, go down that finish line there that you wanted to add or, or bring up before we get to the close here?
[00:34:24] Matt Widmyer: My just in my closing argument here is like, you can only really scale by learning as we, as we talked about and learning is, if you set up a forum for accountability, whether it’s just one stakeholder on sales side, one stakeholder in the marketing side, or a schedule meeting or whatever form, it, it just needs to be a valuable thing.
[00:34:44] Matt Widmyer: I’ve been in a lot of these meetings where we’re just playing accountability, hot potato, and it’s going get passed back and forth between sales and marketing. Hey, your, these leads suck. No, your salespeople suck. And I’m sitting there in the middle of everything and it’s like, no, let’s just, it might not be our, our fault, but it is everybody’s problem in that room.
[00:35:05] Matt Widmyer: There was something that happened and everyone at that, in all the stakeholders need to own what happens and then be able to work together to improve it and, set all the little differences aside like this guy waste my time or your follow-up process sucks or whatever.
[00:35:19] Matt Widmyer: Need to all get on the same page. I think that, you know, Kevin, I feel like we’ve, we’ve been chipping away at that for, for years. And I feel like we’ve made some pretty good headway.
[00:35:27] Kevin Dieny: Yeah, you’re talking about a really good organizational process of meetings and follow up and making sure that marketing plan is still in alignment. Is what tracking the progress and where it’s at, knowing where we may need to move resources or change things or adapt the plan. Like I think you’re talking about the progress meetings, the organizational component of how, how we’re keeping the marketing plan alive.
[00:35:50] Kevin Dieny: Not necessarily like, oh, we came up with it in January. We haven’t even looked back at it and you know, 10 months, that’s probably not necessarily like a living, breathing, marketing plan. So Nick, is there anything else you wanted to add that we missed or anything else you wanted to add to this?
[00:36:05] Nick Packard: You know, for me a big takeaway, the two main things with any client or anyone I work with is leadership and mindset. If you have the right leaders in place that enables teams to do their jobs and to hold themselves accountable and to do all the things. And then just having the mindset of like, Hey, like we’re all in this together.
[00:36:22] Nick Packard: Like we’re supporting each other, working together, never losing sight of that. Those are really two important factors that, I look at when that when I work with someone and to make sure there’s a successful relationship.
[00:36:30] Kevin Dieny: That’s great. So we believe that if you put together a marketing plan, it’s not just going to lead to just spending money, worthlessly. A marketing plan is going to help you really plan, document your goals, and break them down into objectives. Break them down into monthly, quarterly, however you want to digest it so that you can ahead of time, know if something’s on track or not.
[00:36:50] Kevin Dieny: And that you can make sure that these things aren’t just pipe dreams, that they will be real. You’ll be able to see that this marketing plan is going to help my business achieve a scale, a new place that will help us grow in a scalable way.
[00:37:03] Kevin Dieny: Thanks everybody for listening to this, Nick, how can our listeners follow up with you, learn more about you, you know, everything that you’re doing and everything that you’re about?
[00:37:12] Nick Packard: Yeah, just my website on Nickpackard.com, I’ve got a lot of stuff on there, both my coaching business and the fractional CMO business. I actually have a lot of free tools we talked about today. So the marketing plan is listed on there. I have some free templates that you can download from there. Because again, marketing is all about sharing your value and then bringing people in your community.
[00:37:30] Nick Packard: Right? So just Nickpackard.com where you can find all the info you need.
[00:37:33] Kevin Dieny: That’s awesome. Thank you Nick, for coming on and being our guest today, it’s been fantastic.
[00:37:37] Nick Packard: Yeah, thank you guys so much.
[00:37:39] Matt Widmyer: Thanks Nick.
[00:37:40] Nick Packard: Thank you.