Build a Badass Business Podcast #1: What is Marketing?

What is Marketing? #1: Diane Sanfilippo | Build a Badass Business Topics: 

Just hearing the word marketing sends some people for the hills. Yes, even entrepreneurs. I want you to embrace marketing by changing the way you think about it – starting with understanding what it truly is.

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Build a Badass Business: Episode 1 – What is marketing?

Coming straight to you from her basement home office in suburban New Jersey, this is Build a Badass Business with Diane Sanfilippo. Diane is a New York Times bestselling author and serial entrepreneur. She’s here to teach you how to grow and develop a successful business you love, and how to create raving fans along the way. Here she is, your host: Diane Sanfilippo.

Hey guys! Diane here. For this first episode of Build a Badass Business, I wanted to just take a few minutes to clarify what it is that marketing actually is. I think this is a topic that people get really confused about. Especially for those of you who maybe feel like marketing, or sales, or promotion is not your strong suite, or you don’t like promoting what you’re doing, or it just doesn’t feel right to you. I think a mindset shift in what marketing actually is can help you get to a different place with it, and hopefully bring you to a place over time where, not only do you feel comfortable with it, but it feels natural, and because you understand what marketing truly is, you no longer look at it is as this negative thing.

The number one thing I want everyone to know about marketing and what marketing is, is that it is simply a form of communication. So when we talk about marketing, all it means is creating or bridging the gap, creating the bridge between whatever the origin of info or service or product is, and the end user who needs that product or service or whatever it is.

What you’re doing with your product and services is solving a problem. Right? Everything you do is to help solve problems for other people. So the people whose problem your solving, they’re the end user. And what marketing is is the thing that bridges the gap and helps you get from sitting by yourself with your product, or your service, or your knowledge, to connecting you to that end user whose problems you’re solving.

So if you look at it this way, it gives you a really different perspective, and hopefully makes you feel like you’re not just selling something. What you’re doing when your marketing is making sure the people that can benefit from the problem solving tools you created are actually getting those tools.

I think there’s a big sort of road block in people’s minds that people don’t want to pay for these things, or it’s obnoxious, or rude, or somehow not loving to have a price tag attached to things that you might sell or you might offer. The truth is, how many times have you had somebody try to offer you something, perhaps for free, and you kind of feel uncomfortable when they do that. You tell them, I want to pay you. What does this cost? I want to pay you for this service. Because you truly value it.

For example, I have started personal training with someone I consider a friend, but that’s also her job. I said to her, don’t offer me a discount. I want to pay you what your time is worth. I want to pay you for this service. A lot of people feel really uncomfortable with that, but as someone who is going in and having her services, I don’t want her to feel undervalued for them. I want her to absolutely feel like I value every minute of her time, as much as anybody else would, and there’s no reason to go ahead and offer me that discount.

If she wants to do that, or something changes, that’s totally fine, but you have to understand that people want to pay you for these services. Of course, there is a sliding scale at times of what people can afford. And I’ll get into that when we get into a future episode where we talk about how to offer different products or services so that what you teach people, or what you share with them, or the types of products that you have, can help to solve problems for lots of different people, regardless of what stage they’re at or what financial situation they may be in .

Here’s one other thought I want everyone to be really clear on to what marketing is. I think this is another, I don’t know if it’s a mental roadblock or just something that you may never have considered. And that is that everything you do is marketing. Literally everything you do, from getting dressed in the morning, to having conversations with people, there is constantly something that we do that is helping to communicate a message to someone else that we’re interacting with. Whether it’s a person on the phone, whatever.

Everything you do is marketing. I think if you realize that all marketing is is that communication; right, it’s that translation of a message from you, your product, your service, whatever it is, to that end user, it really starts to lighten the load of that word, marketing. There’s also this element of, and I got this from a guy that I read his blog and I get his emails, his name is Paul Jarvis, and he used an analogy of cake versus icing.

From Paul’s perspective, cake is the content, or the product, or the service that we sell or provide, and icing is the marketing. I actually think that everything we do could possibly be both cake and icing. Maybe it’s a paleo friendly cake if you’re listening, and you’re one of my folks who follows my blog over at Balanced Bites or has read Practical Paleo, but I actually think everything we do is an element of content or service, in the cake, and I do think an element of what we do is always icing, is always that marketing and promotion.

Here’s a good example. People often wonder how Practical Paleo became this blockbuster best seller. How it really got out there and took a strong hold, and has really affected so may lives, and it just continues to go ahead and do that. Whether it’s through folks who refer people to it, or new people who find I, it just kind of has this perpetual motion going right now, and it’s two years after it’s been published. People ask me, how did you do that? How did that happen? Because quite frankly, I know a lot of people who write and publish books, and in order have their books become best sellers, they employ strategies that really have nothing to do with what I’ve done. They employ strategies that are strictly icing, really don’t have much to do with the cake. It’s simply a strategy to perhaps achieve this goal of New York Times’ best seller, but it doesn’t really do much to either keep it there, keep the traction going, really keep the momentum going on their book or their product or whatever it is.

The things I want to talk about with what I’ve done with my book are both the cake and the icing. Number one, when I wrote the book, and this is something I know I’ve mentioned, for those of you who are over in the Facebook group, and if you’re not, make sure you come check out the Build a Badass Business Facebook group. We have really good conversations over there. But I’ve talked about this before; when I created the content for Practical Paleo, it was after teaching seminars for quite some time, where I got to see, what are the questions that people are asking all the time? I had been blogging already, I had been teaching seminars ,whether it was small events locally, larger events nationally.

I truly did not write this book for myself. And that is important to recognize, that while we all have certain needs, and it is great to find out there’s a need that I have that someone else has, it’s almost even more important to find out, what’s the greater need out here. What are there lots of people asking about, and confused about, and how can I help to serve, to provide a solution to this problem?

The content in Practical Paleo really evolved from understanding that there are people out there who maybe want to read background information about why a paleo diet may work really well for people, and then there are people who need just recipes. They just want to know what to do and how to do it. And then there are those people who need, even that next level of an actual meal plan. Tell me exactly what to eat every day for a month to get me started. And so what I wanted to do was create this one stop shop.

I have always just had that vision, and part of it is, it’s another I’ll talk about later, but finding my sort of special sauce or my little bubble of what exactly is the right thing for me to do is recognizing that I’m not a scientist, I’m not a doctor, I’m not any sort of licensed medical professional. I’m a nutritionist, and a certified nutrition consultant. But what I’m also, at my core, because it’s work that I did long ago, is a graphic designer. And one of my strongest suits is creating a visual representation of information that may otherwise be perhaps difficult to understand.

While I don’t always boil things down into just a snapshot, one word, one sentence, I try to boil things down into one page, if I can. Because I recognize that somebody looking at one page can really focus on that. And if I can get as much information as possible onto one page, then I can really help you solve a problem. That approach really got extrapolated out into this whole book, and it’s something that people really respond to. Because guess what? Not everybody is simply going to learn from reading words. A lot of people learn from pictures, a lot of people like something that’s more like a guide, or an encyclopedia, something you can flip through, to reference, and not necessarily read cover to cover to get the gist of it.

By tapping into what solves my problems, which is information that is very visual. Obviously I have audio information, which is why I have the Balanced Bites podcast for that type of information, but why I’m doing this is as well is that I like to listen and learn. I can’t achieve that with a book, but I can achieve the more visual approach to learning with these one page guides, lots of pictures, etc.

That’s kind of part of it, and that was really evolution of the cake, or the content of Practical Paleo. Again, always with that end user focus. Who needs this book and how can I help them, and part of that content was not even for; again, those of you listening who have the book, but understanding that you may have a conversation with your friend or family member, and they ask you, what should I do to get started? And I wanted to create a book that would be a resource that you could so easily pass on or recommend to someone, because it’s everything in one place, start to finish. That’s kind of the background on the cake.

The icing, which is that marketing part, I don’t view what I do as marketing for this book as something that I ever decided, here’s my marketing strategy. I’m kind of doing a robotic marketing dance over here. This was not ever intended to be something; I don’t even know how to explain it. I had no idea how the book would do, I had no idea about 80-something weeks on the best seller list. That to me is completely unfathomable; it was never something that I set out to do.

But I knew that, in order to connect with people, continuing at the time to teach seminars was absolutely one of the best ways to connect with people. Live, face to face ,answering questions and having that personal connection. I knew that, if I’m traveling and my book is in a store, I’m going to sign the books that I see there. Why would I just walk past it? Why wouldn’t I create that moment of connection with the people who are out there buying these books. Post a picture, tell people it’s there. Share stories of people who have had success with the book. Share people’s pictures that are making the recipes. Every single thing I do along the way, actually talking about the book, is marketing.

But guess what else is marketing? Everything I do with my team where we talk about, ok, what kind of resources can we create for free for people. Something that has no price tag on it whatsoever, perhaps all I ask for is their email, to get their contact information to send it to them. So here’s an example of that; obviously blog posts. Maybe obviously, or not, the podcast that I do every single week.

Of course I’m answering questions the entire episode, but the fact that we do that podcast is, in a sense, marketing. Because we’re connecting with our audience in a very rich and meaningful way. Again, never set out to do that podcast thinking this is a form of marketing, but in hindsight realizing that everything we do to create content and solve problems for people is all marketing. Just because it doesn’t have a price tag associated with it, doesn’t mean that it’s not also something that we use for marketing.

So here’s the example I wanted to give you guys. Every week to my email subscribers, I send shopping lists that are healthy shopping lists for stores that they probably normally shop in. Places like Whole Foods, Trader Joe’s, Costco, BJs, Wal-Mart, etc. Lots of different stores, and those lists are a form of marketing. It’s something that I’m super excited for my team to help me create to provide for people at no charge, but at the same time, what do I do when I give information to people that I think will be extremely valuable to them, not only that, what you give away should be something that someone may be willing to pay for, but you’re just going to give it to them. It should be really, really valuable content. And that is actually a form of marketing.

So if you start to think about things a little bit differently, and start to realize that, even your goodwill of, hey I’m going to give you this thing for free. I’m going to share this blog post with you that teaches you something. I’m going to give you this recipe on my website for free. I’m going to teach a class for an hour to this community; that’s marketing. All of it is marketing. So when you start to shift your mindset around, and realize that all marketing is is a way to communicate and connect, you and your product, your service, your information, whatever it is you have to offer to solve a problem to the person who needs the problem solved, everything is going to change for you.

I hope this helped give you a little bit of different perspective on marketing, and we’ll see what comes up next. It just felt like this was the very first question that I really think should be answered. I’ll catch you guys next time. Thanks for listening.

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