Terminal Value

Marketing Misfires and How to Avoid Them with Michael Delon

Doug Utberg

Business Growth Authority | Technology Strategy & Resourcing | Cost Optimization Expert | Business Process Architect | Financial Strategist | Founder - Terminal Value Podcast

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We have Michael Delon here with us, and we are going to be talking about marketing misfires and how to avoid them. And marketing is actually a topic that’s near and dear to my heart because my background is in finance. I’ve have also spent some time like IT program management. And I worked in the technology industry for a long time. But the thing is, I’ve developed this really keen appreciation for a how important marketing is because especially if you’re going to do your own business, marketing is really important B how hard it is to do marketing well and then see how few people there are who really know what they’re doing. Because at least my experience Michael, I’d love to get your feedback here. My experience is that a lot of people don’t just burn money on marketing with no clue whether what they’re doing is generating a net positive value or not. And the problem then is that you don’t know whether to double down on it or to cut it and do something else. That’s the frame that I’m coming at this with. Tell me where my blind spots are at. Well, introduce yourself first and then tell me where my blind spots are at.

Sure. Hey, Doug, thanks for having me on here. It’s really a privilege. So my background in marketing advertising had been doing it for 35 years, started out in Christian radio, did that for about nine years with a Ministry guy for about ten years, help build marriages and families, escape my real job. The thing I’ve done for the last ten years is help business owners build credibility in the eyes of their audience through publishing their own book. And then what I found out is everybody think, here’s the myth. You publish a book, the floodgates open, and the world beats a path through your door. It doesn’t happen, right? Yeah. And so I publish your book and you say, hey, Michael, great. There’s my book. What do I do with it? Because I’m a tech guy, I don’t really know marketing. And so I started putting together marketing systems and strategies and found just like you said, a lot of business owners just throw money on the wall. They follow the next shiny object. They don’t have a clue what’s going on. So we’ve built a whole process around helping people create what we call a credibility game plan. How do you take that? How do you understand marketing first, and then how do you put some pieces in place so that you can actually codify what you’re doing and do what works for you and your business versus listening to the next guy who’s out there with the next shiny object? Right?

Yeah. Well, I was just thinking because you’d be like, okay, yeah, let’s turn on Facebook ads. They’re like, all right, I just burned $10,000 in Facebook ads. What happened? You got a lot of likes for your page. Okay. Awesome. What else happened?

Yeah. And, like, don’t put money in the bank, buddy, unless you know how to do it. What I find is business owners just struggle with marketing because they’re not taught it. Right. You’ve got an IT background. You’re brilliant at IT.

I don’t know if I say brilliant but I’d say it was passable. I like to think brilliant in finance, but the two can be related.

There you go. Related in finance. But how many marketing classes did you take? Number one. Number two, most of what colleges teach in marketing is not what small business owners need. It’s what big business owner does. Right. If you try to follow Apple and do what Apple does, you’re going to go broke.

You’ll go bankrupt.

Yeah, exactly. Totally. So that’s not what we do. We teach small business people how to market well through low cost, no cost strategy. That’s what we do.

Yeah. Well, and I think some of the best advice I’ve heard is that the way to think about your marketing is you send your dollars out into the wild and they come back with friends with you.

I love it.

And again, this is kind of the direct marketing versus brand marketing grudge match. It’s been going on ever since David Ogleby in the 50s. That’s right. Absolutely. And direct marketing is usually most applicable to smaller businesses because you need to earn a very short term return on investment. But of course, the thing is, if you structure your sales funnels correctly, structure your value ladder correctly so that your marketing can earn, say, within one to two week delay, can basically recoup all of its costs. Then you have what’s called a self liquidating offer, and you can essentially put not an unlimited amount, but a very significant amount into marketing because you effectively don’t have a marketing budget because you’re recouping it all back in a short period of time. The problem is that the amount of testing required to get to a self liquidating offer pushes almost everybody out of the game.

It really does. It really does. And the other flip side of that, where we really work with business owners, is one of the other myths in business is I need more leads. Okay. Because when I talk with business owners, Doug, I say, okay, great, you need more leads. They’re doing webinars or Facebook ads. I get, hey, last week, last month, I got 20 leads, okay? Eight of them booked appointments with me. We sold two. I need more leads. And I say time out. You need more sales. What about the six that opted in that you talked to? What about the twelve that didn’t schedule up? What are you doing with them? And I get deer in the headlights going, I need more leads. Always need leads. But let’s make sure we have consistent follow up because there’s money in that gold mine of your database. That 95% of business owners I talk with don’t do anything with.

Yeah. Well, particularly because, for example, let’s say you drive traffic to a webinar. Right. You are paying for everybody who goes that webinar. It’s like everybody who opens your message and doesn’t click, you’re paying for them. Everybody who opens your message, click doesn’t subscribe. You’re paying for them. Everybody who opens your message clicks, subscribe doesn’t show up. You’re paying for them. Everybody who opens your message, click, subscribe, shows up and doesn’t book an appointment. You’re paying for them. Right? You are paying for every single engagement along the way. And once you pay for them once, and especially once you have their email address, follow up relentlessly until they either say thanks, but no thanks, I’m out or you get them on the phone.

Yes. What we say is follow up. Follow up. Follow up until they buy or die.

Right. More on subscribe. Can’t spam laws are in place, too.

That’s right. But it’s understanding that your number one asset in your business is your list, your database, getting them there and then having a pathway. Right. To help them. So let’s talk about some of these misfires because it all ties together. Right. I really want to help your audience understand this. One of the biggest things, one of the biggest mess fires is people not understanding the right mindset in marketing. Okay. It’s how the mind works. Marketing effects don’t happen on Facebook or LinkedIn or Webinars. They happen in the mind of your audience. How do they think about you? Right? Yeah. If I say, Doug, who was the first man to walk on the moon?

Well, of course, that’s Neil Armstrong.

Hey, why is that? It’s because in your mind, you have a ladder, a category ladder of men who have walked on the moon and kneel on the top. If I say overnight package delivery, usually FedEx comes to your mind.

Usually FedEx comes to mind. Yeah. Now I think the cognitively difficult one would be like, who’s the third person to walk on the move? I actually don’t know the answer to that.

But number three and who cares, right. As a business owner, you got to look into the mind of your audience and say, how do they think about me and my category, my industry. Okay. I work with a lot of attorneys, a lot of financial advisers. They all look and sound the same. They’re coffee beans. Right. Poor coffee beans on the table. They sound like you don’t want to be a coffee. You have a unique message, but you have to understand how your audience thinks about you and your industry to be able to influence them differently. That’s really the number one misread. That’s the thing we talk to our clients about first is you’ve got to understand how they think because we want to look at that category ladder around being a finance guy or being a whatever. How do we tweak that? Because when you get that right. That clears the pathway, right? Because you’re probably not the first guy in your industry. You are number three or four on the list.

Yeah, I think that’s the thing, because if you really think about it that way, even if you say, hey, my product or service is unique, I go, okay, well, for the sake of argument, let’s say it is. Even though most likely isn’t for the sake of argument, let’s just say that you are unique. Okay. But you are still competing for people’s attention against everything else they can spend their time on. You’re still competing for their money against everything else they can spend their money on. And so even if you are, quote, unique, you’re still competing against anything else they can do. Since you come from the Church religious side, one of the AHA that I had one time when I was reading the report was that when you were thinking about kind of how to market and promote, say, a Church congregation, what the narrow people will think is they’ll say, okay, I’m competing against the Baptist and the Methodists, and it’s like, no, you are not. You are competing against every other use of people’s time on Sunday morning. Oh, my goodness, how am I going to do that? Now you’re asking the right question.

That’s right. Yeah. It’s less about you. It’s more about them. Right. You’re competing against Sunday football and kids soccer teams and all of that. And that probably leads into misfire number two is not having what I call a 3D view of your audience. Do you really understand your audience? Do you understand your audience? You’re like, well, yeah, I target man, 35 to 52. Okay, great. So does everybody else.. Do you understand your audience’s 3D views, their dreams, their drains and their doubts. Do you know your audience well enough, Doug, that you could write an entry into their journal talking about what their dreams are, what’s holding them back, what are they doubtful of? What are those drains, the things that I don’t understand, technology I don’t want to spend. Do you know your audience that well? And I think that’s the thing.

I think I do. But until you get direct feedback, you don’t know if you do. Yeah, I think I do. And that’s where a lot of people I know what my show is targeted at. I know the audience I’ve targeted at. But as far as getting that direct feedback, I have not gotten a statistically significant sample of feedback to where I can say I know that. And I think that’s actually where most podcasts, frankly, and most businesses are, too, is that you think you know your audience. But there’s actually extreme value in actually knowing your audience, because I think the way that I would articulate that principle, probably in a more earthy and kind of less professional manner would say it’s like, what would they crawl across broken glass to get and what are they just deathly afraid of? Because then those will tell you once you know the answer to those two questions, you know everything you need to market effectively.

Absolutely. And really, the answers to both of those questions, Doug, are emotional answers. And we buy emotionally. You look at most marketing, it’s very logical.

Especially in my domain. Especially like a business to business domain. So this is kind of the nut that I’m trying to crack right now or that I’m working on cracking in the B to B domain. The marketing is the most boring, bland stuff you have ever seen. And so what that means at least kind of in the challenge that I’m going after, is that either A, there is an unlimited realm of extremely high margin opportunity, or I am going to hit my head against a brick wall that never budgets.

Absolutely. It’s funny. That leads us to the next myth that I talk about is having an unclear or uncompelling message. When you don’t understand your audience well enough, then you’re not going to craft a message that resonates, that gets them to crawl across that bridge over all that glass. Right. What I find is creating a message as a business owner for your own business is really hard. I’m a marketing guy. I’ve been doing marketing for 35 years. I’ve got two or three marketing coaches at any time looking at my business, helping me see my business the way you, Doug, see me and my business, I have this unique ability. I can look into your business, Doug, and I can probably help you understand your message. So can half of your friends take them out to coffee? As a business owner, we work in this silo and we can’t see ourselves. Rightly. But we try to come up with these really cool messages that just fall they fall over the bridge.

Yeah. Well, and I think that’s one of the things that at least I have a lot of things that I think about, which is probably why I appear somewhat why I feel schizophrenic sometimes. But one of the things that I think about a lot is blind spots. What are your blind spots? And the definition of your blind spot is something that you can’t and don’t see. And so by that very definition, I cannot know what my blind spots are because that’s why they’re blind spots. If I knew what it was, it wouldn’t be a blind spot.

Absolutely. Yeah. And that’s why you need people looking into you. We have group coaching programs that we take people through because you work with peers, you get insight, and you get those AHA moments because other people are going to say no. What about this? Have you thought about that? Because you’ll say something that you because you know your stuff so well, you’re just going to spout something off and everybody else is going to say what you do that make that your message? Because that’s what I want.

And if you take it to the next level, which I think this is very time intensive. But of course, if you’re going to really do it. Right, what you really need to do is you need to understand that your customer base is not one group of people. It’s probably a collection of people that all have different 3D profiles. And what you really need to do is figure out where are all those people out from a marketing media target perspective, how do you find them? How do you segment them? And then how do you create a message that is custom for each of them?

Right. Yeah. And many times at one level, you could have, let’s say, four or five different of those markets. Right. When you dive down deep, what you find is most of them have very similar dreams, dreams and doubts, which allows you to take your message and then customize it to financial advisors or attorneys or finance whatever. But the core, they’re all really after the same thing. Right. Then you’ve got multiple lead mechanisms out there that are driving to a specific funnel that gets them into a funnel that speaks their language and then drops them into whatever you’re offering. So the other place that business owners really misfire is they make marketing too complex. You’ve got to simplify your marketing through systems group having really one clear message that then you can iterate to different markets. Ok. So like for our book publishing company, create your book without writing a word.

That could be its own podcast.

It totally could be. Right. But I know my audience. Money is not their biggest issue. It’s time because they’re busy. Great. I can take that message now out to high level financial advisors, chiropractors, dentists, and then craft the landing page to speak their language. But the message is the same because I know my audience. Do you know your audience that well to craft a clear, compelling message to your audience that gets them to take a step in your direction. That’s where business owners struggle because they’re expert that they’re saying Dan Kennedy followed him for years. He got a quote on my wall over here. It’s more important to be a master marketer than to be a master at your craft.

Well, I’m also a big fan of Dan Kennedy. One of the ways that I heard that same idea is that there is very little money in being good at what you do. There’s an unlimited amount of money in being good at marketing what you do.

Absolutely. And that’s why I love what I get to do with helping business owners through what I call credibility marketing. Right. Taking the story that’s uniquely Doug and telling that in such a compelling way that people bond with you, that your ideal audience bonds with you, and then they connect with you at the heart level and that’s where I see a lot of advertising just in marketing, just really falling flat. It’s not at the heart level we’ve all had. Dan Kennedy. You got to know, like and trust. You do. but you’ve got to believe as well, my message has to resonate with you. When it does, a connection is made that say, okay, this is cool. This is the misfire Doug that I didn’t even talk about. But it’s going to your website. Most websites, when I go there, a they’re brochures B, the call to action. Most time on a website is schedule a call with me. No, have it there. But you need to have an easier step because these people are still researching. Give them a free report, a lead generation, a video to watch something on your list, nurture them, build that relationship. Then always have the call to action to schedule a call when they’re ready. But I think we’re leaving money on the table by saying, well, schedule a call with me. I am not ready for that.

Right. Yeah, exactly. I think this is where the idea of a low threshold offer and at least what I found right now, because I think that’s another Dan Kennedy idea is to have a very low resistance, low threshold offer. And at least one thing that I’ve discovered is that you actually need to put quite a bit into that low threshold offer in order to get something that actually converts. It’s becoming remarkably difficult to give away a free report. You can drive traffic to a page and you could say free report, free all kinds of stuff. And you’ll get just disturbingly low conversion rates. And it’s like I can’t even give something away for free. What’s going on here?

Yeah, we’ve been so inundated and everybody’s so jaded, right? Yeah. Here’s something I tell a lot of my clients is instead of a free report or something like that, have a video of you, like a two or three minute video. Now, I love video. Not everybody loves it, but I do. You’d be great on video, on the homepage where you’re just talking with them, saying, hey, thanks for coming by. Here’s who we are. Here’s who we help. Below this video are three or four ways, some free resources, some different things. When you’re ready, take that next step. But feel free. It’s totally different than anything else they’ve ever seen. And it helps you build a relationship. So that’s a simple way to welcome somebody in your email funnels. If you’re good at video, use more videos. It’s taking us out of this is the way it should be done because this is the way it’s always been done to going. I’m really trying to connect with you right. In our day and age now, 95% of my stuff is done on Zoom.

Yes, that’s life.

Why wouldn’t I do that early in the process? Do you really like me? Am I a good fit. Here’s who I am.

I’m going to roleplay as your skeptical client. Michael, that sounds like so much work. Who has time for all that?

Yes. Great. Do you know how to use Zoom? Right. It’s not hard. You do a Zoom recording, you put it on Vimeo, you take the HTML, you Slam it on your website. You should probably have somebody doing that for you. But I know a lot of small business owners still do it all. Again, simplifying your website so you can make simple changes. But this is not hiring some companies to do this professional looking. This is my office. This is what you get on every video. If you don’t like me, if you think I’m unprofessional, great. I don’t want to work with you. But if you want to connect with me, let’s have a conversation, because this is me.

Well, and like, for example, what you’re looking at right here, this is a virtual background. Big shocker. Right. And so even if you want to be, quote, professional, it’s not that hard. For the benefit of everybody who’s watching here, let me unvirtual my background. Yeah, look, there’s my office. It’s not that interesting, but let’s re virtual. Okay? There’s power back. It’s not that hard.

Mine is not virtual. Right. I work out of my garage attic. Right. Beautiful. But it connects with people. Here’s where my business really changed about three and a half years ago is Doug, when I realized I had to stop trying to be what everybody said I was supposed to be. And I became Michael. And I just said, you know what? I work with attorneys, stuff, shirts, attorneys and financial. But really professional. They’re in suits. I’m not. I used to wear a jacket at a time. Yeah, that’s not me.

I’m getting a little bit off topic, but one of the things I used to I used to do with my team on a regular basis because some people are like, okay, you know what? No tangent. None at all. And I said, okay, well, here’s what we’re going to do. Go on any tangent you want. If it’s 30 seconds or less, and if it’s really interesting, we’ll spend two minutes on it, then we’ll go back on topic. All right. So I’m going to start with 30 seconds. If we think it’s interesting, we can give it a couple of minutes. Sounds fine. But anyway, the tangent that I’m thinking of here or something you said that really kind of struck a chord in my head is that I think that one of the things that you’ve just discovered is how to transcend the need for external validation, which I think is where a lot of employees and entrepreneurs run into problems is because the need for human correctional validation, it’s endemic to everybody. Everyone has it at some degree or another. But

If you can’t find a way to overcome or transcend that, then no matter what you do, you’re never going to be happy because there’s always going to be a next level that you’re not at with that.

I should say that nobody ever really gets over a need for external validation. But if you can understand that you have it and then learn how to mentally, at least for the most part, get past it, that’s really the only way. That’s the way that you’re going to really be happy with your journey wherever it takes you, as opposed to never really being happy, no matter how far you go. That’s right. At least that’s my observation, because I read account after account of people who’ve achieved just amazing things and they’re like, okay, yeah, but there’s always the next thing where it’s like, hey, I just had a seminar where there were 10,000 people there. Okay, well, yeah, but now I need to do the back end. Okay. But now I need to do the next call. I just have a book, and I need to do book funnel. Everything begets something else. And people, they just run, but no matter what they do, they never feel like they’re getting where they need to be.

That’s right. Yeah. And that’s really an internal thing in this, right? I’ve got a phrase that I use, Doug, that I want to live in a way that I’m always content but not complacent. I want to be happy with the success I have. I think it was strategic. Coach Dan Sullivan years ago, he said, never measure forward, always measure back, which means you need to pause and look back and say, wow, I just saw the 10,000 seat arena and they came to see me, and that was great. Awesome. How can I impact more people versus more? That wasn’t good enough. No, it’s also important as entrepreneurs. It’s a lonely world, right? Yeah. Have a group, small group people around you that you can talk with. I just came off of a mastermind meeting right before this podcast, and one of the guys shared something and three others of us chimed in and said, I’m dealing with the same thing. And when he shared it the first time, you could tell he was like, trepidation, I’m the only guy doing this. No, we’re all in this together and we all have those mind games. Let’s gather together and encourage.

Kind of like coming around that thinking about like, okay, somebody says, what do you do? There’s not a one sentence answer to that question or the one that edited. People mean this nice. And people say, how’s your job going? I’m like, okay, well, fine. You say, fine. But that’s the thing. Those are both very innocent questions that express interest. But what they do is they call out, they call it a quote normal. That doesn’t apply to either of us and doesn’t apply to any entrepreneur. But it creates that anxiety because on the one hand, you don’t want to unleash on them and say, I have a job, I’m my own boss. Yeah. That’s just a way to have no friends in the world. On the other hand, you’re like, okay, well, I’m just really getting another reminder of the fact that people just really don’t get it with me.

Yes. No, I’ve got people at Church. I’ve got business owners at Church who I categorize as not entrepreneurs like us. And then I’ve got people like us. Right. So I surround myself with people like us because if I start talking to marketing or business struggles or different things, you get it. But if I go to the guy who runs an accounting firm for the last 40 years and he just does tax returns, he doesn’t get it. And so I’ve got to surround myself with people like minded people who are all on this journey together to go, you know what, Doug? I want to make sure that when I look in the mirror in the morning and in the mirror at night, I like the guy in the mirror. There’s always struggles. There’s always these Phantoms. Right. And we all struggle with self doubt. Everybody. I’m sure Tony Robbins struggles with self doubt. Right? So get used to it. Say, yeah, that’s it. Don’t let it paralyze you. Take the next step and have somebody reach out to you and say, hey, Doug, man, I need a Pep talk, dude, life really sucks right now. Help me out or talk to clients. I’m always surprised that we run these coaching programs and our clients give us feedback. And like, man, that was so good. What you said was so great. And I’m sitting there going, what did I say? Right. It comes so naturally, but our audience sees us in a different light. Learn to see yourself that way because it just builds that self confidence. Going, you know, when I stay in my Lane, Doug, of credibility marketing, I’m just really good. But when I get outside of that Lane, I crash and burn. So I’ve learned to stay in my Lane. I do four things. Well in life. That’s all I do. I’m wicked good at these four things, Outside of those four things, I’m mediocre. At best, everybody has their thing or their things. What you do best, build a team around you to do the rest.

Exactly. Well, this has been a wonderful conversation. So give us just like one or two more points to think about, take home, and then let everybody know where they can learn more, whether they can either center for your list kind of get you. I don’t know if you have any eBooks or if they want to just want to learn more about Michael.

Yes. Great. So real quick on that, a couple of things. We built something. So I talked about credibility marketing a lot. Right? What is credibility? I asked a lot of people and they’re like, well, it’s this thing nobody really can define it or understand it. So we created we discovered it. We created a calculator that will give you a credibility score. Zero to 100 takes less than five minutes, and you’ll find it on our website. It’s paperbackexpert.com. Go to my website, take the credibility calculator. You’ll get your credibility score. And then after that, there are five videos. They say, okay, here’s how you improve your credibility score in the eyes of your audience. Read everybody paperbackexpert.com. From there, you can find me, you can connect with me. You can do all kinds of things with me.

Got it.

One of the next things to keep adding value here is find your story. Okay. My business began on the day I escaped from prison, Doug. Now, it wasn’t a Liberal prison. It was an emotional prison because I was in a job that I hated for two years. When I got out of that job, everything changed for me, right? Now that’s a story that I tell a lot because it resonates with my audience. A lot of them have been in those jobs. You have a story, Doug. Every business owner has a story of everybody. But what I find is they don’t tell that story because they get stuck in well, this is how marketing should be done. Who is on that? I want to know who you are, and I want to connect with you. We were foster parents for eight years. I have two adopted daughters. From that, I’ve got two biological sons. I’ve been married for 32 years. I tell those things because one of those things is going to connect with you, like foster care, too. And guess what? I just reached your heart. Now we can have an open conversation. I’m in a better position. I don’t do sales calls, Doug. I do credibility conversations and I start them off saying, here’s the framework. How can I help you if we’re good fit? I’ll share with the programs and the ways I can help you. If I’m not a good fit and I can refer you to somebody, I’m happy to do that. Dude. It takes all the pressure off. I still make sales because people connect with me and they need so be yourself, tell your story. And if you don’t, if you’re sitting there listening to this going, but how do I find my story? Take a friend out to coffee and have them just ask you questions about your background. How did you grow up? What was your family like? What were your hobbies? What are your hobbies now? Why do you do that? Why do you live where you live? What got you into and record it on your iPhone or whatever you are on your computer, report it. And what you’re going to find is there are themes that start coming out, and those themes are unique to you. Start talking about that in your marketing, going back to what you said about your marketing early on that’s how you start being different from everybody else. It will attract people to you.

And I think the thing that’s really important because the thing that I would almost add on to what you’re saying is that and also

“Don’t feel like you need to have all of that dial it in before you start just start with something and then augmented as you go.

Absolutely. Yeah. It doesn’t take never perfect, right? A business owner I know a dear friend of mine, he’s been in business for years. He said, Michael, I’ve got a rule when anything gets 70% finished, I pulled the trigger and then we figure the rest of it out as it goes. I said that is a great concept, right? So just get it going because procrastination is not going to get you anywhere.

Exactly all right. Well, I don’t think I can add on that anymore so I’m going to say everybody thank you very much for your time. Thank you for your time, Michael.

You’re welcome.

And I hope everybody has a wonderful day.

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