If you want to increase revenue in your business, incentives are the recommended approach rather than providing discounts. What is the reason behind this? Join Victoria Wieck as she sits down with Marco Torres to talk about the difference between incentives and discounts. Marco is the Co-founder of MarketingBoost. He has helped thousands of business owners worldwide boost sales and scale their businesses by as much as five-fold through incentive-based marketing. In this episode, he talks about the most effective way of increasing your business’ sales and profit. Have a deeper understanding on what you are losing with discounts and what you are gaining with incentives. Tune in!
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Incentive-Based Marketing: How To Use Value-Add Incentives To Grow Your Business With Marco Torres
Welcome to the new year. Hopefully, the year 2022 will be a great year for all of you, personally and professionally. When we talk about serial entrepreneurs, I’m convinced that when you google it, it’s going to have the name of Marco Torres. His face shows up because this man has been a serial entrepreneur for almost all of his life. A lot of serial entrepreneurs have failed and failed until they find the right mix but Marco found the secret sauce to success when he was nine years old.
I’m going to ask Marco to tell his story. Marco, welcome to the show. I’m so delighted to have your vision. My audience would benefit from the entrepreneurship successes you have had across many different types of categories. Tell us a little bit about yourself and some of the things that you have done in the past since you were nine years old.
Thank you, Victoria, for having me and reaching your audience. Since I was a kid at nine, I built the biggest paper route in San Juan, Puerto Rico by focusing on condominiums. I’m not a Puerto Rican. I’m a Latino but I grew up in Mexico and Puerto Rico. That makes me the only Chicano Rican you will probably ever meet. I had hundreds of clients. They featured me on the front page of the newspaper. From there later on, by the time I was 23, I owned five restaurants and a nightclub with my brother and mom. It’s throughout the Caribbean in Saint Thomas and US Virgin Islands.
I came over back to the US and worked in the corporate world for a while. That’s when I’ve got involved in internet marketing and retail stuff online. Between the corporate world and the companies that I worked with, we generated over $1 billion in sales on the internet between the years 2000 and 2008 when it all came to a dead end. I had to start all over again in reinventing myself, which I have done over and over throughout my career. I’m not a spring chicken. While we have been in sales and marketing of one sort or the restaurant business, we are always essentially selling products, services, or more importantly, my own brand.
If you have to start all over again, then do it. Reinvent yourself.
In 2008 was my best sales year ever. I sold my house, cars, boats and furniture. I was wiped out. I had to start all over. It was a bad couple of years there when I told them I had got back on my feet. What we did was we’ve got involved with some partners of mine. We’ve got into the travel business. We were blowing that up with a number of travel websites. Here’s how we rolled into this incentive business that I do now. That’s a quick overview of being in business for one thing or another for the last couple of years.
Even though that was a very quick introduction, you can probably sense a little bit about who Marco is and his undying search for excellence. If you think about 2008 and 2009, there was a little thing called a financial market disaster crash. There were many businesses that were at the top of the game. They bottomed out, such as real estate. A lot of digital marketing companies were all hurting pretty badly. At that point, Marco pivoted and started over. From those ashes of financial disaster, with his career dreams come crashing, he created what he is doing now, which is astonishing.
Lesson number one is to never give up. When life hands you a bunch of lemons, learn how to make lemonade quickly. If you think about it, history tells us that those financially tough years were incredible disaster years, such as the Great Depression. When we talk about the Great Depression, we talk about 1929 but there have been several before that. It’s the financial disasters that happened in 1989. For example, it’s Black Monday, if you recall that. The 9/11 was another one to 2008 and 2009.
All these times, some of our biggest companies that we know of that are household names started during those times. Many of you may not know this. Microsoft and Apple both started in 1989 that Black Monday. You are looking at companies like IBM, Burger King, Procter & Gamble, and Trader Joe’s. They all started in these horrible times. When you give your authenticity and meet the real needs of real people in those shifting times, they tend to hang around longer because they are running leaner, meaner, and also with the heart.
I love what you have accomplished so far. Marco was very humble going over his background. I’m going to give you a little bit about where he is coming from, how this now all ties into what he offers, and how he helps other people. He grew up in San Antonio. Eventually, from that paper route at age 9 to 12, he created a bunch of restaurants in San Juan, Puerto Rico to all over the Caribbean at Saint Thomas, Saint Croix and the US Virgin Islands. In all these places and wherever he went, he learned how to make lemonade and profited from that.
He is the Founder of a company called Marketing Boost. I want to tell you a little bit about Marco so that it gives you a little bit of context about what you are about to learn. I know Marco is a firm believer. In COVID years, some of you have been hurting badly. You had to pivot five different times to hang on to what you had. Some of you have benefited from this like my personal business in jewelry design. I’m on TV. The business is on fire. I can’t get in a product for some reason.
When things are tough, especially for small business owners who don’t have the vast experience like you have from the corporate world and being able to see the bird’s-eye view from the top, the instinct is to sell it for less to see if there are more volume. Whereas you are saying to go the other way, offer more value, and offer why they came to you in the first place. Tell me a little bit about your philosophy on that.
Discounting is the road to ruin. We find ourselves competing. More than likely, you’ve got competition. If you don’t, you are probably too small of a niche and it’s hard to go by anyway. We have all got competitors. We’ve got to stand out from the crowd. That becomes one of the challenges. We look at our competitors and see what they are doing. We see they are outspending you in ad buys and their pricing is maybe lower than yours. The temptation is to make sure you beat and underprice them. They see you and then they underprice. We are all racing to the bottom with no profits.
To make it clear how terrible it is to discount, if you don’t do the math in your head, you’ve got to know your numbers. Let’s say that for every $1,000 in sales, you have a 20% net profit. For $1,000 in sales, you are making $200 and now you discount 10%. In the next round of $1,000 in sales, let’s say instead of getting $1,000, you are getting $900 and yet you still have the same cost of marketing, labor and product. You are making $100 on the $900 in sales instead of $200.
To end up in the same place, you’ve got nearly double sales at $1,800 to end up with the same $200 you had before. You can see that it can continue to multiply. Your clients expect bigger discounts the next time around. They expect you to be always discounting. You mentioned a term you have coined called Growing Broke, which is exactly what you can do here. You can start having the volume but before you know it, your costs are the same and you don’t have the volume.
We teach in my organization. We’ve got a Facebook group with almost 28,000 active members and another group with 54,000 members. We are always constantly bringing valuable content as you do, Victoria, to our readers in our audience. We provide incentives with a company called MarketingBoost.com, where you can enhance your value by providing bonuses or incentives that you don’t have to come out of pocket to fulfill. At Marketing Boost, you can include bonuses like three nights in Las Vegas if you take this action.
Depending upon what business you’re in, if you’re not having a Facebook group, you’re doing it wrong. It is very recommended that you create one.
When you are a Marketing Boost member, you have unlimited access to these incentives. You’ve got to create urgency and scarcity. You can’t just hand them out. You’ve got to use these incentives when appropriate like when you sell a big-ticket item, build a loyalty program or sign up for a contest. Have it be like, “When you make the fifth purchase this month, we will bonus you with this incentive.” There are a million different ways to do that.
You’ve got to include your own product and double up with more products. Sometimes more products could be costly as well but you might be able to throw, “If you buy $100 with our products, we will throw in something that’s relevant. We will throw in a bonus token bag with our branded name on it.” It’s something that you are giving them of additional value rather than discounting the price. A lot of studies have shown that people respond much better to a buy one, get one free offer to an additional added value than they do 10% or 15% off.
That was a lot of information. Let me give it some clarity on here. A small entrepreneur wants to offer a value-add. Let’s say they come up with the right package of things where the value-add is justified. You are saying that if they purchase a $39 subscription from you that they can give it to their customers, how does that work?
We revolutionized the travel incentive business. We are not the first to do it. There have been travel certificates out there for decades. Many of you probably heard or seen them. You get a cruise certificate for 2 to take a 3-day cruise. All of our competitors designed those to nearly make them impossible to use. You’ve got the certificate and you are saying, “I’ve got this sweet cruise but now you’ve got to give them 90 days advance notice before you can travel and get all kinds of hoops to jump through.”
We decided, “We are going to get into this business. We had to make it better than anybody and stand out from the crowd.” We have a subscription model. You only pay $37 a month. You have the ability to give away unlimited travel incentives. Our competitors sell each individual certificate from a few dollars each to several hundred dollars. In our case, for a $37 monthly subscription plan, you have access to all of our incentives in unlimited quantity.
The reason we do that is that we are in the travel business and we have a lot of years of relationships. We went and reached out to hundreds of resorts around the world. We helped them realize that we can solve a problem that the hotels have, which is 70% of the hotels are typically unoccupied every night of the week except for peak seasons, weekends and holidays. For the majority of them, 30% of the rooms are going empty most of the time.
We figured, “If we could help them fill those rooms, then they would win.” Even if the rooms were given away for free, then the client is still going to spend money booking additional nights. They are going to spend money in the restaurant, spa, bar, room service, casino, and all of the other revenue-generating operations that a hotel or resort might have. The client gets a free trip.
Everybody wins. The hotel wins by getting somebody as long as these certificates are not being sold to the public and they are only given in a private scenario where they bought something. It was a bonus or an add-on. They realize that not every day it’s going to be available. They are not going to be able to go on the 4th of July, Christmas week or New Year’s Eve.
For example, in a typical destination of ours, we provide 30 out of 52 weeks a year our available inventory. If the client can be flexible, there’s going to be inventory. There are no hoops to jump through. There are no timeshare presentations. There is none of that stuff. They log in after they activate the certificate. They do that by paying the taxes and fees. The government is going to get its share no matter what. The room might be free but someone is still paying the room taxes and tourist taxes. They average about $30 a night.
If they get a three-night stay, they activate the certificate by paying the taxes. They will get a login to a website. They can check the dates they want to go. They will get all the hotel options that are available. They can book it right there and get an instant confirmation. They don’t have to call anybody or listen to any sales previews. They are on their way. We have the hotel savings cards that they can give away. Those went with $100, $200, $300, and $500 increments of cash credits.
The reason we have the different levels is that, depending upon the call to action, you might give them a $100 hotel savings card for a $100 purchase on your website. You have added value without having to discount. They don’t have any expense to it at all if and when they are ready to travel. It works like a gift card, except it doesn’t cover the full room rate. The hotel savings card will cover between 10% and 50% of the room rate, depending upon when and where they are traveling. The restaurant vouchers and BOGO offers are 10%, 15% or 25% off.
I love the fact that you explained all of this. When you talk about incentives, it scares me sometimes, to be honest with you. The car rental companies are by far the worst. I have traveled over 4 million or 5 million air miles. I have always rented a car. Every single month, I get this thing like, “You have earned a free day here and there.” It’s Avis, Hertz and all these companies. I have yet to be able to cash in once. They will have something like, “You can participate in the locations only. If you rent it for seven days, you get the one.” It’s impossible to use it. I like to throw it out. I don’t even bother with that anymore.
You’ve got to stay relevant with technology and automation.
Going back to your value-add, I like the business model that you have. Number one, I agree with you that if pricing is your primary way of competing with your competitors and hopefully, you have a lot of competitors, you will go out of business. It’s a matter of when. It’s not if unless you use that as a tie-over to come up with new products or services. Value-add is the way to go, in my opinion. Also, it’s every research. I was on HSN for many years. In those companies, they do a lot of research.
They try everything from free shipping to buy one, get one free to price-off. They are on 24 hours a day with all of the different products. I do know that incentives and value-adds work even for a higher price. As long as the perceived value is lower, they will still buy. If you are a small entrepreneur, the best way you can compete with even bigger companies is to build an incredible personal brand that people learn to trust, love and respect you. They amplify your voice by talking to other people about it.
After COVID, everybody wants to travel. I’m here in California. We are stuck here probably forever, especially for someone like myself who used to travel quite a bit. I love all the different cultures. It’s one of my favorite places. It’s such a beautiful place with beautiful people. Adding that is great. The trick is learning how to use it carefully so that you tie every incentive that goes out of your door with the maximum amount of actions. You would have to play with it a little bit.
If you are running a photography studio, every time you refer somebody, you can get a stamp or maybe it could be every referral over so many dollars. Not having to come up with your own incentive is a huge thing. Also, not having an incentive that competes with your future revenue is the other thing. I love what you are doing, your message, and everything you have done since you were nine years old. I hope you continue doing these amazing things. If you had to give advice to my readers that we haven’t covered so far, what would that be?
It’s how you stand out from the crowd. I could give you a couple of case studies as an example. One of my clients gave me an example. He has a subscription service. He has a team of guys in Asia who are studying the stock market and the Bitcoin market. They give you advanced tips on when you should buy and sell. He sells this service on Telegram. He has got everybody signed up through Telegram. It’s the new social network. They pay him $97 a month for access to his tips on when to buy, sell and everything else.
He built that up. He only started the business in January of 2021. He ended up with hundreds of clients paying him this. He went and offered a Marketing Boost incentive. He went to say, “If you pay for the annual plan without discounting and pay for twelve months in advance, I will give you a complimentary trip to your choice of five nights in Cancún or Hawaii. If you pay for six months in advance, we will give you 4 days and 3 nights in your choice of Las Vegas or Orlando.”
With Marketing Boost, there are 125 destinations. It’s everywhere from 7 nights in Phuket, 4 nights in Bali, 3 nights in Orlando, 30 destinations in the US, and a bunch in Australia. We have clients with Marketing Boost all over the world. He did this promo. In four days, he had hundreds of them step up and pay the annual amount and another couple of hundred that paid the six-month deal.
He generated almost $500,000 in revenue in four days without discounting his own product and generating fresh new revenue. Clients committed to a year-loyalty program. It was a beautiful win-win for everybody. Now, he does that consistently. Every so often, he is running a promo cycle and offers another, “Pay for 12 or 6 months and get the following.”
A bunch of my clients used Marketing Boost to grow their Facebook groups, for example. Depending upon what business you are in, if you don’t have a Facebook group, I recommend you do. You asked me what do I recommend. Facebook group is huge to build your own audience and community where you are the authority and expert in your field, product line or whatever it might be. Build a Facebook group, and then you can be delivering content, messages, promo cycles and incentives.
What have they done to build the Facebook groups? They would invite their people who join and say, “If you invite 25 of your friends to join this group, you will be entered in to win a trip to Cancún.” They use the incentives, keep the perceived high value of the incentives and offer them special promotions here and there. They are getting everybody in a contest, “Invite people to the group and we will give you a win.”
I have one client who built it from 0 to 10,000 members in 90 days using the Marketing Boost incentives to build his Facebook group to over 10,000. I have other members who have over 100,000 members in their groups in the travel business. They use these incentives to grow their Facebook group. I would recommend to clients to stay relevant with technology and automate. You’ve got to have a good CRM platform of some kind. There are so many tools that are out there.
Don’t try to do it all by yourself.
You do have to invest in software, tools, and technologies that are available to small entrepreneurs that are affordable and make such a big difference. Don’t try to do it all by yourself. Some of us small solopreneurs and entrepreneurs, what do we do? We try to be control freaks. We want to do everything that we think we do better than everybody else. You can’t grow if you are the only one on your team. You’ve got to find some virtual assistance, automate stuff and put your business on autopilot.
Thank you so much for everything that you have said. If you read Marco’s business model and some of the examples that he gave, not only are you going to get new customers but you are going to increase having your existing customers buy more. Ultimately, there are only two ways you can make money. It’s getting new customers or getting existing customers to buy more or do both. You are getting more of a premium type of customer. That customer you talked about in Singapore was helping people do Bitcoin.
Having the incentive tied to that is having them pay 1 year or 6 months in advance. These are people who are not looking to cut up their payments into six payments because they can’t afford it. They are a million-miler. That’s who you are getting by having that incentive. It’s up to you how you can almost control the layers. By understanding who those people are, you can then offer them upsells and product lines as well. Thank you so much, Marco, for sharing your time and expertise. I’m excited for all of you to go to his site.
I do have a special offer for your readers. If they go to MarketingBoost.com/podcast, they can get 30 days of Marketing Boost for $1. After that, it’s $37 a month. If you go to MarketingBoost.com, you will get a seven-day free trial but here it’s a special offer. It’s a no-brainer to log in and check it out. The only reason we do that is not to discount. We call it tripwire to get you in the door, sign up for the dollar, and get a chance to review the site. You can give yourself one of the complimentary trips and check it out. We know that you are going to love it. You will probably keep it for years to go.
Thank you so much for your time. Everybody, go check out Marco’s site. Stay healthy and happy. I wish all of your professional and personal dreams come true in the year 2022.
- Marco Torres
- Facebook Group – MARKETING BOOST: Value-Add-Incentive-Based-Marketing
About Marco Torres
Marco Torres is the Founder of MarketingBoost.com, he has helped thousands of business owners worldwide boost sales and scale their businesses by as much as 5-fold through the use of incentive-based marketing. He teaches entrepreneurs how to soar sales & marketing through the use of “Value-Add-Incentives” instead of discounts. His Facebook Group is home to more than 27,000 active business owners who are raking in sales with his advice and amazingly affordable subscription program.